Library Update…

It’s been a while…despite my best intentions, the WordPress App seems to have gremlins, anyone else had problems?

Anyway, there’s a lot to catch up on…none of it very glamorous I’m afraid, but that’s the way it goes.

We’ve been busy in the library preparing for plastering. I’ve been Chief Chimney Restorer, recent duties have included chipping out the old mortar using a chisel attachment on the drill, followed by lots of scrubbing and finally treating the brickwork with acid to clean it up. The basic brick acid process is to wire brush the brick faces to release any loose mortar, then paint on a coat of brick acid which fizzes over the surface dislodging and dissolving mortar (it’s supposed to be diluted, but I use it neat… I’m a busy girl!) Leave the acid on for 15 mins or so and then rinse off with water and a floor brush. Here’s our brickwork before and after treatment…

We then set about chiseling out the damaged bricks at the base of the arch that we uncovered when we removed the old fireplaces. We’re planning to replace the damaged bricks with some we found strewn around the garden so they don’t look too incongruous against the originals. For now, we’ve put a prop in place just in case, we’ve worked too hard for the house to fall down now! 

Next job was to replace the mortar. The mix is made from sand, cement, plasticiser and water, mixed with a paddle mixer. The mix then went into a mortar gun, a simple but genius tool. If we’d had this to grout our kitchen floor it would have saved a boat load of work! 

Run lines of mortar into place & smooth over and, well…that’s about it! I’ve taken out a bit more than I should so that the brick faces protrude slightly, I didn’t want the mortar to look too new & prominent.

The bricks now need another treatment of brick acid to clean them up again and then need sealing, but it’s already looking much better than it did. 

We’ve put plasterboard up above the picture rail to cut down on plastering costs. Quite momentous as we’ve now reached the stage where any brickwork exposed is visible because we want it to be. It doesn’t feel that long since every room was bare brick.


The plasterer should be back in the next week or two and should get the room finished over a weekend. We’ll then have to sand the floor. Grim. I’m thinking ahead to the design of the room. We’ll be using my leather sofas from my last house, together with the chair we had reupholstered and the globe we found in Stroud and I’m hoping to throw in Fired Earth’s ‘Carbon Blue’ &  I’m loving this watercolour print fabric from Villa Nova. 

Finally, I’m excited to be part of the Amara Design Awards! If you’d like yo vote for Lansdowne Revisited, pls click the button below…thank you! 

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.