More steps to success…

The restoration work this week can be divided into three tranches. The first is Shaun continuing to decorate the dining room, but his efforts were not helped by Mike and I having a great idea…

We didn’t like the panelling behind the fireplace, and wanted to see what was behind it…

…which turned out to be plasterboard from about 2000, plus some newspaper from 1964, some old electical junctions (age unknown) and what we think were ‘pulls’ to call the servants.

We chose to remove all the panelling, plasterboard it again (to bring this section of wall level with that on either side)…

…and then Mike skimmed it, ready for Shaun’s ministrations later.

We also, at Shaun’s insistence, added a piece of 3″ x 2″ (aka threebetwo) to the mantel shelf to make it a more appropriate width. For this, we are happy to trust Shaun’s judgement, especially as the flowers very kindly given to us by grateful guests do need that extra width…

…but I am a little less happy with his insistence that we photographed this cobweb which he found when he removed the secondary double glazing behind one of the coloured windows!

Shaun is working like a Trojan and has started painting the coving…

…so you can see here how things are coming on.

After a day off on Wednesday (I know -what were we thinking!?) we turned our attention to the path which Building Control want us to install behind the building. We started by considering how to moderate the deep drop as you leave this door in the long corridor…

…and we created this platform, which makes exiting via this door much more comfortable. This was the simple problem: the next is more of a challenge…

Having exited this door, there is a pinch point next to the drying and then the boiler room, where you then exit over rock.

Here we see the end of the route which I hope you can see is quite uneven, with the rock approaching (if rock can approach anything) the boiler room quite rapidly at the back…

…and above is the entrance to the path, which is narrow and turns abruptly at the boiler room wall.

This picture gives a better sense (I hope) of the terrain to be turned into a safe exit route.

We placed weedproof fabric down first, and then created a platform, the front of which becomes the first step.

Then we built a platform over the first step…

…followed by starting a fourth step…

…after which we began to build a platform which will form the fifth rise on this side, and the third (we think) on the far side.

This platform / fifth step is proving very tricky and you can see here that the width is strongly limited by the building’s proximity to the rock.

Having finished the desking above, we both packed it in for the week and retired for a well-earned glass of orange juice or wine on the patio during the ten minutes of sunshine we had before the rain started. But fear not: we are both very keen to finish these stairs which we hope to complete over the weekend, after serving breakfasts to our very welcome guests.

Now the titivating begins…

I’ll start this week with a picture of Moel Siabod wearing a white coat again, to show just how cold it has been around here.

And now to work. Shaun is decorating the main reception room for us – not a totally lovely redecorate, but a spruce up. We will be doing building work above these rooms in about three years time, which may well disturb the ceiling, so for now we just want it to stop hurting our eyes.

Shaun was very proud (or would that better be disgusted) to have removed all these nails, pins, staples and other fixing from just the first four metres of the picture rail.

Whilst this is going on, Mike and I were repairing the last two panes in the bay window alcove. You can see Mike holding the new sash frame, made by his own fair hands, as we prepare to check it for size in the void behind the WD-40…

…and once that was glazed and in place, we started removing the larger window frame below.

The glass in this window had a large hole near the top, surrounded by seven or eight significant chunks of glass, with the majority of the pane below still in one piece. Having cut through the sash cords, the frame would not cooperate with our efforts to free it, remaining firmly stuck. So we paused, removed the putty and took out the glass, and then pulled on the frame again, when we discovered there was a rogue screw pinning the frame to its surround. Once that had been removed, we took the sash frame out of the window…

…and continued removing the old putty and paint…

….something with which I am now well practised…

…and then exerted a little judicious pressure on the corner until the frame was rectangular again.

Shaun, having completed a lot of prep work, was now overpainting the ceiling and coving…

…whilst Mike and I put the last glazed panel back in place. As we had repaired these windows, we had been removing random wires and ducting on the frame. Then we noticed that the secondary double glazing (which is very functional at best) was supported on a chunky secondary frame so after a swift consultationg, we agreed to sacrifice the secondary glazing so we could enjoy the lovely windows, even though we will perhaps freeze a little more each winter for the sake of aesthetics.

This snap shows that Shaun has overpainted the right hand far corner of the ceiling and coving – and, my goodness, doesn’t it look better!

My last offering this week is to show you the new stair carpet we have chosen for the old house. Those of us succificiently long in tooth may recall the existing stair carpet as ubiquitous in the 1970’s, and it will be replaced in mid-June with carpet as per the square below. We will be leaving the edges of the stairs exposed in keeping with the age of these stairs, but we believe this will be a vast improvement.

I must stop now as we are expecting our next guests any minute, but hope to have more to report next week.

Cleaning up and finishing off

We have taken a more relaxed attitude to this week as our bodies try to recover from last week!

We started off finishing the ladies toilets, which you last saw in December when all was in place, except the cubicles. These were ordered last October, and I’m sure it was nothing to do with anything that we finally received most (but not all) of the order at the end of March.

Whilst we still had four pairs of hands on site, it was too good an opportunity to miss, so we got to work…

…fitting the dividing walls…

…so that they fit just so…

…and form a private space. Today, Mike and I added the wall and door that form the second cubicle so we only await the toilet roll holders and then these will be finished.

We have also been clearing the site that remained after we removed the last of the portable buildings that used to stand here. We removed the foul water pipe work and the pipe containing electrical services on the surface, and then raked away all the rubbish…

…and were left with this.

We have a plan to get rid of the old oil tank and other materials here…and will let you know how this is going shortly.