What secrets lay beneath

As a result of all that stripping (oh la la!) we noticed that there were VERY large portions of original plaster “missing”. In fact, the plaster had broken down over time and it was only the chipboard wallpaper that was holding our walls together. Let this be a warning to those who stick their noses where they shouldn’t! So in addition to stripping wallpaper, my partner in crime also had to lug an inordinate amount of rubble to the skip, sat permanently in our front yard. You can see by looking at the photos, that we took everything back to the original brick work. It was a job indeed! SONY DSC Continue reading “What secrets lay beneath”

The world at our feet

The world at our feet

Or underfloor heating to warm our feet, to be more precise. As explained, our dreams of having an additional bathroom and a laundry room had disappeared into the mists of construction hell. But what happens when life hands you lemons? You make lemonade.

In this instance, lemonade meant we were actually able to afford underfloor heating. I had always dreamed of installing underfloor heating as being from California means I’ve not been warm in about 11 years? But it felt like a splurge when we were already spending a lot of money. The bi-fold doors alone were enough to make me cry… And yes, we wanted bi-folds instead of the very popular Crittall window that’s popping up everywhere at the moment.

Back to the details…

Now we could have been sensible and put the money we’d saved towards inevitable overruns, but given we want the kitchen to be the showpiece, we went for it. With the boiler installed in the loft space, we had to run (what seemed like) several miles worth of pipework throughout the house. This piping runs to the kitchen and I’ve been told can all be controlled through a “wireless” sensor. Mind. Blown.

Continue reading “The world at our feet”

Plumbing is a dirty business…

While the structural elements were being nailed (see what I did there?!) there was also some serious plumbing taking place, including the installation of a brand new boiler! Note in North America we would call it a “hot water heater”. Oh yeah… have I mentioned I’m not actually British? Sometimes I use American words to describe things to my British builder and he looks at me like I’m nuts. Most recently I asked him to provide “flood lights” and it was like I had spoken to him in Swahili. And I’m digressing…

So there she is in all her unconnected glory!

Continue reading “Plumbing is a dirty business…”

Standing tall

Standing tall

So if you remember, in my last post I promised to talk about the structural elements of my build? Well, the interior walls could only be knocked down once the proper supports were in place. These supports included multiple “RSJs“… or rolled steel joints. See those big red beams in the photo below? Those are RSJs and they are now responsible for holding up half of my house! I wander down most mornings and take a peak, just to see if it’s still standing…


It’s a mess, isn’t it?!

Continue reading “Standing tall”

And the walls came tumbling down

So I’m not going to lie, I got a bit emotional when I came home from work and the original walls had been taken down. This emotion came from multiple places.


Firstly, it was so exciting to see this thing I had been imaging for two years finally coming to life. And it was better than I had imagined! Continue reading “And the walls came tumbling down”

Colour me happy, I love painting walls!

Thinking like every other DIY-er we decided to scope out the colors at Farrow & Ball first. The quirky names and the lovely shades held an immediate appeal, even if the cost didn’t. Initially, we purchased the tester pots in a number of colors including Elephants Breath, Purbeck Stone, Light Blue, Manor House Gray, Plummett and Down Pipe (pictured below).

PalletteYou can see we were working within a certain range of colors and this was because we’d fallen in love with a fabric we wanted to use for our curtains. Deep, rich silver and “dots” set against navy, patterned in horizontal lines, it was perfect (and it still is).

To really get a feel for how the colors looked we painted large squares all over the room, to view it in different lights. Note we had already painted a mist coat on top of the new plaster. Let this be a warning that new plaster is thirsty and you will need to apply a mist coat before proceeding. Continue reading “Colour me happy, I love painting walls!”

Adventures in plastering

Adventures in plastering

Of course, it wasn’t all bad! As the work progressed, we started to see the individual pieces come together, with more than a few surprises along the way…

One thing about working on an old house is that appearances are not always what they seem and wallpaper covers all manner of sins. Once we began to remove the chipboard wallpaper, we found that the plaster had blown on 2 of the walls in our bedroom and subsequently we have discovered blown plaster in every room in our house. We also discovered about 6 different layers of wallpaper and paint – it was a virtual tour of previous owner tastes and it was “interesting” to say the least!

Continue reading “Adventures in plastering”