Master Bedroom: Before and After

Screen shot 2015-04-09 at 2.01.30 PMThe master bedroom was basically finished months ago but only today were the roman blinds installed. Until now we just had old sheets pinned to the window frames, which let a lot of light in during the night (there’s a streetlight opposite) and I’m not sure how opaque they were in terms of privacy… All that is just a memory now as these new blinds have block-out fabric that I will test tonight.

Screen shot 2015-04-09 at 2.06.39 PMSo what have we done in this room? Walls have been stripped of the old wallpaper, patched and plastered. New electrics installed and the radiator was moved. The ceiling was overboarded and skimmed because the old ceiling had severe cracks. I never had the heart to rip out the built-in wardrobe on the right, and I’m glad, even if it makes the room asymmetrical.

Screen shot 2015-04-09 at 2.12.52 PMWe redecorated of course. The carpet was replaced. The wallpaper is Laura Ashley – Linen. Paint colours are Farrow and Ball’s ‘Dimity’ on the non-papered walls and ‘Wimborne White’ above the picture rail.

Screen shot 2015-04-09 at 2.11.53 PMThe penetrating damp was fixed when we repaired the downpipe. A wasp’s nest was exterminated in the ceiling above the bay window. The fireplace was opened up.

Screen shot 2015-04-09 at 2.10.25 PMThe old sink that used to block this door from opening was removed and the door reinstated for the en suite conversion in the room next door.

Screen shot 2015-04-09 at 2.08.17 PMWe added the ceiling rose, which we feel is in keeping with the house, though originally there would have been gas lights on the walls. And the windows were cleaned yesterday – for the first time in over two years!Screen shot 2015-04-09 at 2.09.29 PMAnother room complete!


IMG_4614 - 2014-11-12 at 14-10-30Today we had carpet laid in the master bedroom! All this room needs now is window coverings and it will be finished.

IMG_4617 - 2014-11-12 at 14-10-46I am really happy with the colour of the carpet, though it is a tad lighter than I thought it would be. The wallpaper and paint look great and the the fireplace has come up well with its original tiles restored.

IMG_4631 - 2014-11-12 at 14-13-02Rose was first to investigate the new carpet, getting her claws in nice and deep. Oliver looks a bit startled, I think it was because I was sitting on the floor.

IMG_4633 - 2014-11-12 at 14-13-24It wasn’t long before Oliver gave the claws of approval too.

IMG_4654 - 2014-11-12 at 14-14-38Ruby was last in, whilst Rose was busy making herself comfortable.

IMG_4658 - 2014-11-12 at 14-15-15Sudden scurry of scent sniffing.

IMG_4661 - 2014-11-12 at 14-16-46Rosie back to luxuriating – she likes the finer things in life.

IMG_4674 - 2014-11-12 at 14-19-39Ruby having a good old carpet roll.



End of October?

Where has the time gone?

The decorators have finished for now as we have officially run out of money! There is carpet ordered for the master bedroom and roman blinds for the lounge but that’s it. The rest will have to wait for a little while.

IMG_4514 - 2014-10-21 at 10-14-41The exterminator came and dealt with the wasps nest in the roof of the bay window. We were willing to live and let live until a few of the wasps decided to join us in the bathroom for a shower one dark morning! They must have been attracted to the light. Plus it turns out that, although wasps never reuse the same nest, it was likely that a juvenile queen or two would have hibernated in the ceiling and set up shop next door to the old nest next year!

IMG_4528 - 2014-10-22 at 08-37-32We have also had a more welcome guest in the back garden. A hedgehog has been busy building a hibernacula under a large pile of garden refuse. Ruby on the lookout.

IMG_4530 - 2014-10-22 at 12-59-33Hedgehogs are endangered so we want to do everything to make sure they are happy in our garden. While there are plenty of slugs and insects for them to eat, as the weather gets colder there will be less and less so we have bought some food to make sure they are nice and fat before they hibernate. Rosie is checking out the new food.

IMG_4587 - 2014-10-28 at 09-41-52We have bought this hedgehog feeding station for them.

IMG_4590 - 2014-10-28 at 09-43-47

Oliver has donated a spare water bowl.

IMG_4589 - 2014-10-28 at 09-42-13The hedgehog lives in the big pile behind the feeding station.

IMG_4547 - 2014-10-26 at 11-14-36Oliver has his own special source of water. You can also see that the new Silestone quartz counter tops have been fitted in the en suite.

IMG_4541 - 2014-10-26 at 11-13-19Oliver approves.

IMG_4525 - 2014-10-21 at 15-36-01The lounge has been painted.

IMG_4524 - 2014-10-21 at 15-35-28The blinds will be fitted next week and then we will have to wait for carpet.

IMG_4518 - 2014-10-21 at 15-32-05The master bedroom has been painted and the feature wall papered. Carpet will be coming next week but we will have to wait for blinds…





Fireplace Reveal – Master Bedroom

IMG_4490I had been waiting until the master bedroom was cleared for decorating before I attempted to open up this fireplace as the others had been quite messy and dusty affairs.


The fireplace is the same shape as the one in the study next door (above), though the hearth tiles are green rather than red (I still need to strip and clean these red tiles by the way). I was worried that the hood was going to be missing as I couldn’t see how the fireplace could be boarded up flat as the hood projects outward slightly.

IMG_4491The board came off quite easily and I was glad to see that the decorative hood was still in place. It seems to close flatter than the one in the study.

IMG_4492I removed the wooden frame and the grate and prepared myself for lots of dust, soot, and the odd bird skeleton. There was nothing.

IMG_4493I shone a torch up the flue and discovered that it has been blocked up at some point in the past. There is a flat piece of board, or perhaps linoleum, sitting at the top of the flue. I dare not remove it and am happy that it should remain blocked for now.

IMG_4494Large flakes of paint came off when I removed the cover and it appears that the fireplace is made of metal with a black speckled enamel coating. I am not keep to strip the fireplace at this point so it will be repainted white.





Build Day #22

IMG_2331The removal of the ceiling in Mark’s future study means that we can now see exactly where the leaks are coming from. It also means that the leaks are no longer absorbed by the plaster and water drips straight into the room.

IMG_2330Evidence of another leak in the future en suite. Both rooms leak due to the dormer windows on the floors above. The windows will be repaired soon and so too will the leaks.

IMG_2334Plastering continues. I have decided that one never knows true mess in a home renovation until the plasterers arrive. They bring dust, mud and debris but their work really marks a transition as you can see the new house taking shape.

IMG_2335The other wall in the bathroom has been boarded up ready for plastering.

IMG_2378Plasterer’s buckets.

IMG_2347Plasterer’s platforms. And Ruby.


The repaired bay in the master bedroom.

IMG_2339And the new ceiling!

IMG_2358The blocked up door to the future en suite.

IMG_2351It is the lounge’s turn to be stuffed with furniture while the dining room is plastered.

IMG_2354Ruby, queen of new box towers.

IMG_2389Oliver inspecting the first floor hallway. Everywhere you look there is mess and dust. For the first time I haven’t even bothered to try and vacuum as there will only be more tomorrow.

IMG_2355Rosie on the stairs. Could she be any more beautiful?

IMG_2344In the back the breakfast room is taking shape with the boarding almost complete.

IMG_2343Facing towards the kitchen.

IMG_2342And turning a little further to the right.

IMG_2360A new bucket installed in Mark’s future study to catch the drips.

IMG_2365Rosie on the bed. At the end of the day this bed is re-made, a bedside table dusted off and a rug unrolled on the floor. You’d never know it wasn’t the Ritz in the dark. Plus there’s no electricity on this floor so bedtime involves torches and a mobile phone as an alarm clock.

IMG_2400See? Rosie making herself comfortable in her glamorous surroundings. About to be ambushed by her sister.

IMG_2401And they’re off!



Build Day #21

IMG_2298Today the master bedroom was cleared out, ceilings were boarded over and the plasterers began.

IMG_2299Here you can see repairs to the old plaster where it was water damaged. The first layer is the base coat.

IMG_2304The door from the bedroom to the future en suite was finally reinstated. This is the first time that anyone has seen through this door at least fifty years.

IMG_2306In the en suite the door that leads to the hallway has been blocked up. There will be a shower in this corner soon.

IMG_2307The view back into the bedroom. I now have my eye on that blocked up fireplace…it may be time for a reveal while the room is empty and messy.

IMG_2312The newly blocked up door as seen from the hallway..

IMG_2313In the lounge the plasterers have skimmed the ceiling and patched the walls. Mark asked why the ceiling was brown – that is the colour of setting plaster as the plaster is clay based.

IMG_2315We are fortunate that the cornices are so deep. It means we haven’t lost a lot of it with the overboarding and plastering.

IMG_2322At the back of the house the Celotex insulation and boarding continued. It’s starting to look more like a room now.

IMG_2327Even the little cupboard under the servant’s staircase has been given the insulation treatment.

IMG_2328Also the ceiling of the former pantry.

IMG_2320In the coal store the electricians did some future-proofing ready for Stage 2.





It Begins! (and Wallpaper Day #5)


The build began today! JB and his team arrived at 7:30 and got to work.


Oliver, Ruby and Rose had to spend most of the day in the top floor kitchen/lounge/dining room while the Great Wall was being constructed. See how stressed they look? Actually, later Oliver hid under the couch and Rose behind the TV but only for a little while when things got quite noisy, so we were glad of that.

IMG_1636This is the top floor landing before the Great Wall.

IMG_1657And here it is after the Great Wall was erected. The Great Wall is designed to keep the cats safely inside the top floor flat out of the way of the builders. The wall will also prevent most dust and some of the noise traveling up to this inhabited floor.

IMG_1672When finally released, the trio were quick to inspect the workmanship: it met with their satisfaction.The door has been recycled from downstairs – for 110 years it was the door to the larder/pantry and now here it is three floors up!

IMG_1661The view from the other side of the Great Wall.

IMG_1638For much of the day Ruby observed from her vantage point.

IMG_1640She watched as three truckloads of junk from the breakfast room were removed. All those weekends of lifting carpets, pulling down curtains, demolishing shelves and so on were cleared away in a couple of hours.

IMG_1688Meanwhile, serious work was going on downstairs. Internal doors and architraves were being removed.

IMG_1655External doors and windows were being demolished.

IMG_1689Servants bells were set aside for safe keeping.

IMG_1691Breakfast room (original kitchen) cleared, door and window removed. Much plaster brought down. This is the future kitchen. Can you believe we were once considering replacing this original quarry tile floor? Granted it’s a bit dusty but it will restore beautifully.

IMG_1700The boiler and chimney breast are still be removed. The structural engineer is coming on Thursday to advise.

IMG_1699In the old kitchen, even older scullery, future meals room, the window and door were removed as were most of the cabinets and shelves. Looking at the wall we can see various colour schemes from over the years. The lower rectangle shows a wall of two tones (yellowish browns, though they may have been lighter originally) with a red dividing stripe. I have seen this before in National Trust properties and am fairly confident this was the original colour. At some point the walls were painted that dark navy blue. It is the same colour I have found traces of in the hallways and stairs and I think this was probably a 1950s or 60s scheme. It would have been very dark.

IMG_1709Looking back through towards the future kitchen.

IMG_1706The larder/pantry was stripped of it quarry tiles for re-use. A pair of double doors will go through the end wall through to the garden.

IMG_1683Outside the cavities were boarded up ready for the bricklayers who are coming on Thursday.

IMG_1678New kitchen window to go in here, doorway on left to be bricked up.


More refuse leaving.

IMG_1693On some of the newly exposed bricks were Edwardian builder’s notes written in pencil.

IMG_1641While all of this was going on, I continued to strip wallpaper in the bedroom. Before.



IMG_1675The original moss green on the walls goes quite well with the hearth tiles.

IMG_1642I also made a start on the future en suite. I didn’t need the steamer for what you see here as it just peeled straight off the plaster – the moss green as well! There are about four layers of paper and a few layers of paint as well.

IMG_1648The pale green paint covers a dark greenĀ  1960s or 70s pattern featuring squiggles and circles. Under that is a pearlescent coral coloured paper.


Between the two are a few traces of a floral paper.

IMG_1652Some more fragments.

I think that’s all for today!