I’ve been completely out of the world for the last 6 weeks or so, and I just wanted to say that there is a very good reason for that! I’m managing a big refurbishment project and it’s taken over my life rather, so lots of other things have had to take a back seat for a while. When I manage a project, I take great pride in shielding the client from the stress that is part of all building projects, and many of the details that have to be dealt with on the way to delivering the end result, so I do get rather consumed for a little while. It’s a fabulous project and I’m really looking forward to sharing the before and after photos in a couple of weeks, but in the meantime here are a couple of teasers!


Just you wait to see what the ugly duckling grew into...




The property is a 2-bedroom flat on a lovely small development in Lichfield, and we’re modernising it. Windows, plastering, kitchen, bathroom, full decoration, carpets, the works! I’m completely in love with the bathroom I’ve designed for the client – not saying any more until I’ve got the finished photos, but I’m very proud of myself for this one!
And because I like to try and give some tips and experience that might help you one day, here’s a summary of recommendations and warnings!

  • IKEA kitchens are brilliant – their modular designs make them really versatile so when you start fitting them and discover that your walls aren’t straight (whose are?!) or you’ve not got quite the space you thought you had, then all is not lost and you can mix and match to make it all work. I love their ingenious ways of using space to the full – check out the pull-out corner cupboard shelving in particular.
  • Hanging doors is never as simple as you think it should be. You’re bound to find that the doorframes aren’t quite standard size and may even be twisted, oh joy. Prepare for many miniscule cuts off the bottom and sides, and if you’re talking moulded doors, make sure you’ve got some wood glue to hand so you can fit the actual wood piece you’ve just cut off back into the new base of the door. Oh, and check your chisel is really sharp!
  • If you’re doing a fair bit of work in a flat or a property where the neighbours really will be affected by what you’re doing, then go out of your way to let them know in advance what’s happening and apologise profusely for each increase in noise levels! I wrote a letter introducing myself and outlining the project, then hand-delivered it to all of the 36 flats in the development, and everyone I’ve met has said how nice that was. All the residents have been lovely, even checking that we’re ok for drinks and lending bathrooms occasionally! There’s a spa treatment gift voucher in the pipeline for the lady who lives below our site, she deserves it! We could easily have been pariahs (we really have been VERY noisy!!!) but by being friendly and apologetic, we’re all getting on swimmingly.
  • Use thebestof in your local area to search for a tradesperson. Lichfield is out of my usual work area so I’ve had to start from scratch with some trades which I absolutely hate as I only really work with those who are recommended to me. Thebestof shows real feedback from previous customers so you’ve got much more to go on than just picking blind from the Yellow Pages.


Keep an eye out for the after photos, and an honest description of completing a major refurb in 8 weeks!