An instagram competition provided a perfect excuse to play around with some cuttings from our hydrangea. I love the pink speckles of colour still left on the petals. More play I say!

Finn and Bull hydranges Finn and Bull hydranges Finn and Bull hydranges Finn and Bull hydranges Finn and Bull hydranges Finn and Bull hydranges

Lounge Before and After

After a long hiatus I’m back with a couple snaps of our lounge/living room. This small space is a happy mismatch of all things old and new: Inherited furniture, charity shop finds and DIY efforts.

The days of jackhammering the floor (due to a gaping hole on the screed we discovered after pulling the old carpet out) seem like a lifetime away and now we get to enjoy a space that looks like us, in all its mismatchiness. Even with the extra labour that this blasted hole caused us, the lounge was by far the easiest of all of the rooms to complete: Self levelling screed (that we chickened out of doing ourselves), paint and new skirting boards before finishing with a new carpet.

The after pictures are looking a bit grainy since I chose the rainiest and most overcast day to photograph – so just a couple of snippets for now.


Finn & Bull lounge before

Finn & Bull lounge before

Finn & Bull lounge before


Finn & Bull lounge Finn & Bull lounge Finn & Bull lounge Finn & Bull lounge

Ps. Kinda wish I would have turned that cushion the right way around! 🙂

Stairway to book heaven.

Staircase bookshelves / Finn & Bull

Staircase bookshelves / Finn & Bull

Staircase bookshelves / Finn & Bull

Staircase bookshelves / Finn & Bull

We’ve got thousands of books (this is no exaggeration). And our house is small. This does not make an ideal combination. However, when planning/despairing about the lack of space our little saviour ended up being the staircase (more about the wooden stairs/floor later) leading up to the bedrooms and bathroom. The ceiling of this narrow L-shape staircase extends up to 3 metres from the corner step – we would have been foolish not to utilise this space!

As with everything so far, we needed to get the books up with as little cost as possible. We scoured through salvage yards for recycled timber but the cost was just too much to bear. So, as we were already ordering sheets of plywood for the entrance hall cupboard, the easiest (and cheapest) solution was staring us in the face – plywood for the win!

Our original plan was to make mitre joints for the corners but with our slightly wonky walls this ended up being too much of a challenge (to put it nicely) for us. But in the end we didn’t actually mind the way they turned out with straight edges.

The metal bars and brackets were sourced from Ironmongery Direct (highly recommend this site for lots of supplies – quick delivery and very competitive prices).

The small shelf on top of the stairs ended up being an after thought as the bigger art/craft books didn’t seem to fit on the shelves.

We’re still trying to figure out a permanent ladder situation (wooden ladder on the wall?) to get the books out when needed, but for now, the loft ladder comes out when we need to get books up or down from the top shelves.



Finn&Bull / hallway Finn&Bull / hallway

When we moved in, this relatively large hallway felt like a waste of space. We toyed with the idea of knocking the back wall down and extending the kitchen more into the hallway but that felt like an expensive effort with hardly any gain. So instead we decided to make the most of this space and add some desperately needed storage.


Finn&Bull / hallway storage



Finn&Bull / hallway storage

After researching lots of built-ins and cupboard solutions the most budget friendly option seemed to be to make it ourselves – from Ikea kitchen cupboards (metod base and veddinge doors)! The inspiration for this came from Weekday Carnival. We decided to add our own touch by surrounding the finished cupboard with sheets of plywood (the best deal we found was from Wickes), which we cut to size and screwed on (from the inside so not to see the screws from the outside). I like the lines of wood on the edges and it adds a bit of warmth to the room.

Finn&Bull / hallway storageThe cupboards are super deep (61.8 cm) and hold all our camping and fishing gear, coats, hats and sewing machine+materials. The small yellow shelf serves as a bit of an optical illusion as it’s only half as deep as the others, this way the whole cupboard seems less obtrusive.

Finn&Bull / hallway storageAnother helpful measure is that the whole system “floats” on the wall. This makes it less cumbersome and gives a sense of lightness.

Finn&Bull / hallway

The small electric cupboard hides our smaller shoes and boots. Jon has a thing about painting the edges of doors with different colours.

Finn&Bull /hallway

We tiled the hallway using the same tiles as in the kitchen, for continuity’s sake. These tiles, again from Wickes, were purchased during their half price sale (mental note: never buy tiles full price – there’s always a sale around the corner!). This was our first time tiling so I’m quite glad we had big tiles that were easy and quick to do.

To start with, we decided on the centre line and stuck down the first (and most important) tile. Then we added all the whole ones in a brick pattern (we made a cardboard template that showed us the middle point of the tile – this saved us from measuring it every time) and left the edges where the tiles would have to be cut (we found the best way to add the tile adhesive was one tile at a time rather than covering a whole rows worth and then trying to get tiles down in a panic). After the middle tiles had dried (so now we could stand on top of them) we started on the edges, accuracy in measuring and a sharp blade saves a lot of frustration and wasted tiles! (learned through trial and error)

Finn&Bull / hallway

This sweet woollen rug is from Solva Woollen mill in Wales. Anniversary present bought way before this space was finished. I’m so glad it works.

kitchen before and after.

The kitchen. We knew it needed to be ripped out and re-fitted with a tight deadline of a month before we had to be out of our rental. Yep, to fit a kitchen ourselves in a month didn’t quite happen, but the day we moved in we had a counter top and cupboards fitted (albeit without doors). No plumbing but who needs water or gas anyhow? The original kitchen from the 50’s was in a desperate state, and looking at these pictures I’m surprised we ever took this project on!


Kitchen before / Finn & Bull Kitchen before / Finn & Bull Kitchen before / Finn & Bull  Kitchen before / Finn & Bull Kitchen before / Finn & Bull Kitchen before / Finn & Bull

Before any fitting could be done there was a whole load of prep work to be done… Ripping cabinets off is easy but removing crazy 50’s sticky tiles (glued down with strange brown adhesive) nearly made us loose all willpower before even properly starting. This was until we realised that wallpaper steamer and a super scraper work wonders on this stuff. Re-plastering after all was scraped off made a world of difference in this room (unfortunately there is no photographic evidence of this stage).


Kitchen After / Finn & Bull Kitchen After / Finn & Bull Kitchen After / Finn & Bull Kitchen After / Finn & Bull Kitchen After / Finn & Bull Kitchen After / Finn & Bull Kitchen After / Finn & Bull Kitchen After / Finn & Bull Kitchen After / Finn & Bull Kitchen After / Finn & Bull Kitchen After / Finn & Bull Kitchen After / Finn & Bull Kitchen After / Finn & Bull Kitchen After / Finn & Bull

Eventually, little by little (through trial and error) we got there. The kitchen is from Ikea (Metod / RInghult), Smeg gas hob and (unknown make) double oven are from Freecycle. As we bagged these appliances totally free of charge from a lovely lady in Bristol, it seemed ridiculous to buy new ones (saving us approx £500!). Therefore we designed the whole space around these (mainly by using Ikea’s infuriatingly slow 3D kitchen planner)… bit risky, as all we had to go by was the lady’s word that they were in very good working order. The risk paid off – both appliances have proved to be great!

Overall, we’ve been happy with this budget friendly kitchen. They are easy to keep clean and fit a lot of stuff in. As I’ve started to type this I realise that there are so many different lessons we’ve learnt that I want to write down (such as the quirks of installing (an Ikea) kitchen, tiling, painting, prepping a space etc) but as this is already becoming a monster post, I’ll leave these for later.


home sweet home.


At the end of June 2014 we acquired a house that we could call our own. This little house with a plum tree was much in need of TLC. This is a documentation of all that has gone in to this nest of ours… just so we don’t forget.