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.



Build Day #84 and #85

Internally, the build work on the house is nearing its end. There are many small tasks that are gradually being completed: final sanding and filling, securing of loose floorboards, that sort of thing. Decoration will be done by us afterwards.

IMG_4073A ring on the master bedroom ceiling rose.

IMG_4072A casement stay on the toilet window.

IMG_4071Yet more sanding and filling…there is dust everywhere.

IMG_4070Storage cupboard fitted in the en suite. All the en suite needs now to be finished is the extractor fan fitted, some sealant around the recesses in the shower, a few paint touch ups and good clean.

IMG_4074The dehumidifiers in the kitchen and breakfast room continue to help dry out the floor.

Externally, the gutters need fitting, a window casement needs remaking, the french doors in the dining room need to be refitted etc. so that may take a little while longer.

Countdown to the rest of the furniture arriving: 11 days. Countdown to our friends M&M visiting from Australia: 36.

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.







Build Day #80

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 12.10.23The first ‘before and after’ pic: the breakfast room is almost finished as the floor will be cleaned and sealed next week. As you can see, this used to be the kitchen (and historically it was the scullery), with the outdoor servants’ toilet and the cold store pantry behind the demolished walls and door. We have also opened up the rear of the house to the garden with the double doors. The room has new windows and doors, the walls have been lined and insulated and the ceiling replaced. We have retained the original quarry tiles.

IMG_1973A ‘during’ shot. Tilting servant’s toilet cistern.

IMG_1992And another.

IMG_2254One more.

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 12.40.05Looking in the other direction. The man in the first shot was the real estate agent, whose name was Oliver, so I kind of knew this was the right house for us.

IMG_1709Another ‘during’ shot. Builder’s kettle, ancient radiator and blocked up side door.

IMG_3875P the plumber was here today fitting the new pipe stacks.

IMG_3874Very neat.

IMG_3876The garden tap was put in a couple of days ago.

IMG_3870The old ground floor toilet in what was originally the Edwardian “telephone room”…

IMG_3871Decommissioned and ready to remove.

IMG_3879And in the skip!

IMG_3898Waterfall tap in the bath.

IMG_3894Ruby investigating.

IMG_3858My first cup of tea drunk in the kitchen, but not made in there yet…

IMG_3860I unpacked my hamper from the oven company.

IMG_3861Lots of goodies.

IMG_3862I put them in a random kitchen cupboard for now.

IMG_3865T the painter was here doing a few final touch-ups. Tomorrow the kitchen door will get its new handle.

IMG_3903Ruby trying out the new kitchen tap.

IMG_3906She loves water.

IMG_3963Oliver gave it a go a bit later.

IMG_3880I did a bit of a vacuum and clean in the kitchen and breakfast room.

IMG_3872Old lath and plaster removed and new wall plastered in the rear landing. Other patching continued elsewhere.

IMG_3877Broken leadlight by the front door – it will need to be repaired. My theory is something was dropped or fell from the scaffold above. Note the dent in the bottom right hand edge of the window.

IMG_3889Oliver and Rose emerging from upstairs at the end of the day.

IMG_3913The neighbour’s cat, Albus, waiting.

IMG_3915Rosie saying hello to Albus.

IMG_3917Fighting off Ruby!

IMG_3883External shot. The very top parts of the scaffold were taken down yesterday.








Build Day #79


Gloss paint. Ah – the smell of Volatile Organic Compounds wafting through the air – comforting. T the painter was here today working on the breakfast room, kitchen, dining room and en suite.

IMG_3846I had painted most of the en suite myself but had shied away from painting the woodwork, so T painted the door and windows today.

IMG_3848Looking very sharp.


P the plumber installed the bath today, as well as doing various other things.

IMG_3843New pipe stacks are taking shape.

IMG_3841While outside I discovered the new external power socket.

IMG_3842And another external light.

IMG_3840The kitchen is almost finished…six weeks later. The new extractor panel and mantel shelf have been fitted. Looking much better.

IMG_3849I don’t think Oliver is a fan of the smell of gloss paint. He refused to go downstairs for his daily inspection.

Meanwhile we are on night two of no lights on the top floor – every time you switch on an appliance the lights go out, and sometimes they just go out by themselves. It’s not really engendering confidence in my electricians…



Build Day #78

IMG_3798The dining room chandelier was installed today, after much head-scratching from the electricians. Each one of those strands of crystal had to be hooked on individually – about halfway through one of the lads realised that each strand had graduated-sized crystals and he was putting them on the wrong way around.

IMG_3834Picture lights.

IMG_3822Adjusted chain and cord on the kitchen light.

IMG_3824Cord shortened on the breakfast room fisherman’s light. Reminds me of Van Gogh’s painting The Potato Eaters.

IMG_3805Some new switches on the top floor.

IMG_3810Other wiring is yet to be completed.

IMG_3808Shower screen in the en suite. Nice.

IMG_3811Toilet, basin and heated towel rail in the WC.


IMG_3815Towel rail, basin and cabinet in the main bathroom.

IMG_3817Waterfall tap. Ruby will love it.

IMG_3802This afternoon I wondered why my water glass had splashes around it…


IMG_3825T the painter worked on the gloss paint for the trim and doors in the breakfast room and kitchen. There is a bit of a prejudice against gloss white woodwork in this country but I love it, plus it is very hard wearing, unlike the satin paint we had in our Liverpool house (and on the top floor here).

IMG_3820I had to shut the terrible trio out of the kitchen and breakfast room as Ruby was about to leap onto a window sill that had wet paint on it. She is determined to be like Pepe le Pew’s girlfriend with the white stripe on her back.

IMG_3826Maybe she wants to make Albus jealous. His 5pm vigil.



Build Day #77

IMG_3763We have a toilet!

IMG_3764And basins!

IMG_3765P the plumber was here today doing the second fix in the en suite.

IMG_3768Heated towel rail.

IMG_3766Dual basins with waterfall taps. Looking good.


IMG_3771Mark really wanted a ‘rain’ shower and I wanted a normal one so I found this dual outlet shower head system.

IMG_3769Best of both worlds.

IMG_3762Oliver inspecting the glass shower screens that will be installed tomorrow.

IMG_3775In the other toilet I did an undercoat just around where the towel radiator will be installed  so that P will be able to get onto that tomorrow when I have completed the top coat.

IMG_3776Same in the bathroom.

IMG_3774Also in the toilet I removed the old casement stay and have prepared its replacement by stripping most of its paint. We will re-use the monkey tail stay that we salvaged from the upstairs window when it was removed.


IMG_3780Oliver, Ruby and Rose downstairs looking see what else has changed.

IMG_3777In the kitchen I fitted the glass shade to the light. I will need to remove a few links of the chain.

IMG_3778The light in the breakfast room is far too long and will need to be adjusted.

IMG_3782I must remember to ask if we can grout these tiles before the end of the week, as A the tile restorer will be here next week.



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 #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’.