Slightly Magic Carpet…

So it turns out the Magic Carpet is a little bit magic, but we’ll both be going to work on Monday morning. We had it appraised via Value My Stuff, it’s a really simple online service allowing you to upload images and whatever information you have available on your item, within two days you’ll receive a little history on your item and of course, a valuation. Here’s ours…


Magic Carpet…?

When we first moved into Lansdowne we found all sorts of weird and wonderful stuff, but as we’ve pulled down walls and pulled up floors we’re slowly reaching the last of the finds. The lounge had not one, but three layered carpets…

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/180/57909570/files/2014/12/img_4824.jpg When we peeled back the carpets we found this rug…

It’s in surprisingly good condition with quite vibrant colours remaining, I know nothing at all about carpets or rugs, I’m guessing it might be 1920s as it’s slightly larger than the shadow of an earlier Victorian rug.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/180/57909570/files/2014/12/img_4822.jpgThere is a dark stained border around the perimeter of the room which would have been done in 1901 as a mark of respect following the death of Queen Victoria. That will be fun when we strip the floor…

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/180/57909570/files/2014/12/img_4827.jpg I’ve sent a few images of the rug out to see what I can find out about it, if there’s no updates for a while, assume we’ve hit the big time and gone to Monte Carlo!

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…


And now…


It has some beautiful hand carved details…


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!


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.


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


It still has the original letterbox…


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


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.


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


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.

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!

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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:

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.

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…

Pre-Christmas Skiving Weekend…

There was no post this weekend, we went away to Shropshire to stay somewhere with heating… What a treat! We stayed in a little cottage in the grounds of Hennell Hall, we stayed in ‘Butler’s a Quarters’ which had the most incredibly comfy bed, a log burner and a hot tub overlooking the lake, perfect!

The lovely warm cottage has made me feel even colder at home, especially when the gas people called to say we’re looking at installation in late March, as they need to close the road to run gas to the house… We’ll be popular then! While exploring we did a little vintiquing, it would have been rude not to, we purchased these little lovelies…

This candle holder, which stands about 3.5 foot tall, and this lovely linen fabric, £4 each, can’t say fairer than that. Dottie was not impressed, but I was.

There’s not too much we can do on the house at the moment, we just have people coming in and out quoting on major works. Lots of tea and tape measures. We came home this morning and decided to go tree shopping. I was a little over enthusiastic with the height of our ceilings, after spending the last few years in a cottage, the ceilings here feel as high as the sky… Evidently not quite, the hole in the ceiling plaster allowed it to squeeeeze in, just. One of my relatives told me my Great Uncle used to say ‘If you are going to have one, have a big ‘un’, so Uncle Peter, this ones for you!


Finally for the day, I’ve put one of my favourite Lansdowne finds on the mantle… The Nativity collection we found in a cake tin in the attic…

We seem to be a donkey or two short, and some of the animals are of questionable scale, but I think it rocks!

Slow News Week…

Feels like there been little progress this week, at least aesthetically anyway. We’ve been busy getting in quotes for re-wire (under budget, whoop!), arranging for gas to be fitted and for roof to be patched. Seems winter arrived this week and the reality of spending it in a house with no heating is starting to set in, we’re committed now so just need to stop feeling sorry for myself and get on with it… It’s still going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better!

I’ve also spent far too long figuring out how to make this bloody blog look nice… I’m getting there!

We spent yesterday stripping wallpaper from the lounge, a thankless task as there were several dull layers of painted paper, I’ve quite enjoyed stripping back layers of history in the other rooms, in this one though just orange and lilac paint. We did see however that the coving used to be black…hmm. The chimney breast was the last place to strip, the plaster came off with the paper, as did a little of the coving, but I think I can repair it. A chunk of plaster from the bedroom chimney place above also came down in sympathy. Roll on decorating phase.



Today we needed to remove the rest of the paper from the ceiling and race to pull down the rough section above the window before it falls on our heads or squashes the cat.

Later that day…

So only a little bit of the ceiling came down, which was a bonus. We blew up yet another wallpaper stripper (averaging one per room currently) and I tore a hole in my amazing pink boiler suit…sad times.


The room feels bigger and brighter already, homework for the week is to do the last bit of paper scraping in there, and hopefully attack the ceiling rose (eek) in readiness to do it all again next weekend in the library, oh the joys!


Lounge Fireplace…

There has been some discussion deciding if this fireplace is original. It looks a little bit odd, not as substantial as you’d expect, and somehow, not quite ‘right’. On Thursday, I discovered this little plaque under several layers of paint ( like everything else in this place!), bit of nitromors and we had a makers name.


After much Googling, (I did warn you there would be more historical facts) I found that this fireplace was made in Birmingham by John Parker, around the turn of the century. Old Parker patented system of ‘adjustable mantels’, in essence he flogged various parts for one to assemble as suited… A predecessor of Ikea if you will. Here is the patent application:

This explains why it looks a bit odd and lacks the expected Victorian rules of proportion, but concludes it’s original and therefore it gets to stay – Lucky thing! Next to worry about what lies behind the black board (don’t get excited, I’ve peeked, nothing stunning!) and get a working fireplace in, oh, after we’ve rebuilt the chimney, of course.