Richard and I bought our first home about a month before we got married. It was a two bed Art Deco flat with a little garden and it faced the back of shop lots. It was a bargain in 1994 for £44,000. It was perfect!
Our flat was 5 minutes walk from the underground station, 3 minutes from the bus stops and the high street. The walk from the underground station to our flat filled our tummies with the smell of food from the restaurants and takeaways en route... mmmmmm.... yumm...a very good incentive not to cook!
The flat we bought was in good condition but needed updating! It had no central heating and everything was old. It had a gas fire in the living room though. I remember as soon as we got the call to say my mum was visiting Richard turned on the gas fire to heat up the house as that was the only source of heating and my mum could not tolerate the cold.
The previous owner was an elderly person who apparently had dementia and there had been rumours of him running in the streets naked, in search of his wife who was already deceased. That made me sad but I imagined them having a good and happy life when they lived there.
Richard and I had no knowledge of doing any DIY (do it yourself) at all! We had to learn quick and it was all trial and error. Richard worked at a wallpaper company then so he learnt how to wallpaper. We had to strip the wallpaper off the walls and put new ones up quickly because the carpet was coming!!! Richard and I worked till the wee hours of the night to get things done.
We were shattered but we had to keep going
I was brave enough to tackle the walls in the kitchen. While preparing the wall to paint bits of plaster came off. I tapped it lightly. More loose plaster crumbled onto the floor... yikes! So there I went tapping, tapping, tapping. More and more bits of plaster were coming off until ultimately a brick came loose. Oops!
I remember calling Richard who was at work, telling him not to kill me because I've made a hole in the wall. Literally! He suggested I went to the DIY store to explain what happened. I did just that and got some tutoring from a very patient man about plastering so I went home and went to work! The damaged wall was in such an awkward place and angle and we didn't have the right tools for the job. I remember contorting my body to reach unreachable places! I ached like hell the next day!
My amateur handiwork! The crumbly wall on the left and my superb plastering on the right
We didn't have the funds to buy much and had to make do with hand me downs. We didn't mind. We had no taste! LOL! We received a dining table and some chairs from my sister, Angel. My brother- in-law's brother gave us two arm chairs that had been sitting in the garage for a while so had a musty smell. We just sprayed it with Febreeze! Worked wonders!
Richard worked as a removal man at the weekends and told me of a sofa we could have from a job. He asked me if I knew why the sofa was covered in plastic. Of course I didn't! He told me it was from an old folks' home! LOOOOOL! Did I care? Nope!!!
The transformation of our front room- just in case you didn't realise, the pre decoration pictures are on the left and afters are on the right
Fortunately for us there were appliances that were left behind and still in good working order. We had our heating plumbed in, carpets laid, walls papered and painted, metal windows stripped and painted, and kitchen installed. Slowly but surely our flat began to look like a home.
Richard installed the kitchen cupboards and shelving. We upcycled the blue and yellow cabinet because it came with the flat and the colours inspired the colour scheme for the kitchen
Recognise the poster on the blue door in the kitchen @branlee87?
We loved our first home but after 3 years of happy living there, we had to move on as we were expecting a baby. Our first home provided us with the foundations of doing DIY and a deposit for our second home.