Cassiefairy – My Thrifty Life

Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog – Saving money every day with DIY crafts, sewing projets, low-cost recipes & shppping tips


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My bathroom renovation project – Before + during… eek!

Today I’m sharing some snaps of my bathroom renovation project with you. It’s been a couple of weeks of hard work but we’ve made good progress and things are looking up. So I thought I’d post some photos of how the bathroom looked before we started and what we did to improve the room. I’ll be sharing a few blog posts about the bathroom makeover over the coming weeks so that you can see our progress as novice (read: never done it before in my life!) plumbers.

A sneaky peek at my choice of tiles and shower before we get into horrid bathroom photos…

So, here’s what we were starting with. The bathroom is very small and has a weird layout. The bath is where you’d expect it to be, but the sink is hung over the top of the bath. This seemed odd as there is space at the foot of the bath for a sink, but I guess the previous owners didn’t fancy tackling the plumbing involved with moving the sink into a new position. The pipework was partially boxed in, but mostly just exposed as you can see from these photos.

The toilet was a new level of sadness; the plastic cistern was badly stained and the toilet bowl leaked so all the surrounding vinyl tiles were lifting and the wooden board beneath the tiles was blown apart. We later found out that the lead pipe that takes the waste from the toilet into the drains actually had a hole in it. I know it’s gross to talk about it, but it meant that all kinds of toilet waste was seeping into the floor. Just look at those stains – no wonder there was a horrid smell in the room. Sadly, the cracked sink, rusty fittings and stained bath couldn’t be saved and we had to take the whole lot out of the room. I only say sadly because I hate to waste something that I could reuse (and save money on buying a new one) but really, I’m pleased that the gross bathroom is going. I thought that this would take a while but it turns out that removing the old bathroom was the easy part. Well, after turning off the water supply it was just a case of undoing pipes and dragging the bath down the stairs. The wall tiles, however, were a whole other challenge.

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Updating my bathroom – a much-needed DIY renovation project

Guess where I’ve spent this week? I’ve had a week off and did I spend it in the sunshine? By the sea? In a beer garden? Nope, I’ve spent it indoors, ripping out my old, dated and leaky bathroom. What else would I do with a week off than more DIY?! Yes, the house renovation project is in full swing, and now we have no bathroom. No water and, worryingly enough, no loo. Eek – time to crack on with the DIYing!With that in mind, I thought it would be a fun idea to show you what kind of look I’m going for in the bathroom. If you can imagine a spa with dark colours and clean lines, that’s the kind of style I like. I had already bought our bathroom suite in the January sale (I know, it’s taken me a while to get started on this DIY project – I’ve been putting it off for months) so I knew what type of bath I was going for.I chose the Voss range from Betta Bathrooms and managed to get the bath, loo, sink, all taps, wastes and plumbing supplies for under £300, can you believe it?! That’s precisely why I ordered it in the January sales, it was too much of a bargain to pass up. The order arrived in February but I’ve only just got the chance to take a ‘holiday’ from my writing work to get started on the renovation this week. You can imagine how excited I am to finally get to work on it.

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DIY shopping – for the first time in my life!

Plumbing, heating, bathrooms and kitchens. It’s amazing how different my internet browsing history is these days. No longer am I visiting of pet sites and shoe stores, oh no. I’ve got a whole different kind of shopping to be getting on with now that I’m planning to buy a house and it’s all very DIY-focussed. I figured it would be useful to make a list of the things I would need when we start work on our new home, and where better to do that than on my blog??

Heating

I’ve literally just discovered that there’s more than one type of boiler in the world, and now I’ve got to consider radiators and pipework too. Thank goodness for YouTube, otherwise I’d never know how the hot water flows around my bathroom! At the moment, my research is focussed on heated towel rails for the bathroom and I’ve been investigating super-stylish radiators. I’m completely fascinated with pinning photos of loft apartments with Victorian cast iron radiators – dream on, eh? Even so, I’d love to get have that kind of detail in my home in the future.

For the bathroom I specifially want a heater that can keep the bathroom cosy all the time, look really lovely and still be used to warm my towels. I love that cosy feeling when you’re wrapped in a warm towel straight out of the bath, can’t wait. Just give me a heating catalogue and I’ll be happy for hours!

Hot water

On the subject of bathrooms, I never knew that choosing plumbing supplies could be so much fun. Okay, the pipework itself might be a little bit confusing at the moment but at least I’m learning something new with all my household DIY research! The bathroom sale adverts that have been running on the TV throughout January have been luring me in and the Tile Trader website is a permanently open tab on my iPad. Yes, I’ve even found myself browsing the local branch of Wickes. That is SO not like me. But things like mixer taps and fixed shower heads are just so beautiful and sculptural that I just can’t help getting carried away. And who doesn’t want to have a rain effect shower head, eh??

Even the kitchen sink

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Household goals – keeping my home neat & organised

Starting the new year with the intention of keeping my home clean and organised has been very motivating goal for 2017 so far. A jolly good tidy-up at the start of January really helped, as did finding a home for all the lovely gifts I received over Christmas. However, I’ve found that after just a few weeks of trying to keep up with all the mess, it has become difficult to do and I often ‘forget’ about it. Then I find that even more stuff has piled up on top of the original pile. Uhoh! The trouble is that I haven’t really got round to sorting out any specific strategies or routines for organising my stuff. I can’t fight it any more. I need new storage, and that’s all there is to it. There are a whole range of different products that I could buy, systems that I can put in place and even new routines that will help me to have an organised and tidy home, yet I’ve resisted so far. But not any longer – so today I’m sharing a few ideas on how to can introduce certain things to your home to help clear the clutter!

The Kitchen

I’ve found it’s best to focus on one room at a time, as different rooms will require different processes and organising strategies. That sounds so official, doesn’t it?! The kitchen is a great room to start with, as it can often be the one room that needs the most work when it comes to getting organised. My kitchen is one of the most used rooms within the home; not just for preparing and cooking meals, but dining, socialising and even working too. One of the best ways to start a kitchen de-clutter is to give your fridge and cupboards a deep clean. Throw away any items that are past their use-by date, wipe the surfaces clean and add some kind of sorting system. Having certain cupboards for specific foods or products will make your life much easier (eg, pans in the cupboard nearest the oven), as well as making the kitchen look much neater.Recycling is another task you can incorporate into your kitchen to keep your home organised. We go through so many plastic, glass and cardboard items every week, and having a recycling system in place will help you filter through these items neatly, whilst keeping the kitchen organised too. There’s nothing worse than a build-up of glass bottle on the side, waiting for that fortnightly trip to the tip!

DIY Peg bag sewing project + carrier bag dispenser

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Plumbing problems + how to find the answers online

One of the things that worries me most about renovating a home is the plumbing. Even though we’ve fitted a DIY ‘beach hut’ style bathroom in the past, I’ve never before needed to move a bath or toilet into a new position. But with limited space in our bathroom and a very dodgy layout where the sink is halfway over the bath, it really does need rejigging!

Check out my last bathroom makeover with a coastal theme

Even though I know it’ll look great in the end, the plumbing side of things is really confusing to me. I can connect taps, seal wastes and clean out pipes, but when it comes to fitting showers and moving water supplies I have no clue! So when is it best to call in a professional? What jobs can I do myself? I don’t want to create a health and safety nightmare in my own bathroom! 

I gave my old sink a facelift with just some new taps

So I’ve been doing my research by reading blogs and watching plumbing videos on YouTube and it’s certainly been a good start to my journey from amateur to pro. Okay, I exaggerate, but at least what my research has done has cleared up what I can and can’t do myself! I read some research on DIY by Slater & Gordon Lawyers and it showed that only 5% of women would be prepared to take on plumbing projects compared with 25% of men. Now, I’m happy having a go at some plumbing but there’s no way I’m doing any soldering of copper pipes. I wouldn’t want to buy all the kit for a start, and I’m not sure I’d do it particularly well – I’m quite slapdash at the best of times! So any kind of heating or hot water work is definitely not my bag! But plumbing using plastic pipes seems to be straightforward enough and I can get an idea of how water systems run around a room. 

I’ve even replaced a bath before – with Cookie’s help, obviously!

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How to add festive decorations in every room of the house

Christmas is here again, bringing with it the dark nights, frosty mornings and frozen noses. Have you already decorated your home for Christmas? I bet your tree is up and the fairy lights are sparkling, am I right? But what about the other rooms in your home? Why not cultivate a cosy festive feeling in every room of your house? Don’t worry that Christmas is fast approaching, there’s still plenty of time! Here’s how to quickly transform every room to add a touch of winter cheer and welcome in readiness for the party season.christmas-living-roomThe Living Room

The staple of every home is the living room, the place where family come together and relax after a hard day out in the cold. This season, nothing’s more important than spending time with family and friends, sharing memories, and making plans to create new ones. Turn your living room into a cosy winter wonderland just like the photo above by Lindsay Marcella by shutting off your main light and instead adding lamps and candles to create a warm, cosy winter hue. Add a touch of character and colour with sparkling fairy lights; drape them around door frames and windows. Scatter cushions are usually reserved for the bedroom, but a host of new, mismatched cushions on the sofa can make it feel all the more snuggly. Festive scented candles are a must-have for any winter living room too.christmas-kitchen-decor

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Easy ways to add a touch of hygge to your home

It’s that time of year again. The clocks have gone back an hour to remind us that winter is almost here and Christmas is very much around the corner. For many people, this means rushing around the shops trying to find the perfect Christmas gifts, but for others it means hosting parties and get-togethers. What better way to welcome your guests this year than by giving your home a seasonal makeover, adding some much-needed warmth to the chilly months? I love the Danish concept of hygge and tips on how to achieve this everywhere this year so why not embrace the trend and cosy up? I hope the tips in this post help to get you in the festive mood, even though it is only November..!scandinavian-christmas-cosy-room

Take inspiration from Scandinavia and embrace hygge to create welcoming home

cosy-living-room-warm-home-decor-christmas-winter-hyggeThe Living Room

The trend I see in every interior design magazine and every homewares shop window these days is the Scandinavian trend. Think simple, rustic, cosy log cabins for this look; add some colour-coordinated fur throws and lavish rugs to your living area, and then swap your sleek metal and glass for some natural wood furnishings instead. This trend came about from embracing hygge, so it’s all about comfort and creating that tranquil, relaxed atmosphere that people crave from a holiday in the Alps this time of year. Hygge is about appreciating the good things in life with great company, in a warm and relaxed environment. Get the ambience right in your home and any guests who enter will never want to leave!festive bathroom touches accessories towels-5 festive bathroom touches accessories towels-10

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Guest Post – 6 basic tips for designing your bathroom

Is it your first time designing a full-on renovation for your bathroom? It’s easy to get bewildered by the many design combinations that you can choose for your bathroom. Here are some professional design pointers that can serve as guidelines to help make your bathroom renovation project less overwhelming (and help you stick to a budget too!).DIY fitting new taps to makeover a bathroom sink-2using recycled wood from a skip to make a beach hut bathroom floor and storage-11

  1. Get an estimate on how much you’re willing to invest for revamping

Coming up with the overall theme and arrangement for your bathroom may seem difficult due with so many options to choose from, but this is actually the easiest part. Planning the budget is far more time-consuming and complicated, as it will determine which design options you can actually afford! This is why you must be honest to yourself on how much money you want to invest for the renovation. Monetary groundwork will also help you easily adjust on purchasing certain parts for the bathroom, for example – if you make savings on a shower unit by buying at a discount online, you can add this surplus money to your budget for the bath.

  1. Keep vintage finishes if possible

Old or ancestral houses have floor tiles made of coats and slabs of concrete that are very difficult to extract. If you really want to remove these tiles then you need to spend more cash. However, if the tiles are not badly damaged and still look great then you might consider not taking them out. You could just use the money and effort in improving the other parts of the bathroom. Continue reading “Guest Post – 6 basic tips for designing your bathroom” »


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Bathroom design mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Refitting or redesigning your bathroom can be quite an exciting process and is something that can add a great deal of value to your property. However, bathroom fitting and design mistakes can be costly – and tricky to rectify. I’ve researched a list of the most common bathroom design mistakes so I’ve had a look through this and have added my own ideas too. Hopefully this will help me to avoid making similar mistakes when I’m decorating my own home in the future, and will save us all money in the long run. Right, let’s get into that list now, shall we? black-and-white-bathroom-design-inspiration

Bathroom flooring inspiration on PinkPeppermintDesign.com

Mistake 1: Not sticking to a budget.

This is the first and most essential point to consider when arranging your fitted bathroom. Your budget should dictate everything else, so you don’t end up overspending or unable to finish the project. Make sure you spec out all of the costs, including:

  • Cost of design
  • All fixtures and fittings
  • The cost of installation
  • Any plumbing work, including water pressure, waterproofing and drainage

You should have enough budget to cover everything you need – and a little spare in case any unforeseen issues come to light.

Mistake 2: Failing to consider your lifestyle

Once you’ve got your budget, you really need to think about how you are planning to use the bathroom –  you don’t want something slick and modern if you’ve got to wash the dog every week! Ask yourself – and anyone else who lives there – how you want to use the space, including how much time you’ll spend in there and what you want to have access to. You also need to think about how you might use the space in the future. If you’re planning on having children, you may want to include features such as baths now to avoid additional work further down the line.bathroom-storage-home-decor-inspiration

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A beach bathroom makeover on a budget

With more sunny days than not in recent weeks, my thoughts have turned to summer holidays. While I’m not actually planning to jet off anywhere luxurious for a beach holiday, I DO want to inject a little holiday fun into my life. But how can I do it when I’m having a staycation, I hear you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. I’m giving my tiny bathroom a mini-makeover and in a few short hours it’ll be a bathroom fit for a holiday. Here’s how I did it without so much as a lick of paint..!

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