IMG_2882I won’t give today a Build Day number as there was no-one here but me. I put on my painter’s cap and got to work.


IMG_2887I gave the breakfast room ceiling a second coat. I’m using a trade paint from Dulux for the ceilings – it’s very thick and goes on like butter – beautiful.

IMG_2862I painted the soffit of the servants’ staircase white to match the ceiling and make it stand out from the wall colour as a feature.

IMG_2863Not as sure what to do with this. There is a small steel beam boxed into this part of the ceiling that holds up the chimney in the room above. This is where the servants’ toilet used to be. I couldn’t decide whether to paint it white like the ceiling or the same colour as the walls. I have decided to paint it the same colour as the walls so that it doesn’t stand out. I can always change it later if it looks odd.

IMG_2858I have also changed my mind on the colour of the breakfast room. The brighter yellow, Dayroom Yellow, is now appealing to me particularly after I gave the test patch a second coat, taking away some of the fluorescence that was coming through from the white underneath. The darker yellow, Hay, has dried quite brown, whereas I wanted a definite yellow in that room. I know that Homer chose this colour, and once I announced the decision to Mark he came out in favour of it too, as did Pam.

IMG_2883In the kitchen I began cutting in the wall colour, Farrow and Ball’s ‘Ball Green’. When Mark came home he helpfully suggested that I had missed the middle bits.

IMG_2885I think the green goes very well with the quarry tile floor.


Build Day #47

IMG_2843Today was Saturday but we still had a couple of trades here. The en suite walls were plastered.

IMG_2844You can see the future shower taking shape. The pipe running through the wall is our temporary water supply upstairs. It won’t be a permanent feature of the en suite.

IMG_2845The pipe snakes through the floor to the new water connection downstairs.

IMG_2846Mark’s future study got its ceiling plastered. To be consistent I should probably just call it Mark’s study, as I don’t refer to other rooms with a ‘future’ prefix.

IMG_2847When it first goes on, the plaster looks like milk chocolate. Could you imagine? The ceiling wouldn’t last long in this house it if was!

IMG_2857The roofers were also here today applying new lead to the front top floor dormer window. That room is our current bathroom and will become the guest bathroom. We currently only have one window upstairs as the front and rear dormers are boarded up while the new windows are made. It’s a bit dark. At some point we must take care of the wobbly fence and that rickety, rotten white fence post that looks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. You can also see the skip is overflowing – we may have to pay for a fifth!

IMG_2855Close-up of the newly leaded window.




I was also very busy decorating today. I had to make sure I protected the unsealed quarry tiles before I began.

IMG_2851I sanded and prepped the breakfast room and gave it a mist coat.

IMG_2849Once you start painting things always look lighter and brighter.

IMG_2850I tested my two yellows for the breakfast room. The top one (Dayroom Yellow) was far too bright – almost an acid yellow. The one below called Hay is more subtle and is in the same tonal range as the Ball Green in the kitchen, so I think I will go with that.

Build Day #46


Today P the plumber continued his work on the hot water service and pipes. To Chad and Debby – you were right – the small tanks are expansion tanks, one for the hot water and the other for the heating system.

IMG_2833S, one of JB’s ‘lads’, or general labourers, continued preparing the en suite walls for plastering. The plasterers are coming tomorrow morning (Saturday)  to plaster the en suite and Mark’s study ceiling.

IMG_2835Looking very aqua at the moment.

IMG_2780A, the quarry tile restoration man came today to seal the floor but the tiles are still damp. They will need more time to dry out. We will go ahead with the carpentry work and the kitchen installation and he will return in two weeks’ time. In the meantime, we must protect the floor as it is unsealed.

In addition to the plasterers, the roofers will be here tomorrow working on the top floor front dormer lead work. On a weekend! Sorry Mark.

I will be painting. This weekend I hope to sand, prep and mist coat the breakfast room, first top coat the walls in the kitchen, and maybe top coat the ceiling in the breakfast room. I also have a couple of tester pots of different yellows for the breakfast room I’d like to try as well. Then I may nap.


Build Day #45

IMG_2825Today the hot water system joined the boiler. It all looks very complex. I will have to ask P the plumber what those small white and red cylinders are for.

IMG_2823A toilet bowl has made it into the toilet to try the room out for size.

IMG_2826This sink will be joining it one day.

IMG_2821The future recesses in the en suite shower were boarded.

IMG_2824The ceiling in Mark’s future study was boarded over now that the leaky dormer window above has been taken care of.

IMG_2828The skip is close to overflowing. There were also lots of deliveries of carpenter’s materials: timber, skirtings, architraves and such.

IMG_2829This morning I went downstairs with my good camera (all of the blog shots are taken with my iPad Mini) to take some more arty shots of the front door. Unfortunately, P the painter had already stripped it further and given it an undercoat – by 8am! Not to worry.

I have also been negotiating with my local tile retailer for the purchase of bathroom and en suite tiles.

T the kitchen man dropped by to do final measurements for the kitchen. The cabinets should arrive in week’s time and then the following week is allocated for the fitting! It’s hard to believe that we will soon have a proper kitchen again – with a dishwasher! The granite worktops will still need to be templated, cut and delivered, plus I’m not sure how ready the electrics are, so it may well be another month before the kitchen is functioning.

Build Days #43 and #44

Yesterday was fairly quiet. JB and a couple of his labourers arrived but couldn’t complete their job for the day as their circular saw blade had been blunted by the plumber.

IMG_2798As the quarry tiles dried there was some efflorescence of mineral salts, which is perfectly normal, apparently. They will be ‘dry scrubbed’ before they are sealed.

IMG_2810The boiler got its new home today in the airing cupboard. Looking smart. Much better that its old location.

IMG_2811The new hot water tank will go in tomorrow. It’s enormous.

IMG_2812I think these are part of the hot water system too…

IMG_2797I forgot to show you my first painted ceiling! It’s the one in the kitchen. I am very pleased with it – nice coverage.

IMG_2820I have been testing a few more colours for the dining room. I am still eyeing the red but I definitely don’t like the others.

IMG_2819P the painter started to burn off the old paint on the front door.

IMG_2813Historically blue, green and purple seem to be the predominant colours, though it probably would have been varnished originally.

IMG_2783In the understairs cupboard this magazine showed up – it may have been wedged behind the old electricity board. It is a copy of The Listener from June 22nd 1989. At first I though to myself, oh, that’s fairly recent. I then did the calculations and realised 1989 was 25 years ago! But I remember 1989 like it was yesterday! Uh oh. Must be getting old.

IMG_2800As everyone had gone home today by 3pm I decided to have another go on the scaffold. I stepped out through the bedroom window on the first floor. Here you can see the fascias and end-jacks have been stripped and painted black.

IMG_2799Most of the windows have been stripped, sanded, filled and undercoated.

IMG_2801Here is a close-up of the decorative cast iron hopper.

IMG_2803It’s not blocked here but the downpipe is full of debris about halfway down.

I then lost my nerve on the scaffold and went back inside. It’s something about being able to see down through the boards. I’ll go further next time.





Build Day #42

IMG_2753A quick pit-stop in the understairs cupboard.

IMG_2752This is our new fuse box! It was put in last week but there was no light in here for me to take a picture. I could have bought a very nice car with what the new electrics have cost, so please indulge me.

IMG_2792Today D, one of the labourers, was here doing various odd jobs. He removed the cast iron down pipe outside (not pictured) and stripped the airing cupboard of all of its plaster ready for relining and the installation of the new hot water service and the boiler. Looking now at that flimsy stud wall, we perhaps should have knocked through the bathroom into the toilet next door but the budget simply wouldn’t have allowed it.

IMG_2755Today was also the day of the stripping and deep cleaning of the quarry tiles. Kitchen ‘before’ shot.

IMG_2756And looking through the kitchen into the breakfast room (with servant staircase adjacent). Note on the right that you can still see the outline of where the old Welsh dresser was positioned for over fifty years. The room had been decorated around it several times – the skirting board behind almost matches the colour I have chosen for the kitchen walls.

IMG_2757Breakfast room, with the reclaimed tiles in the far left corner.

IMG_2779Tile cleaners at work.

IMG_2781After cleaning. Bear in mind we are only half way through the process. The tiles need to dry and then on Saturday they will be sealed with a gloss coating. We’re really pleased with how they look so far.

IMG_2784It is very important to keep the unsealed tiles clean and dry so I constructed this barrier. Pretty imposing.

IMG_2785Guess who was, within minutes, on the other side chasing a fly and leaving dusty little paw prints? Ruby!!!

At around the same time I lost Oliver. I couldn’t find him and when I called I heard a plaintive meow from somewhere in the house. I searched up and down all three floors and seventeen rooms, twice.

IMG_2787Eventually I found him here in the airing cupboard in the bathroom.

IMG_2788Proud explorer’s tail. I wondered how he got in there as the door to the bathroom was closed.

IMG_2789He’d managed to squeeze his way in through the hole in the wall of the room next door. What is it with Oliver and the need to squeeze himself through small holes in the wall like a sausage? I thought he’d given up after his last adventure.


Build Day #41

This was the first Saturday we have had trades in. The rear dormer window got its lead but I don’t have a picture of it as it’s up so high and the view is obscured by the scaffold.

IMG_2748We also had the tiler coming to lay the reclaimed quarry tiles in the space where the servant’s toilet and pantry once were. They should all blend in once the tile restoration man has worked his magic. He comes for the first phase of restoration on Monday. Whatever happens, it will still look like a 110 year old Edwardian floor, so I’m not expecting perfection.

Build Day #40

IMG_2720Day 40 was a complete shut-in day, which means the cats had to stay in one room with me. It was also one of the first days that work actually had to be done in the room with us. Having re-arranged the furniture for P the plumber to change the radiator, Ruby discovered she could get into the top shelf of the bookcase.

IMG_2723Water staining behind the old radiator. I managed to get a coat of paint over it before P hung the new radiator.

IMG_2725Rosie watching P do his work.

IMG_2728The plumber’s adhesive of choice.


IMG_2734New radiator.

IMG_2740New radiator in the future guest bedroom as well. Rosie with her favourite bell on a pom-pom

IMG_2731Ruby getting bored halfway through the day.

IMG_2716It was also time to say goodbye to the top floor bathroom dormer window.

IMG_2717It too has seen better days.

IMG_2736New frame going in.

IMG_2737Sad old window.

IMG_2739Temporary sheeting and boarding while the window is being made.

IMG_2741The bath is slowly taking a tour of the house. It began in the future en suite, then went into the master bedroom, was moved into the bathroom and now sits in Mark’s future study. It will be fitted eventually.

IMG_2745The recesses for the en suite shower being formed.

IMG_2742The cast iron radiator getting some undercoat.

IMG_2744£1000 worth of lead has been delivered for the dormer roof repairs. Each of those rolls takes two men to lift.



Build Day #39

IMG_2673It was time to say goodbye to the window in the future guest room.

IMG_2676This is the leaking window in the dormer that is responsible for the collapsing ceiling in Mark’s future study below, as well as the wet rot (with a fruiting body no less!). On closer inspection you can see that it has been repaired many times. There are brackets, sticky tape and Blu-tac holding it together – if you were to push on the lower right pane the glass would fall out (something we are grateful the cats didn’t discover). Plus this casement is held on by only two screws.

IMG_2679I had to cover the whole room with dust sheets to protect it as this is part of house we inhabit. The cats had to stay in the top floor front room all day while the work was being done.


IMG_2681The window removed. Along with all those problems the wet rot had turned the bottom part of the window into a hollow, flaky mess. The wood was as light as cork and even more spongy. I got the carpenter to save the latches and casement stays though, as they may come in handy with other windows.

IMG_2693A piece of the timber affected by wet rot, featuring fruiting bodies.


IMG_2680A, the carpenter, and JB working at making the new frame.

IMG_2691The window has been boarded up for the next week while the new window is made.

IMG_2686It was also a big day as many of the new radiators were hung. Dining room.


IMG_2688The feature radiator in the kitchen.

IMG_2700It’s very tall and thin and has three rows of pipes with a kind of retro look. Mark says he like it because it “screams warmth”.


IMG_2690Breakfast room.

IMG_2692Mark’s future study.

IMG_2695Servant’s bedroom.

IMG_2694Rear landing. There were also a few more that I haven’t photographed yet.

IMG_2683The period cast iron radiator from the entrance hall has been sand-blasted and will now be repainted.

IMG_2684I spent most of the day painting the walls where radiators were about to be hung. I also had a chance to test some of the sample pots for the kitchen. I tried them in this corner because it was a place where kitchen units will be built so I won’t have to worry about painting over the samples. It also meant I could see the colours in full light as well as shade.

IMG_2712In the footsteps of previous decorators (such as L Johnson in 1935) I wrote on the wall, leaving our names and the date for someone in the future to discover.

IMG_2698Miss Rose checking a sample of the kitchen cabinetry against the different colours.




Front Door Ruminations

I have been thinking more on the front door colour since the last post. I definitely want to get rid of the blue door.

1010862_146791215524018_2039727418_nThis was our front door in Liverpool that I had painted red. The colour has probably become my first preference.

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 08.10.02Here is a house on the next street with a red front door. Cheery and it stands out beautifully.

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 08.12.14Our next door neighbour has a blue door, which is one of the reasons I would like a different colour. Note our house on the right looming over it.

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 08.13.16A black door from our suburb. Quite classy.

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 08.13.54A local white door. Bland.

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 08.12.52Pale blue-grey – not really period.

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 08.11.58Now this is interesting. A forest green door down the street.

1458634_177793182423821_2002630969_nI also remembered that we will eventually be attaching this number and house name to the front of the house, so perhaps we should keep green in mind?

Fraser 7

Plus the house will have a blue plaque on it for George Sutherland Fraser. Will it all clash? I may have to get the number plaque done in black instead.

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 08.14.59Another black door nearby.

8384977868_862370fb61_oI once took a walk through Highgate village in London and loved these two doors. It may be more the contrast between the two but since then I have always thought about the yellow door. Having said that, it is on a Georgian house with the characteristically brown London brick rather than the East Midlands red brick of our house.

Anyway, feel free to vote in the Poll in the previous post or make a suggestion in the comments.