Build Days #69 and #70

IMG_3529The floors were finished on Tuesday and this is a picture from Wednesday morning. Mark’s study.

IMG_3565Looking good.

IMG_3531Dining room.

IMG_3354How it looked just a few days ago.

IMG_3533Carpentry work continues. This is a box built around the copper pipes that run along the ceiling in the toilet.

IMG_3534Reclaimed architraves were fitted around the new kitchen doorway. Other doors were eased so that they open and close properly.

IMG_3570The replacement granite was fitted today.


IMG_3573One or two more things need to happen in the kitchen before it’s finished. The arched panel behind the mantel is being remade so that it finishes  lower down. This will also allow us to lower the extractor fan behind it as it’s just that bit too high at the moment. I also want the corbels cut down so that the the shelf is closer to the arch.

IMG_3572The dresser unit is finished though.

IMG_3546Not only do our cats know when knock-off time is, Albus, the neighbour’s cat, drops by around the same time each day to commune with Oliver, Ruby and Rose.

IMG_3545Ruby and Albus stare at each other a lot, and not just from this window but the ones at the front too. Soon her boyfriend Teddy Westlife will be getting jealous.

IMG_3555Rosie saying hello.

IMG_3549And finally Oliver.

IMG_3564Once all the evening excitement of exploration is over, we return to the top floor flat. Oliver leads as he likes to demonstrate how the stairs work in case we forget. He will run about three or four steps ahead, pausing to check you are following him.


Build Day #68

IMG_3524We are almost there with the kitchen. The dresser unit is complete.

Screen shot 2013-06-10 at 1.08.59 PM copy

The original Edwardian kitchen would have had a dresser against this wall and the previous owner had one too as you can see, so it continues the tradition.

IMG_3525More cupboard doors fitted. Unfortunately the two above the fridge space are a different colour to the rest of the kitchen – they need to be replaced. I love how the original external door matches the new cupboard doors with the square windows.

IMG_3522The range cooker is in position but it still needs to be connected to the gas and electricity. Mark has already placed his first meal order.

IMG_3523You may notice that the granite has been removed from this part of the kitchen.


It is being replaced as the original granite had marks on it under the polished surface. They looked like water run marks. The company thinks that it may have been stained by water when it was first extracted and cut in India. The replacement should arrive tomorrow or Thursday.

D the floor man finished his work today but as we can’t go into the room until tomorrow, I will have to post the pictures then.



Build Day #67

IMG_3507The kitchen is coming along nicely. I am particularly happy about the mantel above the cooker.

IMG_3509Ruby is already inside that cupboard and Oliver is following her. Clearly there is something fascinating in there.

IMG_3497First floor hallway. Just to remember the chaos.

IMG_3499D the floor guy was here today. The dining room has been stripped and sanded and has one of the three coats of sealant it is getting. It has made the room so much brighter.

IMG_3504The pine boards are in such great condition underneath all that wax and varnish. They smell beautiful too.


Just gorgeous – and this is after only one coat. They look a bit raw at the moment but they will also mellow with time.

IMG_3501Makes the rest of the room look shabby now! We are, however, getting very close to the point in the renovation where all our remaining jobs will just be cosmetic.

IMG_3493Mark’s study has been partially sanded but not coated yet.

IMG_3496Can you start to imagine now how it is going to all look?



Build Day #66

IMG_3357Today the former tradesman’s entrance external door became the internal kitchen door! It needs a handle and also has to be stripped and painted.

IMG_3362Other carpentry work included the reinstatement of skirtings around the chimney breast in the dining room/

IMG_3354The dining room floor is also now ready for sanding and polishing next week.

IMG_3347Luckily JB and I had a talk about the chandelier I would be hanging in the dining room. He realised that we would need to reinforce the ceiling to take its weight, so D the carpenter lifted Mark’s study floorboards one final time before they are polished on Monday.

IMG_3363Everything’s ready now. Well, once the ceiling rose is fitted.

IMG_3349JB removed the old lath and plaster wall in the toilet and started attaching the plasterboard.

IMG_3348He said the old laths were probably chestnut wood, which is a sign of quality in the original building.

IMG_3350He also did a coating on the walls of the bathroom.

IMG_3356The electricians were here. This is the first functioning light downstairs! It is in the future utility cupboard. Unfortunately it is now the only light that works in the house – we discovered an hour ago that none of the lights on the top floor work any more. Luckily the sun doesn’t go down until late…

IMG_3346Wall lights installed in the en suite. Ignore all the marks on the wall – the paint is washable.

IMG_3345Both lights.

IMG_3358Everything was left in a big mess today so I spent an hour or so sweeping, dusting and vacuuming the house at the end of the day. I know it will get messy again but it’s nice to have everything as tidy as possible for the weekend. It also means the cats don’t wander back upstairs covered in sawdust.IMG_3360A view down the side of the house. Lots of brick dust on the path.

Build Day #65

IMG_3339It was a fairly quiet day today. The electricians were here this afternoon – white spotlights installed in the en suite (in Australia we called them downlights).

IMG_3340Brushed chrome spotlights in the kitchen (to match the stainless steel appliances).

IMG_3344The dining room floor underwent some repairs in preparation for next week’s sanding and polishing.

IMG_3343Oliver looking through the boards lifted in the lounge.


Build Day #64

IMG_3334Bored hole for kitchen extractor fan.

IMG_3326Bored hole for en suite extractor fan.

IMG_3338Bored hole for bathroom extractor fan.

IMG_3325Pieces of bored brick. Jokes welcome.

IMG_3329Cat and human obstacle course at the end of the day.IMG_3336The floor in Mark’s study has been repaired.

IMG_3337The floorboards in this room and the dining room are going to be stripped and polished next week.

IMG_3328Repaired toilet window architrave using reclaimed wood from elsewhere in the house.

IMG_3331The under servant stairs cupboard has its resized door attached. All the carpentry in the kitchen and breakfast room is now done.

IMG_3330The tradesman’s entrance external door begins its transformation into an internal door. Three shiny new hinges.


Some external painting was also completed today but it’s hard to make out in the photo. You’ll have to trust me.



Build Day #63

IMG_3311Water stains continue on my newly painted kitchen ceiling. Even I know to sit the wallpaper steamer in a bucket when you put it down! The problem is that there’s not just staining but also some bulging on the joints. Frustrating.

IMG_3312Dusty handprint on the en suite wall (thanks JB!). I brace myself for worse to come…the hole for the extractor fan will be bored through tomorrow.

IMG_3315Wallpaper stripping continued in the toilet and bathroom. I touched this section of wall and it fell away. Oops. The plaster has broken away from the lath as you can see.

IMG_3304Oliver and Ruby first thing this morning – two peas in a pod. They had finished chasing their bumble bee (extraordinarily large and noisy – I released it back out the window) and were then watching as D the carpenter scaled the scaffold.

IMG_3313Plaster patching in the bathroom.

IMG_3322More skirtings in the breakfast room – these ones in the under servant stairs cupboard.

IMG_3310Exterior view. If you look carefully you will see P the painter standing on the scaffold to the left of the top dormer window. I was checking whether I wanted the top of the dormer painted black or white. I chose black.



Build Day #62

IMG_3289We decided that the walls in the toilet and bathroom needed complete replastering, so D spent the day stripping wallpaper.

IMG_3302There must have been a spill at some point.

IMG_3301Below, in the kitchen, another of my freshly painted ceilings with water stains…

IMG_3291The bathroom being stripped as well.

IMG_3292Attack of the expanding foam in the rear first floor landing.

IMG_3299Carpenters were here as well. More skirtings were fitted in the breakfast room. There was also carpentry work going on outside on the top floor dormer windows but I couldn’t see exactly what was happening because the scaffold obstructs the view.

IMG_3296The garden continues to become a jungle.

IMG_3297There is a fast growing creeper in this corner with white, trumpet shaped flowers.

IMG_3295Vigorous blackberry primocanes colonising the ‘lawn’.





Today I removed the paper and masking from the en suite and did a few touch-ups. No doubt it will get messed up a bit during the fitting of the sanitary ware but I am happy for the moment and can do some minor repairs at the end. There is still a large hole to be bored into the wall where the extractor fan is going, so I anticipate more mess.

IMG_3276Shower. The paint edges are (fairly) straight but they look wavy in this picture because of the reflections on the chrome trim.

IMG_3274Until a few days ago when they were laid Mark didn’t realise the wavy tiles actually had a 3D surface. Those are real shadows on the tiles, not a printed pattern.

IMG_3283Rosie enjoying the cool floor. It continues to be very warm here.

IMG_3287Ruby planning an escape.

IMG_3280I haven’t painted the white on the windows, doors or trim. I did some stripping and sanding though so they are almost ready to go. I have read that you are meant to do the trim first but I didn’t have time – I really wanted the ceilings and walls painted before the en suite was fitted and I figured I could paint the windows later when I have the right equipment and have studied more YouTube videos on the correct technique.

IMG_3279One day soon I have a feeling that an entire room might actually be complete!

IMG_3278Rosie inspecting the shower tray.


Things still to be done in the en suite:

  • Fitting of cabinets
  • Fitting of sanitary ware, basins and taps
  • Installation of shower screen, riser and taps
  • Fitting of mirrored cabinets
  • Fitting of radiator and heated towel rail
  • Painting of windows and trim
  • Fitting of spot lights and wall lights
  • Fitting of extractor fan
  • Installation of window film on glazing for privacy
  • Fitting of accessories such as a hand towel hook and toilet roll dispenser

And that’s it – a list with an actual end! At that point I can shop for new towels. I guess our dark grey towels will go with the scheme but the navy blue ones won’t do at all. Plus the grey ones have some bleach spots on  them…



Build Day #61

IMG_3241I began the day by going through the floorboards. Not an auspicious start! I was holding a full mug of tea at the time but managed to hold on to most of it.

IMG_3242When I first opened this tin of paint for the en suite it was a lurid fluorescent pinkish-purple and I panicked for a moment. After stirring it though, it turned the colour I was expecting. It is Farrow and Ball’s ‘Pelt’, a deep aubergine colour. It’s an Australian custom to stir paint with a wooden spoon (trust me!).

IMG_3243After the first coat it was clear that I would need to do a second one to gain full coverage. I had four hours to kill. Luckily it was a hot day (28 degrees) so the paint dried a little quicker than expected.

IMG_3258Meanwhile I began stripping the window sill of the main bathroom. At some point in the past all the woodwork was painted a light sage green. Let me repeat what I said yesterday – I do not like stripping paint. Plus there are so many layers of lead paint that I will probably end up with Painter’s Colic.

IMG_3251The cupboard doors have returned from their trip to the glazier and they now have glass in their little windows. Those square windows make me very happy – they must remind me of Play School. They need some handles next.

IMG_3252One day all of the various missing parts of the kitchen will arrive. It’s a very nice kitchen and I have a very nice kitchen supplier but there have already been about nine separate deliveries of components and we still don’t have everything we need. Oh well – at least that gave me the chance to change my mind on the size of the kitchen sink.

IMG_3255The ceiling roses were delivered today.

IMG_3254Rosie inspects the outer rings.

IMG_3259The second coat in the en suite went on like a dream and was very quick to do. It looks a warmer colour in this picture because of the afternoon light.

IMG_3250The cats stay in the flat on the top floor when I am painting. I can just imagine what they would do if they saw paint in those trays.