Final Carpet Installation

Today we had the last of the carpet installed on the stairs, hallways and landings.

IMG_9028And also in the creepy top floor cupboard. View 1, before.

IMG_9030And View 2.


IMG_2739 - 2013-06-11 at 17-21-27

This is why it’s known as the creepy top floor cupboard. Remember how it looked a couple of years ago? Complete with the old header tank, lead pipes, gas light fitting, woodworm, cobwebs, 1920s newspapers, collapsing ceiling and that little hole into the roof I lost the cats in?

IMG_9066Just look at it now! It could almost be another bedroom, or a least a box room (as tiny bedrooms are called in this country) for our steam trunks, portmanteaux and the like. We use it for general storage, which actually does include our suitcases.

IMG_9069It was a bit dark when I took these but you get the idea.


IMG_9031Top floor landing, View 1.



IMG_9034Top floor landing, View 2.


IMG_9208Reading corner on the landing.


Heading down the top flight of stairs.


You get the idea.


IMG_9039Looking back up again.


IMG_9043First floor landing and hallway looking in the direction of the servants landing and maid’s bedroom beyond.

IMG_9198And now.

IMG_9046View from the servants landing.



IMG_9050Back towards the main staircase.


IMG_9041View from Bedroom 1.

IMG_9202The closest I got to a matching picture.

IMG_9051View from my study.



You may recall that I painted this flight of stairs last year.


IMG_9185It was always going to be a temporary measure but I had planned to have a runner fitted to this flight so that all my efforts painting the stairs wouldn’t go to waste.

IMG_9188A word of advice though, don’t plan to fit a carpet runner on stairs that go around corners.

IMG_9187It is possible but the geometry of it was doing the fitters’ heads in. Mine too. It was impossible to get the runner looking even, particularly when there are also asymmetrical sides to the staircase (in this case the wall on one side and the newel post on the other).

IMG_9211Looks great though, even without the runner.




IMG_9233Inspection crew. It is no coincidence that the carpet is the same colour as the cats’ fur – the lighter carpet in the bedroom tends to get a “grey sheen” on it when it’s time to vacuum…

IMG_9238Pile depth tester.

IMG_9223Heading up.

IMG_9228Oliver not quite sure.


And so on.

IMG_9244Ruby checking her lookout isn’t osbcured, in fact she should be half an inch higher now.

All we need now are some blinds for the dining room and the entire interior will be complete!

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 but  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.

Manic Monday

Reader, I ordered the beige carpet for the lounge!

Thanks for your votes and comments. Around 75% of you preferred the beige and I looked again at Rosie’s pure white fur and decided I wouldn’t risk it.

IMG_7164Today I spent some time working on the stairs. On every step there were dozens of staples and nails that had once secured carpet of various incarnations.

IMG_7158I spent a couple of hours removing them. Oliver helped.

IMG_7161By the end I had filled this jar. No wonder it was always so difficult to clean these stairs – can you imagine how many times the vacuum would snag on one of these each time?

IMG_7162The reason I removed them all now is because I wanted to get these stairs painted. It would only be a temporary measure, while we saved up for carpet, but I was keen to have this first flight of stairs looking neat and clean in time for the November reception we are holding for the unveiling of the blue heritage plaque. The rest of the stairs, halls and landings can wait but this is right by the front door.

IMG_7145I also saw to a loose board on one of the steps. Beneath these few steps is one of the last places in the house I have never seen inside.

IMG_7149No treasure unfortunately.

IMG_7155I screwed the board back in place, nice and sturdy.

IMG_7156I even countersunk the holes! If I had my wits about me I would have thrown a copy of today’s newspaper under there for someone in the future to find. Nevermind.


Do you remember the day I ripped up the carpet that was on these stairs? I found these little paw prints on the wood where a cat had once scampered up the stairs stepping in the wet paint.

IMG_7170I was on a roll so I grabbed the undercoat and gave the stairs their first coat. I figured I could safely do this as it didn’t need to be an expert paint job – it was going to be covered in carpet within a few months anyway. Tempting fate I painted the stairs while the cats were snoozing in various places around the house – no new cat paw prints were made though!

IMG_7169Just after one coat of undercoat. I actually quite like the painted look.

IMG_7174I’ll see how it looks when complete but it really brightens up the stairs, just like it did on the servant staircase. Maybe this flight doesn’t need carpet at all.

News flash – while I was writing this post the carpet store called me to say they can’t get the beige from their suppliers for at least a month…and would I like to wait or choose a different colour for the lounge…

Post Stage 2 Monday

T the decorator finished up today.

IMG_0808Servant stairs before.

IMG_2925Servant stairs after.



11174888_393534494183021_2776386380673182863_nServant’s bedroom before.

IMG_2937Now known as the guest room.

11193233_393534477516356_267877858110156700_nFireplace before.



IMG_2938You get the idea.

IMG_2934Looking out onto the servant stairs landing.

IMG_2935And the window with the new roman blind installed today.

IMG_2929The new blind for Mark’s study was also fitted.

IMG_2930Does a good job. Also I continued planning for Stage 3! More to follow.

Oliver’s Repawt on the Introoder


Hello evfurrybody it’s Oliver! Yoo may remember me from The Oliver and Ruby Chronicles – I am a furnettic speller so please bare wif me. Scott doesn’t allow us on the compyooter much these days but I had to tell yoo abowt the introoder!


Yoo see, today Scott was removing the last of the carpet from the howse – there was some on the stairs and some in the entrance hall.


It was not long after the carpet was taken off the stairs that I discovered there had been an introoder!


See? On the bare wood were some kitty paw prints! I can’t believe we didn’t see or smell them – and I am not sure where they have gone!


Ruby decided to investigate. She says that the paw prints are in the same green paint as the original paint on the stairs, so the cat must be an Edwardian cat. I have never seen an Edwardian cat before. I hope he will be nice.  Maybe he will let me call him Eddie. Tee hee!

IMG_2603In other noos, we can now see the terrart-so in the hallway. Scott says it is in very good condition. Here is my sisfur Rosie inspeckting it.

IMG_2599Scott says the floor will look byootiful when it is restored.

Scott is also sure that at some point when he is painting the howse that one of us will add our paw prints to the collection!


Upstairs Downstairs

IMG_0834Our architect tells us that the house’s main staircase is quite unusual and that he has never seen such a layout. The stairs are situated on the outer wall of the house and are lit by six large leadlight windows, three on each flight. Usually the stairs would be situated on the inner wall adjoining the neighbouring (semi-detached) house. The Edwardians designed houses to let in as much  light and air as possible.

IMG_0807The three windows on the upper flight of stairs. A cabinet maker who was preparing a kitchen quote for us told me that the banisters and newel caps are made of Cuban Mahogany (unfortunately harvested to the point of complete depletion a century ago). The newel posts may also be made of this wood but we will need to strip the paint to find out. The cabinet maker said that these would have been supplied by a specialist and that they would have been French polished … we will probably have to get an expert in to restore them properly.

IMG_0787Ruby on the Cuban Mahogany. She has a habit of trying to scare us with her balancing act.

IMG_0788Her view from the top floor. We’re glad she is nimble and has a level head. Oliver tried it once, slipped and landed one floor down. He’s never been tempted to try it again.

IMG_0835The house also has a concealed servant’s staircase, which leads from the breakfast room (originally the kitchen) to the rear landing and servants’ bedroom. The inside of the door still has the original wood-grain paint effect designed to mimic a more expensive wood. I think the carpet may be original too.

IMG_0808From the rear landing there is a door to the main first floor hallway so that the servants didn’t use the main stairs when tending to the family’s needs. Ruby was the first to make the link between the two staircases. I once shut the door into the breakfast room with her on the servant’s side. She knew to go up the servant staircase, along the first floor hall and then down the main staircase to get back to me. She’s a clever girl.