Door Renovations…

It’s been sooo long since I last blogged, it’s turned into winter! As ever, there’s been a lot going on, I don’t really know where to start with the update. The newly dipped doors are a good a place as any I guess… We had the doors stripped for around £30 each, which seemed much more sensible than spending a similar amount on Nitromors and wire wool do do it ourselves. We had them waxed but they still seem quite thirsty so I’m giving them a goat of Danish oil now and again. 

Lounge door, we replaced the handle with a beehive style modern version. The stripping revealed the ghost of an old finger plate, so we sourced a beautiful replacement from eBay.

  

Guest bedroom, these door handles had been painted, I thought it would be worth stripping them to see if they had potential before replacing them. They came out really well, revealing tortoise shell Bakelite. 

   

 

Master bedroom, this door was also stripped, I need to source an original brass door knob that will fit through the lock. All of our original bedroom doors have hefty locks on them, those Victorians must have been rather worried about nocturnal assailants. 

 

None of the door furniture will match, it would be pretty much impossible unless we went for full repro which we don’t really want to do, so we’re just picking up stuff we like as we see it. I have these two push plates to find a home for… 

 

So far I’m not sure where we’ll put them, but here they are in their previous home.  

An old theatre somewhere in Yorkshire, I wonder where all it’s other treasures will end up? 

 

More updates to come soon..Promise. 

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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.

Lounge…

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.  

 

Library…

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…

Kitchen…

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. 

Hotting Up…

In the hottest week of the year so far, we finally got the gas fire fitted in the lounge. The arch had to be partially bricked up and a plate fitted to hold the flue in place. As usual, the installation wasn’t straightforward, so there’s a little more work to do before it’s finished…

 

We need to reduce the opening of the fire surround slightly more and chip off a little more plaster so allow the fire to sit back against the brickwork. I’ve started to look for an overmantle mirror, doesn’t look like that will be easy either as the fireplace much wider than standard… 

Busy Bees…

These long weekends are giving us a much needed progress boost. 

The lounge isn’t too far off, the floor needs one last round of sanding and varnishing then it’s finally done…We’ll get this sorted in the evenings during the course of the week. 

 

There’s not too much else we can do now in the lounge until the fire is fitted over the next couple of weeks, one task we still needed to do was to make the opening of the mantle piece slightly smaller to avoid a gap between the backplate of the fire once fitted, it’s not an ideal solution as we’d rather not tinker with the mantle piece, but there’s little else that can be done as it’s such a large opening.

 

Ronnie attached some decorative profile oak skirting board to the back of the mantle, it actually blends in quite well and once it’s waxed it should look good. 

While the latest coat of floor varnish was drying we worked on other areas of the house to avoid smudging the finish, though the trail of dinky little paw prints meandering across the gloss suggests Dottie didn’t get the memo. We had a huge clear out from two of the spare rooms in the extension, we plan to get these rooms done quite soon as there’s really only decorating to do as walls and ceilings are sound. 

We busied ourselves doing mist coats on the landing and large guest bedroom,  even though it’s very rough it looks so much more ‘finished’ than bare plaster!  

  

I’ve also done a bit of homework on finding somewhere to get the doors dipped, it’s looking likely to cost around £20 each which was a pleasant surprise, we may as well get them all done at once.

 

The cloakroom got a last coat of paint, it’s now ready and waiting for the photos to go on the wall, followed by towel rail, which will hopefully be done next weekend.

 While hunting round for my bathroom accessories in the attic I finally remembered to hang up the Christmas mistletoe, it apparently brings good luck to a house, I’m not sure it still works if you forget to do it for five months but it’s worth a try, we need all the help we can get! Oh and the bathroom accessories? I found those in the bedroom.  

As the weather was quite nice, I decided I’d sort out the herb pots for half an hour. Five hours later, I’d dug out two bushes, planted more tomatoes, hydrangea & sunflowers, tidied the herbs and rehomed them outside the kitchen door on their own inpromptu wall. Roland if you are reading you better be impressed! 

 

The whole of the courtyard is now looking good, soon the rose will be flowering as it was the day we first viewed the house. The rest of the garden is going a bit, erm…wild, but one thing at a time…I’m going to turn my chair around and enjoy a glass of wine in the nice bit! 

 

Ticking Boxes…

We have got quite a lot done this weekend, including a few things of the snagging list…tick!

We had a couple of gas engineers come to quote on fitting the new fire. Normally our quotes are pretty close, but in this instance one was almost double the other…hmm. We ordered a made to measure hearth of black marble, it should be around a week. In preparation for its arrival Ronnie got rid of some of the old bricks from the base of fire and laid a new cement bed.  

 

Meanwhile, I got on to waxing the fireplace. I used fine wire wool to apply clear beeswax and buffed with the orbital sander. It’s come up a lovely honey colour but needs a lot more work to look it’s best. 

 This image shows the carved roses painted, stripped, waxed and polished. The  polishing has really highlighted the difference in colour of the inlaid wood.  

 

While the mantel was laid flat I was able to clearly see the makers plaque which first allowed us to discover a little of it’s history. 

 

I picked a few flowers whilst I was outdoors and tried to avert my eyes from the  rapidly thickening jungle of a garden. 

  

Oh, and I dug up some mother of petal buttons, about 40mm diameter. I’ll have to use them in a project some time. 

  

Back indoors, we fitted the chandelier in the cloakroom. This came from the bedroom in my cottage. There has been comments that the light be a little ‘overstated’ for the smallest room in the house, thing is, I like overstated!  We also got the floor sealed at last.

 

In the kitchen Ronnie made a trim to cover the gaps between the extractor fan and the ceiling, it needs a final coat of paint and masking removed but looks better already. It’s so satisfying concluding jobs like this.

 

Meanwhile, I sanded the lounge boards again and gave them their final coat of colour. They now need varnishing.  

  

Lastly I chose wallpaper for the boot room, which is a positive step forward as I was in danger of bankrupting the project with excessive sample ordering…

 

To help the decision, I roughly visualised what the shortlist might look like… I love the black and white print on the right, but as the wall is going to accommodate our main coat hook, I’m worried it will soon look dirty, so in conclusion, I’m going with the one on the left from Brian Yates…almost probably certainly.

 

Looooong Weekend…

So, three whole days working on the house, we’ve made progress, but of the preparatory sort rather than interesting sort so I apologise sincerley for the dullest entry to date!

In no particular order…

1. Painted the lounge windows, three coats and counting! I came across a photo from Christmas 2013 earlier, it looks so different now…and the tree hides the worst of it! 

 2. Painted the cloakroom, white, in preparation for our photos to be put up…maybe next weekend? 

3. Grouted the cloakroom floor. We hope to get it cleaned and sealed during the week.

 4. Masticed (it’s a new word, ok?!) the floorboard gaps in the lounge. We matched the colour to the wood, it needs another sanding, another coat of colour and then we start on the yacht varnish.  The mastic will be invisible after all that and will really help with the insulation of the room, and, it leaves little smiley faces on your fingers!

 

5. Dad and I painted the support under the bay window, after it had insulation added. 

6. Finished painting coving in hall. 

Over and out for this week, hopefully some prettier photos soon!

Lounging Around…

I sneaked off site for a few hours yesterday to an Interiors Experience upholstery class, as the dreaded chair is now finished, I dug this footstool out of the attic, I bought it last year with the intention of using it in the lounge as a low table.

 

I had not one, but four suitable yellow fabrics to choose from. After much deliberation, I plumped for a fifties style yellow, white and grey.   

 

I love it the look of this fabric against the stripe I have ready for curtains. I may use the others elsewhere in the room, or they may just languish in the craft room… 

 

The stool only took a couple of hours to do as the foam was in good condition under the old fabric. I just need to paint the legs and it’s ready.  

  
We’ve almost chosen a fire for the lounge, we want to get that in pretty quickly now so that we can get the floor finished. We also pulled off the horrid 1980’s double glazing, leaving behind quite a lot of frame destruction.  

We have also filled all the 207 nail holes in the lounge floor, that was fun. And finally, we managed to mend the extractor fan which we thought was done for, turns out a spacer had fallen from the ceiling and blocked the motor. Oops!   

Another Mixed Bag…

Another week of random progress at Lansdowne. In no particular order;

We have upcycled the Victorian pot cupboard we bought last year, as an under-sink unit. We had to have the carpenter chop a few slices out which seemed a bit of a shame, but it’s hardly museaum quality. Even after modification, there is still plenty of storage space and it looks so much nicer than anything modern… #smug 

 

I’ve also found a home for my a Grandma’s old mirror. I was intending to hang a beautiful etched glass mirror I have from Aunty Doris, my Grandma’s sister, but, A. It looks a little too big for the space and B. I was slightly concerned Aunty D would disapprove of her mirror living in the loo and have us struck by lightening…Grandma wouldn’t mind. 

So far the cloakroom budget is looking good, the floor was done with remnants from the kitchen, the sink was free (don’t ask) , the toilet £5, the cuboard I think we gave about £25 for and the chandelier hung in my bedroom at my last house. Next, is to think about finishing hanging the light (did I mention attempt number one didn’t go quite to plan, it’s hanging, but precariously at best, oh, and it doesn’t light up…hence the dark photograph), decorating the walls, ordering a toilet seat, fitting skirting, grouting floor, putting shelves in the alcove and digging around the attic for our bathroom accessories…damn that’s loads now it’s listed!

I also collected the Parker Knoll from the upholsterer, it’s erm, very pink! I think we’ll have it in the library… Ronnie thinks it will go on a bonfire. Hmm. 

   

We’ve painted ceilings throughout the hallway today and also stained the lounge floorboards, now for lashings and lashings of yacht varnish!  

 

We’ve also been on the hunt for a fire for the lounge, we want something fairly authentic looking, but from the people we’ve spoken to today it appears that there are a couple of issues, firstly the style we had in mind are of very poor efficiency level, averaging around 15%…or perhaps 85% inefficient would be a better description. The second issue is our opening is much bigger than normal, meaning we can’t have a solid cast fire, without messing about with the surround which I wouldn’t be happy with after all the work that’s been done on it… Can nothing be easy?! 

Today’s Progress…

Today we finished sanding the floor, horray! There’s still two more rooms to do, but I’ll worry about those another time…in the distant future.

It was easier than we thought to get rid of the black frame around the perimeter of the room, though as we are staining the boards dark oak, perfection wasn’t the aim. We also got another coat of paint on the ceiling which looks great.  

It finally feels like we’re starting to get somewhere in the lounge, looking back at old photos, we’ve come a long old way! Next stop floor varnishing and choosing a fire.  

I’ve had a (premature) rummage in the attic for accessories for the lounge, I emerged with our holiday photo from Sri Lanka and a set of drawers made by my Great-Grandfather that I restored a couple of years ago.  

 

Floor-Bored…

Today has been spent sanding the lounge floor, it wasn’t much fun.

2015/03/img_5633.jpg Apart from the cakes my Auntie called in with, the highlight of the day was finding we had a dungeon, who knew?! My first job of the day was pulling out all the protruding nails, doing this released a little floorboard , being the inquisitive type I lifted it…

2015/03/img_5630.jpg There is a cavity about six feet square and about three feet deep, with bare earth at the bottom.

2015/03/img_5631.jpg I was slightly concerned by this discovery, but Ronnie assures me this is a perfectly normal Victorian suspended timber floor. After a quick check that there was no hidden treasure (you just never know) the floorboard has been nailed back into place, just incase any trolls try to escape!

2015/03/img_5632.jpg It was impossible to operate the belt and edge sanders together as the electric kept blowing, so while Ronnie carried on I decided to knock the hearth out, the marble was a horrid pink colour and the shadows around it told us it was a non-original imposter.

2015/03/img_5635-0.jpg It lifted out in a solid piece, showing that the original hearth was a good six inches shallower. We’ll look for a replacement nearer to those dimensions. And it won’t be pink.