Lounge Before and After

IMG_5736On Monday the (beige) carpet was fitted and I have spent the last couple of days setting up the room.

IMG_5774I think we did the right thing not going for the red carpet as there are enough red accents already. Not to mention the cat fur issue.

IMG_5738So, what have we done in this room? Early on I ripped out the old plywood bookshelves and stripped the eighty year old wallpaper (remember L Johnson’s signature and the date June 11th 1935 written on the wall?). The ceiling was replaced, new wiring and radiator installed, new gas inset and slate hearth for the fireplace (reusing the original timber mantel), plaster repairs to the external-facing wall to repair old penetrating damp from the broken downpipe, damp proofing of the corner to the right of the window, and the room was redecorated (twice!).

IMG_5744The room currently has that wonderful ‘new carpet smell’.

IMG_5750Miss Rose insisted on being in the centre of every shot. Speaking of Rose, we also added the ceiling rose you can see above her.

IMG_5754Our resident diva Rose loves the camera. Ruby, in the meantime is ignoring me completely.

IMG_5755I got the mirror above the mantelpiece the other day from a new antique shop that has opened around the corner. Also that pair of Delft vases. Mark is worried as the owner of the shop now has a list of my needs for the house.


Ready for her close-up.

Lounge2And now a selection of Before/After shots for you. Some of them are repeats from above but they remind you of how it used to look.




This room is now done!

Coal Store Conversion Before and After

Coal Store 1

It’s a little late but I don’t think I ever did a final Before/After set for the coal store conversion to the utility room and toilet.

Coal store 2

The toilet was built in the sheltered porch just outside the original coal store facing the servant courtyard, which has become a garden.

IMG_7246The high level cistern toilet actually backs onto the original doorway for the servant toilet, which was converted into part of the breakfast room in the first stage of the renovation.

IMG_4826That’s what the original toilet looked like. That was part of the reason for my choice of a traditional looking high level cistern toilet in the new space.

Coal Store 3

The utility room was converted from the old coal store.

Caol store 4Velux window for light.

Coal store 5

And a handy storage space.


Post Stage 2 Monday

T the decorator finished up today.

IMG_0808Servant stairs before.

IMG_2925Servant stairs after.



11174888_393534494183021_2776386380673182863_nServant’s bedroom before.

IMG_2937Now known as the guest room.

11193233_393534477516356_267877858110156700_nFireplace before.



IMG_2938You get the idea.

IMG_2934Looking out onto the servant stairs landing.

IMG_2935And the window with the new roman blind installed today.

IMG_2929The new blind for Mark’s study was also fitted.

IMG_2930Does a good job. Also I continued planning for Stage 3! More to follow.

Stage 2, Day 14

IMG_1721The pavers on our new back step have been mortared in.

IMG_1727Now we just need to work on the garden to make it worth stepping outside!

img_4791How it used to look a year ago.

IMG_1712The coal store is definitely looking like a room now.

IMG_1713Further lining, cladding and such-like occurred. Site of the future basin in the toilet.

IMG_1717We are going to get a cupboard door installed in the triangular ‘loft’ space; a great place to store the Christmas decorations.

IMG_1714Pipework for the new toilet. The red brickwork is less than a year old as that was once the doorway through to the old servant’s toilet. It will be a shame to cover it really.

img_4826How it used to look a year ago. We’re installing a high-level cistern toilet in the new space as a nod to the house’s past. It will be nicer than this though, trust me.

img_1971This is now the breakfast room! Seeing pictures like this makes you realise how much has been accomplished in the last year.

IMG_1728The brickwork is now complete on the new wall; it makes the old part of the wall on the left look rather shabby. Everything else here will be black-and-white timber and render. I blamed P the plumber for all of yesterday’s grit in the kitchen but I realised this morning that some of it was from the cutting of these grey bricks. All the doors were closed today as more bricks were cut, which made a big difference.

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 11.45.51 amHere is the collection of colours for the utility room and toilet. The walls will be Farrow and Ball’s Cinder Rose (pink) and the wainscoting Vert de Terre (green). The units for the utility will be cream and the floor black and white tile.




Master Bedroom: Before and After

Screen shot 2015-04-09 at 2.01.30 PMThe master bedroom was basically finished months ago but only today were the roman blinds installed. Until now we just had old sheets pinned to the window frames, which let a lot of light in during the night (there’s a streetlight opposite) and I’m not sure how opaque they were in terms of privacy… All that is just a memory now as these new blinds have block-out fabric that I will test tonight.

Screen shot 2015-04-09 at 2.06.39 PMSo what have we done in this room? Walls have been stripped of the old wallpaper, patched and plastered. New electrics installed and the radiator was moved. The ceiling was overboarded and skimmed because the old ceiling had severe cracks. I never had the heart to rip out the built-in wardrobe on the right, and I’m glad, even if it makes the room asymmetrical.

Screen shot 2015-04-09 at 2.12.52 PMWe redecorated of course. The carpet was replaced. The wallpaper is Laura Ashley – Linen. Paint colours are Farrow and Ball’s ‘Dimity’ on the non-papered walls and ‘Wimborne White’ above the picture rail.

Screen shot 2015-04-09 at 2.11.53 PMThe penetrating damp was fixed when we repaired the downpipe. A wasp’s nest was exterminated in the ceiling above the bay window. The fireplace was opened up.

Screen shot 2015-04-09 at 2.10.25 PMThe old sink that used to block this door from opening was removed and the door reinstated for the en suite conversion in the room next door.

Screen shot 2015-04-09 at 2.08.17 PMWe added the ceiling rose, which we feel is in keeping with the house, though originally there would have been gas lights on the walls. And the windows were cleaned yesterday – for the first time in over two years!Screen shot 2015-04-09 at 2.09.29 PMAnother room complete!

Dining Room: Before and After

dining2In this before and after shot you can see the dining room as it appeared in the sale brochure and how it looks now.

dining3What have we done in this room? First, the ceiling had been over-boarded and skimmed as the original lath and plaster ceiling was cracked and in danger of collapse. We managed to keep the original cornice and picture rail.

dining4The walls were in good enough condition to cover with lining paper and re-paint rather than re-plaster. We redirected the ugly copper central heating pipes that ran up the wall by the door.

dining6To the left you can see that the fireplace was reinstated. We still have to tile the hearth and decide what sort of fire to install – perhaps a gas log fire or a wood-burning stove.

dining7We had the original pine floorboards stripped and polished.

dining5The French doors were restored as much of the wood had rotted in the bottom panels. As with the rest of the house, this room was rewired and redecorated. Just in time for some pre-Christmas entertaining!


Kitchen: Before and After

IMG_4706 - 2014-11-13 at 12-55-24

Today the glass splash-back was finally installed after many weeks of delay. It was the final piece of the puzzle to fall into place and the kitchen is now complete! Here is a set of “Before and After” shots for your viewing pleasure.

Kitchen6You can see that the door and window in this corner were blocked up in order for the kitchen to be built. The glass splash-back behind the cooker looks a little redder in the photo than it actually is. It matches the quarry tile floor. I have retained the servant’s bell and need to refurbish it. The boiler was moved upstairs and the chimney breast demolished.

Kitchen5Here you can see the new doorway we had knocked through to the entrance hall.

Kitchen4The Welsh dresser in the photo above belonged to the previous owner (this was one of the estate agent pictures). I like how we have a built in dresser/pantry in the same spot. It is traditionally where a dresser would have been in this room. The door to the left of the dresser conceals the servant’s rear staircase.

Kitchen3The window was replaced with a double glazed one and was built slightly higher so that there was room for kitchen counter tops.

Kitchen2The room is painted in Farrow and Ball’s ‘Ball Green’ and the splash-back is ‘Red Earth’.

Kitchen1We removed the door into the breakfast room to open the space up a bit more. Another room complete – we can tick it off the list!

Build Day #100

Well, we have reached 100 days of building!

2014-06-03 09.38.44First, Miss Rose and her adventures. Archive shot here – the top floor dormer window. A the carpenter was building the internal frame for the new window the other day when he left them open. Each day at the end of work I thoroughly check the house for open windows, doors, or any potential danger to the cats. I think that because this work was done in the ‘safe’ area for the cats on the top floor I wasn’t as vigilant as I should have been, plus I was focused on how we could re-hang the curtains to notice that the windows were open wider than usual.

IMG_4795Another archive shot. Rosie decided to explore the outdoors through that top window. My guess is that she lost her footing on the steep roof tiles and fell to the ground. It was only when I was closing the windows on the dining room ground floor that I spotted a shocked Rosie outside the doors. She was very unhappy and bleated at me through the glass. She is an indoor cat and has never, ever, been outside. She was very happy to come back in.

IMG_4895The view before she must have fallen. They don’t call them cat-slide roofs for nothing.

Photo on 12-09-2014 at 08.10Miss Rose with her grazed chin – luckily this was the only injury she sustained in her fall.


On Day 100 the Great Wall was dismantled, reuniting the top floor with the rest of the house.

IMG_1657The Great Wall on the day of construction.


IMG_4280Now removed – the view from the top floor. All three cats are in this picture if you look carefully.

IMG_2698 - 2013-06-11 at 17-12-00We also moved into the new kitchen. Before shot.

IMG_4285And after.

IMG_4291I have already baked bread and cakes and prepared more fried food that I care to admit (the burners on the top floor kitchenette cooker would always cut out if they got too hot!).

IMG_4300We have also moved the cats down into their new room.

IMG_4304Cat show ribbons and the dresser.

IMG_4305Oliver and Ruby’s ribbons are on the far left. The rest belong to Rose, including her Premier medal and ribbon from the Supreme Show (the cat version of Crufts).

IMG_4302Ruby on the relocated cat tree surveying her new domain.

IMG_0840How it looked before.

IMG_4310The view though the kitchen.

Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 19.33.49A before and after shot of the breakfast room.


IMG_4313Externally, T the painter has almost finished. JB replaced the cast iron downpipe too.

IMG_4316You will also notice my colour choice for the front door – gloss black. I am very happy with it. It reinforces the Edwardian fascination with Tudor black and white architecture.