New door, new vista…

With the Juliet balcony fixed in place, it was time to replace the door. As it happens, the door frame also had to be replaced. When Mike and Niall started to strip out the old door frame they found that the old frame had been bricked into place, so removing the frame also disturbed someof the slate work. It never rains but…

Below, you can see the new frame is in and the door has been hung. The instructions said the door should be stained within one hour of its being unpacked. We missed that deadline a little, but none the less the mahogany stain was produced in short order to protect the frame from the expected rain.

Afterwards, on careful consideration, we decided we didn’t think mahogany was the right colour, so Mike is slowly overpainting with a walnut stain which we hope will tone better with the slate.

We have a little more remedial work to do before the scaffolding tower can be removed. You may notice that the area around the soil pipe to the left of the door has never been properly finished, and we really need to get this done asap because the suites are getting busier by the day and we have had some comments about the tower and how offputting it can be…

Now featuring our Juliet balcony…

Last week, we reduced the old balcony to its platform. This week Niall used his wonderfully powerful disc cutter to chop through the steel section, and then a sledgehammer and wrecking bar to dislodge them and pull them out of the building whilst Mike acted as his right hand man. You can see the resulting voids in the snap below…

…and wouldn’t you know it, they were really well bedded in! Once they had been removed, it was all hands to the task of putting the new Juliet balcony in place, since it was seriously scary looking out of a door at attic height with nothing physically stopping you stepping out. To fix the balcony, Niall introduced Mike to thunderbolts, for which Mike now has huge respect, as this balcony is properly rigid if you try to wiggle it.

Of course, it is hard to judge the appearance with the tatty old door in place, but we hope you will agree this is a little more in keeping with the style of the building.

In addition to the balcony, this week we lifted the carpet on the old stairs, ready for the new carpet to be fitted. I don’t think either of us will miss this fine 1970’s-ish carpet which was all but warn through on most steps, but it will be a week or two before we can show you the replacement. The fitter has cut the carpet to size, but has taken it away to be whipped before final fitting.

The other thing I did this week was have a trip on the Blaenau Ffestiniog steam railway. Some friends were staying here on holiday and had a spare ticket, so I swapped the building work for the delights of being a tourist and enjoyed a really super afternoon, mostly and unusually sitting down. We took the special excursion currently running from Porthmadoc to Tan y Bwlch and the Spiral. The weather was glorious, the company grand, and all in all it was a lovely day off.

What with having a wonderful walk last Monday with Tony and Jo, we are positively spoiled at present. We are glad to report was are also still busy with the accommodation, so who knows how much building work we will be able to fit in next week…

Bye bye balcony, it’s time for you to go…

We finished the garden stairs this week, after we gave them a couple of coats of stain so that they ‘match’ the top end steps…

…and now look more like they belong together.

Shaun has finished the paintwork in the dining room, which is getting a quick lickety-spit ready for use for Will and Lucy’s wedding next autumn. He started with a fireplace looking pretty much like this…

…after which we removed the wood panelling and plastered the wall…

…but Shaun’s re-building of the fireplace and his wonderful choice of wallpaper has, we think, made all the difference. He has sourced new tiles to fill the gap where someone had remove the original tiles and somehow managed to make it all look designed to be this way. And I am still amazed that a clock Mike bought from Diss auctions back in Norfolk all those years ago now sits in pride of place on the mantle shelf, having been made in Llanrwst!

Now we turn our attention to the balcony. This has been causing us problems for years, as water has been getting through the wall behind the balcony and into the house, leaving damp problems in the attic and the bedroom behind it, plus encouraging water to breach the pointing on the front wall into the dining room – so it has to go. Before we started removing it, I just checked out how secure the new Juliet balcony is going to feel, and I am happy to pass it.

Below you can see the current balcony which we understand was added to the building around the 1990’s. The metal surround is very rusted, and the wooden stair spindles didn’t exactly make you feel secure – but the bounce in the floor was quite enough to ensure no-one has trodden on it for several years.

Above is how it appears from the turret bedroom, which is just the right height to see how decayed it all is…

…so we set to this afternoon, with neighbour Niall providing the larger disc cutter plus his climbers head for heights. Having cut away the metal rails, we tried to cut the balcony floor into strips, at which point we discovered that this was the most robust part of the entire structure. The floor had been welded along all edges, so we think this will be easier to work on from the scaffolding tower…

…which Niall, Mike and I promptly assembled in place, attaching it periodically to the front wall. As you can see, Lola kept ‘hiding’ her ball in the flower bed, and used the full force of her collie stare to try to encourage us to throw it for her to fetch. By the end of the afternoon, the tower was fully erected and will be ready for us to use as soon as we have some spare time.

Another thing achieved this week is the strimming of this area behind the oil tank, ready for the installation of a wood store. Once this is in, there is a lot of wood I can move from the front of the building as we prepare to start work on the new roof.