Nigel’s DIY Adventures in Thamesmead Part 3 – A Way To Make an Entrance

August 21, 2017

This is the third part of our blog series about Nigel, our DIY superstar, in the Thamesmead / Abbey Wood area. In the first & second posts, he walked us through making the kitchen and living room much more cosy with low spend and a bit of effort. This time, he’s writing about how a redecorated hallway makes all the difference to a great welcome home.

Not so Mellow Yellow

The majority of the hall needed glossing – so many doors, cupboards, pipes and frames for such comparatively small space.

The old wood work was yellow and stained, the walls were also yellow and dated. In short, it looked dirty, drab and uninviting.








After a few hours painting an initial coat of emulsion, I moved onto the glossing and then completed a second coat of emulsion; the hallway was finished except for the flooring …










Floors galore to sand

One particular school day (I was working that night), I was really trying to finish the bedroom floor. I had the sander out and was already making a mess so it was a good time to finish the hallway off as well.









I feel the hallway was my biggest achievement as this is the first impression for guests and the entrance to my home.

My own ‘Welcome Home’

Although it has taken 5 weeks to get this far, I actually spent about 8 full days decorating, freshening up and titivating my home. I work 4 night shifts a week, do voluntary care work, help out quarterly at the Greenwich Catholic Fellowship and have gotten involved with the Greenwich Carers Centre. Life has been hectic but worthwhile. I got to see a transformation to where I walked into after doubting if I’d manage it. It’s become somewhere I can’t wait to get back to; a sanctuary and my own space. It’s a place that, for less than £300.00 for decorating materials and a bit of effort, I could call home. Though it’s temporary, this DIY is well worth it and has been a tonic boosting me in so many ways. I have motivation, I have dedication and my home allows me to access so many more opportunities. The majority of the graft is done and I can have ‘me’ time to sit back and enjoy my new space.


Next time – A Bedroom

Another great installment from Nigel to show how important it is to make your property feel welcoming, not just for guests but for yourself. Some hardwork, enthusiasm and a small budget can go a long way. Nigel’s final installment will be on the bedroom with the help of Smooth FM to really make a house a home.

If this post has inspired you to want to live near Nigel in Thamesmead/Abbey Wood, check out our availability and apply now!

Nigel’s DIY Adventures in Thamesmead Part 2 – A Living Room

May 25, 2017

This is the second part of our blog series about Nigel, our DIY superstar in the Thamesmead / Abbey Wood area. In the first part he guided us through how he made his kitchen more homely and appealing at low cost. This time round he’ll be writing about how he made his living room ‘a different space entirely – warm, inviting and homely’.

Night Shifts, Laminate Flooring, Beautiful Paint

The following week I finished work for the week on the Thursday morning at 7am. I drove straight to the flat via B&Q where they had laminate flooring on offer throughout their January sale. With basic flooring at £5.00 per square mtr, I estimated i would need 7 packs at £12 per pack total cost £84.00. After lugging this from the car to the lift then up the final flight of stairs and into the flat, I made a start on painting the walls in the living room.

This time I used Leyland Trade Matt Pure Brilliant White paint purchased from Screwfix at £19.99 for a 10Ltr Tub. This was beautiful to work with, as you can see from the pictures below.


Dot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | ThamesmeadDot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | ThamesmeadDot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | Thamesmead








Once again using a smaller brush to pick out the edges I was ready to get the larger roller on the walls and within 3 hours had given 3 of the walls and the ceiling their first coat of paint.

Dot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | Thamesmead

Dot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | Thamesmead







Fading Daylight, Balcony Doors, Skirting Boards

Whilst allowing this first coat to soak in and dry, I made a start on glossing the skirting boards and the door and windows leading to the balcony. The gloss was also Leyland Non Drip Pure Brilliant White Trade paint, costing £16.99 for 2.5ltr tin.
After picking out the edges with a smaller brush, I then set to filling in the larger areas with a roller. I find that using a fibre roller rather than a sponge roller gives a smoother finish, but they soon disintegrate, so make sure you have plenty of spares. You can get a 5 pack from Poundland.

Dot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | ThamesmeadDot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | ThamesmeadDot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | Thamesmead







As the daylight began fade rapidly, I had to bring in more lamps to help me see what I was doing. I found this actually highlighted areas that had previously been missed on the walls and ceiling. Being able to control my own shadows therefore enabled me to give all the emulsioning a second and final coat of paint, which you can see below.

Dot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | Thamesmead

Dot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | Thamesmead

Dot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | Thamesmead







This room was completed in 10 hours excluding the back feature wall and adding a few tea breaks in between. By 8:30 pm the smell of paint and aching arms called for a drink or 3. Having been awake 23 hours by this stage it was definitely time to call it a day!

On Friday I woke up at 8am, admired the work and inspected for any missed patches whilst making a cuppa. Now I had the bug to get things going I cut in the edges on the feature wall and within 2 hours this wall was finished. This only took 1 generous coat. The paint was part of Wickes ‘Colour at Home’ range and the most expensive of all the paint purchased at £16.99 for 2.5ltr tin.

Dot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | Thamesmead

Dot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | Thamesmead







Tea Breaks, Mounted Clocks, Great Value Flooring

My friend arrived at 11am all dressed up ready to do some painting, but I had already done that, so she asked me what needed doing. I said I had a clock that needed putting up (below). I had originally bought this for my room where I was living previously, but never got the opportunity to put it up. Whilst the clock was being mounted, I concentrated on the curtain track and curtains. These cost £14.99 from Wilko and were long enough to do living room and bedroom windows.

Dot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | ThamesmeadDot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | Thamesmead








As the clock (available online approx £12.00 inc delivery) was being completed, I made a start on the flooring. As previously mentioned the total cost for the flooring was £84.00. That is less than half the cost that I would have had to shell out on carpet if i was to cover the entire living room floor. After a couple of tea breaks and approximately 3 hours later, the whole room had began to take shape and became a different space entirely; it was warm, inviting and homely.

Dot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | Thamesmead






With the addition of curtains, and over time some furniture and soft furnishings, slowly it became home. I look forward to coming in from work and adding little touches like lighting where I’m able to change the mood of the room.

Dot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | ThamesmeadDot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | Thamesmead





Next Time – A Hallway

Thanks again to Nigel for leading us on this DIY adventure! Hopefully you’ve learned something about how to redecorate a living room. Next time we’ll be looking at the piece of DIY he’s most proud of – his hallway.

If this post has inspired you to want to live near Nigel in Thamesmead/Abbey Wood, check out our availability and apply now!

Making Thamesmead Home – Chloe

May 4, 2017

As part of our blog series ‘Making a Space a Home’, one of our guardians in the Thamesmead/Abbey Wood area, Chloe, has written about the area and how she made her flat an amazing space. Read on for her musings on high rise living, prehistory, vinyl wallpaper and more.

What I love about Thamesmead

Thamesmead is a futuristic utopian vision of a city, seen through the eyes of the past (the Sixties, respectively). A testament to its sci-fi grandeur is that Clockwork Orange was filmed here, and to its romance, Likely Lads by The Libertines. There is a lot of raw concrete, but also a lot of greenery – fields of horses and ponies are woven through the estate and are really quite spectacular in the early morning mist, there are reservoirs home to swans, and Crossness Nature Reserve is nearby. It coexists with the ancient – a prehistoric forest that is a remainder of the once-great forest of Kent, and host to the ruins of Lesnes Abbey, which dates back to 1178. And if sewage works don’t excite you, I suggest taking a trip to the Crossness Pump Works to challenge that stigma. It’s really just a huge Victorian techni-colour jewlery box. Plus the Thamesmead residents are very friendly, and it is easy to recycle.

I live in a high rise so I have a sky view from my apartment – east on one side, west on the other, so I get to see the sun rise and set each day. I love walking through the maze of low-rise houses in the evenings. Lit up with warm coloured lights, cats slinking on the balconies, and puffs of steam pouring from laundry ventilation makes it feel like I’m somewhere else in the world, like somewhere in the far east. The maze-like arrangement means a couple of things, first that I’m still finding my way around after a couple of months, and second, that surprises are literally always around the corner. When you look up, new compositions of bridge-stairs-cat-steam-lights always to be found in a trusty concrete monochrome against whatever pretty colour the sky is that day.








What my apartment was like before

I was fairly lucky with the base furnishings of my apartment. The hall and lounge are imitation-pine laminate, the bathroom and kitchen are a non-invasive black linoleum. The bedroom had a decades old murky brown linoleum which I just painted white with what I had to hand – white wood undercoat paint. I also used this paint on the plastic kitchen cupboards and it holds well and is wipeable. One thing I’ve learned whilst doing this is it isn’t absolutely necessary to buy all the right paints and primers, especially if you’re on a budget, just try out what you have if you like the colour – you might be surprised.

The walls where a mix of pink, grey, turquoise, red, and vinyl wallpaper. Vinyl wallpaper can just be peeled off without a steamer or tools, just using your hands. I then painted all the walls and woodwork white, making the space feel more open, calm and fresh.








My furniture

Since I prefer space to stuff, I’ve only furnished my apartment with what I will thoroughly use, which as I write, realise is in the spirit of utopian architecture where function dictates form. I also paint which is why a lot of space is good for me, and do have the odd thing which inspires that.

I use black out blinds for night-time privacy and net curtains for daytime privacy. These were bought cheaply from IKEA. My home office consists of a plain wooden desk and chair I have had since childhood. I think the simplicity (and durability) of these items have contributed to their sustained use over time. My dining table and chairs is actually garden furniture, so I can move it to the balcony in warm weather.

For my bed frame, and for a multipurpose sofa/relaxation/spare bed, I use construction palettes. A friend of mine gave me these but you can find them cheaply online, even discarded out and about, or call up your local construction service se if they have any there were going to throw away or if now, that they’re willing to sell. Around my bed I use IKEA LED lantern lights, which are cheap to buy and run. Also cheap from IKEA I have a net around my bed. Whilst I put it for a cosy den atmosphere I learned of its benefits the first time I used it, because when I woke up I found a vampiric insect perched on it’s outer gauze. So long as you don’t get bitten, bugs cannot survive. It’s the best deterrent, and free of toxins.








Lessons and Special Recommendations

Palettes are great – you can stick a cheap cut of upholstery foam on top and have yourself a bed or sitting area. Don’t’ underestimate their uses – I’ve seen them as lampshades, tables, and bookshelves too!

Plants make the best decoration, and they cleanse the air by feeding off Co2 and creating new oxygen. Personally I
love looking after plants, feeding them and watching them grow and change with the seasons. I plan to grow tomatoes, strawberries and a rosebush on my balcony – all available from the Woolwich Market florist nearby, or Columbia Road in central-east where I got the ivy hung from my living room ceiling for a lovely Sunday morning out.

A single hob stove for a single person. It’s all you need, trust me. It easily portable, light, takes up minimal space, is cheap to buy, and if you get induction like me, cheap to run and more eco-friendly. I got it using my Nectar points.

Wifi-alternatives are useful if you want to save money. I found a sim only phone contract with unlimited data for £15 a month, so I use that and tether if I want to use my laptop. It was the best option of all when I was looking, better than dongles too, so I suggest shopping around as new deals come up and generally improve with time.

Warm coloured LED candles since guardians cannot use flame candles, these are a great alternative for atmospheric lighting. Some even mimic the flicker.

Thanks to Chloe for writing this blog, and congratulations for making her home so beautiful. If you’re interested in living in her area or becoming a Dot Dot Dot guardian, apply now.

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