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!

“There are more rewards to this than you can ever imagine”: Building Community in High Wycombe, Part 2

April 28, 2017

This is the second in a series of blog posts about community building in High Wycombe. In the first part we blogged about how guardians in Castlefield, High Wycombe came to live there and how they approach being neighbourly. In this post we’ll tackle the details – how they go about building community on a day to day basis.


New Area, New Challenges

Moving into a new area can have its challenges, and this is something Tim, one of the guardians in the area, is aware of.

“There are tensions in the area that you have to be aware of and you need to treat people very gently. In my mind you go in very gently – you explain what you are doing, you be chatty and slowly they get used to you.”

Jon, Tim’s neighbour, agrees.

“That overt friendliness really makes a difference, it makes it clear that you are not a threat.”

But over time, Tim, Jon and other guardians start to do far more to help build up relationships and community. Tim feels simple and more generous acts start to make impressions on neighbours over time.

“They see us on a daily basis tidying up litter, clearing up, playing football and talking to the kids in the evening.  They see us interacting and doing things like that and then suddenly – Pam (who live immediately behind me) – her sister now parks her car down there because she knows I will keep an eye on it when she is away, because she is a student NHS nurse. Amda learnt to ride a bicycle which I basically sorted out and pumped the tyres up and all that and now she cycles to work. It is little things. It is building and the problem with that is it can be smashed in a heartbeat. One thoughtless act or someone shouting at people, people acting in an unreasonable manner it could destroy all this.”

Jon sees the benefits of having someone like Tim in the area over a longer period of time:

“I think that is why having a guardian like Tim here helps because Tim knows the names of a lot of people and when I moved in I knew that I wanted to introduce myself to the local policeman. Now, Tim already knew his name, so that makes it very easy when I see him. I think that definitely helps – having someone who knows more about the area.”

Cleaning up for the Community

The area where our guardians live in Castlefield has been prone to littering, particularly as buildings in the area started to become empty in 2015. Littering and vandalism are familiar problems that empty buildings bring, and often hinder the development of a sense of community, as Tim notes:

“Right up the end where Beth (another guardian) lives, there is a flight of steps down there and because it is grassed over on the other side as well, it is a real magnet for a lot of rubbish. I was clearing that one afternoon and a bloke looked back and he made a comment over his shoulder – don’t see you blokes round here much – and I realised that he thought I was from the council picking up litter. I laughed and said ‘No I am a resident’ and he stopped and we had a 10 minute chat as he couldn’t quite believe that a resident is doing something like that. I had only been here a few weeks then so it was easy to say that I moved in a few weeks ago and I can’t stand all this rubbish and then start telling him about the guardianship. But it is a really good example of how people would rather keep themselves to themselves and complain about something, rather than do something about it.”

So that’s Tim and Jon’s views on the details of building community in a new area as a guardian. Being neighbourly, being friendly and the small acts that make an area better are key. But if he had to summarise, what would he say?

“Communication rather than anything else is what is key to being a Dot Dot Dot guardian. You can’t just sit in your flat. The fundamentals of it is that you have got to let people know who you are and what you are doing and why you are doing it. There are a lot more rewards to this than you can ever imagine. It works, but you have to work at it. You can’t just sit there and expect to be part of something – you have to be part of something.”

We couldn’t put it better ourselves. So we’ll leave it there. If you’ve been inspired to join our community in High Wycombe, please apply now. Our flats here don’t hang around for long! Or, please do read more about our community work.

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