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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3 Tips for living with wooden floors

As you can probably tell from my past few DIY blog posts, flooring at been at the forefront of my mind. Firstly, I picked out the perfect white-washed colour for my bedroom floor, and last week I shared a step-by-step guide to installing laminate flooring. The next step is finding some hard-wearing flooring for the kitchen of my 50s house, tiles for the bathroom and carpets for the bedrooms – so there’ll be more blog posts to follow, I’m sure! 

The question I’m answering today is: how do you maintain and protect your new flooring from general mishaps/wear and tear? Whilst hardwood flooring is a fantastic upgrade and can add value to your home it does require regular maintenance, so I’ve made a handy list to make sure all scenarios are covered!1. On a day to day basis:

It’s inevitable that your floor will take some stick, after all, that’s what it’s there for, but it IS possible to protect it from avoidable scratches and scuffs. For example, if you have installed wooden flooring in your kitchen/dining area then why not consider using felt protectors under the legs of tables and chairs? This simple but effective method can prevent minor scratches from occurring, or a rug beneath the table can also work in the same way. It also pays to remove your shoes, especially spiky-heeled ones, before walking over the floor. This can stop any scratches from occurring and prevents dirt from being dragged onto the surface.

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Household DIY – How to install laminate flooring

I’ve recently laid laminate flooring in two rooms of my home and I can honestly say that it was a really easy process. I thought it would take days to install but we were finished within a couple of hours. As long as you have the right equipment – a saw, knee pads and a laminate flooring installation kit (including packers) you can easily lay this type of flooring yourself. Here’s how to do it, step-by-step:Clear away any existing carpet, tiles or pieces of old underlay. Give the room a sweep to make sure you’ve cleared all the debris from the surface, and vacuum the floor to pick up the smaller pieces of dust. If you’re laying the laminate onto a concrete floor you’ll need to start with a damp-proof membrane before adding a layer of underlay.If you’re starting with a wooden floor, you can go straight to laying the underlay. There are plenty of options for underlay out there; foil-coated sheets that insulate the floor, rolls of foam to cushion the laminate or fibre boards – which is the option I went for.This simply evens out the floor so that the laminate flooring will look perfectly flat when fitted. It also adds an extra layer of insulation and, if you’re using it on an upstairs room, it can add a little sound-proofing so you don’t feel like you’re walking about inside a drum, and causing a lot of noise in the rooms below!

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Finding low-cost flooring for my bedroom

When I started decorating my bedroom, I knew I wanted to create a tranquil space. I’ve always dreamed of an entirely white room – even when I was a teenager I wanted to create a minimalist room for myself, although you can imagine how un-minimal a teenage girl’s single room is in reality! This project is therefore the culmination of that dream. White, white and more white. That’s what I wanted. Yes the ceilings, the walls, the doors and even the floor.But where was I going to find white flooring that was also practical? I considered carpet, but seeing as I’m a big tea-drinker and a huge tea-spiller I thought that probably wouldn’t be the most sensible option. But I wanted a cosiness in the room so that the all-white box didn’t feel clinical.

After a lot of pinning and researching bedroom designs online, I decided that lovely whitewashed wood grain would do the job. Rooms with wooden floors rarely look clinical as the natural pattern adds a bit of interest to the floor. But as a thrifty gal, I didn’t want to splash the cash on a real-wood floor.

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Tuesday Shoesday – My week in #FloorSelfies

When I first heard about the #FloorSelfie challenge, I found myself getting a little excited. Not only do I love a good photo challenge, but I also love shoes, and taking photos of my feet for a week sounded like great fun. No need for any special equipment to get involved with this challenge; I simply charged up my phone and snapped a photo whenever the thought entered my mind. By the end of the week I’m pretty sure that I’d started to search out more interesting floors with fun colours or patterns, or maybe it was simply the fact that I was noticing the floor more often . How often do we look down, really? We’re missing interesting designs and even art by keeping our heads up. Anyway, enough rambling – here are my favourite shoe photos from the week and little bit about the location to go with them:

Excuse the pun but I ‘kick started’ my week of #FloorSelfies with a day out at the seaside. And we enjoyed ourselves so much that we actually went back to the coast the day after too. I snapped some photos on the beach and almost soaked my toes by trying to get the Tuesday Shoesday snap above when the tide came in. The traditional walk along the promenade followed, with me dribbling over beach huts that I could never afford, followed by a big hot chocolate to warm up. The second day we went to Southwold Pier and had fun playing air hockey and winning 2ps in the arcade. Something I hadn’t noticed before was that the pier has footprints painted on the deck all along the length of the pier. Don’t follow them though – some of the footprints head right off the side of the pier! I found a set of flipper footprints and snapped this fun #FloorSelfie.

One of the most exciting thing to happen to me this week was something that I couldn’t really photograph. My husband had been picked in a ballot to go to a recording of a TV special in Elstree Studios. With the performance being ‘top secret’ and absolutely no cameras allowed, it was hard for me to get a photo but I wanted to record the day out nonetheless. Here’s the fabulous wooden floor in the entrance to Elstree Studios and it’s the very same spot where I later met Tim Peake and Professor Brian Cox. Yes, I got a selfie with an astronaut! Best. Moment. Ever. And I managed to give Brian Cox a pair of ChattyFeet’s Prof. Brian Sox socks, which he found hilarious. Oh, you’ll notice a different pair of shoes in this shot – they are my favourite Hush Puppy flats the rub a little on the heel so aren’t great for wearing all day long. The following day we took a walk in the countryside and noticed just how autumnal everything is – leaves are turning brown and conkers are falling. Must remember to go blackberry picking this week before it’s too late.

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My favourite interior trends – Rustic wooden floors

Have you noticed just how popular wood flooring is again? Just browse interior design trends on Pinterest and you’ll find all the evidence you need. Despite the resurgence of lovely soft carpets, the popularity of hard-wearing sisal flooring and the design aesthetic of big chunky tiles, it seems like wood is beating all these flooring options hands down. Or should that be feet down? And I think I’ve worked out just why this is – here are my top 3 reasons why wooden floors are so popular:Lido Island I1. Open-plan homes

For years we’ve been knocking rooms together and opening up our living spaces to create brighter and more spacious homes. No longer are kitchens tucked away, they’re now part of our eating-cooking-living rooms. With this lean towards open-plan living, the desire to have a seamless run of flooring that runs from room to room had led to the increase in the use of wood. Tiles throughout a living space would be cold, whereas carpet in a kitchen just isn’t practical. But wood floors can be easily cleaned, are comfortable underfoot and make a room feel cosy.

Farmhouse Bedrooms2. We’re seeing more of it
If you wanted to decorate a home in the past, you’d probably buy some interiors magazines or design books for inspiration. If you weren’t planning a renovation, you probably didn’t see many homes at all. But nowadays you can’t open up Pinterest or browse through Instagram without seeing hundreds of photos of gorgeous interiors, each more covetable than the next. So with these social sites and popular decor websites such as Houzz, we are simply seeing more rooms than ever before. And our mind tends to pull out similarities as we browse, which is why it seems like wood floors are everywhere. It’s simply the case that we’re opening our eyes to more and more images and noticing the elements that we like the most. Brunstrom Residence3. Improvements in flooring

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Grand Designs: Flooring trends for summer 2016

After my visit to Grand Designs Live last weekend, I’ve been spending time researching the new interior trends, building materials and home design ideas that I spotted at the event. With sections on building, interiors, tech, gardens, kitchens, bathrooms and life-in-general, the exhibition was packed full of inspiration and I’d love to share some of the ideas I noted down with you today. In particular, I’d like to discuss Summer 2016 interior design trends and today I’m focussing on flooring. Wait – it’s more interesting than you think!laminate floor wood tilesNew trends in flooring – Laminate tiles

I come bearing great news about a new type of flooring; laminate tiles. No longer is laminate flooring the reserve of rental properties; it’s now stronger, better and more on-trend than ever. And the growth of in the trend for laminate flooring designs is thanks to the introduction of laminate tiles. Rather than using cold hard stone on your kitchen floor, you can now enjoy flooring that runs seamlessly throughout your property and will be suitable for all kinds of uses. These tiles have a high-resolution photographic top layer – where you’d expect to find a wood-grain effect in traditional laminate floor planks – but this time, the image is of beautiful sandstone, slate or marble. So you can have almost any tiled effect you wish, without the massive expense of tiling a great expanse of floor. I love any money-saving ways of ‘getting the look for less’ and these tiles definitely achieve the desired effect without costing the earth.stained blue flooring wooden floor a beautiful messNew trends in flooring – Feature floors

I first spotted the trend for feature floors a little while ago on A Beautiful Mess.com. This project was the first time I’d seen a coloured stain on floors but, ever since then, I’ve seen a massive increase in coloured flooring options. Bright golden hues, deep inky blues, fresh whites and everything in between seem to be available now. This trend is based around making the floor the main feature of the room, so you must keep walls and decor neutral so that the floor really stands out. Continue reading “Grand Designs: Flooring trends for summer 2016” »


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A floral bedroom makeover – Flooring dilemmas

Whenever I get that spring cleaning feeling, it always turns into a bigger job than I imagined. What starts out as a wipe-down-the-skirting-boards and dust-the-curtain-rail kind spring clean, always seems to turn into a complete room makeover. And this year is no exception. That urge to decorate has arrived and I’m starting this weekend! As you read this, I’ll probably already be up a ladder, painting the ceiling. The fact that we already had the right paint in the shed meant that there were no excuses. We had all the tools at our disposal to start a makeover project and this time, it’s the bedroom that’s getting a new lease of life.bedroom makeover ideas metal bed

Perfect cream metal bed frame

Having already decided to paint the walls the same shade of cream that we’d used in the hallway, it was easy to imagine what the end result would be. But it’s not just the walls that that needed to be changed – it was the flooring, furniture and window treatments too. So, in the absence of any before-and-after photos yet, today’s blog post is about choosing new flooring for the bedroom and to give you an idea of the kind of look we’re trying to achieve. In fact, you can take a look at this Pinterest board to find out the inspiration behind this spring makeover.decorating bedroom ideasSo, as you can probably tell from the images above, we’re trying to get a ‘country’ bedroom finish. Not too ornate or French, just cosy and a bit floral. Pretty similar to my little vintage caravan, but the cosy indoors version. Layering up quilts, using lots of cushions and draping snuggly rugs over the floor – that kind of look. But just what type of flooring will we use? THAT is the question.bedroom makeover ideas shabby chic Continue reading “A floral bedroom makeover – Flooring dilemmas” »


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My little vintage caravan – I’ve been featured in Caravan Magazine!

Did you know it’s World Smile Day today? I can’t think of a nicer event! It’s got me thinking about the things that make me smile and, aside from my family and friends of course, this includes my caravan, sunny days and beautiful flowers. So I’ve nipped out to my caravan to take some photos of my latest projects and to share the things that make me smile on World Smile Day.vintage retro caravan magazine diy carpet rug makeover project-11vintage retro caravan magazine diy carpet rug makeover project-10vintage retro caravan magazine diy carpet rug makeover project-22vintage retro caravan magazine diy carpet rug makeover project-16vintage retro caravan magazine diy carpet rug makeover project-25I also wanted to share the awesome news that my very own little vintage caravan has been featured in Caravan Magazine! A double-page spread, no less. Pretty cool, huh? I was lucky enough to be interviewed by Ben Hackney for the magazine earlier this year and couldn’t wait for the article to be published. It’s in the September issue of Caravan Magazine on page 44 (yes, I’ve memorised it!) and they’ve made the photos of my caravan look amazing – check out all those fabulous cut outs; I need a design team like that for my blog! vintage retro caravan magazine diy carpet rug makeover project-24vintage retro caravan magazine diy carpet rug makeover project-18vintage retro caravan magazine diy carpet rug makeover project-20vintage retro caravan magazine diy carpet rug makeover project-23It is such an honour to be featured in this wonderful UK publication and I am so pleased that people are interested to read about my caravan antics. I proudly showed off the article to my family and have even sent a copy to my nan and grandad! To say I’m rather delighted with the article is an understatement! While reading through, it got me thinking about all the other projects I’d love to do in my caravan so I started making a list of things I can work on this autumn, including a door makeover and adding more fairy lights (absolutely necessary for Christmas!).

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Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside ~ building the beach hut

After installing a massive photowall in the bathroom last month, I’ve had an urge to ‘makeover’ the room, taking inspiration from costal homes. I’ve shared my moodboard so that you can get an idea of how I’d like the bathroom to turn out and have been pinning like crazy to my bathroom ideas board on Pinterest. One of the common design elements of these inspirational images has been wood and I love the idea of turning my bathroom into the interior of a beach hut.

As you can see, the floor needed to be updated and the cheap vinyl tiles that have been gracing the bathroom floor since the house was built had to go. So after visiting a few DIY stores and looking at the off-the-peg flooring options available, hubby and I decided that none of them were quite right for the bathroom. Vinyl ‘planks’ of self-adhesive tiles with wood-grain effect came in a great range of colours but looked rather plasticy and laminate flooring probably wouldn’t last very long with all the splashing that goes on in our bathroom! So a real wood floor seemed to be the only option, but boy was it expensive! So that idea went out of the window too.

Interestingly enough a house nearby had been having a new path laid and a quick peek into their skip showed us that they’d been using shuttering to make a frame for the poured concrete. Having spotted this waste wood, hubby and I quickly measured up the bathroom and realised that our tiny floor space could actually be covered using this shuttering so we asked permission to use the wood and dragged it home.

It’s a pressure-treated timber so it should be fine for our water-resistant flooring needs and the width of the planks was very similar to that of a beach hut floor. Hubby is really good with a saw and took all the measurements before working out which pieces could be slotted in where – like a giant jigsaw puzzle on the floor. My job was cleaning up the wood so that it was usable, which meant scraping off all the concrete tidemarks on the wood, using a wire brush to get rid of any dust and mud, and then sanding down the wood to make it smooth enough for bare feet to walk on. Okay, this took quite a bit of time and I was very grateful to have the use of an electric sander but at least we were able to save the wood from landfill!

After using a grab adhesive to ‘glue’ the floor down, hubby planed down any raised parts of the planks (yes, I had a go at planing and I was not good at it!) and I gave it a second sanding on any rough areas using sandpaper and elbow grease. I’ve still not decided on the finish of the floor; whether to white-wash it for that true beach hut look or whether to varnish the natural wood, which is already a pale limed colour after scraping the concrete off. At the moment it’ll stay as it is until the rest of the woodwork is finished.

We had some wood left-over so we’ve decided to build a false wall and create some storage behind the wood cladding. As you can see from these photos my husband is a dab-hand with a screwdriver and he create this storage cabinet behind the loo in order to hide all the exposed pipes, while still giving access to the service handles and cistern. He incorporated shelves within the false wall which practically doubled the amount of storage space we have! This is accessed by two cupboard doors which hubby made using a wide plank of pressure treated wood that we had left over from our garden project this summer. Again, I was on sanding duty and I really came into my own when I was needed to hold things in place!

We went for a white-wash effect for the wall, as it seemed a little imposing in the wood and the larger planks of wood were a slightly darker shade so this make the effect look more uniform. I’ve painted on three coats of the white wash and so far the wood is just soaking it up so it’s not quite the shade of white that the finished wall will be but it’s getting there. By the way, the hole a the bottom of the wall is for the cats’ litter tray so that they too can go to the bathroom in privacy! The next job is to build a small cabinet beneath the sink and get to work on painting or varnishing the floor so please come back soon to check on our progress.


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My little vintage caravan project ~ Floored or flawed?

You may have noticed in my last blog post about the caravan that there was a roll of carpet plonked in the middle of my seating area. And the even-more eagle eyed of you will have noticed that I’ve painted my inner wheel-arch cover with a dark pink shade. This was in preparation for laying the carpet! I know most caravans have a lino floor, and this was my intention when I went out looking for flooring. It would be easy to keep clean with muddy shoes coming in from the outdoors. But this carpet caught my eye and I soon realised that my caravan wasn’t travelling anywhere and would be paved outside, so I wasn’t going to worry about how to clean the floor – I was going to have a cosy carpet and get a doormat to solve any damp-shoe issues!

I bought this piece of pink carpet from a local carpet store – the kind that has off-cuts just sitting around, waiting for the right caravan owner to come along and pick it out from the bunch of brown and cream flooring. It was the perfect colour for me (I’m quite keen on pink, I don’t know if you’ve noticed…) and the price was especially good for me – reduced to £18 and the sales rep threw in a pink and blue union-jack doormat!

cassiefairys little vintage caravan retro renovation project on the blog - pink carpet

It was a carpet that was technically the right size (in square footage), but physically not quite right. I needed to use the carpet from beneath my seats to fill in the gap at the back where the length wasn’t quite there. So I laid a few blue-and-white vinyl tiles (the type you get from the discount store for £2 per pack) underneath the seats and enlisted my husband to help me lay the carpet. A lot of measuring, cutting and spray-adhesive-ing later, we had laid the carpet. There followed a beautiful moment when I could finally lay on the floor of my little caravan and relax! And then my cat joined me for a pudding-at-the-new-carpet session. I can’t wait to see what happens when I actually have cushions on my seats/bed – I might never get up!

Here is another gorgeous caravan that I’ve found via Pinterest (here’s the link) and I really love it – it’s based in Australia and as far as I can work out, it is a tattoo parlour! It almost makes me want to have a tattoo (I said almost!). Although I love the baby pink I’m still glad that I’ve chosen a sunny sky blue for my exterior colour – this might have been taking my interest in pink a little too far and would have definitely overpowered my garden!

baby pastel pink vintage retro caravan - Trailer Trash Tattoo

Please come back soon for the next update on my progress and you can check out what I’ve been doing up to this point using the links below 🙂 Let me know what you think – leave me a comment below or get in touch via http://twitter.com/cassiefairy I’d love to hear from you 🙂

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