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…

Before…

 

During…

  

After…

 

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

 

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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.  

 

Chairs and Despair – Again!

I have another chair to discuss…please try to contain your excitement.

About a million years ago, I saw a beautiful chair upholstered in grey velvet in an overpriced antique store, it was love at first sight but at £1200, buying it would have been ridiculous, I had no where to keep it, plus as I’d recently re-upholstered a Lloyd Loom blanket box I figured a chair wouldn’t be too much more demanding. Ahem. So, a few weeks later my Shire Sourcing Executive secured me a big brown bear of a chair in auction for the princely sum of £60.  

 A weekend upholstery course was booked, and off I went to complete my chair. My first course was at the wonderful Peak Upholstery, which is a little like spending a few days in Country Homes magazine, with the added advantages of delicious baking, homegrown fayre and the company of a small menagerie of characterful pets, oh, did I forget to mention upholstery tuition? It soon became apparent my chair was going to take substantially longer than the four days of the course, give or take a few weeks it’s taken me four years! I’ve been back to see Angie a few times since and loved every minute. More recently, I’ve been attending day courses at my local arts centre under the watchful eye of Fiona, of Interiors Experience. Perhaps by coincidence, there is delicious cake there too and occasionally pets…!

There are so many stages to a project like this that I could literally write a book, that would not however, be a good idea as I’ve forgotten many of the processes, but for those that are interested, here are a few of the milestones…  

  

And here it is finished, it really deserves better surroundings, it will one day take pride of place in the bedroom, but for now it’s being mothballed under dust sheets for safe keeping.

 

  

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.

A Year In The Life…

A year (and possibly a fortnight, y’all know how it is) after we got the keys for Lansdowne I thought I’d show progress room by room compared with the estate agents photos. Some rooms are much better, some much, much worse…

LOUNGE…

Agents Photo…

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It Got Worse…

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And Now…

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We’ve stripped millions of layers of paper, chipped off plaster, had DPC fitted and replastered. Skirtings have all been removed, repaired or replaced. Ceiling has been sanded and filled (x 5). Room has been rewired and had central heating fitted. Fire surround has been stripped. Fireplace has been opened out and had liner fitted. We’ve done first coats on all walls.

Still to do…

Floorboards to be stripped. Fire to be fitted. Final decoration. Window repairs booked for Spring…followed by blinds and curtains. Lighting to be fitted.

LIBRARY…

Agents Photo…

IMG_4431.JPG And Now…

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Prob best we gloss over this one! In here, we’ve had Helifix supports on outer wall, DPC internally, taken out THREE fireplaces, stripped ceiling rose…and then filled the room full of crap! This room will be replastered once aforementioned crap is dispersed to the relevant rooms.

KITCHEN…

Agents Photo…

IMG_4430.JPGAnd Now…

IMG_4642.JPGWe’ve knocked down a few walls, exposed a brick wall, put DPC in some walls, windows in others, replastered and painted. We’ve had new windows, taken down, insulated and renewed the ceiling, rewired, fitted (arguably too much) lighting, fitted floor, heating, shelves, oh and fitted a kitchen!

Still to do…

Grouting and sealing of floor, replacing socket covers, paint snagging , door fitting (I have more Ebaying to confess to…) a MASSIVE clean up operation and then, ladies and gentlemen, we’ll have a room finished! Yes that’s right, finished! I’ll do a game show worthy reveal post in the next couple of weeks.

BREAKFAST ROOM…

Agents Photo…

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And Now…

IMG_4647.JPGThe breakfast room is no more… It’s now part of the kitchen diner, as is the funny little atrium that used to be at the top of the hall. The cupboard door is the same, but everything around it has changed. We’ll be fitting a wood burner where Dottie cat is sitting after Christmas.

GUEST BEDROOM…

Agents Photo…

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And Now…

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We’ve taken off plaster, retired, replastered, fitted heating and knocked out the fireplace.

Still to do…

Fit new fireplace, sand floor, repair the ceiling, decorate and disperse junk.

GARDEN…

Agents Photo…

IMG_4426-0.JPGAnd Now…

IMG_4465-0.JPGWe’ve nuked the weeds three times, each time they came back with avengance. Finally we laid black polythene down for 6 months, which we have on excellent authority, will kill the weeds, dead. We also had the huge holly tree taken down. The garden will be fully landscaped, hopefully, though rather optimistically for next Summer.

Windows, Wires & Webbing…

The old (ish) windows at the back of the house are now gone, I thought I’d be quite sad, as aesthetically they were ok, but in terms of energy efficiency and security were rock bottom. We chose Georgian style replacements, though we’ve no idea what would have been there originally.

20140126-184830.jpg I’m really quite pleased with the results. Much lighter than I was expecting and due to a few little suggestions from the fitters, they open really easily, the deep bay in the kitchen had been impossible to reach previously. We also had the old breakfast room door replaced. Our neighbours told us when they moved in they had the original door there, which was a stunning stained glass piece. We however, had a horrid, rotting, wooden door. We decided to replace it with skinny French doors, the fitters warned us against this as they were worried about seeing more frame than glass, but they actually look really good. They will work really well as we wanted to be able to leave the doors open onto the courtyard in Summer, but a regular door would have opened onto the library window. I’m not very fond of the Georgian detail in the top pane, I’d assumed it would be clear. Lesson learned… Spec EVERYTHING!

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I did take the time to do a full design for the front door, as I wasn’t confident the guys had grasped quite what I wanted, seems this paid off as we’ve got pretty much what we asked for, with the added advantage of a handle, which I left off plan!

20140126-190419.jpg The neighbours popped round to say they love it, hopefully our house won’t be the ugly duckling of the street for too much longer!

Also this week the rewire has begun, there are floorboards and holes all over the place, and every floor, wall and ceiling is strewn with wires like gigantic grey spaghetti.

20140126-190717.jpg The cat seems to think she is living in some sort of feline theme park, her current party trick is burrowing down from the craft room floor and emerging in the top pantry cupboard, I’ve given up worrying what she gets up to, as there’s little we can do to prevent it!

Every evening we’ve been marking out switch and socket positions, it feels luxurious to be able to have everything exactly where we want it. Also great to get back from work and see there’s been progress in our absence as there are now plenty of people on site. We’ve marked out the kitchen too, though I got told off by Ronnie for drawing on the cupboards as apparently text would have sufficed and my pictures are neither professional or necessary… They make me snigger though.

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We’ve met a couple a few houses down who have a similar level of work to do as us. We actually viewed their (beautiful) house before we bought this ours, at the time we were scared off by the amount of work required, though a year or so later we jumped in with both feet into a similar wreck! It’s going to be good to potter down and see what they are up to, and I’m sure they will be pottering to ours too.

Finally for this week, a quick update on my upholstery project, aka ‘The Damn Chair’. There was a class locally yesterday, so I had a few hours off renovation, at least of the bricks and mortar variety. I’ll post more about this project at some point as it’s a long, long story, but here he is at close of play yesterday:

20140126-191819.jpg After several years and more money than I dare think about, it’s very nearly there!