Starry Towers
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    June 2017    
    Table dressing.  H&M Bon Appetite cotton napkin in anthracite grey, 45cm x 45cm, £2.99.  Small porcelain Bon Appetite plate, white with gold text and painted rim, 15.5cm diameter, £2.99.    
    January 2017    
    I found myself with a DVD space problem.  According to my DVD Profiler program there's currently 1652 DVDs in the Starry Towers walk-in Movie Cupboard.  After 3 decades of functional service the walk-in Movie Cupboard is about to fail me due to overload.  I've had to rethink this DVD storage situation.  I'm not persuaded away from the DVDs yet, but I think it's time to give the cupboard back to coats and shoes, keep the DVDs but store them differently.  I spent some time looking for the right storage solution.  In the end I went with the drawer option.  This is fabulous because I can stack them.  Only problem was the drawer options were near-on sold out.  I found the last four of the 600 DVD size and the very last 400 size.  And so, the DVDs are now in the 600s with plenty space for future purchases and the CD collection is in the 400.  The DVD Profiler program features a printable list feature, I'll print the list, which has tiny pictures of the covers too, and I'm pretty sure it'll be an easy workable solution to browsing the collection.  I'll have to print the list a few times a year, but paper and ink are cheap, that's not an issue.    
    I removed the shelving units, apart from the one on the back wall, this one can house the DVD drawers and provide shelving for footwear.  Next up was a coat of white paint for the cupboard, which I had done in a trice.  Then purchasing some coat racks, I went with my old favourite, the Umbra Flip Hook, in gloss white, from Red Candy, £22.50 for the five hook size.    
    August 2016    
    While searching for aesthetically pleasing on-display type containers to store cotton buds and cotton wool pads for the downstairs loo/shower room I couldn't resist the Gold Rabbit Ceramic Pot from Swedish company Pluto. 16 x 16 x 10cm.  £13.50 from Trouvo.  But it wasn't the ideal cotton-based make-up removing product storage container, he now sits (empty) on the Polar Bear side table in the Guest Bedroom and the hunt was still on.    
    Then I found the absolutely perfect glass containers for the display storage of the cotton buds and the cotton wool pads.  The Pincher Glass Canister with Lid.  Modern apothecary in handmade ultra durable chemistry laboratory Borosilicate beaker glass.  These generously sized canisters topped with square handled lids for easy opening are exactly what I was looking for.  £8.02 at USA company CB2.  The cost of delivery hikes the price up...a lot...but as there were no equivalent this side of the Atlantic, I had to.  Though I did fear the transit problems I can testify there's no need to, do not fear the packaging and delivery processes.  My box arrived with each item individually wrapped in highly effective bubble and paper-based padding.  I ordered 4 of these delicate-looking but supremely robust canisters, gold magnetic clips and a ceramic shark and peanut, all arrived in perfect condition.   
    The CB2 Nut Case.  A quirky porcelain peanut dish with a white matte glaze for serving nuts or sweets, or for trinket storage.  Also, this is Dishwasher, microwave and oven-safe up to 350 degrees, not that I'd dream of doing any of that to mine.  W8.25" x D4" x xH4".  £6.04.    
    The CB2 Shark Bait is a white ceramic shark ornament.  A handmade geometric form with a white matte glaze.  W5.75" x D12" x H5".  £12.12.    
    The CB2 Set of 6 Magnetic Gold Clips look special on my pebble magnetic note board, they're an addition to my pebble magnets there.  1.25" x 1.25".  £8.07 for the set.    
    April 2016    
    A round up of the Starry Towers wall art this month.  Some have found their place on a wall, some are waiting for their walls to be decorated before they can be hung in their final resting place.  First up, these are the decorative copper nails for the metal and glass frames planned for the staircase art.  Don't buy the single decorative copper nails at outrageous prices, get a bunch on eBay for a pittance.  Other art is hung with 3M Command Strips.  (Unfinished post...many more pics to be added.)    
    Till a the Seas Gang Dry  by Stewart Bremner, A3 print #7 of 250.     
    European Wolf (charcoal and conte on paper) giclée print by Mark Adlington from £31.99.  Art.co.uk.    
    Velvet (charcoal & conte on paper) giclée print by Mark Adlington from £31.99.  Art.co.uk.    
    Large White Resin Deer Head currently available at Trouva for £31.99 and the East of India Reach for the Stars Ceramic Star.    
    The Ghost (watercolour) giclée print by Ken Simm from £40.99.  Art.co.uk.   
    Blue Rose print by Albert Koetsier.  From £16.99.  Art.co.uk.   
    Signed Greg Moodie print Je Suis from Greg Moodie.  The smooth and simple aluminium fame with mount, A2 for A3 size, from House by John Lewis, £38.   
    Baroque Long Storage Display Cabinet in silver from Design55, £77.  The gold Bloomingville Pistol Vase £11 from RoyalDesign.  The Kiss sculpture from Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen.  Glass Pineapple Pot £18.95 Rigby&Mac.    
    The Declaration of Arbroath Wall Plaque from Jaycee Design is 27.5cm tall, £31.50.    
    MadameBricolagePrint at Etsy for £11.12 plus £2.35 p&p from Warsaw.     
    The Baroque vintage swept Sixtrees frames are from Design55.    
    March 2016    
    A few decor swag items from H&M.  Starting with a bunch of the Small Stoneware Bowl in metallic silver and gold.  Height 6.5 cm, diameter 10 cm.  £6.99 each.    
    The Round Wire Basket is height 8cm diameter 30cm £12.99.  This will be excellent with a tea towel liner for bringing bread to the table.  The Large Metal Bowl in gold, diameter 22cm.    
    The Metal Trivet in a gold ampersand symbol shape is approx 12cm x 17cm, £7.99.  I've never been entirely content with the trivets I have known in my life, but I do like these, very quirky and stylish as well as solid and fit for purpose.    
    The Metal Storage Box in a rectangular shape is 10 x 12 x 25cm, £9.99.    
    The 2-pack Star Hook in black have a concealed eyelet for hanging, also available in silver, £3.99.    
    The Black Star Bone Hook is a hand carved bone hook with a black star.  Mine are for the guest bedroom and the walk-in wardrobe, I'll have them on the room doors for robe hanging.  From Graham and Green.  £12.    
    The Large Ceramic Enter/Exit Knobs from Graham and Green are for the upstairs loo/shower room door, quirky.  £25.    
    The Bloomingville Star Tray in black.  2.6 x 36 x 34cm.  £16 from RoyalDesign.    
    The Bloomingville Pistol Vase in gold, also available in white.  H16.5 x W12cm.  £11 each from RoyalDesign.    
    February 2016    
    Lots of lovely decor swag, some of this is from Xmas 2015 and might not be available now, but if you missed it, hell mend you.    
    The Luna Crystal Beaded Table Lamp and the ASDA Resin Cherub £7.64.    
    The Star Copper Sweetie Dish is a lightweight beaten metal trinket dish, £9 from Marquis and Dawe.    
    The Gold Apple Pot Trinket Box is cast in aluminium and finished in Egyptian gold, from Graham and Green, £12.     
    Polar Bear Snow Globe from LimeLace, £12.    
    The Kare Funky Bear Crystal Sit Money Bank is a particular favourite of mine, look at the cuteness and style.  22.5cm x 16cm x 16.5cm.  I got for £12.32 on Amazon then practically immediately the same item went up to £34.96.  Not entirely sure what happened there, but I think I got a bargain by someone else's mistake.    
    Danish made pretty porcelain with die-cut stars Star Votive by Bloomingville at Quince Living £8.     
    The Bloomingville Black Star Large Glass measures 20cm x 20cm, best price available from The House Jar, £25.    
    The Bloomingville Star Tray, D 1.5cm and W 26cm diameter is £26 from RoyalDesign.    
    Starry cups from Kop en Mok in Holland via the Dutch branch of the family.     
    Beaten copper tray (H&M), copper plate and gold plate (Dobbies), Sabichi Pizza plates set, £13.99 from WorldStores.  Medium beaten copper bowl (H&M).    
    The Little Ethnic Bowls are from Rockett St George is silver, gold and copper, were £3.50 down to £2.    
    Large Hammered Copper Fruit Bowl, H11 x Dia.25cm, £10 at Tesco.     
    Pile of star shaped bowls, glass set of one large flat and one small deep from NEXT, the white ceramic star shaped bowls from Matalan and ASDA.     
    The Black Star Christmas Cup and Plate Set is Bloomingville at £12.50 per set from The House Jar.     
    The large standing Rusty Star, £50, and the small molten effect Standing Copper Star, £15, both from Cox and Cox.    
    Candle In A Jar, in the gold stripe and the black stripe, were £3.95 down to £1.79 at House Envy      
    The Owl Tall Jug by Hannah Turner Ceramics, 18.5cm tall, £24 at Quince Living    
    Large Nordic White Deer Standing from Nordic House, £45.    
    I can't resist showing off this Large Mirrored Star with silver nickel edging from Nordic House.  Here at Starry Towers it's still in the box, my plan is it's going to hang at the window on the staircase once that part of the house has had it's make-over.  41cm x 12cm x 41cm.  £59.95.    
    August 2015    
    The Starry Towers Side Stairs/Door Removal and Window Insertion Job...prior to commencing the conversion of two flats into one house, the upstairs flat had stairs and an entry door on the side of the building.  Firstly we removed the stairs then the door was replaced with a window, the rest of the space being bricked up.    
    The Husband has now put the finishing touches to this job by rough-casting over the bricks, shaping off the window surround, removing that broken old outside light and finally, applying the magnolia.  Looking good.    
    Starry Towers outside stepsStarry Towers outside steps and side doorthe Starry Towers side door before...and after the before but not fully finished yetclose up on the brick work    
    July 2015    
    The Starry Towers Fireplace Hearth Re-Tiling Job...the fireplace was rebuilt by The Bro and the hearth tiled by The Mum, back in circa 1996...I'm not exactly sure.  In far more recent times there's a couple broken tiles on the hearth, they became annoying.  I decided I could fix it, got out the tools and a couple new tiles.  I chiseled out the broken tiles then used some of the grouting stuff from the new upstairs loo/shower room floor tiling job.  Once I'd started applying the grout stuff I knew I'd need to apply the same black grouting to the rest of the hearth to make it all look uniform.  It initially seemed to be a quick and easy repair job, and it was.    
    June 2015    
    The Starry Towers Upstairs Loo/Shower room Project...Taa-daa!  The new upstairs loo/shower room is luxuriously gorgeous, totally boutique hotel chic and...finished.  I designed it, The Husband DIY-ed it, then I accessorised it.    
    The work began on the old loo which had been neglected and used to throw DIY stuff in since we bought upstairs.  The old room and work in progress pics are below the finished room pics because the finished room pics are stunning.    
    The Husband set about with the plumbing first.  He'd previously made sure the new boiler was going to work with the type of shower he had in mind for upstairs.  He didn't know for sure if all would be well until testing stuff out later, but he got it spot on, the boiler, new downstairs pipes and what he done upstairs...success, it all works beautifully.  Then some walls and a new flat floor.    
    First joint decision was the floor tiles.  Proved simple enough, we went to B&Q and saw the perfect tiles.  The polished smoothness pleasing under bare feet, these tiles are perfect.  The Husband laid the floor tiles edge to edge without spacers, the flat floor rendering them optional.    
    I have to admit that The Husband and I seem to have had much the same idea of what we wanted in this room pretty much right from the start.  We both came to the colour scheme together, much to my surprise he was all for black.  I'd been harbouring black thoughts for a while but daren't not speak it's name, and then...we were out on a bathroom product drive in Edinburgh, walked into the first promising showroom we found, within minutes we were both admiring sparkly black shower boards.  Still in Buyrite Bathrooms we both fell in love with our shower cabinet immediately we laid eyes on the smoked glass, chrome and curved lines.    
    The Merlyn 10 Series has beautifully curved smoked 10mm toughened Mershield Stayclear Protected glass combined  with an exceptionally smooth roller action allowing the sliding shower door to glide silently open and closed. This quadrant shower enclosure is 2 meters tall and comes with a chrome circular handle with an eyelet handle option.  There's also the Merlyn Lifetime Guarantee!      
    Everything from the loo seat to the shower door via the wall cabinet's mirror door to the doors on basin cabinet, are soft close, it's impossible to bang a door in there.  Note to self...don't be angry in upstairs loo/shoer room.    
    All work done by The Husband, I designed, styled, sourced product, accessorised and kept him right.  I've still got a towel rail, a hand towel ring and a robe hook to find. For products, see below.    

    The products :    
    Floor tiles, Black Granite Wall & Floor Tile (L)610mm (W)305mm, B&Q.    
    Diamond Black Stone Shower Boards, white ceiling panels and aluminum panel trim strips (do not buy the chrome strips, the chrome effect comes off and they look cheap).  Buyrite Bathrooms.    
    Vitra S50 Model Close Coupled Toilet (fully back to wall) with soft close seat.  Buyrite Bathrooms.    
    Aqualisa Dual Shower with straight arm, fixed drencher head, height adjustable shower head and slim bar mixer.  Graham the Plumbers' Merchant .    
    Acorn Bathrooms 600x450 2 Door Floor Unit (Y6FD) in gloss white main colour and black galaxy top fascia with soft close.  Buyrite Bathrooms.    
    Acorn Bathrooms Slimline Bar Handles 344mm (HC01) on the 2 door cabinet.  Buyrite Bathrooms.    
    Acorn Bathrooms 600x450 Basin (YRSA).  Buyrite Bathrooms.    
    VADO Basin Mixer Tap with clic-clac waste zoo mono basin mixer smooth bodied single lever  ZOO-100/SB-C/P  Buyrite Bathrooms.    
    Merlyn S10 900 1DR Quadrant Smoked Shower Cabinet.  Buyrite Bathrooms.    
    Roper Rhodes Impress Illuminated Wall Cabinet.  Bathroom Village.    
    Tornado Chrome Effect 6 Lamp Spotlight Plate.  With x6 50w white halogen lamps and blue LED lights, this level of wattage and the addition of the blue is perfect for a mainly black room with multiple reflective surfaces.  B&Q.    
    Cooke & Lewis Chrome Effect 177 mm Toilet Roll Holder.  B&Q.    
    Better Living Products Curve III Soap Dispenser in chrome.  Bathroom-trends.co.uk has a similar design.    
    Towels are from the M&S So Soft range in mid blue and navy.  M&S.    
    Black scrunchy wash thingies.  IKEA.    
    White ceramic Soap Dispenser and Toilet Brush Holder (also Tumblers in mirrored cabinet) from the Brooklyn Essential range.  BHS.    
    Jeep Chrome Covers used to cover two small plumbing access holes in the shower board.  A quirky touch from the man of the house.  JEEP.    

    May 2014    
    The Starry Towers Study Project...last I blogged I was still searching for a gloss white tall sideboard to house the printer, shredder and CCTV equipment, as well as a gloss white TV/PC screen for the CCTV for the wall above the sideboard.  Now I've found both.  The Sydney 2 Door Storage Cabinet in High Gloss White is from FurnitureInFashion at £269.95.  This is the perfect size for the small space W80 x D40 x H116cm.    
    January 2014    
    The Starry Towers Study Project...what used to be a galley kitchen off a living room is now the Starry Towers Study.  We've used it as a temporary walk-in-wardrobe since we bought upstairs so the kitchen was ripped out much earlier.  In all these first floor renovations I'm the ideas woman, The Husband's the doing man.  I'm the interior designer, The Husband's the DIY get it done hard graft man.  I'm at Graham & Green for accessories, The Husband's at B&Q for flooring and paint.  I'm placing a ceramic owl just so and hanging a carefully chosen print in a white Baroque frame, The Husband's running wires and pipes, plastering and ripping out...a fireplace, a bathroom.  I'm sourcing the perfect chair, The Husband's sourcing the perfect tools for the jobs.  And it's proving to be an ideal partnership, stick to what you do best and all that.    
    And so, was my idea to remove the door between bedroom and study, this is now a walk through extension to the Boudoir.  The Husband dealt with the door/doorway first, with that out he removed the old kitchen wall tiles, cables, and other stuff left over from when there was a boiler, cooker and a sink in here.   He rid the room of all the bits that were either sticking out or dipping in too far, then skimmed/sanded walls and applied the white paint to walls and ceiling.  There was a bit of plastering too and he did a marvelous job round the doorway area, you'd never know there'd previously been a door there, smooth precise corners.  He floored and skirted and I painted the window sill.   
    I'm making this sound easy, and it has been, highly enjoyable...for me.  For The Husband, it's been a load of work over a very short period of time for a man who doesn't get a lot of time at home.  For my part, I've been working on the decor for about a year, knowing what I like, my vision in mind, reading interior decor blogs/articles, hunting down and purchasing the items, storing them away.  The pleasure of placing one of my items in a newly decorated room...it's a good feeling.    
    Back to The Starry Towers Study Project.  I envisioned high gloss white cube shelving from IKEA...and it was a great idea.  We've went with the EXPEDIT SERIES 4 x 4 and the 2 x 4 units.  Two of each, with the 2 x 2's on the bottom, has given us a corner unit 6 cubes high by 4 cubes wide on each side.  I had to decide what we'd put in the cube spaces and where, I toyed with the idea of random placement, I toyed, but I suppose, me being me, it was always going to be full tidy rows of the same.    
    We filled the cubes with door, drawer and glass door/shelf inserts as well as LEKMAN boxes and BRANÄS baskets, all in white.  In the glass insert units we have DIODER LED 4-piece lighting strip sets, giving an entire row of beautiful display lighting, very effective.  So far I've got a large white ceramic owl and vase, a blue bottle, one white ceramic and one silver duck, a silver jester crown and a silver Eiffel Tower in the display slots.  The other items...I'll know them when I see them and I'll blog them when they get here.    
    The white version of my favourite crystal chandelier is looking spectacular on the ceiling and a black with silver Baroque pattern blackout roller blind is fabulous on the frameless window.    
    I've got a two drawer mirrored console table for a desk after an extensive search around for a perfect 101cm long available space fit.  There's another designer chair, this time  the Eero Saarinen Tulip Chair in the swivel white with black cushion version, functional, stylish and the perfect proportions of an adult chair for a small room.  I may go zebra print cow-hide in the future, but meanwhile I've went white Shetland Sheepskin rug for the floor.  The pictures aren't on the walls yet because I'm waiting on a large square frame arriving and one item of furniture still to source.  A blue rose xray, another couple of thoughtfully chosen prints in white Baroque frames and a set of ceramic retro flying birds for the walls.  There's almost too much to keep up with.  And it's not even finished, I'm currently sourcing a gloss white tall sideboard to house the printer, shredder and CCTV equipment, as well as a gloss white TV/PC screen for the CCTV which will go on a wall above the sideboard.    
    Shopping details :  see IKEA for shelving/storage options.   2 drawer Venetian Mirrored Dressing/Console Table from OpulenceFurniture £299, Eero Saarinen Tulip Chair at MDMFurniture £79.99.  Made-to-measure 99cm x 160cm black-out Louvolite Baroque in Raven roller blind with trimmings at roller-blinds-direct, £92.96.   B&Q Wickham Chandelier, £49.98.  White Shetland Sheepskin rug from RealShetland, £65.  Large wooden star from Adventico, £22.  Parlane International  Ceramic Duck Ornament £4.99 at Mollie&Fred.  Zoola Duck Ring Holder £9 at LisaAngelAluminium Textured Eiffel Tower Sculptur    
    The NOW WOW!     
    The Before & The Work In Progress     
    Starry Towers upstairs kitchen
    January 2014    
    The Starry Towers Attic Project...The Husband was thinking about all the stuff we have that I was telling him just isn't aesthetically pleasing enough to be seen in the new rooms or is surplus to requirements, even in a temporary way.  Things like suitcases, Christmas decorations, spare computer stuff, biker gear, fishing stuff, books, soft toys...the stuff you need rather than the stuff you like to look at.  There was a storage crises at Starry Towers.  Then The Husband did a great thing...he sorted the attic.  First he put a new bigger hatch in with a wooden ladder that even I can lower and raise easily.  Then he added flooring, lighting and freestanding shelves.  I went behind him with a feather duster for the cobweb covered rafters, then filled and labelled storage boxes.  The attic is now my storage dream come true.  And it's not even finished, there's further floor space available up there when The Husband finds the time.    
    The NOW WOW!     
    The Before & The Work In Progress     
    January 2014    
    The Starry Towers Boudoir Project...this was previously the upper apartment's main sitting room with sitting room type features including a working fireplace and an old-fashioned picture rail.  We knew for sure that rail had to go, but we did consider keeping the fireplace.  When it came down to making the final decision, reality was...when were we ever going to light a fire in the Boudoir?  The carrying of coal, wood and ashes through the house and up and down the stairs, the furniture layout in the room would have the bottom of the bed very close to flames, chimney sweeping.  All this in a pristine white room, unrealistic and a bit foolish to keep it.    
    Picture rail ripped off, fire-place dug out, lots of little nail holes to fill and one major gaping hole to brick up and cement.  Walls were skimmed/sanded as required, walls and ceiling painted white, new floor, new skirting, switches & sockets.  The Husband got on with it.    
    For my part, I painted the window frame then the fun began.  Black crystal chandelier, art work in white Baroque frames, Reindeer skin rug, mirrored furniture, silver Baroque box shelf, ceramic wall stag head, Baroque mirror.  The Boudoir is white on white.    
    There's a few misplaced items temporarily housed here till the dining room is ready for them and a few more items to be put in place, therefore more photos to follow.    
    Shopping details  :  Baroque Long Storage Display Cabinet in silver from Design55, £77.  G    
    The NOW WOW!     
    The Before & The Work In Progress     
    30th December 2013    
    The Starry Towers Walk In Wardrobe Project...past few years this has been the back bedroom on the first floor which we'd been using as a dumping ground while we waited on the right time to turn it into my dream wardrobe.  We dumped and waited...and then it begun.  Since we purchased the upstairs flat we've put all our efforts into the outdoor work.  The Starry Towers estate is all done and now it's time for upstairs indoors.    
    I packed stuff in suitcases and storage boxes, then The Husband came home from work and moved all the stuff up to the attic out of the way.  I stripped the walls down with my trusty steamer while The Husband removed the skirting boards and set about skimming and sanding the bare walls.  Then wall and ceiling painting, oak flooring and new skirting.  That was The Husband, my next contribution was painting the window frame.  Once all was oak and white we brought in the lovely Mintcake (actual name Kendal), an IKEA Designer Planner Person.  She measured up and advised on what units were needed.  We met up with her in-shop and together picked doors, interiors and lights.  A few days later a team of three IKEA guys built and installed.    
    IKEA wardrobes with black glass sliding doors fill three walls, and there's a mirror push-open door on the corner wardrobe.  All the wardrobe units have interior sensor strip lights, activated by opening the doors, and there's cabinet spotlights all round the room on top of the wardrobes which are on a remote control switch by the room door.  My favourite 5 candle bulb black crystal chandelier, same as the one in the Guest Bedroom, is on a dimmer switch and looks spectacular in this room.  The lighting in this room is fabulous.    
    Finishing touches are a black leather ottoman, pictures in Baroque frames, heavy blackout silky drapes and black Icelandic Sheepskin rugs.  The coat hangers are all clear plastic and silver for clothes and black padded for knitwear and coats.  Sockets and switches are sliver. and though black is the main colour in here, there's a touch of red.    
    I couldn't find the jewellery display board I wanted, so I made my own very special personalised one.    
    Shopping details  :  Wardrobe units, interiors and cabinet lighting from IKEA MadameBricolagePrint at Etsy for £11.12 plus £2.35 p&p from Warsaw.  Red Rose print from .  Oslo Opera House ballet postcard brought home from Oslo.  Moulin Rouge programme brought home from Paris.  Milan Duomo print, my own photograph.  Jewellery Display Board made by me with a Brompton frame from Frame-Company, Victoria Floral Damask Taffeta Velvet Upholstery Curtain Fabric in red and padding from IWantFabric.  Jewellery Wooden Hook, £5.75 from Sass&Belle.  Paris Clocks and Stag knobs, £2.75 each ThisModernLife.  Round Bone Star Door Knobs and letter M Knob, £3.95 a piece from GrahamAndGreen.  Crown Hook from a search on eBay.  Rose and Crystal Knobs from BombayDuck.    
    The NOW WOW!    
    The Before & The Work In Progress    
    December 2013    
The Starry Towers One Heating System Project...back in October 2012 we had the new Worcester Greenstar Highflow 440 CDi High Efficiency Boiler installed by the BG guys.  At the same time they did stuff with pipes to prepare for when The Husband was ready to do more stuff with more pipes and reconnect the upstairs heating.  Well, the time has arrived, the BG guys came back and did more stuff with more pipes, then The Husband did yet more stuff with yet more pipes, and upstairs has central heating again.  It's a very good thing.
    10th July 2013    
    The Starry Towers Guest Bedroom Project...what was previously the Starry Towers Study is now the Starry Towers Guest Bedroom.  Looking good in there.  This is the first, and easiest of the new room refurbs, because it's a ground floor room with already skimmed and sanded walls, laminate flooring and silver sockets/switches.  Ceiling and walls painted white and furniture changed.  A few special pieces added and...voilà!  A lovely room for guests.  Mirrored bedside drawers, mirrored dressing table, black chandelier, reindeer skin rugs, ceramic stag head, prints in white frames, bedside light, silver box shelf.    
    It's still a work in progress, photos to follow.    
    25th June 2013    
The Starry Towers Double-Up the Drive and Good-Bye Lawn Project, the Gates, part 4...Starrygate is complete.  The Husband made the left single (for the people) gate at the weekend, sprayed more black Hammerite and ta-da!  The gates, the wall, the beautiful garden, all is very lovely on The Starry Towers estate.
    the people gatethe complete gatespeople gatefrom the bedroom windowthe gatesStarry Towerspeople gate catch    
    16th June 2013    
    The Starry Towers Double-Up the Drive and Good-Bye Lawn Project, the Gates, part 3...Starrygate exploded this weekend with The Husband gate building his socks off.  He was out there toiling all weekend with all the tools on site.  The double gates (for the vehicles) and the right single gate (for the bins) are finished with only the left single (for the people) still to do.    
    Bloody good work The Husband, these are fabulous gates.  The final single gate will be made next weekend when The Husband returns from The Land Of Fjords and Mountains.    
    the pointy bitsdrop barsimpressive drop barsfrom the drivegate 1left gate postright gate post
the wall and gatesbeautifulStarry Towers  gatesThe Husband on his kneesgate making equipmentthe Z4The Husband doing stuff with heat & metalThe Husband & welding equipment
The Husband weldingthe gatesStarry Towers and gates
    15th June 2013    
    The Starry Towers Double-Up the Drive and Good-Bye Lawn Project, the Gates, part 2...The Husband came home and started with the welding.  Welding was the first job the young, just out of school The Husband did, a while back, a big long time while back, but, time has not robbed him of weldy type skills.  He may be a high flying Oil Industry executive and Directional Driller these days, but as a teenager he was welding in a factory.  He's got a top of the range welding machine and he's got a never forgotten skill.  He's good at welding, if the drilling and oiling ever dry up, he can go back to welding things, mostly, metal things.  The Husband likes working with metals, with big bits of wood, engines, oil rigs.  He's in his element with man's stuff, the big stuff.    
    The Husband got home from abroad late afternoon, then set about welding the top decorative metal bits to some twisty pole metal bits, with impressive results.  Looks like we're preparing for the Gladiator Wars Championship at the Coliseum.     
    pointy & twisty & weldypointy bits welded on to twisty bitslovely bit of weldingspearsdangerous pointy weaponsdangerous weapons    
    11th June 2013    
    The Starry Towers Double-Up the Drive and Good-Bye Lawn Project, the Gates, part 1...The Husband has made a start at the new Starry Towers gates.  The gate posts are in situ and the metal bits have arrived...at 0845 hrs this morning.  Two of the three Starry Towers vehicles are looking very comfortable in their new drive out front.  And look, the BMW Z4 is out of Winter storage and back home, making Starry Towers even more beautiful.    
    metal fiddly bitsmetal stuff arrivesmetal for the new Starry Towers gatesbits for the new Starry Towers gatesa lot of drop bolt bitstwisty bits
the gate posts in situgate postsmy Z4 at home and the gate postsZ4
    6th June 2013    
    The Starry Towers Double-Up the Drive and Good-Bye Lawn Project part 1 & part 2, last day...the job is complete.  Every day more and more people openly admire this wall.  I'm reliably informed that our wall is the talk of the village and the best thing to happen in Sunny D for many a long time...either days, weeks or years, depending on you're personal take on aesthetically pleasing sandstone structures which improve the appearance of Main Street and hike up the general quality of life of all who view it.    
    Today alone I was told by 5 individuals that the wall is beautiful and brings joy to their hearts.  The man who came to read the electricity meter, his wife is coincidently training to be a stonemason, a work colleague who dropped by, a pre-school boy on a bicycle with stabilisers said "it's a cool wall", his grandmother agreed with him when she caught up, 'Ello Darling (of Sunny D local shop fame) told me the whole village is talking about it while she fished for information on the price.  My other most favourite admiration-encounters...another Sunny D woman who gave us "top marks" for choosing to go for such a high quality, in-keeping with the village, "the whole village is talking about it" wall.  "Have you not noticed the cars slowing down to look?", I had actually.  It's amazingly wonderful how this wall has brought out the best of the best people.  And The Neighbour Across Road Guy (NARG), has said a lot about it, today he said, "every day I get home from work, it makes me smile, and it's not even mine!".    
    Yesterday the Ecoss guys laid the last blocks in the front and today they dropped by to finish around the down-pipe on the back patio.  I filled in the other trench in the front garden with the rest of my saved soil and cleaned up.  It's all looking stunning out there.  The next part of the project is The Husband is going to make the gates to go with the wall.    
    filling the drive-side trenchpavement tidy up with tarpavement sideright side wall inside tidy tar edgetar fill on pavement whereold wall  pillar used to bethe finished wallthe drive and gardendrive and wall
drive and gardenmy beautiful front garden and wallAlliumsdown-pipe beforedown-pipe after
    4th June 2013    
    The Starry Towers Double-Up the Drive and Good-Bye Lawn Project part 1, day something...now the wall is finished we're back to concentrating on the monoblocking.  The front drive work has moved on apace with most of the monoblocking done, only the edging blocks of the new part to be laid.  Round the back we only have the blocks around the downpipe to finish.    
    The Husband and I moved the garden furniture and pots onto the new back garden patio area, I repotted a couple of my specimen bonsai trees into black terrazzo pots (because only black terrazzo pots will be on this area) then shared a supper of cheeses, baby plumb tomatoes and bread.  I'm thinking a sun lounger will complete my happy garden relaxation experience.    
I've built my new Starry Towers Mouse-Trap Station with monoblocks and a slate tile for the roof, out of sight behind the shed.  In the front garden I used some of my saved soil and filled the trench that ran along behind the left bit of wall, and placed some stepping stones to make the gardening easier later on.  Just the drive-side trench to fill and the front garden will be back to looking normal again, though I'll have a lot more to do once I suss out how the new smaller garden can be improved.  Some plants will no doubt have to go, some will have to be moved and more Tulip, Allium, Glory Of The Snow, Crocus and Anemone bulbs will be added with next year in mind.  This drive-side edge also needs Stock seeds for Summer aromatic flowers.  This is my design (Hannibal TV series quote).
    There's also a photo of the three Ivy cuttings I took on the 14th of September last year, fresh young things, all successful, they're doing surprisingly well.  See the new Ivy cuttings as they were in their "before" photo back on their first day.    
    the trench beside the new wallthe same trench filled in with saved garden soilthe new patio in back gardennew patio back gardennew patio with furniture & potsnew back monoblock patiopatio furniture in situpots on the new monoblock patio
new front monoblocking nearly finishednew monoblocking in front nearly finishedthe new wall completedthe Starry Towers new Mouse-Trap Stationthe ivy cuttings in front garden
    1st June 2013    
    The Starry Towers Double-Up the Drive and Good-Bye Lawn Project part 2, day 8...Ta-da...the new wall is complete.  Singing...what a difference a wall makes.  The wall sets off Starry Towers, the wall fixes The Towers, settles it, imbeds it, makes the Towers even better looking.  Our Starry Towers is now more Towers, more castle-like, safer, more secure and a shining example of high standards in home-ownership.  Thank you Jimmy and George of The Stone Division.    
    Stonemason George...pointingStonemason George...pointingStonemason JimmyThe Starry Towers wall with The Husband helpingright side of the finished wallinside of the right side of The Starry Towers wallspade & trowelleft side
right side of the wallthe wall & flowersflowers & the wall
    31st May 2013    
    The Starry Towers Double-Up the Drive and Good-Bye Lawn Project part 2, day 1...There's been a delivery and the new wall begins.    
    day 1 of the new wall - right sideright end of the new wall on day 1day 1 of the new wall - left sidenew wall day 1 from bedroom windowthe suppliesthe suppliesday 1 of the new wallsaved soil    
    The Starry Towers Double-Up the Drive and Good-Bye Lawn Project part 2, day 2...It's a steady, restrained and gentle start, us Scots have a word for it, canny.    
    new wall day 2 left sidenew wall day 2 right side    
    The Starry Towers Double-Up the Drive and Good-Bye Lawn Project part 2, day 3...Steady, restrained and gently does it.    
    day 3 left sideday 3 right side    
    The Starry Towers Double-Up the Drive and Good-Bye Lawn Project part 2, day 4...I've been out talking to my stonemasons, Jimmy and George of TheStoneDivision.co.uk.  Malicious rumors that the wallers are both septuagenarians prove to be somewhat exaggerated, with one of the gentlemen being 64 while the other is around 50.  Leaps and bounds have been made today.  A large part of the sandstones and best lime mortar wall is in place and round the back the monoblocking is complete with all the old blocks having been lifted and all the new in place.  The old blocks from the back will be used in the front.    
    the new wall at end of day 4right sidenew wall day 4 in progressstonemasons at workStarry Towers wallright sideleft side in progressleft side at end of day 4
right side at end of day 4right side of wall at end of day 4right sideback garden ready for monoblocksmonoblocking in progressmonoblocker at workmonoblocking at back completedmonoblocking and mallet
monoblockingclose up on the monoblocking
    The Starry Towers Double-Up the Drive and Good-Bye Lawn Project part 2, day 5...George gets on with shaping stones for the top of the wall.    
    a top stonetop stonestop stones    
    The Starry Towers Double-Up the Drive and Good-Bye Lawn Project part 2, day 6...the wall is looking beautiful, the left side is just waiting on the coping stones, then the final lime mortar pointing.  The right side has another row of stone to go before the coping and mortar.  I'm loving looking at my flowers with a natural stone backdrop, the flowers are even more adorable with the wall.    
    filling the gapthe Starry Towers wall on day 6the left insideleft sideday 6 on the rightflowers and wallflowers looking even better with stone wall backdrop    
    The Starry Towers Double-Up the Drive and Good-Bye Lawn Project part 2, day 7...nearly finished with the wall here.  I never thought I'd admire a wall.  Well, on reflection, there's been a few...the Convent of Santa Maria della Grazie refectory wall in Milan where painter and decorator Leonardo da Vinci daubed The Last Supper, the bits that are left of the one in Berlin and the one that previously kept them Romans from bothering us in Scotland, or many of the gold tiled walls in St Marks Basilica, Venice.  BUT...I never thought I'd ever say this of any 4ft sandstone wall so close to home...The Starry Towers Estate wall is awesome.  It's not even entirely finished yet, it just keeps on getting more beautiful every day.    
    The Husband came home late afternoon, he can't stop marveling at just how aesthetically pleasing this wall is.  The Dad dropped by, he said it's a proper dyke, larger at the bottom, tapering to the top, he was well impressed.  My only regret is our Octogenarian Friend Tom is no longer with us, if we'd done this in his lifetime he'd have been over every day checking on progress and chatting to the stonemasons, admiring their work.  He'd have got as much pleasure from this as we are.    
    earlier on day 7first coping stones earlier day 7 left sidedealing with that awkward left endday 7 left side inside wallstonemasons at word on day 7stonemasons at work
left side of the wall at end of  day 7left sideinside of the left bitflowers with natural stone wallright side at end of day 7inside right wall and coping stones
    23rd May 2013    
    The Starry Towers Double-Up the Drive and Good-Bye Lawn Project part 1...Life is too short, I seriously can't mow the lawn ever ever again.  I've known this for a while now, the dread of yet another Summer was secretly becoming unimaginable horror to me.  You see, I've reached tipping point on lawn maintenance.  There's only so much trimming lawn edges with scissors that one OCD woman can do, and life really is getting too short to mow a lawn ever again.  I never will.  No more will I feed/weed and moss-kill, no more will I heave the hover-mower from the shed, never again will I sow seed on bare bits, and never ever again will I care if the edges aren't tidy.  I'm released from lawn tyranny.  I'm ecstatic...secretly.     
    When The Husband first suggested this, which will involve me losing a large bit of my front garden, I cunningly struck a deal.  With a slight hint at reluctance, but without umbrage, I looked concerned but didn't miss a beat.  Alright I agreed, I could give up a bit of my precious and much admired front garden, with the caveat that The Husband had to meet me half-way and make the grass out back of the estate go away.    
    Last week I finished with the digging over of lawn.  I haven't had to dig over the entire lawn, some of it's going under monoblock, but the bit that will be garden, I wanted to dig it over personally, to give it the benefits of the turned and buried grass as a natural fertiliser, as per The Dad's gardening advice.  He better be right, cos it was a backbreaking effort over several days and many hours.     
    Next I had to save the plants I wanted from the front and move them to the new back bit of garden.  Then I saved masses of the good soil from the front into tubs and bags, I'll need it to fill in the gaps when the worky guys are finished.     
    Over the space of a few days this week the work guys from Ecoss Landscaping have made good progress with preparing for laying the monoblocking, they knocked down the old wall and dug a trench ready for the wall builders.  The last thing they did was drop off a pile of stones for the new wall.    
    the old wall and hedgefront garden before the projectthe front garden prior to the bigger drivetrench for new wallfront garden after I removed plantsI've started digging over the lawnnew garden in back gardenlawn going
digger in actiondigger in the front gardenthe lawn in the front gardenlorry collecting the gardendigger at workdigger at workold wall gonethe lawn is gone
digger ripping up my hedgetrench for new wallfront monoblocking in progressback monoblocking in progressthe new wall has arrivednew wall stones
    18th February 2013    
    The Starry Towers Chandelier Project...I've been thinking for a while that the Starry Towers boudoir will be seeing some chandelier grandeur when the redecorating takes place upstairs.  In more recent times I'm thinking the guest bedroom and the walk-in wardrobe room would probably be suited to the same.    
    I've now found the perfect sumptuous glamour with the stylish, opulent and elegant Black Wickham Chandelier.  The chandelier requires five bulbs up to 40 watts giving great light, and works with dimmer switches too.  At 53cm wide it's a good impressive size, and at 104cm at it's tallest, the long chain/cable can be shortened but you do need a high ceiling either way.  We got three of them but only the new downstairs guest bedroom has it in situ for now.    
    I looked at a lot of crystal chandeliers before finding these, the quality, design and glam-factor are off the scale for the price in comparison to others I've seen.  The Black Wickham Chandelier is £49.98 from B&Q.    
    Photos also show the new black-out fully-lined faux suede curtains, curtain pole and devore glass ball finials.    
    Black Wickham ChandelierStarry Towers chandelierfabulousbeautiful black chandelierblack chandelier and curtain pole    
    13th February 2013    
    The Starry Towers Study Repainting Project...I've been at the Dulux again.     
    I continued with my painting of the ground floor rooms and now I've switched the study from wedgewood blue to white.  I did a test patch of the Polycell 3-in-1 base coat on the wedgewood blue, then a coat of Dulux Brilliant White emulsion on top that.  It did well, but I was dubious it'd be enough, in the end the walls required two coats of the Dulux over the Polycell before I was totally happy with the whiteness.  The ceiling was fine with just a single coat of the Polycell base coat.     
    Before the painting began The Husband emptied as much from the room as possible, the study is moving upstairs and this is to be The Guest Bedroom, so in a wee while there'll be big changes furniture wise.  I'm thinking heavy black curtains, black curtain pole with crystal ends, crystal chandelier.  Not sure about the bedding and the what-nots colours, but tending towards monochrome, mirror and white metal.    
    painting the study beginstest patchwedgewood bluethe blue studywedgewood blue
paintedpainted whitepicture windowvery very very white
    4th February 2013    
    The Starry Towers Front Hall Repainting Project...I've been painting again.  It's kinda difficult to stop once you start.  The front ground floor hall, plus vestibule, was the next logical step.  It's all bright white in there now.    
     front hall before the paintingfront hall all newly paintedlooking towards back hallrepaintedsooooo whitefirst coat of white over the old paint job    
    17th January 2013    
    The Starry Towers Living Room Repainting Project...I'm a very good painter, I paint with an OCD precision that knocks professional decorators into a paint pot.    
     I recently decided on brilliant matte white for the entire back of the ground floor and grew to like it a lot.  Before, I always thought white...good for hygiene priority areas like toilets and kitchens...but too clinical for a living room or a bedroom.  However, I got over that, liking my recent painting so much I decided to go brilliant matt white for the living room too.  I could cover it easily if I changed my mind later.    
    I won't be changing my mind, the white is good.  In daylight it looks fresh and clean, in the lighting options we have for evening/night it looks like a subdued comfortable off-white anyway, so no OTT clinical appearance when we're in relax mode.  I'm planning on painting all of Starry Towers in the white.    
    The walls took two coats of Dulux Brilliant Matt White Emulsion to cover the previous off-white shade that had grown darker, marked and stained over the years.  The first coat of white paint looked terrible, but I knew the second would look great, and it did.  The ceiling proved more difficult, two coats in a small test area weren't making much difference.  I'd have to get out the big guns.  I couldn't face having to paint the ceiling twice, let alone thrice.  The ceiling called for Polycell 3 in 1 Base Coat.  It was a toss-up between laborious up-ladder effort or money.  Happily I didn't have too much of a struggle to decide, The Husband had bought the latest batch of paint including the Polycell, which is way more expensive than the Dulux emulsion.   
    What a difference, the Polycell took one coat and is far more "brilliant" than the Dulux.     
    Finishing touches were me cleaning the ceiling light, the curtain pole and the woodwork areas, and The Husband got new smoke alarms for the ground floor.  Another learning experience...I used to use a bulky black-bin-liner's worth of old curtains and bed sheets for protective dust sheets, but now I've found the ASDA plastic Dust Sheet, not very substantial, but given that it's only purpose it to catch paint drips, at 70p a piece, and you save on storage space, buy lots of them.   
    first coat on near wallfirst coatbefore the re-paintingone coat
all whitenew paint joblovelyso much cleanernew smoke alarm & shiny light
    20th December 2012    
    The Starry Towers Ground Floor Loo Slash Shower Room Re-Grouting Project...I can re-grout.  I can nearly kill myself in the process, but I can re-grout.  I made my intentions known and spent time thinking about it.  In the meantime The Husband took a trip to the DIY store and came back with all sorts of re-grouting stuff.  I had plans...    
    Plan A...I'd clean the grouting and maybe touch up a bit here and there on particularly stubborn stains.  A couple of attempts with different cleaning products (one ordinary household + one dedicated grout cleaner), and a touch-up product that looks like a big Tippex felt tip pen, I moved on to Plan B.     
    Plan B...I thought I'd just scrape off a very thin top layer of old then skim on a new layer and all would be well.  Moving along.    
    Plan C...I got out the big guns.  The Tile Force Electric Grout Remover makes dust of old grout.  Be careful not to let it slip, you risk chipping bits off tiles.  Don't force it, no pressure required, just place it on the old grout, allow the gun to do it's job, with a little bit steering from you.  You'll soon get the hang of it.  After a while you do get that shaking numbing feeling from the vibrations.  On reflection I couldn't have done the job without this gadget.     
    Once the old grout was removed I applied the new stuff by finger, finishing off with a moist sponge.  The sponge gives the best finish, absolutely the only way to obtain a smooth finish, I know, I tried the wet finger, the wet cloth, the grout float and the plastic scrapy spreader thing.  You can cut to the moist sponge and save yourself a lot of bothersome trial and error.    
    I finished with the re-grouting then washed down an inconspicuous area (behind the towel radiator) before testing with the LTP Grout And Tile Protector.     
    This Starry Towers Ground Floor Loo Slash Shower Room Project had taken days by this point.  Somewhere along the way I'd removed the old stained silicone from the vanity unit/wall joint and round the shower bits.  While I waited on the grout setting hard I moved on to reapplying the silicone stuff with my silicone stuff gun.  Clear silicone for the shower bits and white for the vanity unit.  I'm a good grouter but a terrible siliconer.  Not proud of my siliconing.  Such messy stuff, doesn't go where it's meant to, goes everywhere else.  I done my best, then trimmed it back later with a Stanley blade.   
    I'll go back over the silicone with a Multi Caulk Tool Kit to try to make it all better.   
    Meanwhile, back to the re-grouting...I went on and sprayed the rest of the room including the shower cubicle, and nearly poisoned myself with the fumes.  Seriously.  Apart from the nearly dying, I'm pretty pleased with it all, it looks brand new.  Finishing touches...replacing the mirror, a gloss white Umbra Flip coat rack to the door and the Starry Towers heart mini rubber duck on the sink.    
    The mirror is a story in itself.  I wanted an exact copy of the old mirror but could only find that online and it had to be made for me.  The old mirror, a plain floating tile 45cm x 60cm, had only two screw holes, one middle top and one middle bottom.  I didn't want to be drilling any more holes in the tiles and preferred the minimal appearance of two chrome screw covers instead of the readily available four.  The specially made to order mirror arrived, broken.  A replacement arrived, broken.  A third arrived, intact, I was over the moon with happiness.  Wouldn't you know it, I broke it while screwing it to the wall.    
    Me and mirrors were through, we'd finished, over, done.  I was ready to hang a nice oil painting instead.  The Husband came home and found the perfect solution at our local B&Q.  A floating tile mirror with no holes and industrial strength Velcro to fix it to the wall, impressive.    
    Electric Grout Removerre-grouting in progressthe newly re-grouted showernew grouting behind towel radiatorthe new mirrorthe new mirrorold grout removeddirty old grout
some new grout appliedwaiting for the new mirrornew grouting all shiny and brightmagazine racknew groutingrubber duck on the sinkUmbra Flip in gloss white
    30th November 2012    

The Starry Towers Ground Floor Back of House Painting Project...I wasn't expecting to do this for a while but The Husband hinted.  Then he denied he did, but he really did.  I remember it.  He recently said how it would all look good with a lick of paint.


Ages back he'd tried his hand at manipulating my OCD, said how it might be best if we painted the ground floor.  I told him I couldn't contemplate decorating the ground floor till the first floor is sorted.  There's so much stuff to do on the upper level I was reckoning we should sort all that out first, then I could work down, achieving perfection as I went...from top to bottom.


Dear reader who has been with me from the start...you will recall (and if you don't, scroll down to the bottom of this page for reminders), I owned the ground floor apartment, I had it perfect.  This suited my OCD, suited it very well.  Then The Husband arrived, initially called The Boyfriend, he moved up the ranks to The Fiancé status, then hit the momentous heights of The Husband.


Along the way we discovered a couple things...that the original apartment wasn't big enough and that I liked it here too much to contemplate not being here.  All went well and we bought upstairs so we didn't have to not be here.  But dear reader, you know all that.


The recent Starry Towers renovation work...the New Combi Boiler Project, led to a hefty area of the ground floor being messed up while being improved.  The Husband arranged for the new combi boiler, then did serious DIY to both the Hot Cupboard and the Boiler Cupboard, then he went back to work in Norway.  I was left looking at the Starry Towers Ground Floor Back of House.  The area around them two cupboards could do with a serious decorating touch-up.


I started by painting inside the Boiler Cupboard because for all The Husband's new shelves looked fantastic, the cupboard walls were letting the shelves down.  Decor-wise it looked tatty, so I painted in the Boiler Cupboard.  I liked the result so much that as I stood back admiring my work, I glanced at the hall outside the cupboard, and damn it, it looked dingy, really dirty in comparison.  I took an instant decision, paint brush in hand, I slashed brilliant white Dulux on the hall wall outside the cupboard.


With that impetuous last 20 seconds of painting, my fate was sealed.  I went on to paint the walls and ceiling of the hall spaces at the back of the house and the kitchen.  Then the Hot Cupboard doors and the downstairs loo/shower room ceiling and door frame. 


The Husband made like he just wanted his Hot Cupboard doors to look their best.  I got carried away, and he's well happy, I know him so well, and he knows me just as well, damn it.


I've since got adventurous to the degree that I addressed grouting, new to me...more to follow.

    inside Boiler Cupboard paintedstarting on the hallhall outside kitchen and loo with just a first coat on Hot Cupboard new doors    
    13th November 2012    

The Starry Towers Boiler Cupboard Project...The Husband set to work giving me more shelves.  He's obviously noticed my need for shelves and been extremely proactive.  Which earns him major brownie points, this man knows me so well.


I know him so well too.  He promised me more shelves before dropping me off at work.  When he picked me up 13hrs later he told me he'd DIY-injured a hand and was unable to build Hot Cupboard shelves.  I just knew he was trying to wind me up, was looking for a serious disappointment reaction so he'd get a crazy woohoo reaction when I saw the Boiler Cupboard sans shelves.  I was right!  I'm so happy.  I intend to improve on the organisation of the stuff on the Boiler Cupboard shelves, but for now, this is the stuff I had available to me today.

    The Husband built new shelvesI filled them ASAPBoiler Cupboard shelvesstuff on shelves    
    5th November 2012    

The Starry Towers Hot Cupboard Project...with the new combi boiler came a big change to the Hot Cupboard.  With the washing machine and dryer on the floor there was an awful lot of lovely space above.  The Husband set about building a set of shelves.


He brought the wood home in the Mercedes then constructed a made-to-measure solid strong shelf unit which were then placed in the cupboard.  Then he built a frame for the doors and set it in place.


These hinged doors are the way to go for a hallway, neat and unintrusive, I love them.  They will eventually be painted the colour of the wall when we get round to decorating the ground floor.  The idea being that they'll be even less obtrusive, melting into the wall.  The hallway looks lighter, wider and bigger with these doors.


There's still a little tidying up round the frame to do, and I've to choose handles for the doors.  I spent all day today filling the cupboard space, I think I did a good job, ohh, and so did The Husband, I love my new Hot Cupboard.

    shelf unit in situshelf unit in the Hot Cupboardthe Hot Cupboard but no doorswith doorsthe hinged doors are fabbyfilled
the shelvesI filled the cupboardThe Husband brings home the wood
    26th October 2012    

The Starry Towers New Combi Boiler Project...the old boiler served Starry Towers well.  I bought the old boiler with the ground floor apartment in January 1990, it was already old then.  With the addition of the upper floor apartment and the making of Starry Towers, there came the need for a larger, more powerful, safer, more energy efficient new combi boiler.


This job became more urgent when at the last annual check up (the insurance policy against breakdowns), the engineer refused to touch the old Stelrad Group Ideal Mexico gas boiler.  They say it's got asbestos, NOW it's got asbestos, they never mentioned that anytime in the last 22 years.  Since I've been in residence they've mended it twice and serviced it annually, but that security was gone with the invention of asbestos.  We needed a replacement boiler, especially with Winter on the way.


You would think, wouldn't you, in 22 years of servicing the old boiler someone would have noticed it had asbestos.  Then my suspicious mind was thinking, maybe it just got so old they reckoned it could only cost them big money from now on in.  The circumstances would make one slightly dubious.


This is a story of two cupboards, the Boiler Cupboard and the Hot Cupboard...for clarity I'll explain.  The Boiler Cupboard, as the name suggests, is the only cupboard at Starry Towers that's got a boiler.  A walk-in cupboard, could even be called a utility room.  For many a year this has housed, not only the old boiler, but also, the washing machine and dryer.  Then there's the Hot Cupboard, a half-shelved cupboard containing an immersion tank that's never been used in my time at Starry Towers and two water tanks.  There was a massive waste of space going on in the Hot Cupboard.


Prior to the BG workies arriving The Husband does a few DIY jobs on the Hot Cupboard.  To tidy up the space he changes a section of pipe that was sticking out into the cupboard, so intrusive for no good reason.  Smacks of the previous owner being shite at DIY.  The Husband runs his replacement piping out the way against the back wall instead.   The electricity supply, which was the immersion tank switch, he changed to a double socket.  And he ripped a huge hole in the wall.  The Husband does love removing a hefty bit of wall.  This wall removing made it easier for the workmen, and will be explained later.


Two days had been penned in for the new Worcester Greenstar Highflow 440 CDi High Efficiency Boiler, today and yesterday, my Thursday and Friday off work this week.  I'm up and ready for 7am due to being told the equipment would be delivered anytime between 7 and 9.  The delivery guy rocks up about 9 with the engineer right behind him.  I'm 3 hours out of bed waiting for this.


There's a ridiculous amount of Health & Safety comes with a British Gas heating engineer.  The sign placed close to the boxed boiler on first arrival is of more risk to me than the big box.  I took note, remember to not trip over that huge box.


Over the two days the old boiler comes out, replaced by the shiny white newbie, and the hot cupboard is emptied of immersion tank and x2 other tanks which no-one's really sure why they were there anyway.  There's pipe stuff happening.  Radiators are...erm...bled I think it's called, they definitely got "Superflushed", superflushed and system water treatmented, and new valves are applied to each.  Some big brass magnetic system filter with the impressive name of a Magnabooster is added to the system.  There's a new flue and flue guard, a wireless thermostat and a free portable electric heater thrown in...at my insistence.


The free fan heater works a wee treat at keeping me warm while the heating's off.  The engineer was explaining to me all about Health & Safety and how if I'm going to be cold he has to give me a heater.  Thing is, engineers are not permitted to reuse these heaters.  I would not permit this disgraceful waste of the world's resources.  Health & Safety madness once again, thank goodness I intervened.


I got the following workies...


1  a heating engineer, nice guy, one little complaint...let himself down for a couple minutes..a bit too pissed off at my electric fan heater freebie needs


2  an electrician, very nice guy


3  a builder, he did the bit outside, filling in the flue hole then rough-casting the outside wall round the flue...badly


4  another guy, maybe a mate, maybe a boss guy checking up, came in for a wee while on day 2, hung about, admired our 60" TV, chatted, left


BG gave us a £400 discount, can't remember exactly why, some enticement to buy I think.  Then there's the Boiler Scrappage Scheme.  The government gives £400 for an old still working boiler replaced with a new energy efficient boiler.  The BG guys are very helpful, making the process of applying for the government £400 very easy.  We await the final word from the government scrappage team as they take 31 days to process the claim.

    the Starry Towers hot cupboard beforewhat it used to look like in that bit of hall spaceStarry Towers old immersion tankthe large water tankthe old large water tankwasher & dryer in boiler cupboardThe Husband removes the door and a large bit of wall revealing lots of plumbingdouble socket in the Hot Cupboard
the old immersion tankHealth & Safety gone crazythe Hot Cupboard empty for a couple daysthe new boilerMAGNABOOSTER!the new boiler in situthe new flue & guardwasheing machine & drye rmoved to Hot Cupboard
small old water tankpiping just begging for a bit of a tidyThe Husband tidied up that messy pipingtidy pipes, the way I like themthe old asbestos-riddled boilerboiler in a boxthe old boiler...strippedthe old boiler in bits
the flue from outsidehole in Starry Towersold boiler & immersion heater thrown outfree fan heater
    8th June 2012    

The Starry Towers New Front Door Project...the old door served Starry Towers well.  It was included in the deal when I bought the rest of the ground floor in 1990, even back then it appeared to be a good age.  It was heavy, solid and strong and it's put in years of service.  I just got bored of having to sand down and varnish every few years and there was it's non-compliance with the thinking that door should meet doorframe at all points.


I'd also got bored of all that glass.  The old door had panes allowing a high visibility factor for doorstep callers peering in.  Front doors don't need glass.  The front door should be the portcullis to the castle.  I'm fond of castles and I'm liking the peep-hole approach.


The new door is a colonial style composite Rockdoor, in onyx black with chrome stuff on.  The vestibule is now as warm as the rest of the house, the snug fit, lack of glass.  This door is high in heat retention, guaranteed no sun-bleaching colour-loss, even in a south-facing location.


I love it. 

    only picture I could find of the original Starry Towers front doorthe new doorinside    
    8th April 2012    
    The Starry Towers Side Door Becomes A Window Project...work continued on the 5th, while I was at work.  As I'd already left by the time they arrived at 0830 The Boy was exceptionally obliging and got out of bed.  Though he went right back to his bed after he let them in, but all credit to him, he did what was required.  Prior to me going off to work I did do a little summit that would ensure The Boy met his obligations...next to his sleeping head I placed a house-phone, an alarm clock set for 0820 and the door bell thingy.  I phoned him at 0820 and at 0840, he answered my second call and the men-at-work were already men-at-work.  I suspect the door bell thingy would be the thing that got him.

I came home to the window in situ with the proper interior wooden picture window frame I'd requested.  The workie guy tells us this is his first, he usually gets ordinary plastic interior window frame requests.  Not my thing.

The Husband's inspected the work and he's as happy as me.  Him because the work is a good standard at a very fair price, me because of the same reasons, and cos the Starry Towers project has started, for real, this is it, I'm so very happy.
    the new side window from outsidenew side window from inside    
    4th April 2012    
    The Starry Towers Side Door Becomes A Window Project...work began this morning!  There's a long list of jobs to be done, starting now, with this one.  The side door, which was previously the upper apartment's only entrance door is to become a window.  A window on our internal staircase.  The man hired to do the job is a local buildings maintenance guy, he and his work mate bricked up the lower half of the door outside.

They'll be back tomorrow to take the door out, put the window in and sort the inside wall.
    the Starry Towers side door before...and after the before but not fully finished yetclose up on the brick work    
   3rd May 2011   
    Starry Towers new front door stepThe Starry Towers Front Door Step...the old original front door step was plain concrete and had got all broke to bits by the Winter 2010/11 weather.  It had already been patched up once before by The Mum and her concrete hobby, she likes a bit of cementing does The Mum.

But this Winter the damage was well serious.  The Mum's patch-up had crumbled then further cracks had led to much more step-loss.  Due to the snow causing the guttering issue there'd been a lot of water crashing down on the step...combined with prolonged freezing temperatures...inevitable.  In the end it was down right dangerous, especially in my shoes.

The Husband damaged the step further, breaking off all the compromised bits till he got down to the solid stuff, put in iron rods, cemented, did something to do with freeze-proofing then tiled with black slate.  He's done a great job.  Starry Towers has a very individual attractive slate front door step.  I'm very pleased with it, and the more I look at it the more I like it.  Water changes the colours and depth of the stone, it's interesting and beautiful.
   20th February 2011    
   The Starry Towers Guttering Project...it's been a while since Starry Towers got some work done.  S'pose that's the problem with keeping a blog, facts is facts and it's all here to confirm a year has passed since any serious DIY.

This Winter 2010/11 extreme weather brought the original 1930s cast metal guttering down in spectacular fashion, and we feel so very lucky, no one died.  Seriously, it's absolutely astounding no one was at least wheel-chaired for life or left in a coma for 6 months.  Each piece of that old guttering is approximately 15kg, and that's without the solid ice they were filled with when they came down, not to mention the added snow avalanche weight behind them when they toppled.  The Husband is extremely health and safety minded by nature, and for reasons of working on potentially fatal oil rigs, being a frequent airplane and helicopter flyer and what with the motorbike racing an' all, so when this lot came down he was adamant it wasn't going back up.  A repair job was not an option, Starry Towers required a full modern version replacement.

The Husband gave the job some consideration then ordered the new black plastic guttering and bits, hired 6 metre tall scaffolding and Did It Himself.  The trickiest bit was replacing the guttering where the scaffolding couldn't reach, on that part of the main roof that sits above The North Wing (kitchen extension at the back) single story roof.  The North Wing roof is a sloping tiled affair, it's slippy and you risk breaking slates by just standing on them.  So, the ingenious The Husband built a platform from wood, got it up on The North Wing Roof, via the upstairs bathroom window, sunk a couple of safety rings in the Starry Towers walls, clipped his safety harness onto the rings and got the job done.  He's really very good at this type of thing.
    The Husband building the scaffoldingthe guttering project well under wayThe Husband in actiona completed cornerfixing a bracket to wallstanding on The North Wingattaching a downpipe standing on The North Wing roof    
   28th January 2010    
   The Starry Towers Sofa Project...the Starry Towers sofa was purchased in 1989 if memory serves me right, I'm refusing to, can't bear to, part with my dearly beloved sofa.  At this stage I see no point in ditching it for another, for if I were to buy a new one, it would look exactly like a new one of this one.

It has been repaired in the past.  The Dad took a hammer and nails to it years ago, to mend and bolster up bits of the wooden frame which had snapped.  But recently, when I'm lying on my side watching a movie, it's feeling a bit hard under my bony hip.  Hence I'd been murmuring bout how The Fiancé could perhaps take a look and have a stab at improving the sofa situation.  Today we headed out in The Jag to find the tools and materials required. 

The Fiancé is now the proud owner of a new DIY toy, and a lethal weapon should he chose to employ it in such a manner, a Stanley TR150HL Sharp-Shooter Heavy Duty Staple Gun, and he's loving it.  I kinda love it too, though I haven't even picked it up.  It's enough for me to think about Lethal Weapon 3.  In the shop I told the assistant at the check-out...it's a Mel Gibson movie, he said, I don't know what movie your talking about, I told him YES YOU DO!  It's Mel as police man, crazy guy, he made 3 or 4 of them.  I gave him a few more reminders, he was still looking blank...but as I was walking away he called out...your right, I remember and the movie...it's Lethal Weapon 3.

Back home, The Fiancé opened the packaging and loaded the staples, I could see the devil in his eyes.  I pleaded he didn't give in to his mischievous urges, but he fired a staple in the kitchen, though I warned him it would ping all around the room.  He did it, it pinged.  I found it, as I was binning it, he picked up my can of Pepsi Max and fired a staple into that at close range.  He was beaming.  Thankfully he pulled himself together after that and put away his inner wee boy.  Off he went, armed to the teeth, and set about the sofa-job.

While we were out at Homebase we also got a foam chair-bed for £40, the blue one, though we could've got the pink, the colour didn't matter, we weren't after the 'chair' or the 'bed', we just needed the foam.  The Fiancé ripped out the two large foam pieces and sliced them each into two.  He then placed pieces of foam carefully into the three separate sections of the sofa base and stapled them down...with attitude.  What a difference, The Starry Towers Sofa is all plumped up and solid.  Where before, it was all sinking and hard, it's all sturdy and comfortable.  The Fiancé can add upholstery to his long list of skills.
     sofa dismantledsofa section dismantled    
  27th January 2010    
   Winter weather structural damage error...seems what we thought was winter damage to Starry Towers isn't new damage after all.  I can't fathom how we never saw it before, we did spend a lot of time looking up at the building from all angles when it was having the paint job.  But thanks to the paint job I have photographic evidence that the 'damage' was there prior to the painting and therefore, also prior to the winter weather.  The first picture shows the piece of concrete under the guttering as it is today, and the second picture taken just before the paint job started on 16th September 2009.

Today the surveyor went up a ladder, took photographs and pointed out that the painter had actually painted under and into the cracks.  On the good side, the surveyor says it's solid and his assessment didn't cost us anything.  I just can't believe we hadn't noticed it before.
     winter damage?no    
  19th January 2010    
 Winter weather structural damage...the snow has budged now and here at Starry Towers we've took stock of the after-effects.  Starry Towers has suffered major structural damage this winter.  I've lived at Starry Towers since January 1990, prior to Winter 09/10, no major structural damage.  This winter must've been the worst weather since for ages and ages.  Starry Towers has suffered weather damage, and it's not the only house on Main Street to be licking it's winter wounds.  There's buildings with guttering being held on with string, another has guttering propped up with a wooden pole, and others with missing guttering.  Up in Braehead The Parent's old cottage had copious amounts of melt-water entering their kitchen via the area above the window.  Here at Starry Towers the same thing happened in the kitchen extension, but only for a short while one evening.  I'm sure all over the country there are insurance claims zooming in after the extra punishing snowfall and deep-freeze conditions we've had these last few weeks in the UK.

Our issue with major structural damage is a slab of cement looking stuff at the gable-end of Starry Towers, just below the guttering.  From the ground it looks like an accident waiting to happen.  It looks like an approximately one metre long section has been dislodged from the main structure of the  building, and it's either going to sit there for years or it's going to fall off.  We aren't going up to look closer, imagine being up there on a big long ladder having a poke around, the 'bit' falls off...head injury followed by fall off ladder, followed by more injuries, maybe even...your dead.  We're also running past as we go round the side of the building, a sensible precaution.

While we were up The Centre we nipped into The Dunfermline to enquire re our Buildings Insurance, armed with a copy of The Brochure I phoned them when we got back home.  Ben took the details and we await their people getting back to our people within the next 24 hours.

     weather damage    
  7th January 2010    
   Still Snowy D...the snow ain't budging    
   front gardenicicles at bedroom windowicicles bedroom window    
  3rd January 2010    
   Snowy D...this has been a great winter for the snow, we've had about three weeks of the white stuff now.    
   loads of snowuber icicleThe Jag in the snowStarry Towers in the snowsnowy Main StreetMain Streetdifficult bit of icedifficult bit of ice gone
paths clearsnowy back garden
   23rd September 2009    
   The Outside Paint Job Day 7...All done.  I'm free!  The Fiancé says Martin's to leave the chim-chiminee as he may cause further damage to some precarious slates round the base.  The Fiancé will see to that area later.  He's done a good job, charged much less than most would and we're all happy with the outcome, a shiny bright Starry Towers.    
   22nd September 2009    
   The Outside Paint Job Day 6...Martin here bright and early, weather a bit dodgy, raining on and off, but Martin trooped on like a wet, dry, wet, dry trooper.  He's painting the walls of the Starry Towers neighbours, the far side and back, but as you can see in the first photo the entire Starry Towers and the front of the neighbours has had it's two coats.  He has done some of the guttering on Starry Towers too.  It's all looking very good, apart from that chim-chiminee.  I broached the subject with Martin today, told him three different people have said he'd missed a bit.  He agreed it does look out of place, but says The Fiancé told him to leave the chimney due to some repair being required, and he doesn't have ladders that would take him to the chimney.  I think I did hear The Fiancé say something about the roof slates, maybe it is the case, I'll run it by The Fiancé later (he's still in Dutch Land).     
   Starry Towers Day 6Starry Towers guttering    
   21st September 2009    
   The Outside Paint Job Day 5...I was up at 8.50 to give Martin access.  He was here and away again before I looked out.  Was drying my hair when The Boy answered the door then called upstairs Martin was finished for the day cos it's raining.  He's got the back and side guttering done, and there's bits of dry paint flakes off his dust sheets all over the paving I brushed clean yesterday.  No photos today, it's just a bit of guttering painted black and it's raining, don't want to get water in my Canon G10.    
   20th September 2009    
   The Outside Paint Job Day off...I brushed up the monoblock areas so any paint spots would be more evident.  There's paint marks on the paving.  Of course I'm perturbed bout this and need to find out the best way to remove these.  I'll ask Martin tomorrow, though I don't think he'll have the answer, when I mentioned it previously he said just leave them, when they're dry they'll just lift off, they don't.  Many of them are smears, smears don't lift or brush off, silly Martin.    
   Three people so far, The Fiancé (in email from Dutch Land), The Dad and The Neighbour Across Road Guy (NARG), have remarked bout the chimney not being painted.  Martin hasn't indicated his plans for the chimney so far, so I'll have to mention it to him tomorrow.  As NARG said, the chimney does look a bit sad being left out.  NARG came over to tell me how great Starry Towers is looking, which was sweet of him, Starry Towers - apart from the chimney that is.  Is Martin going to risk his life up a ladder then up another ladder?  Watch this space.    
   19th September 2009    
   The Outside Paint Job Day 4...the work goes on.  It's a rainy day though and he only did 3 hours.    
   Starry Towers day 4    
   18th September 2009    
   The Outside Paint Job Day 3...wall painting finished at Starry Towers, just the guttering to do, and Martin moved onto the neighbours.  He may have moved on, but I feel he's still with me, because he is.  His stuff is all over Starry Towers, his paint spraying machine gadget is still burning Starry Towers electricity and the cable of said machine is still snaking it's way from the Starry Towers back door, I can't lock up, I can't leave the house and I have to get up early every day.  Well obviously this doesn't suit me, not at all.  I've been glued to the house for three days, if he thinks I'm going to happily be glued for the next 2 or 3...Miss-Take.  I went round to talk bout it and he suggests I charge the neighbours an extra £10 to pay for my electricity, that went down like a led balloon, next suggestion, he could bring the extension cable and take my electricity through a window so I can lock the door and go out all I want.  Thanks for that Martin.  Starry Towers has a list of security rules as long as the new tallest man in the world's arm, leaving windows open is on it and non-surprisingly, isn't permitted.  With The Mum and Second Cousin Diane's assistance I discovered that next door downstairs neighbour is away on holiday with the owner of the flat.  Being ingenious, there should be a way round this, the owner owns a 24/7 business in the village, so a member of staff from there could come round and give access to the property, saving me from having to rise early and stay in all day.  But the staff there weren't very helpful, I give up.  I've come up with the idea of popping his cable through the letterbox, which means I can lock up the house, but I'll still have to get up early Saturday and Monday to open the gates and shed, and with the gates and shed open I can't go anywhere anyway.  Well, at least I'll be able to lock up to go upstairs for periods of longer than 2 minutes, yay...I'll be able to get the ironing done.    
   He's missed a bit.  I pointed it out, as you do, he fixed it.    
   17th September 2009    
   The Outside Paint Job Day 2...Martin arrived back and got on with the job, working on again till past 7pm.  I know it's a racist cliché that eastern Europeans are either extremely diligent hard workers with good manners or low-life crooks who'd prostitute their own mothers, but I'm getting the idea that Martin's a hard working type.  By end of Day 2 the back and side have two coats and the front it's first coat.  As Martin says, "it's beautiful, like a new house".     
   I'm getting really bored with The Outside Paint Job, nothing against Martin, absolutely not, it's just such a tediously long and restricting job.  Restricting for me, I'm stuck at base camp, and what with The Fiancé being away at work, I'm the only person available to give Martin access to electricity to power his paint sprayer machine thingy, The Boy's at school all day long, I'm on my own, and getting a wee bit bored.  Even just going upstairs to do the ironing, the downstairs doors need locking in case some opportunist thief walks in and robs us, so I really feel confined to the ground floor while doors stand open.  Another issue, and again this isn't personal, but Martin is effectively a stranger to me, so I can't go far.  My instincts tell me he's totally trustworthy, I'm sure he is, but you just can't take these things for granted.  Also, the side gates and the shed have to remain unlocked, we never leave home in those circumstances.  And Martin has to ask me questions every now and then, what to do with different items attached to the walls, the answer is either remove it and paint the wall below, or that has to stay, paint round it.    
   An even bigger issue is the back door has to remain slightly open to allow the paint spray gadget to be plugged into the national grid, that combined with the fact that Martin makes use of toileting facilities, quite often actually, means I can't even nip to the shop or go upstairs for longer than 2 minutes.  Once The Boy gets home from school he minds the lower floor to allow me to nip to the shop.    
   I think we've got just one more day together, tomorrow will be second coat for the front and hopefully the guttering will be all done too.  Martin will move onto the other half of the building, and I won't be supplying the electricity for that.  One wee problem I'm foreseeing may become an issue for Martin is national grid access when he moves on.  The girl upstairs works Monday to Friday, so she's a no-show, the lady downstairs hasn't been seen since Martin started spraying.  Hmmmm, it shouldn't be my problem, it shouldn't be up to me to pay for the electricity to paint the neighbours walls and if I have to stay indoors for another three days so the neighbours can get painted, that's just not a happening deal.  We've been the movers and shakers on this one, we negotiated, organised, arranged, are sorting out the bill payment, ensuring Martin is paid and I'm the only contact point Martin has on the job so far.  But I'm damned if I'll wander around the ground floor aimlessly for another 3 days so that the neighbours get painted and Martin gets electricity, I like him well enough, but I don't like him that much.  The neighbours should be grateful that we took the organisation out of their hands, it's getting done and all they need to do is pay for their fair share, a quarter each, and we pay the other half.    
   I've noticed Martin ran into a few logistics problems.  I mean, good worker he is and thorough job he's doing, and price wise it's very good, but he has raised some of his 'issues' with me, I respond by acting like a wall to bounce his thoughts off, a caring concerned wall, I nod, I quietly tut, I grimace, I mime compassion and sympathy as required, I think I even managed the appearance of empathy on a few occasions.  The one thing I do not do is contribute in any intelligent, problem-solving, meaningful way to the conversation.  I do not suggest any bright ideas.  He's the person providing the service for which we are paying and have already agreed the terms, I'm not about to get all Mother Theresa on him.    
   From the evening prior to Day 1, when he came over and announced his long term weather forecast and how, at short notice, he'd arranged with another client to delay their interior job to take advantage of weather and do our exterior job first, the obtaining of paint seems to have been a problem.  We weren't expecting him for another couple of weeks.  When he came over that evening he asked for The Fiancé, when I told him The Fiancé was away at work, he briefly mimed 'huge disappointment' then asked me when I was expecting The Fiancé home, when I told him 2 weeks, he asked me what The Fiancé had told me of their agreement on the buying the paint, had The Fiancé agreed to give him money up front to buy the paint?  I was on the case, I told him no, The Fiancé had told me they'd agreed we wouldn't pay a penny till the job was done, which is a common enough arrangement between vendors and customers.    
   He then told me he usually gets his paint from Keyline Builders Merchants.  Stands to reason that's going to be a bit cheaper than Homebase or Focus.  He tells me the paint has to be ordered at Keyline, and at this change of weather conditions/his plans and short notice, Keyline can't provide till Monday.  So both days he's been here he's told me how he had to find paint before he came to Starry Towers, how he had to travel to many different West Lothian DIY stores, how expensive the paint was, all this shaking of his head and his downcast eyes.  Marcel Marceau could've taken lessons.  I let him bounce his disgruntled ball off my listening and faux-bothered wall.    
   I have to regard Martin as a business man...and I will...we are purchasing his service, he shouldn't bring his problems to me, just bloody paint Starry Towers and leave me alone, that's what we're paying for.    
   I will continue to attempt to discuss all the relevant information with the absent downstairs neighbour and I will do my utmost to ensure that Martin has access to power from a neighbour, and I will definitely pay him the full amount on completion of the job, but it's all becoming a bit tiring, I want to be free of Martin and Outside Paint Job restrictions.  When Martin moves onto the other half, which I'm guessing, I'm going to either go out or stay in bed and refuse to answer the door.  Is that so bad?  Then sue me.    
   16th September 2009    
   The Outside Paint Job Day 1...The Painter Man, or Martin as his friends and family call him, arrived after tracking down a supplier who could provide the paint today at a decent price, turned out to be Focus in Bathgate.  'Before' pictures obtained as Martin set up his equipment.  He started with a spot of careful painting by hand around the back door area, then the spray machine came out, that covers the ground fast.  He reckons he'll be here till the end of next week.  First coat applied to the back and side so far.  We've discussed the details and the down-pipes will be same colour as the house, while the guttering will be black.  Also the long awaited Titan coal bunker finally arrived at Starry Towers.    
   Starry Towers before paint jobStarry Towers before paint jobStarry Towers before paint jobStarry Towers paint job startsStarry Towers paint job day 1Starry Towers paint job Day 1Starry Towers end Day 1 paint jobStarry Towers Titan 600kg coal bunker    
   15th September 2009    
   The lawn...look at those curves.  That precise edging, the perfect soil, neat, spot on, just right, very very nice.  The new grass at the edges next to the paving is growing like an extremely fast growing thing.  I think I'll spread the remaining grass seed over the rest of the lawn tomorrow, may as well use the seed and give the lawn a freshen up.  I think the Outside Paint Job will start tomorrow.    
   Starry new grass edging    
   Starry Towers lawnStarry Towers lawn    
   10th September 2009    
   The Outside Paint Job...starts in a couple weeks, watch this space.  Today The Fiancé got into a rather fetching safety harness and mended small holes in the Starry Towers roughcast in preparation for the paint.    
   Starry Towers The Fiance in safety harnessStarry Towers The Fiance on the roof    
    9th September 2009    
   The Garden...took hours of work, but the front garden has had all it's soil sorted and improved by hand, my hands.  The grass seeds I sewed at the back are growing well too.  The 2nd photograph shows that biggish patch after I planted the seeds, then the 6th picture shows it with the grass growing nicely...that bit nearest the camera.  I also filled the gaps all round the paving edges.  There's a couple pictures of Zeus and Erik, the Starry Towers rowan trees.    
   Starry Towers front garden all lovelyStarry Towers grass seed sewnStarry Towers rowan treesStarry Towers rowan trees on patio 2Starry Towers front garden sortedStarry Towers back garden grass growing nicelyStarry Towers seeds starting to growgrass grown by Star    
   28th August 2009    
   The Garden...progressing nicely, very very nicely.  Lots of hard work from me, with The Fiancé keeping me company, which is good of him (she says sarcastically), no I'm joking, it's best this way, he knows nothing of gardening, but helps with the heavy lifting, perfect.  And it is nice to have the company while I create my garden dream.  Pots have been sorted out in the back garden, and each placed in exactly the right spot.  Out front I got all the new plants put out, it's shaping up very nicely.  It needs more flowers, but it'll be early next year before I get the roses, and I'll pick up other stuff when I see things I like.  I'm definitely keeping it to the red, blue and purple colour scheme.  I'm especially pleased with The Starry Towers Dianthus Rock Corner, placed the 6 Dianthus around The Starry Towers Rock.  That rock's been with me for years, I single-handedly dug it out of the front garden way back in the mists of time, which basically means, so long ago I can't remember how long ago.  So it's got sentimental value and it stays as a land mark, looks really good surrounded with the Dianthus, will be a small pink corner in a sea of red, blue and purple.  The new bit of front garden's shaping up so well it's going to make the old bit of front garden pale into the shade, I've decided to get started on upgrading that side in the near future.    
   The back garden's looking really good with just a little bit more to do, more of pots and deciding on where they will go.    
   Starry Towers patio 3 with furniture and potsStarry Towers patio 3 with pots and furnitureStarry Towers front garden starting to fill upStarry Towers front garden not finished yetStarry Towers Dianthus Rock Corner    
   25th August 2009    
   The Garden...sudden summer weather surprised us here at Starry Towers in Sunny D and I jumped at the opportunity to get some gardening done these last two days.  I've been sewing grass seed.  Our lawn, which is out in the back garden, between Patio 2 (the patio at the back door/French doors) and Patio 3 (the patio area with the new Starry Towers garden furniture) needed brought up to meet the paving, by an inch or two, or three or four, here and there.  So I've been sieving soil by hand from the overloaded front new bit where the workies dumped a load of top-soil, and filling in the gaps, sewing grass seed then pressing them down without the aid of a proper garden roller thingy.  There was also the small area that previously contained Crocosmia Lucifer, which has a beautiful red flower reminiscent of Satan's tongue as I imagine Satan's tongue to be, if he existed, but it was getting outrageous, and too much work.  I dug them out before The Starry Towers Garden Job commenced and appreciated the Crocosmia-free visual space.  So I spent a while ridding that area of stones and laid down grass seed there too.

I got the three new planters filled, with the wall-climbing cuttings I took before I killed off the wall-climbing plants in preparation for The Garden Job.  It near broke my heart to rip them plants off the east wall, but it had to be done to let the workies get the paving job done.  Every cutting took root, so I was spoiled for choice filling the planters. 

The plants put in pots from the front garden and taken up to The Parents are back, so I've started preparing the new bit of front garden ready to plant them out again.  I reckon I'll need a few new rose bushes, they will be red and purple, and I bought new red and purple tulip bulbs.  It's a load of work, and I only got half it done today.

You can see the lovely Starry Towers garden furniture on Patio 3 in the pics below.  I haven't finished sorting the plants, herbs and trees in pots for the patio areas yet so some of them are lying around on the grass, they won't be staying there.  I got a few new pots the other day, and a few of my best big pots will be empty and ready for use, when I get stuff moved into the front bit again.

The hedge at the front of the garden is to be extended along to the start of the paved drive area.  I took cuttings of the big shrubs that got binned from the front garden during The Garden Job, and bout 9 of the 12 are still green and fresh, I can only assume they've rooted, are alive and well and hankering after a bigger space to thrive and grow huge.  I'll give some of them that opportunity, but can't accommodate them all, and can't bring myself to kill any of them either, got my thinking cap on bout them, maybe give them to friends in need of hedging, or pot them, not sure yet.  Maybe The Parents would want some.  The three large Holly bushes that are at present in pots, returned from The Parents, they seem to have thrived while on their jolly holidays.  All berries and fresh lightest green new leaf growth and the older leafs are darker, deeper, richer, glossier, shinier.  I think the difference was being away from under the more dominant larger shrubs they used to live beside.  I'm not sure yet what to do with them, leave them as potted-up statement plants or put them in the new front bit.  If I put them in the new front bit I won't be using them as hedging, having learnt that they don't like being in the shade next to them more aggressive hedging shrubs, so if they go out front, they'll be given their own space.  I'll have to research how big a Holly grows, don't want them turning into full-size trees.

The victims of all this are my hydrangeas, three of them from the front garden went into giant pots and up to The Parents, but The Mum has noted they've become a bit too woody and flower-sparse, which, cough cough, may just, maybe, might have been, could've perhaps been my own fault, I just knew I was a bit too secateurs happy last year.  I think I over-pruned.  I've given permission to bin them, so they didn't return from The Parents.  Luckily I've got maybe 5 or 6 cuttings from them that have come on well in the last year, I'll move the babies into the front.  They will live on in remembrance of the parent plants that have received The Mum Death Sentence.
   Starry Towers grass seedStarry Towers back garden in progressStarry Towers garden furnitureStarry Towers planter 1Starry Towers planter 2Starry Towers planter 3Starry Towers front garden in progress    
   14th August 2009    
   The Garden Job Day 7...job done.  Next the side door needs taken out and replaced with a big window.  Watch this space.    
   13th August 2009    
   The Garden Job Day 6...dusty out there, shut all Starry Towers doors and windows.  They're also working on the steps on the patio at the back door/French doors and finishing off edges.    
   Starry Towers Day 6 dustStarry Towers back patio steps Day 6Starry Towers front patio Day 6Starry Towers back Day 6    
   12th August 2009    
   The Garden Job Day 5...when I looked out this morning, wow, it's like someone had rolled out a big brick patterned carpet from the pavement right up the side of the house.  The work continued through rain and shine, but mostly rain.  By end of play they'd got loads done.    
   Starry Towers side Day 5Starry Towers end Day 5 sideStarry Towers end Day 5 front patioStarry Towers end Day 5 frontStarry Towers back Day 5Starry Towers back Day 5Starry Towers Day 5 driveStarry Towers end Day 5 back    
   11th August 2009    
   The Garden Job Day 4...not a lot new to report on today, other than a lot of Starry Towers Red Sand on top of The Starry Towers Rocks.    
   Starry Towers side at start Day 4Starry Towers back at start Day 4Starry Towers side end Day 4Starry Towers back at end Day 4    
   10th August 2009    
   The Garden Job Day 3...Men Back At Work.  Mostly rainy today, but the troops were trooping, like erm, wet troopers.  The Starry Towers Rocks, whatever they're really called, were scooped and barrowed to all the necessary areas before being squashed down firm by a boy with a Bomag BP 8/34 plate compactor, oh yes, I know my gadgets, as more edging paving stones were put in place.  I got a look at the colour choice.  Racing past the reds/browns, I went predictably for the darkest available.  The Boss had advised the general rule is people pick a colour to match their roof.  Luckily The Starry Towers Roof is slate, so the darkest grey stones will not only be aesthetically pleasing to me, but also to the general public.  The first block picture shows the blocks wet, I've brought a couple in to the cosy Starry Towers Kitchen, when they dry I'll put up another picture.    
   That second block pic is the now dry blocks.  End of play, the suns out and looks like they've got all the Starry Towers Rocks in situ and pressed down with that Bomag.    
   Starry Towers back garden Day 3Starry Towers front path Day 3Starry Towers Day 3 sideStarry Towers front Day 3Starry Towers front patio Day 3 and that BomagStarry Towers side Day 3Starry Towers back patio Day 3Starry Towers side door-step gone
Starry Towers paving stonesStarry Towers Paving Stones dry
   8th August 2009    
   The Garden Job Day Off...and only one thing happened.  A man delivered two lorry loads of small rocks and dumped them out front.  Starry Towers Rocks.  Bin day on Monday, wondering how to get the blue and brown bins from the grass area in the back garden, over the edging stones, down the big drop, round the side of the house and over a mountain of Starry Towers Rocks...I'm thinking the bins will have to stay full till next bin day.    
   Starry Towers rocks Day 3    
   7th August 2009    
   The Garden Job Day 2...and the guys were hard at it for a few hours before I emerged from The Starry Towers Boudoir.  Not much to see today after the dramatic differences of yesterday, and a quiet day cos there wasn't so much breaking things going on.  There was more digging, a lot of the edging stones have been cemented in place in the back garden, and the front tarmac has been dug out. The Boy left to go to the PO announcing there was another challenge for him, heap of dirt where there used to be a drive, but there's a path of sorts up the middle.  Got a look at The Starry Towers drainage system, wonder if there's a smell.    
   6th August 2009    
   The Garden Job  Day 1...Work begins at 07.15, well nearly.  The machines arrived, I could hear them from my bed.  They disappeared, then returned.  I spoke to The Boss at 09.30, he explaining they'd be bout 90 mins finishing off a job at Linlithgow.  I enquired if they'd be comfortable with me taking photos, but that I wouldn't show their faces, The Boss said no probs with that and I could show their faces.  Work started for real at 11.00, first I knew was thundering noise as the side staircase started being demolished.  Teenager snoozes on oblivious.     
    Starry Towers stairs goingStarry Towers stairs almost goneStarry Towers tehre's still a bucket in my hole and a load of rubble nearbyStarry Towers the equipment arrives    
   I had to go down to Broxburn in the afternoon, I returned to find work moving along at cracking pace.  Men out front filling a lorry load, The Boss says will probably be another 4 of them lorry loads to go.  I zoomed through the house, thinking to go out the back door and up the side to take a pic from that angle, nearly broke a leg, the back patio is gone, they've been busy.    
   Starry TowersStarry Towers accident nearly happenedStarry Towers patio gone    
   Near the end of the working day The Boy was asking will they leave the digger?  Then asked, will they leave the keys?  Yep on the digger, definitely no on the keys.  He's a trier.  End of Day 1 and the guys have gone home, they worked like troopers all day long, was non-stop apart from dinner break.    
   Starry Towers end of Day 1 sideStarry Towers not the usual view from the back doorStarry Towers vehicles parked out backStarry Towers back door step goneStarry Towers end of Day 1 from pavementStarry Towers Garden Job end of Day 1Starry Towers my other car's a diggerStarry Towers side door gone Starry Towers The Boy demonstrates he's interested in driving    
   Mr Bridger: Does he really NEED all this equipment?
'Camp' Freddie: He SAYS he does...
   4th August 2009    
   Here at Starry Towers the paving work starts Thursday, 6th August.  The garden has been slowly demolished as required in preparation.    
   The old shed went to Gorgeous Biker Chick up near Aberdoom.  She'd got her eye on it on a recent visit, and The Fiancé being the gent he is, when he was on his way to Aberdoom Airport to go to work, he took the van and dropped the shed off at The GBC Farm.  The extra space freed up by disposing of the old shed makes quite a remarkable difference, the now shed-empty slabbed area shown in the fourth picture will be monoblocked, by far a more attractive option and providing a patio area for summertime BBQs, seating and table.  That new patio will be referred to as Patio 3 once it's gorgeous.  Come afternoon and evening the sun is on that part of the Starry Towers estate.  Cleared of the many pots usually in situ to disguise it's very ugly concreteness, the old patio really shows itself up as a monstrosity of ancient broken cracked and flaky nastiness, as seen in picture 5.  It'll soon be gone, along with the useful but painful to view, old coal bunker.  Forever after that patio area will be known as Patio 2.

The tarmac side path, shown in the second photo is an accident waiting to happen, I'm only surprised that no one broke a leg walking up there, it's uneven and more and more of the edge breaks away with each passing frosty winter, even the moss takes it's toll helping to weaken it as time passes.
   Starry Towers front garden strip strippedStarry Towers side areaStarry Towers avec shedStarry Towers sans shedStarry Towers ugly old patioStarry Towers front garden ready for rejuvination    
   The front garden is all ready, the empty space by the now bare far wall (photo 1) was previously full of flowers, and a holly shrub has gone from that space marked by a white bucket in the last picture above.  The bucket placed there by The Dad to prevent unsuspecting postmen etc from falling down and suing, inspires me to sing 'There's a bucket in my hole' every time I see it.  In the background of the last picture you can just make out The Jag in the neighbour's drive across the street.    
   It's not all grey and barren today at Starry Towers.    
   hanging gardens Starry TowersMichaelmas Daisy orangeMichaelmas Daisies popular with hover flies    
   24th June 2009    
   The work starts on the garden at the end of July/beginning of August.  The side stairs will be removed and there'll be a load of paving, paths, drive and three patio areas.    
   old garden Starry Towers new garden Starry Towers    
   Old Garden                                                  New Garden    
   9th June 2009    
  mA while back The Boy and I lived in a rather gorgeous ground floor apartment in Sunny D.  My home was DIY'd by me and The Parents...till it had become a wonderful Totally Starry space.  All laminate flooring, stripped of wallpaper (including that horrible lumpy 3-D anaglypta stuff), some walls had to be de-artexed, leaving all smooth flat painted walls, skimmed and sanded by me, new pine interior doors, skirting etc, all chrome light switches, pine, glass, chrome and leather furniture.  Real working fireplace, gas central heating, double glazed throughout, patio doors to main bedroom, front and back doors and gardens, new IKEA kitchen, gorgeous loo/shower room, all large white tiles and chrome,  designed by me.  Was very nice. m  
   It looked much like this...    
   Starry Towers before it became Starry TowersStarry Towers the old back gardenStarry Towers kitchenStarry Towers sitting roomStarry Towers Star's bedroom in the old daysStarry Towers The Boy's old bedroom    
   Then The Fiancé came along, my place was quickly too small for the three of us, but I didn't want to move.  I wanted to stay in Sunny D, our lives are here, The Boy is settled here, I love my garden and the apartment, it's mine, I'd made it this way.  But, on the other hand, I knew we needed a bigger place.  In dream land the perfect solution would be if the guy who lived above us would sell us his apartment and move out.  But what were the chances of that happening in a timely fashion?  Surely we hoped for too much?

But that's exactly what happened.  Just a matter of 2 or 3 weeks after we initially approached him and ignited the spark of a potential idea, if you're ever considering selling up we'd appreciate if you gave us the chance to make you an offer.  That's the way it played out.

We're very happily living in the big two storey Starry Towers now, and in the process of converting the two apartments into one house.

There's been a few changes so far, currently Starry Towers is a work in progress.  I can envisage the future Starry Towers, I know exactly how it will be and I'll update this page with the conversion as it happens.

The first floor is all wallpaper, old painted wood, brass light switches and carpets, and a slightly different layout to our ground floor.  The ground floor has a more modern extension on the back which gives it a larger kitchen, more cupboards and hallway and a back door, and the loo's been moved, upstairs is a small galley kitchen off the living room.

Soon as the upper floor was ours, The Fiancé knocked a huge hole in a wall.  He constructed a temporary staircase to give easy access to the upper floor, drilled out some concrete steps, then with The Dad's help constructed some more concrete steps.
   Starry Towers upstairs stairs beforeStarry Towers the beginningStarry Towers the beginningStarry Towers temporary stairsStarry Towers The Fiance drilling stairsStarry Towers The Dad making stairsStarry Towers concrete stairs    
   The next thing The Fiancé did was build The Bike Shed on the bit of back garden land we gained with the upper flat.    
   Starry Towers the new bit back garden before The Bike ShedStarry Towers The Bike Shed stage 1Starry Towers The Bike Shed stage 2Starry Towers The Bike Shed stage 3Starry Towers The Bike Shed stage 4    
   Crashes a big hole in a wall, then builds a shed...arghhhhh!...man at work, and I lurve it.

To keep me happy the next job was ripping out the upstairs kitchen and installing my wardrobe units in my new walk-in wardrobe.  The wardrobe room still has a load to do to it, plastering, new lighting,  painting, it needs the perfect full length mirror and a set of black glass drawers I've got my eye on, but it's usable and keeps all my stuff in one place.  There's a working freezer in there too, which is handy for the extra freezer capacity but it can't stay there for ever.  No space in Starry's walk-in glamour room for anything as necessary as a freezer.
   Starry Towers upstairs kitchenStarry Towers walk in wardrobe startedStarry Towers walk in wardrobe unitStarry Towers walk in wardrobe interiorStarry Towers walk in wardrobe fridge    
   There's a few major works to be done before we can get down to painting and putting my black glass chandelier up in the bedroom.  The gas central heating  is to be made into one instead of two separate supplies, same goes for the electricity.  We'll need a new bigger boiler to cope with that.  The upstairs bathroom is to be redesigned and refitted to match the downstairs one.  I want all the wallpaper gone, the walls made smooth, skirting boards and doors renewed in pine, the carpets are for the bin, to be replaced by laminate flooring and rugs.  And I think the upstairs fire has to go, to be replaced by a massive wall mounted flat TV.    
   The first thing that will be done is the garden.  There's external stairs at the side of the building that have to go and the side door is being replaced with a window.  Once the side stairs are gone we're having the entire garden, front, side and back redesigned with a load of monoblock.  There will still be a piece of lawn at the back and areas where I'll have my flowers.  There'll be three patio areas, one at the back door/patio doors area, a BBQ patio area in the back garden and a patio at the front door along under the living-room window, cos in the summer that's a real suntrap, when the front garden is properly walled off it will be private enough to have garden furniture there for relaxing on.  I've been led to believe the stairs/window/monoblocking is going to happen in the very near future.    
   Starry Towers outside stepsStarry Towers outside steps and side door    
mmmm mm  mm mmmm
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