Saturday, 15 January 2011

AV Unit

Some of us hate New Year's Eve & prefer to spend it at home. There's always the question of entertainment though & how to spend the evening. I mean, do you cook a nice meal, watch a movie, invite friends over? The choices are almost endless.

This year I opted for the option of assembling a new 'AV Unit' (which seems to be the industry term for something that you stand your TV on). Considering the amount of money this cost, I was a bit annoyed that I had to build it myself, but I guess that's just the way that the world works these days. Unless you want to spend a couple of month's pay on something, furniture comes in boxes.

Here's the set up before I started. My TV was on top of two record cubes, with the xbox in the middle. It did the job, although (as you can see) it looked slightly untidy. So I wanted something new to make the room seem less of a mess.

The first task was to empty the box, then try to assemble the bits into some kind of order:

The second task was to then assemble the screws and bolts in order to then check that the right number of bits were present. I'm organised like that, you see.

I then just got on with following the instructions and putting the the thing together. As you can see, the instructions estimated a 1-2 hour build time:

There was one major error I made - I managed to put the shelf in the wrong way up, which meant that I then could not put the doors on. So after getting to a point where it was 80% complete, I then had to take it to pieces again. In total, with rest/boredom breaks and having to go back and do bits that I had missed because the instructions were a bit crap, I reckon it took me abut 4 hours. So only two to four times the estimated time.

Once built came the fun part - transferring the bits from their previous location on the record cubes in & on to the new unit.

The best feature though is that all the unsightly mess, including most of the cables, is now contained within the unit, giving the room a much tidier appearance overall.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Heater & Blind

As usual I'm playing catch up with this thing. Here's an update I should have posted months ago...

As a reminder, here's the living room when I bought the place. This is the 'before' shot:

Today's update concerns the replacement of two if the items in the picture - the heater and the curtains.

One of the first things I did back at the end of July was to get some dude to come round and measure my French Doors for blinds, because I figured it would look tidier (and better) than curtains. So at some point in August the dude came back & fitted the blind.

Definitely looks better and I am happy with it.

The second thing I wanted to change was the heater. As you can see in the first picture above, the old heater was big, a creamy off white colour, and looked very dated. So I had it ripped out immediately and I took it to the dump. However, what I did not do was get around to buying a new heater. Well, it was August after all. It was warm and having a heater was the last thing on my mind. But then (as is quite usual) over the next few weeks the temperature started to drop, and before I knew it I was spending all my time in the spare bedroom because the living room was like a freezer. It then occurred to me that I might need a new heater.

The biggest problem I had was not being able to see any heaters before buying. As crazy as this sounds, you have to take my word for it, but it is nigh on impossible to see electric wall heaters in real life before buying one. If you have gas powered heating, you can go to high street retail outlets (B&Q, Homebase) and peruse radiators and fireplaces to your heart's content. But if you are looking for electric heaters to put on your wall, then good luck because nowhere stocks them. There are places that sell them, but they don't seem to keep any in stock. They will gladly order one in for you if you want one, but that's the whole problem - you can't order one if you haven't seen it & decided that it looks ok. You can see pictures on the internerd, but again, its hardly the same as being able to stand next to one and touch it.

After finally realising that I was never going to be able to see a heater before buying one, I just decided to buy one on the internerd. At least that way I could send it back if I didn't like it. So that's what I did. I picked one from a picture on the nerd and ordered it. The only problem was delivery. The stupid company could only deliver at times when I would be at work. By chance, on the day I called them up to make delivery arrangements was the day before I was due to take a day off work. So in the end the easiest solution was to drive ten miles to their warehouse and collect the thing. So that's what I did. The warehouse was pretty funny. Just piles of boxes everywhere without much order to it:

My car boot seemed pretty much exactly the right size:

Once home, I had to get Mr. Gas to fit the thing to the wall, which took a little longer than both of us expected due to my walls being super solid.

In the end it went on ok though, and I was (am) very happy with it. I went for a panel heater with glass front in the end. It looks way more modern and stylish than the old storage heater that I dumped and it was definitely a good choice:

This is the 'after' shot. Looks much more modern & clean than 'before', right?

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Let There Be Light!

My kitchen was depressing me. It was feeling kinda dark & uninviting. So I decided to brighten it up with a new light. Here's the old one - A paper lantern that probably cost about one space credit, with an energy efficient (aka not very bright) bulb:

I changed it for a four spot bar. Looks nicer when off, and is much brighter when on:

Such a simple change which has had a huge impact. The kitchen is now a much nicer place to be.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Door Stops

Sometimes you just have to be lavish & splurge big time. I was looking for some door stops to stop my door handles smashing into the walls. I actually went out & bought some of those springs that you screw into the skirting board. But before I fitted them I spotted these rad silver domes, and realised that they are far superior to the springs. So I took the springs things back for a refund and bought the shiny domes instead.

Even though it's been a couple of months since I bought these things, I still smile every time I see them sitting there on my floor. Cool huh?

Saturday, 27 November 2010

The Dump

After stripping out the old storage heaters, and having the wooden floor put down, I had a fair amount of crap to dispose of:

A trip to the dump was in order. So I had to then fit this pile of crap into my cart. Trying to fit it all in so that it didn't move about or obstruct my view was kinda like doing a 3d jigsaw. Not easy. But I managed just fine:

And here's the view from the driver's seat:

I then drove to the dump:

And I took great satisfaction in disposing of the awful heaters:

The only downside was that my car was then filthy, so I had to then spend time cleaning it up.

Cleaning Up & Leaving #11

Seems crazy that I let so much time pass on here. I guess this blog seemed like a cool project during the time i was moving, whereas after it felt pointless. But I think I'm going to keep it going, since transforming my new place into a better one is going to be a long-term project. But here's the end of the moving story...

In order to clean up my old apartment I had to hire a carpet cleaner. I drove about 5 miles to good old HSS Hire near Heathrow airport:

This place literally never closes. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Handy to know in case you feel the need to hire a welder generator at 4 o'clock in the morning.

Anyway, en route to the hire outlet I drove down some weird road that I had never been down before, which housed several huge hotels. But the weird thing was that some of them looked kinda like the kind of places I imagine you would find in Las Vegas or Miami. Here's a couple of examples:

Here's me using the carpet cleaning device:

And here are some shots of the empty number 11, post clean up.

I did such a good job on the clean up that I got given my full deposit back. Pretty much a world first. Mind you, I did need that money to pay for my wooden floor fitting.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

We're Back

It's been 3 months since I last updated this thing. I always intended to keep this going, but as with most things I got behind and other things came along and before I knew it months had flown by. But I'm going to start updating this thing again now. Stay tuned...