Hallway Update…

The hallway has been one of the most depressing areas of the house for so long, it needed sooo much work, I’ve spent many hours sitting at the top of the stairs looking down into the hall a foot deep in plaster, air thick with dust and asking myself what the hell we’d done buying this place…this photo doesn’t even show it at its worst!

 

If you are new to the blog, you might want to take a look back at the earlier posts covering the initial works including DPC, Helibars,  plasterwork  and door stripping in the hallway. 

  

FLOOR TILES…

Once the heavy work of rewiring, gas installation, wall strengthening, DPC, replastering & replacement of rotton wood (phew!) was done, we lifted the vile, vile, plaster encrusted carpet to uncover our original Victorian hall, we’d lifted corners of the carpet numerous times & knew it was in fairly good condition, but it was quite a moment to finally see the whole floor. 

Here comes the but…No sooner had we given the tiles a good clean, we became aware of a little ‘springy patch’ and within a week Ronnie had gone through the floor, breaking eight tiles in the process. It had to happen…and honestly? I was just glad I didn’t do it! The ensuing hole was about 5 inches deep with just soil below, it seems the tiles were laid on thin wood sheeting spanning small joists.  

As we needed to source replacement tiles, the hole was filled but remained untouched for a number of months while we got on with other higher priority stuff.  

 

We were galvanised back into action on a Sunday afternoon trip to a reclamation yard where we came across the replacement tiles we needed. Another but… I realised once we arrived home that my then 41 week pregnant brain bought the wrong colour tiles…I’d got black and we needed beige, worse, the yard didn’t even have any beige! Recounting the story to our neighbours, it turned out they had spares as they had altered their hallway slightly, they kindly gave us the tiles we needed to complete the repair.

Finally the floor needed a HUGE clean to get it looking good. After lots of research, unsurprisingly, it transpired the best solution was good old elbow grease. While I was researching cleaning methods I thought about Sarah Wooldridge who the 1911 census told us was Lansdowne’s live-in servant. I bet she kept the floor looking spot on, judging by the dirt that came of it no one had bothered cleaning it since she left town! I read that once clean, the tiles should be finished with a beeswax & turps mix which was put on liberally then buffed off the next day giving a subtle matt sheen. There’s still a few cracks here and there, it’s far from perfect but I’m not sure a floor that’s 120 years old should be.

  
WALLS…
Much to my dad’s dismay who painted the hall, we’ve decided to change the paint colour. I originally chose a dirty light blue emulsion as I thought there would be some subliminal connection with the blue floor tiles, but as they only refeature in the porch…I failed! We’ve now chosen a much more complimentary antique white which will brighten the space. We’ll leave the repainting until the attic is done as it will no doubt get wrecked as workmen trudge through.

HEATING…

We had two radiators installed in the hallway, given the choice, I’d have opted for Victorian style radiators, which is exactly why I’m not allowed to be in charge of the budget! I was keen to install radiator covers but Ronnie banned them based on their energy wasting credentials – god knows we need every bit of heat we can get in this house. We reached a compromise of radiator shelves which I sourced from EBay. We chose chunky rounded edge shelves with Edwardian style bracket fittings, these were only around £30 each but make quite an impact and give us a couple of much needed focal points in the hallway.

As we near the start line for the attic conversion, we’ve spent days dividing the contents into keep, charity or tip piles. We rediscovered quite a lot of decorative objects that have been out of mind for months. We’ve made use of a couple of these pieces by hanging a vintage mirror above the radiator nearest the door for last minute hair & make up checks. The one nearer the kitchen has a photograph of our holiday in Sri Lanka.

   
 

We were also able to find a place for my Grandparents grandmother clock which had sat awkwardly in my parents Seventies house for some years.  

 

  

LIGHTING…

We bought the ‘Carmella’ light fittings from BHS just before they closed, thankfully we got a couple for the upstairs landing to put into stock for when it’s decorated, though I notice BHS have a selection of lighting online again now, including  these but at nearly treble what we got them for in the sale.

 

STILL TO DO…

The last jobs will be to reprint the walls, paint the staircase, lay a carpet runner, hang more pictures…and the transformation will be complete at last. All in all still a LOAD of work to do, but at least I don’t cry when I sit on the stairs anymore, that’s got to be progress, right? 

   

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Making An Entrance…

The blog has been AWOL for a few weeks, we’ve been busy grouting the kitchen floor and scrubbing the kitchen floor and sealing the kitchen floor and grouting the kitchen floor and scrubbing the kitchen floor and sealing the kitchen floor…you get the picture. It’s been incredibly boring and blogging about it would have been even more boring, but we’re on schedule to be finished very soon.

Anyway, enough of the grouting gripes, I’ve found some bargains! I’m forever getting told off for blowing the budget so I’m being smug about saving some money for once. Not too long ago, Friday nights were spent enjoying cocktails in new dresses…last Friday night however, I found myself in the bargain corner of B&Q perusing toilets…

2015/02/img_5330.jpg I’ve no idea why, but they were offering £120 toilets for £5, I’ll take two please! They even packed them into the car for me…what more can a girl ask for?! Except a Kir Royale that is.

2015/03/img_5358.jpg This one, destined for the downstairs cloakroom, has gone into ‘careful’ storage in the courtyard. The other, much more modern style, is in the attic.

In other news, skulking around the house trying to avoid any further grout related tasks I’ve done a few other little jobs which I fraudulently promoted to the ‘urgent list’. I’ve given the kitchen sofa a coat of varnish as it was looking a bit knackered, I’m not sure it’s exactly a recommended technique, it’s revived it really well, we’re having some new cushions made for the sofa too, which is fortuitous as they will cover the varnish I spilt.

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We have also spent a few hours making the entrance hall a little more welcoming, all that really needed doing was a bit of caulking, filling, painting walls, ceilings and door frame and finally sorting out the floor…actually quite a lot now I come to list it!

2015/03/img_5321.jpg This shows the floor straight after the carpet was lifted and benefitting from a quick scrub, the tiles are in great condition, all things considered. I can’t wait until we can finally lift the hallway carpet!

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I also hung a little mirror with shelf (Ebay!) which I somehow thought would be bigger, it needs something that makes a bit more of a statement, but he’ll do for now, and it’s nice to bring a little Spring indoors.

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This is the view that now awaits our visitors…

2015/03/img_5355.jpg Much more welcoming than the entrance that Lansdowne offered a year ago!

The Door and Fireplace are Home!

The fireplace and front door have been away from site for a couple of weeks having the last century of paint stripped from them.

The fireplace was nearly chucked out at one point, but after a little investigation we decided it was most likely original to the house and was therefore, a keeper.

Here is the fireplace late last year, not long after we’d arrived…

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And now…

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It has some beautiful hand carved details…

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These rosettes are carved from the core of the wood, so are a darker shade than the rest of the fireplace. I can’t wait to get some wax on it!

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We also had the original front door’s broken panes replaced and the wood stripped, I think it’s been pretty much every colour throughout it’s history, but it’s finally back to it’s natural state, once it has a few coats of wax it will bring a bit of warmth to the hallway.

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Here is the outside view, I love it! Is it acceptable to put the Christmas wreath up yet?

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It still has the original letterbox…

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And handle…though it’s located for people several feet shorter than Ronnie and I.

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Thanks to Dave at Regency Antiques for his work on both of these, love them.

In other (totally unrelated) news, I picked up this Indonesian side table at an antiques fair today for a bargain price of £18, it will fit in perfectly with the vaguely colonial lounge design that is floating around my little head.

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We also bought an antique caster’s ladle…no idea what we’ll do with it, but had to be mine.

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New Year Update…

Gosh, where did the last few weeks go?!

Christmas is now but a distant memory, the nativity folk are packed up snug and warm in their little tin until next year, and the tree is stripped of his twinkling lights. We had a lovely break with family and friends, and didn’t do much on the house…Instead we ate biscuits, watched films and chilled out…and very nice it was too!

But, before I put Christmas to bed, I wanted to post another of my latest finds, these retro Santas. Centre back and his wonderfully camp mate on the left are cool, they can stay, the other pair are being evicted though, look at their evil little faces!

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On the subject of finding things, I found a £20 note on my doorstep this morning, then this afternoon I was poking around pondering the fate of my filing cabinets in the craft room when I found a book of 100 First Class stamps jammed underneath, bit of a result as they are worth around £50, and the cabinet only cost £30 from Ebay – Lucky me!

Progress on the house is ticking along, new windows are due to be fitted in the back of the house in the next couple of weeks, along with a new front door. Bit sad as the 80’s wooden windows are pretty, but the heat loss through them is ridiculous. We are lucky to have the original front door, though it’s in need of a little TLC.

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We’ve been talking lots about the pros and cons of restoring original features, left to my own devices I’d be living in a museum, Ronnie in contrast, would choose a space-pod type abode, our compromise is to ensure we keep as many features as possible, even adding a couple, but to make sure we live in the 21st century, with all the comforts that brings. As much as we love the original door, it’s draughty and not very secure. The previous owners had added a horrid glass secondary door, we’ve decided to follow their lead, updating with modern door that will show the feature door behind and improve our thermal qualities and kerb appeal!

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This is how i hope we’ll end up looking once door and glass are in place, along with our new slate sign and light.

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I bought an antique letterbox to be used in the new door, which I hope will dull a little of it’s new-door-on-the-block sparkle, I guess this is exactly the type of compromise that works for us.

Through our letterbox this week, we received a parcel of original deeds for our property.

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It is incredible to see how the house has changed hands, and names through it’s history – It’s been given several names over the years including Lansdowne and more recently Cheericote, there’s a lot of research to do to see what secrets I can uncover…

Almost there with the wallpaper! Boom! There’s only a tiny piece above the stairs to be done, which we’ll need some sort of magic beanstalk to reach.

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Most rooms are now a bit stagnant, as we wait for the rewire to start in a week or so. There’s lots to be done, but I have started to have a think about how each room will look. I’m a great believer in having an object you love as a starting point, to build a design scheme around. My ‘object’ for the lounge is this canvas, from one of our holiday images.

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Love the striking yellow, black and white and think it will help to blend our eclectic collections of ‘stuff’ vintage (mine) modern (his) and oriental pieces (ours) from our travels. This is the room as it was when we moved in:

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And I’d like it to look a little more like this, but nicer, obvs. I’d normally be quite shy of bright colours, but every room in the house has been vivid yellow at one stage of its history, which is somewhat reassuring.

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Finally, I’ve spent hours and hours and hours on the Ikea website planning the kitchen (then photoshopping potential Ebay purchases over the top). To be continued…