Stage 2, Day 16

IMG_1798A busy day today. Ignore the ‘garden’ – it’s now a wildlife sanctuary for the hedgehog.

IMG_1799The lining of the utility room and toilet continued.

IMG_1805Plasterboard. Lots of interesting shapes.

IMG_1809Utility room ceiling.

IMG_1800It’s very high up.


IMG_1804Toilet wall and ceiling.

IMG_1802Walls in the toilet. The window opening has been boarded up, which will stop the neighbour’s cat Albus coming in, as he has been wont to do.


IMG_1811The view from the kitchen window.

IMG_1815Inspection team at the end of the day. We’re almost at the point where I will let them in to explore their expanding territory.



Stage 2, Day 15

The end of the third week.

IMG_1770Around the corner I spotted the new pavers for the front path.



Ceilings are starting to go up in the toilet and utility.

IMG_1781It’s all taking shape.



The new window was installed in the servant’s bedroom/future guest room. Here is the window making its arrival.


The old window. It’s always sad to say goodbye to an origninal window but it was rotten, thinly glazed and could not be opened. The servant’s room also had cheaper materials than the rest of the house. This is a traditional sash window, whereas the windows in the family’s part of the house were the more fashionable Edwardian casements. We managed to save the architrave though.




IMG_1758Our neighbour maintains a nice lawn.



IMG_1775Very nice. It’s not fashionable to like UPVC windows but these are very solid and practical. If the house were a few streets over we would be in a conservation area and all of the old windows would have had to remain. The house has thirty-six windows, so I can live with a few UPVC ones, plus the double glazing will help keep the place warm. This was an especially cold room as it has three external walls.

IMG_1778Both sections open, the lower part being very handy for evacuation if ever it were necessary. We should probably review our fire drill.


Outside before.

IMG_1769 (1)

Outside after. You can see that I had the new window made to the same proportions as the old one.


Old window on the way out.


Tiles for the utility room were delivered.


Tiles for the hearth in the dining room were delivered. Lights were delivered but I haven’t taken a photo.

IMG_1761Oliver being as brave as he could considering all of today’s disruptions.



Stage 2, Day 7

IMG_1518In case John and Mindy are reading – your bulbs are coming up nicely! You will have to remind me about what they are again. IMG_1517This is a shot of the slabs that will form the back step. IMG_1519Work continued today with more lining and insulating of the coal store. There was also some further demolition as the old lath and plaster ceilings were torn down. The toilet is going to have cathedral height ceilings! DSC_0273When A and R were demolishing the celings they took some photos of the abandoned wasp nest. It’s like something out of Alien and it was huge! DSC_0276Quite fascinating, and disturbing at the same time. IMG_1533With the ceiling now removed you can get a good idea of the future height of this room too. IMG_1520There is a large space above the back section of the breakfast room too now, practically a mezzanine. I am wondering if it is worth lining this section to use for storage, either enclosing it with cupboard doors or leaving it open as a big exposed shelf. If we did this it would mean that the skylight might be able to be bigger or more centred in the roof space. IMG_1526A close-up of a roof tile. I knew that type of tile is referred to as a rosemary but I didn’t realise that it was literal. IMG_1522My concern is the structural integrity of this main beam holding up the roof hip. It was quite dark in there but I think I saw some tell-tale woodworm holes in the timber. I am also wondering if that white section at the base is some wet rot as there is evidence of a long term leak in this part of the roof. JB will take a look at it tomorrow but it won’t be the first time we’ve uncovered something like this. At least there’s no sign of a fruiting body…

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 #76

IMG_3733Typical morning scene. After breakfast Rose and Ruby have taken to sharing the spare duvet (that’s English for doona) and Oliver has just been looking through the window at the pigeons who sit on the chimney.

IMG_3757Carpentry work. The restored casement window has been refitted. The casement on the right is awaiting its new pane. The bathroom window had the cracked pane replaced as well but I forgot to take a picture.

IMG_3736Skirting boards recycled from elsewhere in the house have been fitted in the utility cupboard.

IMG_3742And in the entrance hall.

IMG_3737The resized canopy panel has arrived and once more the kitchen has been pulled apart. It will be all be assembled soon…

IMG_3744The second ceiling rose has been fitted. This is the one in Mark’s study.

IMG_3745The third rose has been fitted and is awaiting its outer ring.

IMG_3746Here is the fourth Rose.

IMG_3748Awaiting a head scritch.


IMG_3739Farrow and Ball’s ‘Incarnadine’ in the dining room.

IMG_3740Gorgeous. I like it even better than ‘Blazer’, which we had in Liverpool.

946228_140471349489338_850348158_nOur Liverpool house for comparison. Blazer had a more yellow hue.

IMG_3741This is darker and is more towards blue in spectrum.


Build Day #73

IMG_3654Today was a busy day that began with a big clean up.

IMG_3660This is going to be our ‘utility closet’ for the washing machine and dryer. Eventually we will build a full utility room in the coal store at the back of the house. Afterwards this space will be used for storage or perhaps as a walk-in pantry.

IMG_3663Carpentry work continued. This is the repaired/rebuilt casement for Mark’s study.

IMG_3655The French doors were put under the microscope today and found wanting. When the bottom panels were removed there was plenty of rot and evidence of old repairs. They had to be taken away to a joiner. We are not sure yet whether they can be repaired or if they will need to be remade.

IMG_3652The creaky broken step in the servants staircase has been repaired.

IMG_3651To access the step, A the carpenter needed to ‘break in’ through the under stairs cupboard. I’m tempted to put a time capsule in there before it is sealed up.

IMG_3657In the dining room the first of the ceiling roses has been fitted.

IMG_3653The doorway is being prepared for its oak threshold. The terrazzo has been cut and trimmed on one side and  the quarry tiles on the other, and then the gap has been filled with cement. There was a row of blue engineering bricks here that would have formed the foundations of the brick wall that we cut through to make the door.

IMG_3666Outside the gutters have been fitted to the dormer windows at the front and back of the house.


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’.



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.


Build Day #58

IMG_3190Today my job was to give the en suite ceiling two top coats. Looking good.

IMG_3201The electricians were here wiring the heating system.

IMG_3196They also installed a couple of lights where I have finished painting ceilings. The kitchen (shade yet to be fitted).

IMG_3197Breakfast room.

IMG_3198Kitchen work continued.

IMG_3193Drawer fronts and handles.

IMG_3192Microwave installed.

IMG_3194Cupboard fronts.

IMG_3203Smaller sink. Much better.

IMG_3209Ruby inspects the drawers.

IMG_3211Ruby explores the drawers.

IMG_3195Drawers and cupboards on the dresser unit. All of the glazed doors are yet to be delivered.

IMG_3204The 110 year old Edwardian quarry tiled floor that was stripped and meant to be protected until it’s sealed.

IMG_3205Very sad.