Library Update…Volume Three

Between us, we have so much ‘stuff’ picked up from antiques shops, travelling or ‘donations’ from friends the library seemed the ideal place to use them. When I decorated my last house everything matched, too much, now I’m much more about a ‘curated’ look. All we’ve bought new for this room is the fabric for the blind…and even that was from Ebay! 

The first item in was our Victorian Pub Shelf which we were kindly given. It originally came from an old local pub, The Bell. I expect this shelf would have been in the pub when this photo was taken.   


The shelf still needs a good wax and polish, but looks great and adds some real character to the room, as well as providing storage for some of our (excessive?!) alcohol collection.


The leather sofa, chair & cushions have been reused from my last house. We’ve been able to get the globe and picture that we found on weekends away over the last year or so out of the attic and found homes for them. 


The pink chair has also come to live in the library, adding a much needed splash of colour.  


The funny little Indonesian table & the painting we bought in Oslo have also found their home in the library.


The shelves now display our books & ornaments…I think they will evolve as we add to our eclectic collection. 

Other oddments lurking around, including our giant candle holder, copper pot and some plaster mouldings we bought in a junk shop in Sri Lanka. 

There is still a bit of snagging to do, including the strip lights under the shelves, making the window blind and a repair to the coving, but we’ve come a long way from the smelly, damp room we used to have…







Most importantly, Dottie cat loves lounging in the library…winning. 


Library Update… Volume Two

So, we left off where the chimney breast had been repointed but still needed brick repairs, that has now been down, and a little more besides. 

I was dubious, but the ever-thrifty Ronnie insisted on repairing the brickwork ourselves, off he went with his drill and a few hours later there was a uneasy looking gap in the arch. 


We didn’t want new or even reclaimed bricks that would look incongruous with the original bricks, so wherever possible, we turned and reused bricks. A few more hours and a lot of mess later, we were done. I’m really pleased with the result. I like that that it doesn’t look too perfect, it still bears the scars of the fireplaces we ripped out, but they are just that…scars, rather than the big gaping wounds that were there before. A few hours with a bucket of brick acid got the bricks looking good, we finished them with some matt brick varnish.

The next job was to level off the floor so that we could lay the hearth bed. We built a frame from some timber which was loosely screwed into place.


We then filled the cavity with several buckets of cement and left it to settle, level and dry over a weekend.  

I’d anticipated a brightly coloured tiled hearth, we got in loads of samples but none looked quite right with the brickwork, eventually we decided to use some left over stone from the kitchen floor.

Next was to have the walls plastered, the guy that did the rest of the house had gone to USA for a couple of months, so we used a locally recommended guy who did an adequate, but not great job as all the filler patching in the later pictures show!

The floor was sanded and given 5 or 6 coats of varnish. We used clear varnish and the floor came up a lovely honey colour.  


Paint was the next decision, I’ve been inspired by Abigail Aherns signature dark walls & as this is our second reception room we felt we could be a little braver with our depth of colour. Instead of the usual small fortune spent on tester pots we jumped straight in with a dark purple we had mixed. Big mistake. Once it was dry it just looked…well, cheap. So off I went to spend a small fortune on tester pots of more sophisticated colours, we eventually chose a tertiary purple. It’s taken a bit of getting used to, but we love it now.  


Last big job was to fit shelves into the alcoves. Ronnie did this by sinking steel rods into the wall and cutting them to length with the angle grinder, I left the house at that point!


We then cut the shelves to size and slid them onto the rods, secured with epoxy resin & painted them and we were pretty much there. You’ll see we’ve also had a log burner fitted. Next, dressing the room!