Hello Again…

Blog? I write a blog? Oh yes…that. I remember now. The last few weeks have been hectic with one thing and another, work, weddings…blah blah blah. So, this weekend is the first in a while we’ve actually done anything on the house, here’s a bit of an update on where we are.


After a bit of a false start, the fireplace is fitted. We had to chip off some plaster to allow the mantel to sit flush with the wall, that has been done and we’ve replastered it back into place.  


This is it many moons ago…

The floor is done (not that you can tell under all that dust) but we’ll give it a final coat of varnish once everything is out as its suffered a few knocks.

Windows are done, tomorrow work will start on their exterior renovation.

Other than decorating, the last job in the lounge is a coving repair, a small section was damaged when we stripped the wallpaper.  


We’ve explored lots of different solutions, at one stage we were intending to have a replacement section machined from MDF but have found a source that will make the same thing in plaster for pretty much the same price. We gave the supplier a small section of the original coving and we now have 2 meters ready to be collected which will be fitted next weekend…in the meantime, we’ve chipped off more of the old coving to allow us to replace the full run, so there’s now a big old hole in the wall and a section of Victorian gas light piping waiting to be taken down.  



The library has been a store room for the last six months or so, but we’ve now dispersed the crap into other rooms to free it up for plastering. The ceiling has been filled and sanded ready for about a million coats of paint. 


We have the same issue with the coving in here, it’s a different style of coving, just to complicate matters. We need to start making design decisions in here…


We’ve completed the paint snagging today, we need to finish chairs next weekend, hang pictures and seal the windows, then we’re done! 

So that’s what we’ve been up to for the last few weeks…basically not that much. Oops. 

Sliding Doors…

We’ve been thinking about a kitchen door for a while, as this was originally a little atrium at the top if the hall there was never a door there originally, so finding something suitable wasn’t straightforward. After seeing this sliding door on Redmodelita, we decided that was the way forward.  


We got an old oak door from Ebay for just £20, it had originally come from a building society. I love it’s wooden handle and eschutcheon.


We also got the sliding gear from Ebay, though it came from China, they seem readily available in USA but difficult to source here.


The carpenter had a bit of a nightmare fitting it as the wall we located it on is quite weak, we had to fix a baton to the wall to hold it, that will need painting to match the wall. 


This shows the door and it’s frosted glass from the hall through to the kitchen… 


And this is the view from the other side. I’m not fully convinced on the fitting yet, I can’t help thinkng it looks like a giant coat hanger, but I’ll get used to it, it’s the best option for the space.

Where Did January Go, Again?

This time last year my post was entitled ‘Where Did January Go?’ And a year on, it’s happened again! It’s been nearly three weeks since my last post, oops. We’ve both been ill with coughs and colds, so progress has been slowed – and let’s face it, it’s hardly rapid at the best of times.

Anyway, on with the positives, I’ve had another day class on my dreaded upholstery project, amazingly though I came home and worked some more on it, I only need to put the back panel on and I’m done!

We started the grouting of the kitchen floor yesterday, which we should have done about a month ago, but sometimes life just gets in the way. Turns out grouting floors is a lot more time consuming than expected.

2015/02/img_5135.jpg As the tiles are so deep we’d half filled the gaps with the runny adhesive left-overs, this has made the grouting easier, but still takes forever. We found it was best to discount the manufacturers instructions on drying time and leave the grout for a good few hours before attempting to smooth and clean up. There’s a quick before, during and after above. I’ve pushed an 1888 penny which we found under the floorboards of the bedroom into the grout where the dining area wall meets the floor, it’s joined by a 2013 coin, the year we moved into the house.

2015/02/img_5138.jpg We’ve no idea where the old coin came from, but feels like it should stay in the house having been here so long, it’s certainly here for keeps now!

We’ve also started planning the downstairs cloakroom, viewers of a nervous disposition look away now.

2015/02/img_5136.jpg We love to travel, and this room is going to be our little adventure gallery…with a chandelier and vintage mirror. Probably.

Weekend Bits & Bobs…

We’ve had a weekend of finishing little jobs in the kitchen. Ronnie has been moaning that I’ve been posting too much ‘girly stuff’ so we’ll start with some manly grouting, grrrr!

We chose Marrakech tiles from Tons of Tiles (whose image I’ve borrowed) for our kitchen splash back.

2015/01/img_5006.jpgThe tiling was done a while ago, but we’d not got round to doing the grouting, mainly because the tiles are made to look like nine small individual tiles, as there is terracotta ‘grout’ between the tiles, we needed a similar colour to avoid the actual grout looking screamingly obvious. We only needed a really small amount of coloured grout so sourced some powder pigment to mix with standard grout.
2015/01/img_50021.jpgOnce I’d mixed in the pigment the grout was more atomic orange than terracotta, I added acrylic paint until i reached a near perfect match, does that make the man-job girly?

2015/01/img_50041.jpg I tried a couple of different sized spatulas to get the grout in, but found it was best to bite the bullet and get my hands in there.

2015/01/img_50071.jpg Once done, we were able to replace the socket cover. Ta da!

2015/01/img_5034.jpgWe also put the new new blackboard up. Annoyingly, I’ve not taken any photographs of this project, but as I was unable to find a vintage looking blackboard at a reasonable price, I decided to make one.

2015/01/img_5019.jpgI’d found an old pin board in the attic when we first moved in and it was about the right size, we took the board from the frame and used it as a template to have a sheet of steel cut to size, we then covered it in blackboard vinyl and popped into the frame. So we now have a magnetic blackboard for just a few pounds. I’ve since found a local company Chalkboards UK that does a similar thing which I may well have used if I’d known they were there! Perhaps I’ll get them to make me something for the Craft Room.

On a roll with blackboards, I hung this dinky Ebay unit on the inside of the pantry door, it’s really just for the shopping list etc. but quite handy with it’s little pocket and hooks.

2015/01/img_5026.jpgWe put a couple of hooks under the new shelves to hold our new mugs, in an attempt to reduce washing up we’ve both got an initial mug, and it’s against Lansdowne law to use anything else!


I’ve also finally got the fabric sorted for the kitchen sofa and bench seat, so we can now get on with making those! The heather linen will be for the seat pads, the rest will be for cushions and chair seat pads. The Harris tweed cushion was bought on our pre-Christmas visit to Edinburgh, I could do with getting a bit of this fabric to tie in elsewhere.

2015/01/img_5023.jpg We also fitted the ceiling in the downstairs bathroom, the whole house now has ceilings, oh the luxury!

2015/01/img_5028.jpg Lastly for this weekend, we attempted to fill a hairline crack in the craft room, guess what…the plaster fell off. I’d hoped those days were behind us but seems not, on the plus side, it’s interesting to see where the old and new parts of the house meet.


Pairs Of Chairs & Total Despair…

Once upon a time, after a little too much Pinterest, it seemed a good idea to have a mismatch of chairs around kitchen the table. Easy & cheap right? Nope. We wanted a mix of half a dozen vintage school / industrial kinda chairs which you would think would be easy enough to curate, though turns out it’s really difficult to get a mix that are different, but have something in common. We decided we’d aim for three pairs rather than singles as these tend to sit together a little easier. The first chair we picked up was this French school chair from Malvern antiques fair, I think we gave about £35 for it which seems about the going rate.

2015/01/img_2549.jpgI found a partner for it on Ebay this week, for just £10. Bargain #smugface. Arrived, and erm…yeah…it’s not the same #goddamnit. I’m now on the search for an actual partner, if I’m successful, I’ll sell on the new one, it can stay a while in the meantime.

2015/01/img_4963.jpgSort of following the school chair theme, the second chair we bought was a teachers chair, when we went to collect it I wasn’t overly keen, but after a bit of time, stripping and polishing it’s grown on us. It also occurred to me it could essentially be a carver type chair, so another would be nice, and then they could reside at either end of the table…

2015/01/img_2591.jpgUnexpectedly, after a bit of shameless Tweeting I tracked down a partner for him, so I’m now the proud owner of two teachers chairs.

2015/01/img_4946.jpg The one on the right is still in Wales, minor detail hey. Both of these cost £15, they need upholstering once fabric is decided, but that’s a whole other post. So that’s four (three technically, but I’m on it) down and two to go…Next I tried a chapel chair in the mix.

2015/01/img_3477.jpg I renovated this and love it, but it’s not right at all, it’s too dinky and delicate. It’s destined for a bedroom I think. I’ve also got two of these wiggly back chairs that were my Grandma’s.

2015/01/img_4962.jpg My Grandma had them painted white, I’ve stripped off the paint but I’ve still to polish them. They also need recovering, but it will take a good while to strip off all Grandma’s layers of coverings…she was indecisive too. I’ll see what they look like once they are done, but not looking like these will take a part in the line up…oh well, there will be plenty of places to sit in the bedrooms.

Looking Up…

We (the royal we) have been beavering away getting the ceilings ship-shape. I was totally and utterly convinced that at some point during the renovation the lounge ceiling would dramatically fall down and bring my beautiful coving with it, but actually, it’s ok! The result is thanks to scrim tape, sanding, plaster, sanding, plaster, sanding, painting, sanding… It needs a couple more coats of emulsion to stop the original distemper discolouring the finished ceiling but it’s looking fantastic.

This is how it used to look…


And now…no holes, no cracks!


We’ve also finished the kitchen ceiling…


This is big news when you’ve learned to live with this…!


Hopefully we’ll have the spot lights in place shortly. While all this work on the ceilings has been going on, I’ve been filling every coving crack and hole in sight with putty, as a result, I estimate our home is now constructed of a good 10% putty.

Hitting the wall…and other areas of the house.

So, this weekends checklist:

1. Kitchen delivery – Check, what better to be doing at 7.02 on a Saturday morning.
2. Kitchen fitting quotation – Check (under budget!)
3. Ebay kitchen bar stool purchase – Fail (‘sniper’ app failed to snipe!)
4. Holly tree felling – Fail (gardener didn’t turn up, currently 37hrs late)
5. First plaster coat – Check
6. Kitchen wall renovation – Almost check (ran out of brick acid…and patience)
7. Ebay window purchase – What? It wasn’t on the list?! Erm… Check!
8. Ebay mirror purchase – Check (I’m a better Ebayer than the app!)
9. Scrap metal collection – Fail, apparently our local scrap dealers only work weekdays!
10. Coffee trunk listed on Ebay – Check (to pay for the window, obvs)
11. Ebay corner cupboard purchase – Check
12. Collect light bulbs from Post Office – Fail

Kitchen delivery: Ikea turned up on time to deliver the kitchen, slightly concerned by the minimal volume of the boxes – currently all stacked in the downstairs loo! Seems Ikea really are the masters of compact packing, or half the order is missing, we’ll find out soon enough.

Kitchen fitting: Looks like Miles will be our kitchen fitter of choice, likely to start a week on Saturday as we have another weekends snagging to do before they start.

Kitchen stools: I smugly trotted off shopping safe in the knowledge my super-duper new app would get my stools for the best possible price. Seems I should have stuck to the old method as someone else got these beauties for £15 each, raged!

20140223-220759.jpg Tree felling: The tree surgeon failed to show, maybe he fell out of a tree?! He did arrive earlier in the week to clear the garden though, not quite sure how he did it, but looks like there’s been some sort of apocalypse!

Plaster: Ronnie filled all the holes the electricians made, ready to be skimmed by the proper plasterer.

Kitchen wall: This is to be exposed brick, but was covered in a huge amount of mortar and plaster. I used brick acid to break down the mortar, washed it off and scrubbed with a wire brush for HOURS! Needs a few more hours work and then a coat of sealant, really pleased so far though.


(Accidental) window purchase: I accidentally bought this for the wall between the kitchen and alcove.


(Intended) mirror purchase: I’ve been after one of these mirrors for a while, usually about £195, I’ve picked up this one for £80, kerching!

20140223-223819.jpg Scrap metal: What sort of a scrap dealer does not work weekends?! They don’t make them like they used to. The scrap pile has grown further over the weekend and now includes the old fridge freezer. The lot should have gone when we get back from work.


Coffee trunk listing: I’m sad to let this one go, but although this house is twice the size of the cottage I bought the trunk for, it just won’t fit anywhere.


Corner cupboard purchase: Ikea strangely, only make wall corner cupboards in white, so I’ve been on the lookout for something I can paint to tie in. This is what I’ve bought…

20140223-222311.jpg This has already been ‘up-cycled’ (as the cool kids say) and I was intending to get something I could renovate myself, but this was a bargain and just needs painting in a slightly darker colour.

Light bulb collection: Getting dimable bulbs has been a nightmare, and an expensive one at that! Delivery was attempted while we were out, so I went to collect them from the Post Office, which, apparently closes at 11.53am, not 12.00. Oh well, we’ll wait until next week then, light is over-rated anyway.

Kitchen / Diner…



We’ve just knocked through our kitchen and breakfast room. Current quandary is whether to knock through again into the lobby… Hmm.

So last night saw the removal of the rest of the wooden frame, oh, and the lights!


Tomorrow, the master of the house, is knocking through to the lobby. I’m unsure, I quite like it separate, as I love this little cubby hole…


The wall has to stay to the right, so we are shortening the wall rather than losing it completely, which he assures me, is the best of both worlds. Well we’ll soon find out when I’m home from work tomorrow. Cross your fingers!

Update y’all! Wall gone, I like it.


Bit sad the lobby has gone, but consoling myself searching for a reclaimed glass door, and a panel to pop in the wall of the alcove. Plus, Dottie cat seems quite happy, so all is well.

Settling in…

We’ll, we’ve been here a few weeks now. Feel very happy and very much at home. Loving discovering our new home’s history. So far we’ve mainly been stripping plaster in prep for the DPC so it’s actually looking quite a lot worse than it did when we arrived… No pain no gain though hey? Today we stripped the hall ceiling rose, who’d have thought there was something so delicate under all those layers of gloop? Fancy a historical fact? (Warning, there will be more) Apparently, the holes in roses were piped to outside wall to keep a flow of air within the room. We have knocked the breakfast room through to the kitchen, looks good, well good might be a bit strong… But has potential.