Build Day #96

IMG_4222Oliver and Ruby spending the evening on the sofa together – a rare occurrence (Oliver on the right with his usual slightly worried look – and gorgeous chubby cheeks!).

IMG_4251A the carpenter was back today and he began fitting the new ironmongery to the front door. The letter box is the original one but I have given it a good polish. I think it will all need to come off again though when T the painter comes to give the door the final coat. T was here today doing some decorating work on windows around the back of the house.

IMG_4250The new back plate for the letter box was fitted too.

IMG_4244The main news today however involves electrics. We have lights downstairs for the first time in over four months!

IMG_4262Lights! And Ruby.


IMG_4233Lights!!! The chandelier is still covered as the men have not yet stopped making dust.



IMG_4261Lights!!!!!!!! Can you tell I’m excited?

IMG_4242Not only lights but full power to the kitchen! An oven!

IMG_4259A microwave!
IMG_4243And – our favourite object in the entire house – the dishwasher!

IMG_4235Lights outside too!

IMG_4246And out the front! A bit crooked though – needs to be straightened up.

IMG_4237Did I mention over counter lights?! Still being installed.

IMG_4255Upstairs there are more lights but no electricity yet. Master bedroom ceiling light.

IMG_4253Master bedroom wall lights – they’ll look better once the room has been decorated…

IMG_4252The electricians will be back to finish tomorrow. Not sure about this light for my study – I bought it before we decided to fit the ceiling roses and I don’t think it’s big enough.

IMG_4258Main bathroom ceiling light, wall light and extractor fan.

Electricity on the ground floor is a major milestone. It means we (humans and felines) can move into the kitchen and breakfast room. It also means I can unpack more of the kitchen and dining room – I was holding off in case the electricians needed to move the large dresser or the china cabinet to get to sockets.



Build Days #92 and #93

IMG_4192On day #92 the repaired french doors were refitted. They just need a handle and latch now.

IMG_4194More downpipes. This one looks a little bendy as it passes this piece of timber.

IMG_4193The roofer was here replacing the last of the missing roof tiles on the main roof.

IMG_4189We started unpacking!

IMG_4190I also cleaned the fridge.

IMG_4191Things always look worse during the unpacking for a little while.

Today the scaffolders were meant to dismantle the scaffold but they are coming tomorrow instead. This meant that T the painter couldn’t get on with his work, so he will be back tomorrow.



Build Day #74

I know that some of you come here to see the cats and that they have been missing from the last couple of posts. Sorry about that.


Here’s Ruby on the kitchen bench, making it her own.

IMG_3681Ruby wanting to learn how to use the drill.

IMG_3682Ruby wanting to learn how to use the teppanyaki griddle.

IMG_3693Oliver looking worried on the landing.

IMG_3696Oliver looking handsome. And a bit worried.

IMG_3667Rosie checking out the breakfast room.


The under servant stairs cupboard has been stripped ready for painting and has a new handle. OK, I need to admit it. We have decided to call in reinforcements for some of the decorating. P the painter is finishing off the breakfast room and kitchen and will also be decorating the dining room. I probably could have done it myself but it would have taken me ages, plus I’m not convinced I could paint woodwork very well.

IMG_3686The breakfast room has had a yellow based undercoat. This is not the final colour, which will be Farrow and Ball’s ‘Dayroom Yellow’, but it gives an idea of what a yellow room will look like. Bright and sunny.

IMG_3671The kitchen door has been stripped and filled.

IMG_3674The dining room floor has been covered and the walls and ceiling prepared. The walls are going to have lining paper and will be painted rather than wallpapered. I prefer paint as it is much easier to redecorate and change the colour. Not that I will ever want to change the colour that I have selected.

Once these particular rooms are decorated, and the quarry tiles in the kitchen get their final clean and seal, we will be able to get the rest of our furniture out of storage from Liverpool. We are hoping to have delivery at the end of August, which will be just over eleven months after we moved in. Not everything will be finished by then but it will mainly just be decorating work. It will be nice to have all of our stuff back under one roof even if we can’t uppack it all. Mark is of the view that if we didn’t really miss it for almost a year then it’s not incredibly essential to our lives. He is determined to downsize but we haven’t even fully upsized yet.


Carpentry work continued. Skirting board where the old door into the bedroom was (now the en suite).

IMG_3678More skirtings. The kitchen is almost finished; the last parts arrive on Friday.

IMG_3675The toilet and bathroom are almost ready for their final skim.


The repair to the back of the servant’s stairs cupboard was too quick for me to get a time capsule together.

IMG_3701I bought this oil painting today. It has been done by a good amateur hand and will go nicely on a wall in a room yet to be decided. It was in the charity shop for £5 so how could I pass it up? Mark asked if I bought it for the frame. I really like the painting but it is true that even the frame is worth more than £5. It is signed L H Cockerill and is called ‘Come into the garden’.







Build Day #72

IMG_3640Carpentry work continued today with Mark’s study window undergoing repairs.

IMG_3641We thought the centre casement would need to be remade but it is in good enough condition to be repaired.


It’s all boarded up until tomorrow.

IMG_3645Some doors were eased.

IMG_3636The electricians continued to fit lights and switches. This light by the front door was done the other day but I didn’t take a picture. I chose it because it has panes of glass that match the lead work in the windows.

IMG_3637In the porch has been fitted this genuine Arts and Crafts copper lantern that the boys rewired for me today.


I found it on eBay.

IMG_3646Entrance hall light.

IMG_3638One of the three lights in the back garden.


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 #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 #57

IMG_3177Oliver by the range cooker, which is sitting in the middle of the entrance hall.

IMG_3171The kitchen build continued. Rosie getting comfortable.

IMG_3169Chippie’s lunchtime reading – slightly more highbrow than the plasterer’s.

IMG_3155The dresser/pantry unit.


It has a cornice at the top now.

IMG_3158And…drum roll please…


IMG_3159I really like the beehive handles.


IMG_3161A, the chippy, discovered a problem at 5:30pm Friday  – the sink wouldn’t fit in the cabinet as the cupboard door hinges were getting in the way. He had been working all week so that the granite company could come and ‘template’ the granite but this means that we have had to postpone. I am glad actually, as now that I look at the sink in position, I feel it’s far too big. I am going to go for the 1.5 basin option instead of the full double.

IMG_3173Sneak peek at the range cooker…oh my.

IMG_3170D, the other chippy, was completing various carpentry tasks around the house. The little door to the under servant stairs cupboard had to be cut down to fit the smaller opening.

IMG_3164Look at how fresh the wood is in the 110 year old door. I am tempted to get the doors stripped.

IMG_3152Upstairs the tilers finished grouting the en suite. I had better get painting!


Build Days #43 and #44

Yesterday was fairly quiet. JB and a couple of his labourers arrived but couldn’t complete their job for the day as their circular saw blade had been blunted by the plumber.

IMG_2798As the quarry tiles dried there was some efflorescence of mineral salts, which is perfectly normal, apparently. They will be ‘dry scrubbed’ before they are sealed.

IMG_2810The boiler got its new home today in the airing cupboard. Looking smart. Much better that its old location.

IMG_2811The new hot water tank will go in tomorrow. It’s enormous.

IMG_2812I think these are part of the hot water system too…

IMG_2797I forgot to show you my first painted ceiling! It’s the one in the kitchen. I am very pleased with it – nice coverage.

IMG_2820I have been testing a few more colours for the dining room. I am still eyeing the red but I definitely don’t like the others.

IMG_2819P the painter started to burn off the old paint on the front door.

IMG_2813Historically blue, green and purple seem to be the predominant colours, though it probably would have been varnished originally.

IMG_2783In the understairs cupboard this magazine showed up – it may have been wedged behind the old electricity board. It is a copy of The Listener from June 22nd 1989. At first I though to myself, oh, that’s fairly recent. I then did the calculations and realised 1989 was 25 years ago! But I remember 1989 like it was yesterday! Uh oh. Must be getting old.

IMG_2800As everyone had gone home today by 3pm I decided to have another go on the scaffold. I stepped out through the bedroom window on the first floor. Here you can see the fascias and end-jacks have been stripped and painted black.

IMG_2799Most of the windows have been stripped, sanded, filled and undercoated.

IMG_2801Here is a close-up of the decorative cast iron hopper.

IMG_2803It’s not blocked here but the downpipe is full of debris about halfway down.

I then lost my nerve on the scaffold and went back inside. It’s something about being able to see down through the boards. I’ll go further next time.





Front Door Ruminations

I have been thinking more on the front door colour since the last post. I definitely want to get rid of the blue door.

1010862_146791215524018_2039727418_nThis was our front door in Liverpool that I had painted red. The colour has probably become my first preference.

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 08.10.02Here is a house on the next street with a red front door. Cheery and it stands out beautifully.

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 08.12.14Our next door neighbour has a blue door, which is one of the reasons I would like a different colour. Note our house on the right looming over it.

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 08.13.16A black door from our suburb. Quite classy.

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 08.13.54A local white door. Bland.

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 08.12.52Pale blue-grey – not really period.

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 08.11.58Now this is interesting. A forest green door down the street.

1458634_177793182423821_2002630969_nI also remembered that we will eventually be attaching this number and house name to the front of the house, so perhaps we should keep green in mind?

Fraser 7

Plus the house will have a blue plaque on it for George Sutherland Fraser. Will it all clash? I may have to get the number plaque done in black instead.

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 08.14.59Another black door nearby.

8384977868_862370fb61_oI once took a walk through Highgate village in London and loved these two doors. It may be more the contrast between the two but since then I have always thought about the yellow door. Having said that, it is on a Georgian house with the characteristically brown London brick rather than the East Midlands red brick of our house.

Anyway, feel free to vote in the Poll in the previous post or make a suggestion in the comments.



Build Day #28

Three trades were in attendance today.


The men continued to erect the scaffold around the house. Ruby is intrigued and somewhat frustrated as she wants to get out there and investigate.


The company should get a prize for most imaginative business name.


The plasterers did work in the dining room, the bottom of the stairs, and the breakfast room.


In Mark’s future study they covered the walls in this fluorescent green gloop, which will allow them to skim the damaged walls with plaster.


Most significantly, the windows and doors were installed on the ground floor! Until today all the openings had been blocked up with plywood boards – not very secure and poor at keeping out draughts. With the installation of windows and doors we finally have light coming in and can see the rooms really taking shape.


Breakfast room. Technically this means that the rear of the house is at “lock-up” stage. Our builder now wants to get heaters in to advance the drying of the plaster.

IMG_2535Oliver and Ruby were fascinated by their new view into the garden.

IMG_2538Ruby made sure she sampled every new vantage point.

IMG_2542Rosie was a little hesitant.

IMG_2543Taking a peek.


To the purists out there – I used to be one of you! I know that we have installed UPVC but all the windows we replaced were at the end of their lives. If we could have afforded timber we would have gone that way but with so much else to do in the house we had to make some cuts. Maybe one day we will replace them or perhaps the next owner will, as they curse us for installing ‘plastic’ windows. I wouldn’t install UPVC windows on the facade of the house, and seeing as we have twenty-nine windows in total to look after, this is just a small percentage. I have also documented the original windows well so they could be re-made exactly as they were if we wanted to. Anyway, apology and justification over. They are well made, very good at insulating and seal beautifully, and we’re going to need that as we still have the original quarry tile floor in the kitchen and breakfast room, which has no insulation at all!