Hallway Update…

The hallway has been one of the most depressing areas of the house for so long, it needed sooo much work, I’ve spent many hours sitting at the top of the stairs looking down into the hall a foot deep in plaster, air thick with dust and asking myself what the hell we’d done buying this place…this photo doesn’t even show it at its worst!

 

If you are new to the blog, you might want to take a look back at the earlier posts covering the initial works including DPC, Helibars,  plasterwork  and door stripping in the hallway. 

  

FLOOR TILES…

Once the heavy work of rewiring, gas installation, wall strengthening, DPC, replastering & replacement of rotton wood (phew!) was done, we lifted the vile, vile, plaster encrusted carpet to uncover our original Victorian hall, we’d lifted corners of the carpet numerous times & knew it was in fairly good condition, but it was quite a moment to finally see the whole floor. 

Here comes the but…No sooner had we given the tiles a good clean, we became aware of a little ‘springy patch’ and within a week Ronnie had gone through the floor, breaking eight tiles in the process. It had to happen…and honestly? I was just glad I didn’t do it! The ensuing hole was about 5 inches deep with just soil below, it seems the tiles were laid on thin wood sheeting spanning small joists.  

As we needed to source replacement tiles, the hole was filled but remained untouched for a number of months while we got on with other higher priority stuff.  

 

We were galvanised back into action on a Sunday afternoon trip to a reclamation yard where we came across the replacement tiles we needed. Another but… I realised once we arrived home that my then 41 week pregnant brain bought the wrong colour tiles…I’d got black and we needed beige, worse, the yard didn’t even have any beige! Recounting the story to our neighbours, it turned out they had spares as they had altered their hallway slightly, they kindly gave us the tiles we needed to complete the repair.

Finally the floor needed a HUGE clean to get it looking good. After lots of research, unsurprisingly, it transpired the best solution was good old elbow grease. While I was researching cleaning methods I thought about Sarah Wooldridge who the 1911 census told us was Lansdowne’s live-in servant. I bet she kept the floor looking spot on, judging by the dirt that came of it no one had bothered cleaning it since she left town! I read that once clean, the tiles should be finished with a beeswax & turps mix which was put on liberally then buffed off the next day giving a subtle matt sheen. There’s still a few cracks here and there, it’s far from perfect but I’m not sure a floor that’s 120 years old should be.

  
WALLS…
Much to my dad’s dismay who painted the hall, we’ve decided to change the paint colour. I originally chose a dirty light blue emulsion as I thought there would be some subliminal connection with the blue floor tiles, but as they only refeature in the porch…I failed! We’ve now chosen a much more complimentary antique white which will brighten the space. We’ll leave the repainting until the attic is done as it will no doubt get wrecked as workmen trudge through.

HEATING…

We had two radiators installed in the hallway, given the choice, I’d have opted for Victorian style radiators, which is exactly why I’m not allowed to be in charge of the budget! I was keen to install radiator covers but Ronnie banned them based on their energy wasting credentials – god knows we need every bit of heat we can get in this house. We reached a compromise of radiator shelves which I sourced from EBay. We chose chunky rounded edge shelves with Edwardian style bracket fittings, these were only around £30 each but make quite an impact and give us a couple of much needed focal points in the hallway.

As we near the start line for the attic conversion, we’ve spent days dividing the contents into keep, charity or tip piles. We rediscovered quite a lot of decorative objects that have been out of mind for months. We’ve made use of a couple of these pieces by hanging a vintage mirror above the radiator nearest the door for last minute hair & make up checks. The one nearer the kitchen has a photograph of our holiday in Sri Lanka.

   
 

We were also able to find a place for my Grandparents grandmother clock which had sat awkwardly in my parents Seventies house for some years.  

 

  

LIGHTING…

We bought the ‘Carmella’ light fittings from BHS just before they closed, thankfully we got a couple for the upstairs landing to put into stock for when it’s decorated, though I notice BHS have a selection of lighting online again now, including  these but at nearly treble what we got them for in the sale.

 

STILL TO DO…

The last jobs will be to reprint the walls, paint the staircase, lay a carpet runner, hang more pictures…and the transformation will be complete at last. All in all still a LOAD of work to do, but at least I don’t cry when I sit on the stairs anymore, that’s got to be progress, right? 

   

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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!