Monday, 16 October 2017

stair progress

Handrail routed and fitted
Bottom and quarter landing Newel in place
Spindles and spacers fitted
Outer and Inner string around spindles fitted

very slow progress, as we havent been down for several weekends

Next is the wall string, but before that, bisquit boarding and liming the wall

Monday, 4 September 2017

Final bedroom finished

It's been a while since the last post, not that we haven't been busy.
This summer we have been working in the orchard, putting up a fruit cage, made a tree seat and taking down part of the bank in front of the house, to open up the view.
I have also made a start on a permanent BBQ area, which will be a simple concrete plinth, and pizza oven - more progress on that later.

Inside we have mainly been working in the top attic room, which we completed just in time for our annual family get together over August bank holiday.

We are very pleased with how it has turned out.
Repairing the back chimney wall, and adding a slate sill made a huge difference.
The 12inch floorboards look fabulous (even if they did nearly kill me getting them up there), stained and sealed.

As the room originally was.......

Also started on the stairs -  with Lloyd and I spending a Dad&Son weekend together on it.
First flight is nearly done. The spindles have been made, and I have cut the inner-string(outer string will be nipsy), so just(!!) have to router the handrail and the first(of 4) flights will be complete.
We learned a lot on that one, which I can hopefully continue upward by myself.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Finishing the last bedroom , and a start on the stairs

I have been working on the last attic bedroom over the last few months.
I had to repair the back wall, as it was pretty ragged. Fitting a slate shelf has really helped, and given me something to lime up to, and made the whole wall much tidier.
It will take several more layers of limewash to smooth out the stone, but this will be done over time (as in all the other rooms).
Boarding the ceiling was a real pain - well actually every job was hard, as it's at the top of the house, and the number of times I forgot a tool  or wrong screws was infuriating. Let alone dragging all the material up four flights of stairs.
I had to get the floorboards up when Jan wasn't there, as she would have had a fit seeing how I had to do it (up through the landing window by the way).
So the boarding is done, the floorboards down, a door made and fitted, architrave done, and this weekend the skirting finished, means one more weekend and I will be done (last layer of fine lime render)
Then its up to Jan to decorate and furnish.
The room is bright, and simple, and the original roof trusses look lovely.
There is some residual damp leaking down the chimney and into the apex, we will have to live with that.

There are 2 small holes either side of the chimney breast. Jan is making small stained glass windows to go into them, so I lay in slate sills for them to sit on. 

And so onto the next job, and a bigly one- The stairs
This was always going to be the last major job in the house, as we didn't want to be dragging buckets of lime etc up new stairs.
I took down measurements, and angles, took some photo of the original newel posts, and spindles, as we will try to recreate at least some of the original style.
And then started taking out some of the old wood. Obviously leaving the stairs intact until the new ones are made.
The original stairs are not like modern stairs, they are basically treads and risers sat on huge pieces of oak.
The lower hallway has a very low beam, and I think I have devised a way of replacing it, and raising it so I won't bump my head (again)

Some photos at the begining of a long job.........

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Family Christmas - with all the trimmings

This was our first attempt to have a proper family Christmas dinner at BCB. Logistics planning started early, with lots of lists. What to cook before hand? how much we could realistically cook there on the Esse?. But all turned out marvellously.

Jan did her usual table and window decorations, this year a design shamelessly stolen from a shop window in Bath.
A lovely Swiss window fabric (while skiing last year), for the inglenook shelf.
Lots of candles (very carefully tended)
The house looked lovely

I went down early to get the house warm and aired - and take our dog that likes to bark constantly in the car - so if you see someone wearing ear defenders while driving down the M4 - that's probably me!
Very cute Jonah

Christmas day was 6 of us for dinner. Managed to cook a turkey crown and a ham, and roast veg in the oven. This takes careful tending of the Esse to keep the oven up to temperature, and judicious use of the top hobs. Everything takes longer than you think (except boiling on the hot hob)
One learning is to make sure the pans have heavy and flat bases. We used to use old 2nd hand saucepans, but these were useless.

In the afternoon (when the rain had eased), the braver souls took a walk down the hill to the Cothi valley. A stunning and untouched part of the river , where it carves through a deep canyon, exposing silver grey shale, eddying pools and fast running in of my favourites walks in the area.


Boxing day involved full English breakfast for 6. With eggs on the hob (bake-o-glide round papers always impress)
Then the rest of the family descended, and so 13+baby for a buffet lunch
Most of this had been cooked before, or brought by visitors, so that wasn't too hard
But it did stretch the long tables capacity....and we did run out of plates and bowls !!

Lots of games (beast of balance was a favourite),  music and puzzles...a lovely Christmas, and hopefully the first of many.