The week so far

IMG_4683D, the floor guy, was here yesterday and bedroom five has been transformed!

IMG_4681Once again he did a great job. His sander weighs 93 kilograms (200 pounds) and it’s that weight that gives the floors their very smooth finish.

IMG_4679This is the last of the floors to be sanded. Now T, the decorator, can move into this room.

IMG_4640T has also been here this week. This was the understairs cupboard before – it hasn’t been painted in 100 years.

IMG_4671I just wanted it cleaned up a bit, not perfect.

IMG_4670He also finished the walk-in pantry. The sink for the corner arrived yesterday and I just need P the plumber to come and fit it.

IMG_4673Coat room also completed.

IMG_4674I just need to fit the hooks.

IMG_4669The doors for the toilet and utility have been glossed and re-hung. A quiet few days ahead as T has to go and finish another job.

Progress Continued

IMG_3750Today A, the floor man, returned to seal the terrazzo. I’m really happy with the result.

IMG_3782T, the decorator, completed Mark’s study.

IMG_3784In the afternoon I refitted the light and roller blind, and removed the paper that was protecting the floor.

IMG_3785It just needs furniture now.

IMG_3791View from the window.

IMG_3805Meanwhile, I opened up the back of the house as Frogdancer arrives tomorrow. Oliver made himself comfortable on the guest bed.

IMG_3810Ruby attempted an escape. I must remind Frogdancer not to open any windows more than two inches.

IMG_3835Later all three congregated on the back stairs. This is all new territory for them as we have tended not to let them into this part of the house. Ruby, at the top, has taken possession, Oliver is unsure, and Rose is front and centre, as usual, for any photo opportunity.


Progress Continues


Today A, the other floor guy, came with his assistant to complete stage one of the terrazzo restoration.

IMG_3710A before shot taken from the vestibule.

IMG_3719Looking from the kitchen.

IMG_3720Close-up. Terrazzo is basically made up of chips of marble or granite set into cement and then ground down and polished to reveal the stones. Our terrazzo is very dirty and dull.

IMG_3706The terrazzo continues into the coat room.

IMG_3709And also the future walk-in pantry. Each space is defined by a reddish-brown terrazzo border.



Stage one involved two deep cleans and a resurfacing with a diamond polisher. It all got very wet in the process.


How it looked by the end of the day after it had dried off a bit.


It has cleaned up beautifully and the colours are much brighter. On Friday they will be back to apply the sealant and to buff and polish the floor. We have to be careful not to get it dirty in the meantime.


IMG_3736Coat room.



Meanwhile T the decorator was working upstairs on Mark’s study.


Ceilings and walls filled and given a first coat.


More Progress

IMG_3695The floor in Mark’s study is drying nicely.



IMG_3690There are a couple of boards with ancient woodworm holes. D the floor guy said they were under the old wax so they have long since gone. He was actually surprised by the good condition of the boards generally.

IMG_3698Today T the decorator was working on the coat room/boot room.

IMG_2706How it used to the be with the 1950s toilet and the unmentionable carpet. I remember the day I ripped that carpet up, wearing gloves and a face mask, greeting the silverfish and earwigs as they scurried out. Oh how far we have come.

IMG_3699Originally it was an Edwardian telephone room, close to the telephone wires on the street and private for conversations.

IMG_3696Still a few more coats of paint to go. I am trying to decide whether I restore the old paint-covered hooks I removed from these rails or just buy new brass ones.


IMG_3648On the weekend we moved the washer and dryer into the new utility room, which strangely seems to make the room look bigger rather than more cramped. I should have taken a proper shot without all the bits and pieces in the sink but I’ll get a better one of the room when the doors are painted and reattached.

IMG_3659That meant that today T the decorator could start on the now empty former-utility-space/future-walk-in-pantry. I need to do something about the obsolete washing machine inlet and outlet pipes, though it seems a shame to waste perfectly good plumbing that was only installed last year. I have been reading about plumbing ‘dead-legs’ too, which are not great, so it would be a good idea to keep using these pipes to prevent water standing in them for any length of time. Apparently that’s how Legionnaires’ disease can get started…


I was thinking about getting fitted units but this would mean I would lose a lot of potential storage shelf space.

10257I mainly want it to be like Nigella’s pantry after all.

butlerspantryBut then a sort of wet bar/butlers pantry set up would be useful too.

cateringhandwashsinkI then found these little catering sinks online so I am thinking about installing one of those. If the pantry is also used for making and serving drinks (the dining room is right across the hall) then a little sink would be perfect for rinsing the odd glass or washing a knife used to cut a lemon wedge. I’m just trying to think about whether it would look too much like a prison cell or public lavatory.

shoppingI could get a little wine fridge too and then still have lots of room for shelves.

IMG_3660T also started to patch and fill the coat room.


Meanwhile, D the floor guy was back to tackle Mark’s study. All D’s equipment on the landing. The green sander weighs 95 kilograms so he had a helper drop by in the morning to assist him with lugging it up the two flights of stairs to the top floor.



IMG_3677The lighter boards are the new ones and they will darken over time. Last year D did the dining room and my study. In a couple of weeks we want to do the floor in the other bedroom, so he will be back. Unfortunately we couldn’t get both rooms done at the same time as the second bedroom needs to be ‘decanted’ into this one first – and before we do that, this room needs to be decorated. One day we will see an end to the constant shuffling of our furniture from one room to another and everything will be in the right place!

Stage 2, Day 23

IMG_2202Late yesterday afternoon P the plumber came to fit the shower base, so technically that was Day 22 job. It’s a perfect size for the space we had.


This meant that J the tiler could finish off the tiling around the shower this morning. I sold the other, smaller shower on eBay and got a good price for it. It was collected this afternoon.


The tiler also finished laying the tiles in the utility. The boards are for the electricians to stand on tomorrow when they go in there.


It’s an excellent transition from the quarry tiles – perfect levels. This floor will be grouted tomorrow.




Stage 2, Day 21


The start of week five. The first job is to get the cats out of bed and into the other part of the house. The breakfast room is their room really. That’s Oliver yawning at the top of the cat tree. Ruby is below and Rosie has taken to the crate lately.


The tiler was here and he laid the floor tiles in the top floor bathroom. They’re great looking tiles but they don’t go with that current wall colour so I will have to think about what to do – perhaps just white walls.


Most of the wall tiles were fixed too.


He has stopped at the bottom as he needs the shower tray fitted to finish off here.

IMG_2174The new shower has arrived: much larger.


Carpentry work also began today. The guest room window got a new sill.

IMG_2163Frame and architrave fitted.


The creepy top floor cupboard, hereafter known as the ‘top floor cupboard’ (or perhaps ‘walk-in linen press’?) had its door reversed. The door used to open inwards and the top corner dug a big hole in the sloping ceiling. It was also difficult to negotiate your way around the open door to get to the left hand side of the cupboard.


There’s much more room in there because of this change too, though you could potentially push someone down the stairs if you flung the door open quickly.


The cupboard also got some skirting boards.

IMG_2165Very nice. It just needs decorating now.


Downstairs the skirtings were refitted where we had the damp treated.


Work was done preparing some of the old doors that are going into new spaces. Here the old pantry and kitchen doors were prepared for their new lives as the utilty and the toilet door. The pantry door will only have moved about a metre from its original location, though for all of last year it was on the top floor as the ‘front door’ to our flat.


The old understairs door has been split in two to make a pair of doors to go in its original opening. This will mean I can fit shelves into the future walk-in pantry and divide off the space under the stairs where the gas and electricity meters are.

IMG_2179Ruby, Queen of the Stairs.

IMG_2064From the find on the weekend, full size images again so you can click and read.

IMG_2110Reminds me of the scene from Fawlty Towers when there’s sugar in the salt cellar: “I’ve put it all over the plaice”/”All over the place? What have gone and done that for?”

IMG_2079Copper AND aluminium – unlikely to be dishwasher safe.


And an article written by Roger Moore, TV’s The Saint.




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!


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.