T the decorator finished up today.
You didn’t think it was over did you? On Saturday morning, D the plasterer came by to apply the render to the external wall of the new conversion. Ruby watched as he masked up the area. An hour or so after he began the doorbell rang, and when I answered it there was D – doubled over with blood coming from his hands and legs. He explained that his ladder had tipped over and he had fallen while he was doing the render on the very top part of the wall. I established whether or not he had hit his head (no) and whether he thought he needed a doctor or ambulance (no), and then applied first aid to his cuts. Both his shins had horizontal cuts and bruises where he had hit the ladder, and the skin on the side of his left hand had been sheared off. The most worrying part was that he thought he had hurt his back. He was also very pale from the shock. He sat down for a while and said that he was feeling a bit better. Then he got back on the ladder and finished the job! I told him he should go home but he wanted to finish it. There was a spectacular hand-print slide on the rendered panel where he must have tried to prevent his fall.
By the time he finished it was a perfect job. It just needs painting now.
D the carpenter was here and he secured the worktop in the utility room and fitted the up-stands (that vertical bit of wood is just keeping them in place while the glue dries. T the decorator also did a lot of the gloss woodwork in here too. Unfortunately decorators and carpenters are mortal enemies – it’s the issue of dust. In Stage 1 the decorators downed brushes and left when A the carpenter was in the front garden using the bench saw while the decorators were applying gloss black paint to the front door and woodwork. I did my best to coordinate them today but unfortunately a carpenter and a decorator ended up in the same room at exactly the same time. They managed to work through it though. I then moved a lot of things into the cupboards.
And peace was restored.
Apart from a few odd jobs to complete, this was the end of Stage 2 for my builder. Thanks JB!
I also prepared the floor for the new carpet. There were a few loose boards that I screwed down and I adjusted one that had a very loud creak. I also vacuumed thoroughly, especially around the skirting boards to prevent dust eventually staining the edges of the carpet.
Do you remember when I revealed this fireplace about eighteen months ago?
And Rose was the first to christen the carpet with her claws.
The new downstairs toilet possesses the most forceful flush I have ever witnessed.
At the side of the house, the site of the old servant courtyard will become the fern garden.
All cleared and ready for topsoil.
I had noticed for a few days that this drain around the side appeared blocked. The last time the builders were here I had to unblock it as it became filled with sand and rubble which obstructed the P-trap. This time it was much more difficult to clear.
I had to break it up with the trowel to get it out – it’s mortar that has been poured or washed into the drain and had set solid. I hope for my builders’ sake I got it all! Luckily I had a CCTV scan of all the drains just before work began so we can always make a comparison if necessary.
Finally, at the end of the day, after everyone had gone home, the gravel arrived. It was delivered by a lone man with a pallet trolley – no crane. Each of these bags literally weighs a tonne – 1000kgs. The poor man struggled so I had to help him push the load up the very slight incline to their final position. It was hard going even with the two us. I can’t believe they allow one person to deliver such a heavy load. He was a strapping Eastern European but as he said to me in halting English “I am not horse!”
Unfortunately the pattern repeat was so large they ran out! I got on the internet to try to locate two more rolls with the same batch number to ensure colour and pattern consistency. They should be arriving soon and P will be able to finish by the end of the week.
On Day 32 T the decorator continued work. I didn’t take pictures as it was mainly more undercoats on the woodwork.
I think this post will take the record for the most number of photos, so bear with me. Or scroll until you find something that interests you.Dawn, though it’s light here from around 4am. Sadly for the little tree on the far left it would be its last day. It was ugly, with prickly leaves, tangerine coloured flowers that turned into little sour purple berries that even the birds didn’t seem to like. We are taking the front garden back to a blank slate.
They also hit a line of bricks running along the footpath. They were red bricks laid neatly in a header course so I don’t think they were foundations for a wall. My guess is that this was the original level of the front garden and these were the bricks marking the boundary. They were the same bricks that the stump grinder hit in the middle of the tree trunk, which means that the tree, which was around eighty years old, grew over the bricks.
Progress by the end of the day. While all this was going on I discovered that Waitrose have an online Garden Centre that does home deliveries, great for someone who doesn’t have a car. It is the most brilliant site as you can search for any type of plant according to garden style, position, soil type, eventual height, flower colour, everything. I ordered all the plants for the front garden, filtering my choices to ensure they are all bee-friendly.
The carpenters were also here today. They finished fitting as much of the utility as possible, though the sink unit and worktop can’t be fixed until the plumbing is done. They made the cutout in the iroko worktop for the Belfast sink with a router. The offcut will be made into a nice chopping board.
They fitted skirtings, architraves and doors. This door for the toilet has been reclaimed as it was originally the door into the old scullery, which became a kitchen in the 1950s and is now our breakfast room. It will look better when it’s painted.
New rim latch and knob. The dent in that panel was made when the door was in its original location – when opened it would hit the handle from the door on the servant staircase. I’ll have to remind T the decorator not to fill it as I like that it tells a story.
I’m less sure about the success of this one. This door has be re-sited from its original location, which was the cold store larder. In order to fit the new narrow space a great deal of the door had to be trimmed, so much so that there is barely anything left!
It’s a nice job and it will be a perfect place to store Chrismas decorations, picnic baskets and such.
Architrave around the stained glass toilet window. This is fast becoming my favourite room in the house. Perhaps because it’s the only room we have actually created from nothing. This was originally the covered courtyard space used to access the servant toilet and the coal store.
Original paintwork on the latch. As far as I can tell, all of the woodwork started out either stained dark brown or was painted this buff brown colour. You can see it also under the flaking paint on the door surround. At various other times the woodwork has been mint green and navy blue.
T, the decorator, worked on the servant stairs. Original dark wood finish to the stairs. I ripped out the original carpet runner last year. For weeks after we first moved in we thought we had some sort of gas leak in the back of the house but it turned out to be the smell of that carpet.
Looking up the stairs. T painted the walls first.
Much more to occur this week as we push through to the completion of Stage 2. The guest room is part of the Stage 2 challenge as it needs to be ready for Frogdancer, whom I am meeting up with in London next week.
When did we get to June 19? T, the decorator, continued painting the woodwork. Glossy white window sill in the guest bedroom.
Top floor cupboard skirting boards.
Guest bedroom. I’ll need to scrape a couple of drips off the tiles but finally there is no trace of the pre-1964 purple in this room.
P also dropped by to paste some lining paper on certain walls. Servant stairs landing.
D the carpenter, later joined by D2, began fitting the utility room units. They fit the space very well and I love how the colours are working together. It’s an Edwardian meets Beauty School Dropout kind of utility room with a hint of 80s Ruthless People and Back to the Future diner.
Ruby doing the same. Rosie didn’t come in, she likes to hang back and see what her brother and sister get up to. As the youngest, and lowest in their hierarchy, she doesn’t possess the same sense of entitlement that they do. Don’t worry, she’ll take over the whole place in her own time and on her terms, as youngest siblings often do.
Welcome, new reader. This probably isn’t the site you were looking for. Ruby and Oliver. Two peas in a pod. [Edit: I doubt this was the pair you were expecting…]Rosie. T, the decorator, continued work in the guest bedroom as well as the rooms upstairs. Freshly painted ceiling. The next week is going to be crucial as we push through to the completion of this stage of the renovation.
What it used to look like. Cobwebs, spiders, peeling wallpaper, a mouldy window, extinct woodworm, an ancient water tank, lead pipes, collapsing ceilings, draughty holes into the roof…the list goes on.
The bathroom walls have had three coats now. White. The woodwork will be next. Gloss white. I’m reserving judgement – I think have become so used to colour on walls in the rest of the house that this feels a bit bland. I shall wait and see.
The first house we built was entirely white, though perhaps white works better in a warmer, sunnier climate like Australia.