Rain Stops Play…

What a week! It’s been a non-stop but fun few days. Starting on Thursday evening I took a cookery glass learning to make Dosa at the Loaf Community Bakery & Cookery School. It was great fun and I feel pretty confident I’ll be able to make the five dishes which we learned at home… One day. There was also the opportunity to purchase some of their ridiculously good bread, the sourdough is amazing and I’ll be on another class soon to learn how to make that!
Friday evening was tidy up and prep night. Boo. But we had the Dosas for dinner. Yay!
Saturday morning was set to see the arrival of Dennis the plasterer and the scaffold guys, the rain and wind were so bad the scaffold got pushed back until Sunday. One out of three ain’t bad, and Dennis got the lounge finished and rough coated the hall. It’s good to see the back of those holes! 20140610-194014-70814820.jpgRonnie filled holes in the kitchen ceiling. My dad painted the cloakroom. I peeled paint off the library ceilng rose, it needs a little more attention, but it’s difficult to know when to stop given that we’ll eventually be admiring it from eight feet below, rather than eight inches below, atop the ladder. The difference is quite dramatic, who’d have thought such detail lay below the gloop?

20140610-195657-71817991.jpgI also peeled paint off the stools we bought at the flea market, then waxed the seats (I may have used a tiny bit off wood dye to give the new wood a little, erm, heritage!) I’m really pleased with the results, a nice little bargain!

The scaffold guys arrived on Sunday morning and spent the whole day erecting the scaffold up to the chimneys. These pictures show it from the side and front elevations.


I planned to climb up to have a good look around, but was only brave enough to go onto the first staging. Ronnie clambered up and descended looking a worried man, not because of the dizzy heights, but because of the state of the roof. There are holes and dodgy slates everywhere. The ridge tiles are all in place, so that’s one positive.

20140610-200224-72144756.jpg The builder is due to start tomorrow rebuilding both chimneys. He’ll be taking them down, cleaning off the bricks and rebuilding, hopefully straighter! Once that’s done we have to climb up the scaffolding and drop down chimney liners, and ‘pop’ this crowning glory (yet another Ebay purchase) on the top, eek!


The sun has got his hat on…

The sun has been out this weekend, and so have we, we may, therefore be slightly behind schedule. Oh well! We went on a drive into the countryside to see what we might find, and this is what we found…

20140518-115853-43133021.jpg This little Victorian cupboard, he needs a bit of a make-over but will be useful.

20140518-120247-43367258.jpg These potential kitchen floor tiles, not the anticipated slate, but they have scope, samples ordered so we’ll review when they arrive.

20140518-121117-43877358.jpg This plate, which I later realised I was drawn to as my Grandma had a matching jardiniere and this dinky kitchen weight, which I have no use for what so ever. We also had the nice man from the local wood reclamation shop come round to price up renovating our front door and fireplaces, we’ll be booking him in shortly.

20140518-122448-44688845.jpg Guys have also been round to quote on rebuilding the chimneys, I’m adamant that the front one should be rebuilt as it currently is, complete with brick patterns.

20140518-122447-44687893.jpg The back one (which makes me feel a little sick whenever I look at it) is easier. We had planned to leave these until we do the roof and loft conversion to save on scaffolding costs, but doing the chimneys now means we can drop liners down and take the library and lounge fireplaces to conclusion which will be super. Finally I’ve had a profitable week selling some old furniture on Ebay, creating some space and adding to my dining table fund! As much as we’d love to spend the rest of the afternoon lazing in the sun, we need to get hallway prepped for plasterers to quote. No rest for the renovater!

We must catch up more…

Blogging has been erratic at best over the last couple of weeks, I guess we’ve been busy doing rather than recording. This post should bring us bang up to date, so here’s a quick checklist of our recent antics…are you sitting comfortably?

1. Hung the acorn birdhouse in the apple tree, god love Anthropologie, though it strangely feels a little less special now it’s in London.

2. Hung the doorbell at the tradesmen’s entrance.

3. Pondered buying these lights for the kitchen from Ebay. Any thoughts?!

Until I saw these today I was dead set on these prismatic shades from Artifact Lighting (beautiful products) but now I’m in two minds… Decisions, decisions!

20140427-183026.jpg4. Planted a LOT of herbs, we had these old sinks from our previous properties. The garden won’t get too much attention this year, so it’s slowly turning in to Pottsville…we need a little prettiness out there!

5. Bought a garden bench, currently proving popular for visitors to the kitchen.

6. Found more printing blocks in the garden, this time cottages and map elements.

7. Finished window frame, these show it from both sides, the arch cubby hole is now my favourite part of the house.


8. Rough plastered all downstairs walls, covering damp proof and rewire damage. Next stop skimming.

9. Replaced the bay window board. It was previously a nasty patterned Formica.

Who could resist this 70s floral effort?

It was a two-man job to replace it.

It’s now base-coated MDF. Much lighter and makes the best of the window. There are paw prints on the paintwork though… I wonder who did that?!

10. Spent another seven hours on the ceiling rose, can you even tell?! I’m on a mission to finish this next week.

11. Fitted the ceiling extractor fan above the hob. Quite pleased as it creates a bit more of a divide between kitchen and dining areas. I’ll like it even more when it works.

12. Searched, and searched, and searched some more for some bar stools, these are the current forerunners.

And with that, I conclude this week’s changes…see you next week!

Fireplace update…

Some time ago we attacked the Library Fireplace , well, we (the Royal we) have been at it again. After Ronnie got a little hammer-happy it now looks like this…

The rest of it needs clearing this weekend, amazed that the arch hasn’t fallen down, but it’s in a sorry old state cosmetically. We found a dinky old gas pipe in the fireplace, so there must have been gas into the house at some point in it’s history, when we were digging we found a mangled old lead pipe which much have been the supply. I’ve also wondered what these little pipes were in the lounge…

20140426-094318.jpg After a bit of research it has been decided they are pipes for gas lighting which was commonplace amongst the middle classes until the 1930s, when they decided they’d had quite enough blackened ceilings (wonder if that is why there is SO much paint on our ceiling roses?!) and house fires.

20140426-095047.jpg (Image from http://www.Victorianadverts.com) I’d imagine the glass company owners that lived here in Victorian times had some stunning gasoliers, I wonder what more we’ll find out about the history of our home?

Easter Weekend

Easter weekend has been lovely, plus, we’ve had some lovely eggs, doesn’t everyone get goose eggs for Easter?! .

20140421-223521.jpgI’ve spent about 10 hours atop the ladder chip chip chipping away at the lounge ceiling rose. This is it before I started…

I’m all for an easy life so I’ve tried a few suggestions to speed up the process, including copious amounts of steam and Peelaway, basically, I found these made a nasty job even nastier, and there’s little substitute for good ol’ elbow grease and a sharp scalpel.

20140420-214448.jpgThis picture shows the 125 year old build up of distemper, paint and general gloop. This is how it’s looking this evening, still a long way to go, but looking much crisper. Only the rest of this one, and the one in the library to do, grr!

In other news, the carpenter turned up, six days late (what is it with these tradesmen?!) but he’s done a great job of fitting the stained glass window between the dining area and arch…

20140420-220144.jpg Needs finishing off tomorrow, but think it’s going to look amazing when lit at night, I was dead against that wall coming down, but it’s made a great little space, dare I say I was wrong!?

20140420-220316.jpg Like the carpenter, the gardener is also running late, he was coming to do some prep at 7pm last Thursday… Still no word, must be stuck in traffic…

Let there be light… And no plaster dust.

And on the hundredth day (approximately, give or take a dozen) there was light. Yes, the electricians have left the building, woo hoooo! I am not missing the mess they created, or the odd things that were happening before completion of the new circuits, like switches controlling lights in other rooms, or the epic failure of the new remote control bedroom lights to work… Oh, except when any of the neighbours locked their cars or we turned over the tv, then the lights came on full beam! Pleased with our bedroom wall lights, a step closer to the coveted hotel-feel, though currently not the standard of hotel room one would actually choose to occupy.

20140209-204902.jpg It’s also great to have proper lighting in the kitchen (though we’re about 10 bulbs short – Who knew it was so difficult to get a bulb these days?!) and at last get rid of the old electrics clinging onto beams meaning we can fully open the room now.

20140209-205128.jpg The lights outside look good too, it’s great to be able to light the courtyard at last.

20140209-205232.jpg The clutter you see in the foreground is what 7 (yes 7) Economy Heaters look like once they’ve been opened up, stripped of their refractory bricks and strewn into the yard. That was a fun afternoon.

20140209-205847.jpg Also this week our poor little house got stitched together, but on the plus side, it shouldn’t crack anymore. I thought I’d be putting up photos of this process, but the guys got through the work so quickly and efficiently, there was actually nothing to see. I seriously need to find out what vacuum cleaner they have…not a trace of plaster dust! The electricians could learn a lot from these dudes! This is the hallway with the addition of the Helifix bars.

The bars are fitted neatly between the bricks then covered over again.

These will solve our higgeldy-piggeldy bricks. We’ve had the same process on the gable end of the house as it was bowing outward. There’s hardly a trace of the work which is great as the brickwork is so intricate I was worried it would be spoiled. Most exciting news of the week is that my radio’s extreme-makeover is complete… Ta-da!