Christmas in the Edwardian House

img_6689Well hello! Is it December already?

img_7781We are just about preparedĀ for Christmas here at the Edwardian House.

img_6722It is always reassuring when Christmas has been delivered. Ruby inspects.

img_6900I planned to make a few sausage rolls for Christmas functions and ended up with eighty!

img_6901They look good though.


Oliver won’t be the only member of the household to need a diet when next year comes around…

img_6800Ruby being companionable at breakfast – secretly she tries to dip her paw in the milk jug when she thinks I am not looking.

There is not a lot to report on the house front as most of the work is complete. I am still waiting to get curtains for the dining room, and there is more work to be done in the garden, but that’s about it!

img_6808Rosie wishes you a Merry Christmas! As do the rest of us!


Christmas in the Edwardian House

IMG_5872 (1)We are approaching our third Christmas in the Edwardian House. Ruby on tree inspection duty.

On the first Christmas we were living on the top floor in three rooms waiting to get started with the renovation. By the second Christmas we were part way there with Stage One complete and a semblance of normality. Christmas number three sees a completed build (with just a bit more carpet to lay and a back garden to tame) and plans for the future being made.

It has been an eventful two years.

I will keep you up to date with new developments as they occur, so please do not delete us from your blog feed.

All best wishes for the holiday season from Scott, Mark, Ruby, Oliver and Rose.


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!

The week continues

IMG_7189On Tuesday I filled all the gaps and nail holes in the stairs.

IMG_7190And on Wednesday I gave them a second undercoat.

IMG_7193Looking good.

IMG_7205I also decided to see how the lounge would look if I applied some obscure film to the bottom of the windows.

IMG_7208This window is quite close to the footpath and because we have Roman blinds people can see straight inside when they are open. I don’t really mind that but now that the new fireplace is installed, and it will be getting dark earlier, I thought there are bound to be times when I nod off in front of the fire and I won’t want to be on display to the entire street. The obscure film is just high enough that it reaches the eye level of pedestrians, which is precisely the same eye level of a person seated on the sofa.

IMG_7214Standing up you still have a nice view outside so it doesn’t feel like I have blocked the entire window. It also helps that the film doesn’t go right to the edge of the glass – it looks more like an etched glass feature.

IMG_7217Someone wasn’t happy though, and I felt a bit guilty for depriving Ruby of one of her great pleasures: observing the street and passers-by, in particular the neighbour’s cat Albus.


I thought about it overnight and came up with this compromise.

IMG_7227A little spy hole for Ruby at both ends of the window.

IMG_7233After I did that this morning I gave the stairs their top coat.

IMG_7234I am quite impressed with how they have turned out.



IMG_7272I might even leave them like this permanently, or if I decide I still want carpet I will be able to have it fitted as a runner down the centre of the stairs.

IMG_7278The paint was taking ages to dry – the tin said two hours butĀ  seven hours later it was still tacky in places so I couldn’t risk the cats running up and down on it.

IMG_7275The tin foil barrier seems to working so far. They have to use the maid’s stairs at the back of the house.

IMG_7267The stairs being painted also means that the entrance hall is now complete!

IMG_7270You can really appreciate the architecture now.

IMG_7264I will have to do some before and after shots so you can compare side by side.

IMG_7262Desk in the hall. It’s a good place to leave the mail and is also handy for writing cheques and such.

IMG_7273In other news, I went to the hardware store and bought a leaf rake. I am now prepared for this giant tree – a native lime – you can see the leaves are just starting to turn.

Carpet Conundrum – With Audience Participation!

IMG_7129First, here is the lounge with the new wall colour.

IMG_7054Tile feature in the fireplace.

IMG_7135Roman blinds.

IMG_2838Sofas and cushions.

IMG_4874 - 2014-12-05 at 14-15-43Chair. Can you see where I’m going with this?

IMG_7110All that’s left is carpet. The lighter beige carpet above is a strong contender. It’s a Cormar carpet, 80/20 wool in a colour called Nutkin.

IMG_7109This is the other contender. It’s called Cardinal.

Let’s ignore the cat fur question – I have a new attachment for my vacuum cleaner which should deal with that. We all know what a beige carpet will look like – but what about red?

Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 20.24.42

Here’s a sample of a tasteful, elegant room with red carpet.

Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 20.24.10And a gorgeous Edwardian interior with red carpet.

100528dUnfortunately red carpet can go wrong too. This looks likes Liberace’s Vegas home.

Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 20.38.15And a scene from an 80s episode of the The Bold and the Beautiful.

I’d be interested in your views – beige carpet with the red accents I already have, or the cardinal red carpet? Vote in this poll!






Further Lounge Redecoration

IMG_7124Today T was here doing some more decorating.

IMG_7126He put the second coat of emulsion on the walls and redid the gloss on the picture rail and skirting boards.

IMG_7129Then this afternoon P dropped by to give the timber fire surround and mantelpiece its first coat of varnish.

IMG_7128It will get a second coat late next week as the varnish is “cissing”, which means in places it is pooling and separating because of the old layers of polish. It still looks good though and will perfect after the next coat.

In other news, I woke up at midnight last night to discover the central heating was still on despite the fact that it is set to go off around 9pm. All the controls were off but the heating pump and boiler were still happily churning away belting out heat and the radiators were vesuvial. Even when I physically turned the boiler off the heat pump was still going. I did a web search that suggested I find the switch to turn the heat pump off too. I was back in bed around 1:30am after doing further research on the problem and sending an email to P the plumber. My research suggested a faulty valve. At 6am I got up and turned the boiler on, just for the hot water, and the heating started up yet again, depite it being turned off. P the plumber dropped around late that morning (it’s great to have reliable trades) and diagnosed the faulty valve on the pump system. We had kept some of the older parts of the system (installed in 2009) when we renovated last year, including the boiler. P has to get the valve and will be back early next week to swap it over. We can still use the heating and hot water but I have to turn the boiler on and off manually over the weekend. We might opt to use the top floor shower, which is electric and independent of the hot water system until it is fixed. It was for occasions such as these that we thought it best to keep an electric shower on the top floor. Eventually we will have to invest in a new boiler but we will wait as long as we need to while this one still works.

Lounge (re) Decorating Continued

Today P dropped by to give the lounge room walls below the picture rail their first coat.





A little sad to see the Cat’s Paw go, which actually looked quite nice while the room was empty like this, but when everything is layered back into the room – carpet, furniture, light fittings – the single colour on the walls will work better. The room is certainly lighter now.

Today in the lounge



Today P the decorator dropped by to do some prep work in the lounge following the fire installation. The holes in the walls were filled where the mantel had been repositioned. P was impressd at how little damage the fireplace fitters had done to the wall. As you can see, the servant bell push remained safe too.


P also patched the wall and skirting board where we had the damp proofing done.

IMG_7107I have bitten the bullet and P will be redecorating this entire room…which was only done 12 months ago.

IMG_7049I say entire room but it is only the colour of the main walls that is being changed. They will be painted the same colour as the section above the picture rail, which is Farrow and Ball’s ‘Matchstick’. I was just finding the dark tan colour, called Cat’s Paw, wasn’t working. This was partly because of the west facing aspect but mainly because I had based the entire colour scheme around a camel coloured leather sofa we had in Liverpool. No sooner was the room painted than we decided to replace the sofa with the two cream coloured Chesterfields we have now and gave the old sofa to charity.


I think lightening the walls will work better, especially as the carpet is likely to be a mid to dark beige, quite similar to the current wall colour, so it would all look too ‘samey’, particularly as the blinds have a similar background colour too.


I briefly toyed with the idea of red carpet but then, as you can see, Rosie brushed up against the sample with her white fur. I don’t even think my new Dyson Pet Hair vacuum cleaner attachment would cope with that.


Lounge Fireplace, Day 2


IMG_7035J and S the fireplace guys were here again today to complete the installation. Yesterday the old fireplace was demolished, the brickwork chopped out, lintel fitted, gas line set up, and slate hearth laid.


Today’s job was the fitting of the insert and replacing the original timber mantel.

IMG_7049And here it is!

IMG_7013Remember how it looked yesterday.

IMG_7050We still need to patch and redecorate the wall and sand and varnish the timber mantelpiece but you get the idea.

IMG_7054Detail of the gorgeous tube-lined tiles. The pattern is English Rose.


The Art Nouveau style hood.

IMG_7064Oliver inspecting. I turned the fire off and let it cool down before I introduced the cats to it.

IMG_7058Ruby. Rose wasn’t really interested.


I turned it on in the early evening and Oliver soon took possession of this vantage point.

IMG_7099He is quite taken with the flickering flames, so I will have to watch them for a while. I still remember the day dear departed Orlando shoved his face right into the gas fire the day he arrived in the UK from Australia and singed his whiskers.


Oliver may never move.

Lounge Fireplace, Day 1

IMG_7015This morning J and S the fireplace guys started in the lounge. The before shot.


First the original 1905 timber mantelpiece had to be removed and the 1930s fireplace demolished. You can see that the original opening was much larger but had been bricked in for the later fireplace. The mottled purple tiles suggest the 1930s and my research indicates a major renovation of the house in 1935 by Martha Baxter, so it all fits together.

IMG_7024Further demolition.


Behind the 1930s brickwork were traces of the original hearth tiles – dark green rectangular Mintons tiles.


That makes the recently-laid tiles for the dining room hearth an inspired choice!


They then hammered out some more of the brickwork and installed a new lintel.


Then lots of things occurred with the gas line under the floor and various connections. The final job for the day was the laying of the new slate hearth, which will be oiled and polished at the end of the installation. The new insert will be fitted tomorrow – I took pictures of it, but to publish them now would spoil the big reveal!

More tomorrow.