I promised you Wednesday house updates and while I have some, I’m not sure, as I type that I will have many pictures to show you but let’s see where we get to. I have some rough and ready shots that I took before the light went – you’ll get the idea. Firstly, some of you, depending on where you live, may have noticed that after an unseasonably warm few weeks the temperatures have plummeted.
This appears to be down to the fact that after we replaced all our upstairs windows during the almost unprecedented London snow and temperatures of -6C before Christmas, the fitters are back to replace the sitting room windows front and back. This, of course means it’s very cold. We are working in our coats and the other builders are wearing jumpers and requesting lots of tea.
Yes, the other builders. You may have seen talk of Blue Monday earlier this week, today is Builder Tuesday. The bathroom has been ripped out and the new pipes are being laid. This is because we are moving it around.
As you can see from the floor plan it’s an odd shape. We have decided to do away with the bath – no-one in this house ever has one and if it’s a problem when we sell then the new owners can put it back – to try and create more space and a walk-in shower. With that in mind everything is taking one step to the right as it were. The loo will move along to where the head of the bath was. The shower will sit at the foot of the bath and the basin will take the place of the current loo.
There will also be a pocket/sliding door fitted as with the current arrangement opening the bathroom door blocks access to the back bedroom so a sliding door makes more sense.
According to my very lovely (and fast builder) this will be done in two weeks.
Meanwhile, the sisal flooring is being fitted in the middle bedroom (office and guest) and our bedroom at the front. Now I know lots of you have raised the issue of practicality with sisal. The one I have used (desert bubble) is a large weave so not recommended for stairs. In terms of staining it can stain, like all carpet, so maybe avoid high traffic areas or places where small children might be eating/throwing drinks about.
As with any spills the recommendation is that you must dab not rub. And having watched a very dear friend of mine trip with his cup of espresso and throw it all over my newly upholstered pale pink chaise longue, I can vouch for the dabbing. There were no marks left once I had finished dabbing. But, again, be careful not to drench potential stains with too much water as you can replace the original spill with a water stain.
In short, I’m very happy putting it in bedrooms where we don’t eat or drink and tend to walk barefoot or in slippers. It’s also soft enough for us although tastes differ. One reader said it would be like walking on gravel and having lived in a flat with a coconut or coir matting floor I can say that you need to test first. The coir was very rough, sisal is softer.
To recap, we have windows being fitted downstairs, flooring and a bathroom upstairs. It’s somewhat chaotic. But, in big news, the joinery in the sitting room has been finished and we have bookshelves. Clearly not all the books will fit but it’s a start.
I have only these pictures I took at the weekend to show you so it’s not finished and pretty but you get the idea. They are now covered in plastic sheeting while the windows go in.
At the end of the shelves, we fitted two large doors. This is partly to store all my work equipment and keep it out of sight. Secondly, there has been a long debate about how, if and why we should divide these two rooms. In the old house there was more of an opening and the library was down a set of steps which created a natural divide. Here, the opening goes all the way across but there is only one door in (and that’s on an angle).
I instinctively felt that I wanted some kind of division between the two spaces as it’s not possible to use and decorate it as one big space. We looked at adding reclaimed doors but after six weeks of looking I couldn’t find any that could be made to fit the space. I looked into having some made but the cost was prohibitive. This seems to work really well. When the doors are open they reduce the opening between the two ends of the room and, with the sofa across, will give us a degree of separation. They can be open at night when we are in the sitting room and we can’t see in the cupboards and they can be open during the day when I am working at the back and need access to the contents.
The joiner has also suggested that if we want he can add another panel that folds flat so we can reduce the space still further – this would act like a sort of folding screen. The Mad Husband is yet to be convinced. I haven’t decided either way yet. We want to finish the room and see how we feel.
So there we have it; your weekly update from the renovating front line. Next week there might even be some pretty pictures to share.