New Year – and a new porch!

Happy New Year everyone.

We returned to work this week in wet weather, as you can see. With all that rain out there, we decided to start work again by working on the front porch. We finished replacing the last three glazed panels, and then wanted to start working on the doorway.

Some years ago, a door had been put on the outer extreme of the porch and it could only be opened from the inside, so it wasn’t much use when people needed to shelter from the rain.

First, we took the door off its hinges.

When we arrived in Plas, the wood at the base of both sides of the door had been buried beneath the level of the brickweave path for many years, and was seriously rotten (see below and to the side of the white painted area)…

…and to remove this, we needed to dismantle the ‘false’ doorway that had been added to the porch. We started by levering off the black-painted fascia boards…

…to reveal the details of what had been added.

We then removed the uprights on the left as you look at it…

…followed by the uprights on the right. This revealed the beautiful proportions of the original porch, and how the wood to the sides had been profiled, showing evidence that the top piece (which sadly has long since been hacked away) used to be curved, probably peaking in the centre, but possibly just curved at both ends. I expect we will soon be spending lots of time on Google trying to work out how to repair this damage.

Here we are just showing that the re-glazing is now finished, so obviously we then had to turn our hands to something else.

Below you see the wood panelling behind the fire place in the main reception room.

Now you can see some panelling is missing – interestingly, much of it scorched on the back, but the patterning made it clear that the panels have been removed and then replaced in a different order since the original fire. The mind boggles…

Slowly we revealed the wall behind the panelling. We have seen a photo from the 1980s showing us that this fireplace used to have a lovely Victorian surround with mirrors above, but this has long since disappeared.

Having removed all the panelling, there was an arctic draught coming from behind the plasterboard, so we quickly sealed the edges with squirty foam to cut this down.

The next phase here will be to dismantle the slate construction around the fire. As the top ‘shelf’ is huge, we will need to work out how to safely remove such a very heavy piece of stone. It may be a while before we return to this story…

Wishing you a wonderful New Year

For the last couple of weeks, the building work has taken a definite back seat.

Pretty much the only ‘refurbishment’ was the felling of our Christmas tree. The conifer you see had been growing right next to the boundary wall which will be restored along with the single storey section of the building, so we took it out now to make best use of it…

…as you can see. The tree was slightly too tall for its position, but the bent over top has added to its stability.

We took advantage of a quiet period in our bookings and nipped off for a week away in south Wales with family, including…

…our grandson who was fascinated by the beach, but Pop Pops wasn’t quite fast enought to pick him up before an incoming wave, so he was less enthralled with a welly boot full of cold water.

We returned to Plas to look after some guests in the week before Christmas, and then went away for some improving walks and a wonderful Christmas weekend with our family.

It’s the first Christmas that we haven’t hosted for many a long year, so our very grateful thanks to all those who did all the hard work – you know who you are!!

We wish everyone a very healthy, happy and blessed New Year, and look forward to letting you know all about our progress after we have looked after our remaining guests taking a Christmas break in this fantastic countryside.

No Ferrari, but we do have a porch…

As we move into the lovely month of December and all things Christmas, here at Plas we are still working on the new front door. The double glazed panels were in stock and as we couldn’t find anything else we would rather do, we have taken out our temporary insulated board fillers and replaced them with glass…

…and not only is the library much warmer, but so much lighter. It’s really nice that this end of the house, which had been a little dim, is now looking far more cheery. Having finished the door, we then moved into the porch where the first job was to remove the old single glazing (where it was still in place) and then punch out the plywood boards…

…so that we could discover just how rotten the woodwork is. We think the boarding up was done to hide the back of some upholstered bench seating which used to be in the porch, but we are returning it (we hope) more to its original splendour by panelling it again with glass, this time stippled and toughened.

We invited Alastair back for a day to backfill the trench that we excavated for the underpinning works. Whilst he was here, we also asked him to move a couple of trees that had outgrown their pots and you see him here moving a rather splendid Juniper (I think), one of the select few plants on site when we arrived.

Back to the porch where we cut away the worst of the rot and replaced it with a new piece of redwood plus a little bit of Mike’s favourite squirty to fill the gaps. Once this had all gone solid we cut it back to shape and got it ready for painting…

…as we progress to changing all the other panels back to glass.

Storm Barra has brought this work to a grinding halt, since we really can’t work in the wind that is now howling around the porch, but I hope to be able to share some more photos of this next time!