Build Days #88, #89 #90

Will we reach Build Day #100?

IMG_4153The kitchen floor sealer has soaked in! Looking good.

IMG_4158There was a big clean up. So much space! First floor hallway.

IMG_4155The new stopcock and pipes have been boxed in.

IMG_4147We have gutters! No downpipes yet though.

IMG_4161More gutters!

IMG_4149The dining room French doors have been repaired and delivered.

IMG_4150The bottom halves were rotten and so they have been reconstructed in hardwood.

IMG_4159We can see the tiles once more in the first floor toilet.

IMG_4160And bathroom.

IMG_4163More rearranging of furniture and boxes. The other day Mark and I had a major rethink of the use of rooms in the house. Mark’s future study has become . . . my future study!

IMG_4164We are also re-organising the back bedroom. This was the servant’s bedroom and will now become the new guest room. At least for Lisa she will no longer be in the creepy under eaves cupboard when she visits next year!  Michelle and Margaret – you will more than likely be in the top floor front bedroom next month.





Build Day #87

IMG_4134Yesterday was a public holiday but A, the floor man, was here sealing the quarry tiles. This morning it still looked a bit patchy and uneven but we are hoping that it is just the sealant still penetrating the tiles rather than anything to do with the floor not being quite dry enough to take the sealer. He will stop by to have a look at how it is going in the next few days.

IMG_4129Today I obscured the glazing on the en suite windows with a special self adhesive film. The glass was clear before as this was originally a bedroom.

IMG_4127We are also keeping an eye on this corner of the bay window as there is a wasp nest under the lead. How the roofers didn’t discover it when they were installing the new lead is beyond me. I have done some reading –  as it is late summer this nest will be well established and it’s not the best time to try to spray it. Soon the wasps will die off from the autumn cold and the nest is never re-used. In the winter I think we should block the holes where the wasps were going in. Despite my research I would still like to get the opinion of an expert.

IMG_4132The lads were her continuing to do odd jobs finishing up the inside. They managed to get dust and hand prints all over my beautifully painted dining room walls. Difficult to see in the picture. Argh!

IMG_4128The odd floorboard was replaced, this one in the creepy under eaves cupboard.

IMG_4131A box was being constructed for the incoming copper water water pipes.

IMG_4125The final skip was taken away!


Stage One

Stage One of the build is getting closer to completion and some of you have asked if I will keep blogging when it is over. The answer is yes because this is just the first part of this Edwardian House Renovation.

Once JB and his team leave we still have to:

  • Decorate the remaining rooms
  • Install carpets, curtains and blinds
  • Move the furniture in (and maybe buy some new things too!)
  • Landscape the front and rear gardens

In addition there are further building stages planned for when funds allow:

  • Conversion of the coal store into a utility room and downstairs toilet
  • Renovation of the guest bathroom on the top floor
  • Upgrading of the other rooms on the top floor – two bedrooms (and the spooky under eaves cupboard)
  • Installing a cat run in the garden
  • Building a summer house in the garden
  • Building a shed in the garden

Plus we then have to watch the garden grow and continue with further improvements:

  • Upgrading and renovating fireplaces throughout the house
  • Installing further double glazing and secondary glazing
  • Repairs to leadlight windows
  • Improving insulation

And one day (hopefully not too soon):

  • Replace the entire roof! Argh!

There are also still stories to be told in the House History category, so all in all I will blogging for a while yet!

And when not blogging here, you will probably still find me at Scott’s Travel Adventures. Who knows, there might even be new stories at the Oliver and Ruby Chronicles, Featuring Miss Rose. Plus, for archive interest, there is my first blog, in hiatus, Scott’s Abode, which chronicled our lives back in Australia from 2007, including our migration to the UK in 2009 and stories of the dear, departed cats Doris and Orlando.



Build Day #86


Oliver and Ruby, and water.

IMG_4101Miss Rose does not like getting her fur wet.

IMG_4075The old header water tank was removed from the creepy under eaves cupboard, along with the woordwormy boards (the woodworm was historic but we had it treated anyway).

IMG_4079It’s actually quite a big space. We are wondering if it was room for habitation originally. It has a window.

IMG_4077It was wallpapered.

IMG_4078There was a gaslight. Perhaps it was for a servant to sleep in?

IMG_4091The header tank was set in a large wooden box that was filled with crumbled cork and screwed up newspaper, my guess for insulation. The newspapers (The Daily Express) dated from November and December 1928.

IMG_4104The final ceiling rose was fitted in the lounge.

IMG_4103In the dining room the final pieces of concrete were chipped out of the fireplace. I have to decide what to do here – whether to have it filled with a self leveling latex filler or wait and lay more tiles, either matching or replacing the current hearth tiles.

IMG_4107Outside the next layer of the scaffold has come down. The painters are the last to finish on each level before it is removed. Gleaming paintwork.

IMG_4108Full skip. I have lost count – six?

IMG_4102Argh! Filler, on top of a light fitting, on top of a painted ceiling! It’s annoying when things are done backwards but it will be alright in the end.


Build Day #84 and #85

Internally, the build work on the house is nearing its end. There are many small tasks that are gradually being completed: final sanding and filling, securing of loose floorboards, that sort of thing. Decoration will be done by us afterwards.

IMG_4073A ring on the master bedroom ceiling rose.

IMG_4072A casement stay on the toilet window.

IMG_4071Yet more sanding and filling…there is dust everywhere.

IMG_4070Storage cupboard fitted in the en suite. All the en suite needs now to be finished is the extractor fan fitted, some sealant around the recesses in the shower, a few paint touch ups and good clean.

IMG_4074The dehumidifiers in the kitchen and breakfast room continue to help dry out the floor.

Externally, the gutters need fitting, a window casement needs remaking, the french doors in the dining room need to be refitted etc. so that may take a little while longer.

Countdown to the rest of the furniture arriving: 11 days. Countdown to our friends M&M visiting from Australia: 36.

Build Day #83

A, the floor man, dropped by today to set up the dehumidifiers in the kitchen and breakfast room to help dry the quarry tile floors out. I don’t have a picture but will post one next time.

IMG_4873The roofers were here. This shot is the view looking down onto the new lead roof on the front dormer window.

IMG_4845Some of the roof tiles were repaired as well. I asked my neighbour if I could stand in their back garden to get a good view of the roof. Our house looms over theirs, especially with the scaffold.

IMG_4876An Edwardian behemoth.

IMG_4860From the front you don’t really get a sense of how far the house goes back. My floor man had to come and find me on the top floor and exclaimed “You need an elevator – it’s like a hotel!”.

IMG_4859A good view in the sunshine of the new dormer.

Build Day #82


Today A the floor man returned and gave the quarry tiles a final clean. Lots of equipment.


Tomorrow he will install dehumidifiers to help the drying process and then next Monday the floor should be dry enough to seal.


Mirrored cabinets installed in the en suite.


Filling and sanding continued.

IMG_4067The broken pane of glass in the cloakroom was repaired. Now that the toilet has gone and the curtains have been removed, Ruby has discovered a new dual vantage point.

IMG_4061New glass pane also fitted in Mark’s study window.



Build Day #81

IMG_3973Electricians installed lights and smoke detectors in the hallway.

IMG_3996Wall lights in the lounge. They don’t have their little shades on yet.


IMG_3986Another hallway light.

IMG_3988Back bedroom (former servant’s bedroom).

IMG_3989On the back landing this fitting was attached to the still wet filler – a bit of a mess really but the electricians were determined to power up whether we were ready of not. In the end they spent half the day trying to figure out a short they had created in the downstairs sockets. So in fact some of the rooms that were ready, sanded and painted still didn’t get their lights! Argh! Frustrating.

IMG_3991Downstairs cloak room now empty after the removal of the old toilet. The little pane of broken glass in the window has been removed and a replacement ordered.

IMG_3994Rosie inspecting. Thankfully the terrazzo under the toilet was undamaged.

IMG_3992Our new, single stopcock for incoming water. Much better than the four original ones!

IMG_3993I have the hooks to put back on these timber struts. I just need to apply some paint remover to the old hooks first though.

IMG_3972P the plumber connected the top floor to the main pipework and the temporary pipe was removed. Also, on the top landing the three old pipes that ran up this wall to the old expansion tank in the roof were removed. It won’t be long until the temporary Great Wall on the left is removed too so that this ceiling can be over-boarded and plastered.

IMG_3977All of the taps and pipes and toilets were commissioned. In the darkness you can see Oliver sizing up his new steam bath platform. He likes to accompany you in the bathroom when you are having a shower and needs somewhere to sit.

IMG_3979Spotting the running water in the basin for the first time.

IMG_3981These waterfall taps are great.

IMG_3984Endless fun.

IMG_4005The trouble is now the cats come to expect water on demand…

IMG_4003New rim latch and handle on the under servant stairs cupboard. Looking smart.

IMG_4002And on the servant’s stairs door.

IMG_4014New handle and mortise latch on the kitchen door.

IMG_3974Ceiling rose ring ready for fitting in the master bedroom.

IMG_3999Range cooker fitted and connected to gas and electricity. Shiny.

IMG_4039Oliver inspecting the ovens.

IMG_4015There are going to have to be some new rules enforced when the kitchen comes into use.

2014-08-15 15.22.14JB and P the plumber lighting the gas for the first time. We have fire!


IMG_4045Miss Rose. Just because.

IMG_3997Washing machine taps and outlet in the utility closet.

IMG_4047Build Day #81 was yesterday (Friday) and today there was a small amount of work done but I don’t consider today’s work a fully separate and complete build day as the trades were only here for an hour or so. The roofers were replacing roof tiles until their tile cutter broke down. T the kitchen man measured up for the glass splashback in the kitchen. The tilers came and fitted the splashbacks in the toilet…

IMG_4048…and bathroom.

IMG_4049They also repaired some of the lost grout in the kitchen and breakfast room quarry tile floors ready for Monday’s final cleaning and sealing.

IMG_4050As of Monday everyone will be barred from these two rooms while the floor is treated. Everything has been completed in here apart from the final electrical testing and the fitting of the over counter kitchen lights, both of which are low impact on the floor. Then on September 1st it will be time for us to move into these rooms!


They will become the new ‘Cat Headquarters’ and we will be moving all of their things in – cat beds, cat trees, food, litter, toy box etc. The rooms will also be my new Command Central for the rest of the build.







Build Day #80

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 12.10.23The first ‘before and after’ pic: the breakfast room is almost finished as the floor will be cleaned and sealed next week. As you can see, this used to be the kitchen (and historically it was the scullery), with the outdoor servants’ toilet and the cold store pantry behind the demolished walls and door. We have also opened up the rear of the house to the garden with the double doors. The room has new windows and doors, the walls have been lined and insulated and the ceiling replaced. We have retained the original quarry tiles.

IMG_1973A ‘during’ shot. Tilting servant’s toilet cistern.

IMG_1992And another.

IMG_2254One more.

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 12.40.05Looking in the other direction. The man in the first shot was the real estate agent, whose name was Oliver, so I kind of knew this was the right house for us.

IMG_1709Another ‘during’ shot. Builder’s kettle, ancient radiator and blocked up side door.

IMG_3875P the plumber was here today fitting the new pipe stacks.

IMG_3874Very neat.

IMG_3876The garden tap was put in a couple of days ago.

IMG_3870The old ground floor toilet in what was originally the Edwardian “telephone room”…

IMG_3871Decommissioned and ready to remove.

IMG_3879And in the skip!

IMG_3898Waterfall tap in the bath.

IMG_3894Ruby investigating.

IMG_3858My first cup of tea drunk in the kitchen, but not made in there yet…

IMG_3860I unpacked my hamper from the oven company.

IMG_3861Lots of goodies.

IMG_3862I put them in a random kitchen cupboard for now.

IMG_3865T the painter was here doing a few final touch-ups. Tomorrow the kitchen door will get its new handle.

IMG_3903Ruby trying out the new kitchen tap.

IMG_3906She loves water.

IMG_3963Oliver gave it a go a bit later.

IMG_3880I did a bit of a vacuum and clean in the kitchen and breakfast room.

IMG_3872Old lath and plaster removed and new wall plastered in the rear landing. Other patching continued elsewhere.

IMG_3877Broken leadlight by the front door – it will need to be repaired. My theory is something was dropped or fell from the scaffold above. Note the dent in the bottom right hand edge of the window.

IMG_3889Oliver and Rose emerging from upstairs at the end of the day.

IMG_3913The neighbour’s cat, Albus, waiting.

IMG_3915Rosie saying hello to Albus.

IMG_3917Fighting off Ruby!

IMG_3883External shot. The very top parts of the scaffold were taken down yesterday.








Build Day #79


Gloss paint. Ah – the smell of Volatile Organic Compounds wafting through the air – comforting. T the painter was here today working on the breakfast room, kitchen, dining room and en suite.

IMG_3846I had painted most of the en suite myself but had shied away from painting the woodwork, so T painted the door and windows today.

IMG_3848Looking very sharp.


P the plumber installed the bath today, as well as doing various other things.

IMG_3843New pipe stacks are taking shape.

IMG_3841While outside I discovered the new external power socket.

IMG_3842And another external light.

IMG_3840The kitchen is almost finished…six weeks later. The new extractor panel and mantel shelf have been fitted. Looking much better.

IMG_3849I don’t think Oliver is a fan of the smell of gloss paint. He refused to go downstairs for his daily inspection.

Meanwhile we are on night two of no lights on the top floor – every time you switch on an appliance the lights go out, and sometimes they just go out by themselves. It’s not really engendering confidence in my electricians…