Paint job

A week in which I watched rooms being ripped apart, and the beginnings of the rebuilding process. Discussions about tiles – grout lines are important, and as much as you can weigh up all the options with your favourite builders, there is no such thing as the perfect solution.

I’m not new to this game – we’ve renovated before, spent months agonising over shapes and colours, themes and styles. This time we were determined to have it planned out to the finest detail We even had a scale drawing of the tiles for the builder to work from.

But inevitably, because we are human, there were things we overlooked. There were pipes sticking out of the floor at a preset distance and we hadn’t even thought about radiators. I spent hours researching online and learnt a lesson or two – mainly just because it’s on the website doesn’t mean it’s in stock, or ever will be in stock. But doesn’t stop them from charging it to your credit card and then taking their time on the refund.

self portrait with radiator

So instead of testing paint samples on the newly plastered bathroom wall, we headed off to the most unlikely of places – a designer radiator shop attached to a sheet metal works in the Derbyshire countryside.

We spent almost an hour with the owner, while he consulted tables and brochures, cross referencing our heat output needs against our preferred choices. At one point he dashed out towards the factory floor, retrieved a chrome radiator, gave it a dusting down and handed it to us.

“Try this at home,” he said “see how it looks in situ. No rush to have it back, I can’t sell it because it doesn’t work.”

So we did. And though in the showroom we weren’t convinced, at home in the shell of the bathroom, we decided it would work.

Back at the showroom, we discovered that with a bit of persuasion on our part, we could have it for a really good price and we headed off with enough change in our pockets to buy paintbrushes and an acre of paint that will turn those yellow walls and blackened woodwork white.

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