Saturday, 14 September 2013

Our New House–Bathroom Tiling

First of all, many thanks to all my loyal followers and visitors who have commented recently on my blog posts – I have a stack of them to go through and I promise I will publish them all as soon as I can.

Today my hubby dropped me off at the new house and I had an extremely busy day, trying to prepare the place as best as possible for the removal men on Monday. It is a problem having the builders still around, but as they say, there have been a lot of extra jobs we’ve asked for, and having to make a start on the garage to make the perimeter secure for the cats has meant delays on the work continuing indoors. They also didn’t start very promptly after we’d completed the purchase and the whole thing has been delayed.

The bedroom is a mess. All Paul’s tools are still in there while he works on the bathroom. I accept that we have to use other rooms till they have finished (it’s a good thing we’ve got plenty of space and can even use the annexe as Mum won’t be down till the end of the month) but the furniture has to go somewhere, and they can hardly leave the double bed on the landing… I am sure everything will be OK in the end. The removal men are coming here at 8 a.m. on Monday (they wanted 7 a.m. but I drew the line at that – 8 a.m. is still too early in my book!!) and hopefully by the time we all reach the other end, Andy and the team will have had a chance to tidy up a bit more.

Today I unpacked about 16 boxes, including all our stuff from our old dining room – lots of china and other things, which are now all in the dresser in the entrance lobby. I unpacked a lot of kitchen stuff, too, but there are still quite a lot of boxes of stuff for the utility room that can’t be unpacked until the builders have finished. Andy gave up on B&Q in the end and bought the smaller unit we need for the utility room elsewhere, and it’s now installed, but he’s still got to fit the sink, and finish off the other two small wall units in the back passage, and complete the work on the airing cupboard before we can finish unpacking. I’ve already filled the two wall units that are up.

I told Andy at the end of last week that a few days after we move, I shall need to be doing some washing and will need the airer to be up, and also the airing cupboard operational, and he understands that. I hope it will be OK to plumb the washing machine in despite the absence of the sink… He can always pull the machine forward when he needs to access the plumbing for the sink.

The boxes I haven’t managed to unpack, I have stored in the annexe sitting room. It struck me that since Mum won’t be down for 10 days, there is nothing to stop us putting things in there temporarily.

I did manage to clean the sitting room this afternoon, and took great delight in getting rid of the cobwebs festooning the walls behind where the previous owner’s bookcases had been – they were offensive to my eye! It is all dusted and swept, and I washed the floor. I repeated the process in the hall, although that will soon get messed up again with all the traipsing in and out and the builders still in the house, but at least that part of the house is now ready to receive our furniture. I really don’t know what is going to happen upstairs!!

I also got things ready in my hubby’s bathroom for the arrival of the kitties. We have decided to keep them shut in the bathroom while the whole process of the move is going on – we don’t want them running out into the road, and the whole thing is going to be pretty stressful for them as it is. I have run an extension lead into the bathroom and installed a Feliway plug-in diffuser which should have a calming effect, and we’ve got the litter tray and cat litter, and some food ready over there. We have decided not to give them any breakfast before travelling, so that Phoebe especially is not sick in the car (although she is better with her travel sickness than she used to be), and also it will give them something to think about on arrival, to get stuck into some food!

There’s still a huge amount to do in order to make the place habitable for us all, and I just hope we manage it before Mum comes down! Part of the whole idea of not having her down immediately was so that I could have a rest and recover a bit, but I really don’t see that happening now.

Tomorrow my hubby will be going over on his own to do a few jobs. I have far too much to do here, on our last day in residence in this house, to be able to go with him, and I am so tired tonight that what I really want to do tomorrow is have a complete rest, but that is quite out of the question!

As a result of all this, this will be my last post for a while. The phone and internet are going off on Monday until 24th September, and tomorrow I shall be packing up the computers and disconnecting the network. I shall be continuing to compose draft blog posts as and when I get time and there’s progress to report, and I will publish these as soon as we are back online again. So for the time being, it’s goodbye from me. See you all on the other side!

Here are a few photos I took today of the bathroom. Paul has started tiling the walls and it’s looking absolutely great.

01 Bathroom Wall Tiles being Applied

Here is a detail of the mosaic tile band. Andy and I spent some time choosing this when we had our famous trip to B&Q several months ago. You can see that it incorporates not only some beautiful natural stone-effect tiles, but also some sea glass – I have fiddled with the colour balance on these pictures to try and get the colour just right, but have failed to do it justice – this glass is a beautiful shade of subtle pale green. You can see the plastic spacers still in place.

02 Mosaic Tile Detail

The arch with the tile bead fitted. Paul, Andy and I had a long discussion about the best way to tackle the tiling of the arch – my brilliant idea of tiling the inside with mosaic bit the dust as being too labour-intensive and expensive, and eventually Paul hit on the idea of applying a tile bead about 4 inches in from the edge of the arch, and tiling up to this – with the curve there was the problem of what to do with the cut edges of the tiles. The tile bead provides a beautifully smooth finish to the edges of the tiles. The inner part of the arch will remain untiled, and will be painted first in while emulsion to seal the plaster, and then we are going to paint it with a brown shade to match the floor tiles, using shower paint as it will be exposed to heavy moisture on the other side. I like this idea because it finishes the arch beautifully, and gives a focal point to the room, and the colour will provide continuity with the floor.

03 Arch with Tile Bead

A detail shot of the tile bead. Note one of a series of small ties to keep it in place. You can see what a neat finish it provides. To follow the curve of the arch, Paul has clipped into the perforated base of the bead so that it flows around the curve without buckling. This part of the bead will be covered by the tiles, which, as you can see from the photo, fit perfectly against the raised part of the bead.

04 Tile Bead Detail

So that’s it, folks. See you in a week or so!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

My New ARTHaven–Order and Chaos

The second of two posts today.

Much of my time today was spent clearing boxes from the spare room, in order to make room for the removal men to bring furniture in on Monday when we move house. There were a few remaining ARTHaven boxes to sort out, as well as some stuff I’d already unpacked and stacked against the walls – a bad move as it turned out, as it all got very dusty, and also I discovered it was much easier and more sensible to unpack the boxes in the ARTHaven itself rather than carrying all the stuff through unpacked. One lives and learns.

This is the spare room now.

04 Spare Room Devoid of Boxes

Not a box in sight!

After what looked like a very ordered and tidy work space the other day, chaos is starting to reign again as stuff got dumped all around my ARTHaven. Why is it that being tidy takes so much work, but being untidy involved no work at all?

02 Chaos Beginning to Reign Again

My poor ARTHaven… This is the view towards the textile zone, which you can now barely see. Most of the boxes will eventually be unpacked into the bedroom, and for now there’s no room anywhere else for them that will not involve the removal men bringing stuff in. It will all get cleared eventually, I suppose, but at the moment it’s a rather depressing sight!

03 My Poor ARTHaven

It was not all chaos, though. The rest of my time was spent organising my office. My hubby brought over a few more office boxes today with things I shall no longer need here at home in the last few days before the move. It’s looking really great, and I look forward to working in this dedicated office space. On the right you can see the old metal Ikea pan rack from the utility room. I didn’t want to get rid of it but was hard pressed to find a home for it, and eventually it found its way into the office. It is going up on the wall under the shelf on the right where it fits just fine. It will be handy for putting extra things on, and I can also hang things from it with hooks.

The new wall shelves have proved not strong enough for my stacks of paper, and these now reside in the bottom of the bedroom wardrobe. It’s an ideal place because the floor is about as strong as you can get, and it will be easily accessible when I want it, but out of the way most of the time, and there is more than adequate wardrobe space in the bedroom.

01 Office

On the left of the picture, you can see my cork pinboard propped up. This is going in the space underneath the wall shelf with my ring binders on it.

Yesterday my hubby brought the small black desk up from downstairs, and this has slotted in beautifully on the left of the main desk, with its end partially concealed under the big desk. I have actually ended up with more of it being exposed than I expected, with the bookcase up against the door frame into the ARThaven proper, and then the filing cabinet.

I also plugged in my red clip-on spot light which I haven’t been able to use for ages, and this gives good light onto the desk. I also have my big red floor-standing anglepoise lamp to bring over on Monday and this will stand where the pan rack is currently resting.

Once I have sorted the stuff on the right hand wall shelf, I am going to use this for my computer software instruction books and various other bits and pieces, and also as a gallery for displaying the little treasures I rescued when we were clearing out Mum and Dad’s house – things that Dad made, and also some family photos. The wall clock will go on the end wall above the desk.

I am very pleased indeed with how all the work has gone today – mine, my hubby’s and the builders’. Only a few days to go now! I can’t believe it’s all happening at last.

Our New House–Garage and Bathroom

The first of two posts today.

Andy was back on the case again today after his holiday in Italy – he and Paul and Chris, aka the Three Musketeers, or as my hubby will have it, the Banana Boys because of their strange habit of gracefully throwing their spent banana skins as high as they can into the nearest tree!! Andy told me he was thinking of me every day on his holiday because there were arches everywhere!

Andy has returned from being away with his attitude towards B&Q unchanged. They STILL haven’t got the kitchen cabinet he needs to construct our utility room… As a result of this, he and Chris (with a little assistance from Paul) were able to crack on marvellously well with the garage – all the more necessary because rain is forecast for tomorrow and they wanted to get as much of the roof done as possible.

The cladding has started to go up on the garage. I must say it is a lot nicer looking than I’d anticipated.

01 Garage Cladding

The window is now in. This window was originally in the annexe sitting room.

02 Garage Window

The side door from the outside.

03 Garage Door

Laying the roof felt.

04 Laying the Garage Roof Felt

The roof from the inside, showing the insulation. This material is space-age insulation and will make a huge difference to maintaining the temperature in the garage in the winter once my hubby gets some heating on. It has come out more expensive than Andy originally budgeted for, but we are happy with this because it will do the job so well. It should also make a difference in the summer and prevent the garage from becoming too hot. The insulation will cover the walls as well as the roof.

05 Garage Roof Insulation

The window and door from inside. Having the glass side door will make a big difference to the amount of light in the garage.

06 Garage Window and Door

The door from the inside.

07 Garage Door from Inside

Chris on the garage roof.

08 Chris on the Garage Roof

Yesterday my hubby took a lot of the flowers over – they have been in our garden for some time, and were bought for us by my hubby’s brother who has a trade account at B&Q. These troughs are lined up along the wall of the annexe patio. My hubby was worried that the flowers were starting to look a bit tired, but I suggested dead-heading them, which should make them produce a lot more flowers, and all being well, they should be looking great again by the time Mum arrives. I had a blitz on them before we left.

09 Flower Troughs in Annexe Patio

He also brought over the three hanging baskets. We decided to let Mum have two, and we’d keep the third. Once all the builders’ stuff and all the rubbish has gone, her patio will look so pretty. The handrail is now in place and painted, ready for its final coat of gloss. My hubby got into trouble with Paul today for painting Weathershield around the annexe door before the render was dry!! It’s all looking very smart now, but the paint may flake off and have to be redone.

10 Hanging Baskets in Annexe Patio

The third hanging basket is now hanging in our little patio, which isn’t yet as pretty as Mum’s but once we get more stuff growing, it will be lovely.

11 Hanging Basket in Our Patio

Up at the top of the garden, where we’ve been sitting to have our lunch under the apple tree, the raspberry canes are producing a nice lot of fruit. Today I was able to pick a useable amount for the first time and we had them with our supper tonight.

12 First Crop of Raspberries

Moving indoors, this is my hubby’s study. He has brought his rug over, and moved most of the boxes into the middle of the room, to allow the removal men to put the furniture around the walls. On the right you can see something propped against the wall:

13 Study

This is the towel rail radiator for my bathroom. This is the first time I’ve actually seen it, as until now it’s still been packed in the box. Gorgeous, isn’t it.

14 Towel Rail Radiator

My bath is making its way gradually to its final resting place in the bathroom! It is now on the bedroom floor, which is progress from my hubby’s study!

15 Bath in the Bedroom

In the bathroom itself, Paul had laid the self-levelling flooring over the underfloor heating cables.

16 Self-Levelling Floor and Bath Outline

There was a problem when we first arrived, because the downstairs lights weren’t working, and kept tripping the switch. I was amazed at how quickly Paul identified the cause of the problem; he found a stain around the light fitting in the annexe airing cupboard, caused by some of the bathroom self-levelling flooring dripping down into the light fitting from above! He tried to fix it, and for a while the lights worked after he isolated the offending light fitting, but later the lights went off again. Tim the electrician is due back on Tuesday and he’ll fix it then.

Once the self-levelling flooring was dry, Paul was able to begin on the floor tiles in the bathroom.

17 Paul Laying Bathroom Floor Tiles

18 Progress on the Floor Tiles

The floor almost covered. There is a small amount still to do around the loo and shower tray in the further end.

19 Bathroom Floor Tiles Nearlyh Complete

The arch plaster is now pretty well dry. Paul has drawn a pencil line around it, indicating the position of the cut edges of the tiles. He will put some tiling bead around the edge, and then the exposed plaster can be painted. This seemed the best way to finish the tiling on the arch. Having a painted inner surface is a lot simpler than trying to cut the tiles to fit the curve.

20 Bathroom Arch with Tiling Outline

At lunch time my hubby had bought some desserts for us – lemon cheesecake and chocolate brownie dessert – he had to leave for home before that. We shared them out and they were delicious! We were talking about why everybody is getting so fat these days and they looked at what they were eating! Paul started on some long rigmarole about what scientists now believe about how we are programmed to eat food when it’s available because we can’t store it or something, but I said “I am fat because I eat too much and don’t take any exercise!” Andy said, “That’s honest, anyway!” I said what Paul had said was just a good excuse for being overweight, and the reason people were overweight was that they ate too much. They then told me that Ian Iron said that the reason people were fat was that the hole at the top end was bigger than the hole at the bottom end!!!! ROFL!! (Ian Iron makes brilliant things out of metal and can fix pretty well anything. He lives in our village. Not to be confused with Plastic Mike who does all things to do with UPVC doors and windows!)

They won’t have finished the work by the time we move, but it shouldn’t be many days after we move in that the work is completed. Once Andy has got the right unit for the utility room sink he will start work on that, and the garage can wait a while. I told him that a few days after we move, I shall need to do some washing, and will need my airer up, and the airing cupboard functioning, and he said that should be done early in the week.

Today I started to clean the worktops in the kitchen, including the new hob, in an attempt to tackle the ubiquitous dust. I made a start on the Venetian blind the other day – it is absolutely filthy and covered with dust, and I won’t be able to reach the full height, unfortunately. I think I need one of those special blind cleaning dusting tools.

I also switched on the fridge freezer and put a few things in the freezer from home. My big old freezer is now empty and defrosted, and ready to go to the recycling centre tomorrow along with some other stuff – my hubby has arranged for some helpers to come tomorrow with a trailer and some strong arms to help get rid of our last bits and pieces – there’s a big old TV and some small cabinets, and once I’ve had a chance to go through my stuff in the garage, some old paint tins etc.

My smart new grab rails for the bathroom arrived today, and at long last the new kitchen table has arrived, after much messing us about by the firm – I ordered the blessed thing back in July!! Unfortunately there isn’t room for our present kitchen table, but my hubby will probably have this upstairs.

I shan’t be going over again till Saturday, which will be my last visit to the new house before we actually move. There is a huge amount of work to be done in order to be ready for the removers. Andy says he will make sure the bedroom and sitting room are cleared of stuff, and the freezer will probably go in the outhouse tomorrow, and when Tim comes on Tuesday they are hoping the garage will be weather-proof enough to set up the electrical supply in there, and then he can run the cable back to the outhouse for the freezer, so I shouldn’t need to use a temporary extension cable after all.

The rest of my time today was occupied in clearing all the boxes and remaining stuff out of the spare room – my hubby was concerned about getting the furniture in there on Monday. See my next post to see what I did with it all!!

As the team were leaving, Paul and Chris were by the back door while Andy was up at the garage, and Paul told me I should wind Andy up by saying I was unhappy with the lack of progress on the utility room, and I was going to employ another contractor to get the work done properly! I told him he should tell Andy, but he said Andy would know for sure it was a wind up if it came from him. Poor old Andy… We went up to the garage, and I started to say to Andy, “Andy, I’ve made a decision. I’m fed up with the mess and lack of progress in the utility room…” but one look at the other two’s grinning faces and I simply dissolved into laughter and said “I can’t do it!!” Paul said “I knew you wouldn’t be able to do it!”

Wednesday, 11 September 2013


Apologies to my fellow WOWWY-ers for my absence recently. We are extremely busy in the run-up to our house move next Monday (16th) and I haven’t had time to think about it. The reason I’m joining you this time is that this will be the last for a little while, partly due to having too much to do, and partly because for a week after we move, we will have no internet access or phone so apart from my hubby’s mobile we’ll be cast back into the 19th century or thereabouts – probably a good thing as there will be no distractions and we can get on with sorting the house before Mum comes down to join us on 28th September.

So now to my desk. Yes. I have one at last! Or rather, a continuous work surface for different work zones. I have now unpacked nearly all my ARTHaven boxes and all the stuff is in, apart from a few bits and pieces, but it’s far from sorted! Here’s the main work area, which is the most sorted so far.

01 Work Surface Almost Workable

There will be things on the wall above the work surface and a lot more organisation, but at least it’s starting to look like a working space!

On the right of the desk you can see one of our beautiful genuine art deco door plates from when the new house was built in 1925. I am intending to make a mould from this and cast some more, so that the doors match throughout the house – at the moment these are only upstairs. This will probably be my first project in my new ARTHaven. See my last post for full details.

The builders are still in, and won’t be finished before we move, unfortunately, but it shouldn’t be long before we’re all settled in and getting into some sort of routine. There is a great deal to do so please bear with me as we cope with it all, and forgive my lack of desk-visiting! I will try and visit those of you who visit me but I won’t cope with more than that, I’m afraid.

Next time I’m on WOYWW, we will be in our new house! How exciting is that! See you on the other side.

Have a great week, everyone, and happy WOYWW – click on the logo in my sidebar if you haven’t a clue what I’m talking about, and this will take you to our hostess Julia’s website where you can click and join in.

Monday, 9 September 2013

My New ARTHaven–The Unpacking Finished

The second of two posts today.

Great news – the boxes are all unpacked! There are a few more bits and pieces which I unpacked into the spare room at the beginning, which need to be carried through, but pretty well everything is now in my new ARTHaven. Of course, it’s all chaotic still, and it will take me months to get it sorted to my satisfaction (if ever!) but it will become workable eventually.

Great excitement this morning – the blind man came! Again, he was well able to find his way and do his job, all without the aid of white stick or dog, and in fact he and his sidekick had my new Venetian blind installed in exactly 8 minutes! Really impressive stuff. It looks gorgeous – a much cleaner, smarter look than the curtains which have now gone, and with the added advantage, of course, of being able to filter the light how I want.

03 Venetian Blind

Hard to photograph well, because it’s obviously against the light, but around the edges you can see that the colour is a neutral beige to co-ordinate with the room. I did not want to introduce any colour into the decor of this room as it would compete with any art work I might be doing, or want to display.

After months of neglect, sleeping soundly in her box in the spare room at our old house, Sheba is now sitting on her new work bench! OK, she’s still in her box, but when she is released, she will be placed across the corner, ready to do her stuff, cutting whatever I tell her to cut! She has featured so little in my blogs of late that many people may need to be re-introduced to her – she’s my Cougar cutting machine from Thyme Graphics. (The Thyme Machines forum is so wonderful – despite the fact that I have been such a passive member of late, featuring almost exclusively in the “chat” section and not cutting anything at all, I am still considered a full member! What an amazing group that is.)

02 Sheba in her New Home

Are you ready for this? The next photo shows my main work area, looking organised!! It is really beginning to look like home now. I still need to do a great deal of organising, fixing various things to the wall above the work surface, but you can see the general layout! The little black cabinet in the centre came from Dad’s workshop, and contained his taps and dies. It is very dirty and oily, and one of the small white ceramic handles is missing, but once I’ve cleaned it up and painted it, it will be used to store smaller stuff. You can also see my new Stickles carousel to the right, and Dad’s two pipe racks which now hold scissors, tweezers and pliers. Watch this space to see the organising taking place over the next few weeks. I’ve got lots of ideas!

01 Work Surface Almost Workable

On the right on the work surface, beside my craft mat, you can see the door plate I mentioned in my previous post. Probably my first project in my new ARTHaven, once I get settled in, will be to make a mould of this, and create more of these beautiful art deco pieces for use on the doors downstairs.

The office section is a nightmare. I can’t do anything in there until it’s organised. There are heaps of stuff on the desk, and piles of packs of paper everywhere, and I’ve had to rethink my storage in there because I am asking far too much of the new shelves, which will not support the weight of all my storage. I am now thinking of storing my paper in the bottom of the wardrobe in the bedroom, and keeping the shelves for lighter stuff and maybe some photos and ornaments to make it look more homely.

Last bits of work to be done in this room: the tiling above the sink has to be done, and the shelf fitted for the microwave, and a small wall unit above the sink. I can’t put my stuff in the cupboard until this is done, but there’s lots of other sorting out to be done in the meantime, and it will happen eventually.

Good news over the last couple of days – my hubby has sold my Cricut machine on Ebay for me! That’s one big box that has left this house and not ended up in the new house! I am delighted that it is now sold, and I hope the new owner enjoys using it. That machine got me going on my cutting career but I outgrew it fairly soon, as I was making demands on it that it couldn’t meet, and I am delighted to have moved on to the Silver Bullet Cougar machine.

Our New House–Going All Out on the Bathroom

The first of two posts for today.

On arrival at the new house today, I put some of my electrical equipment into the kitchen – my Kenwood Chef mixer, juicer and bread maker – funny to think I’ve made my last loaf in the old house! Then I went through into the annexe kitchen and put the second and final coat of paint on the door frame, and it’s all looking very nice in there now.

My girlie bathroom, as my hubby calls it, is now the focus of efforts at our new house. The studwork frame and roof are complete on the garage and the cladding is on order. Andy has been away on holiday all week and is due back on site tomorrow, when he will focus his efforts on the utility room and airing cupboard, and in the meantime Paul is happy to be back working on the en-suite bathroom – he understands that it was necessary to move all work down to the annexe for a while as Mum’s furniture was on its way, but he says he prefers to complete a job once he starts on it!

The shower pipework is now covered with plasterboard. You can see that it is mounted on the inside of the original wooden door into the old loo – I agree with Andy that it is a good idea to leave these two doors in place, to retain the appearance of the landing, and also, they form a firm base for attaching the shower – much stronger than the lath and plaster of the wall.

01 Shower with Plasterboard

On the right, you can see the edge of the arch, complete with its arch bead, which will give strength to the edge once it is plastered.

Paul has now plastered the arch and it’s looking very smart indeed! In the next photo, Paul is preparing the floor ready for the underfloor heating. He has to drill a series of holes for its attachment in the plywood which has been laid over the floorboards to provide a good strong and flat surface for the floor tiles.

03 Preparing the Floor for Underfloor Heating

04 Drilling Holes for Underfloor Heating

There is now some adhesive spread on the floor to hold the underfloor heating in place. The next photo shows the underfloor heating being laid. It consists of a long length of electrical wire winding back and forth and trapped in a mesh which is laid on the floor. There will be a switch with a timer outside the bathroom, on the bedroom wall. When we eventually have our solar panels fitted, I can set it to come on in the morning once it is light – we are also having a towel rail radiator, which will have its own switch and timer. This radiator is dual function; when the gas central heating is on, it will function as a normal radiator, but in the summer months when I need a heated towel rail, its electrical element will come into play, heating the water in the radiator. Clever stuff.

05 Laying the Underfloor Heating

Andy was a bit concerned that the towel rail radiator might not be sufficient to heat the space – these radiators do not produce as much room heat as a normal radiator – but when we decided on the underfloor heating in addition, he said that would solve the problem, as well as providing a bit of added luxury! (My fear is that once they discover it, there will be no getting the kitties out of my girlie bathroom…)

The underfloor heating is only going down the centre of the room; the bath will be on the right, and on the left, there will be a counter with a shelf underneath for storage, with the basin mounted on it at the further end, above which will be an illuminated cabinet. In the photo above, you can see the pipework ready to receive the basin.

Here, now that the underfloor heating is down, Paul is beginning to plan the layout of the floor tiles. These large tiles have a wonderful colour and texture like natural stone, or like sand that has been washed by the sea. The slightly rough texture makes them non-slip. The wall tiles are slightly smaller, and lighter in colour, and there will be a band of mosaic tiles going around the entire room at about waist-height.

06 Planning the Floor Tiles

Finally for today: upstairs, all the doors have the most beautiful art deco door furniture which is clearly original to the house. Downstairs, it is a different story, with plain and rather ugly round wooden door knobs which do nothing for the beauty of the solid wood panelled doors, and I really wished they were the same as the ones upstairs. I had a good look on Ebay the other day to find something similar, but what I did find was either not very nice reproductions, or very expensive genuine 1920s/30s ones, and even if I’d have been prepared to pay silly money for them, there were generally not enough – I need 7 or 8!

When I was wandering around the house today, I found the spare one, together with its door handle, which had been removed from the inside of the original bathroom door… beautiful, isn’t it!

07 1925 Doorplate

…and my cerebral wheels started turning, and then spinning!!What if I were to make a mould from it, with silicone moulding putty? I could make as many as I wanted, either from Friendly Plastic or polymer clay, or possibly from resin. The real thing is made of relatively thin metal, and requires no strength in use; it is merely decorative. With all the materials at our disposal today, I would have no problem making them look metallic and distressed… I have just signed up for Andy Skinner’s Timeworn Techniques online mixed media course and there are plenty of ideas there for reproducing extremely authentic-looking finishes, using acrylic paints and other basic materials, and am quite excited about putting some of these techniques into practice. Watch this space! It won’t be long before I am creating again, and I am suffering from extreme withdrawal symptoms now that my new ARTHaven is almost ready for use!

As for the doorknobs, I could not make these myself, but I may be able to find something suitable in brass online, and then treat them to match the door plates.

I just love art deco…

It is now clear that the work will not be finished before we move on Monday 16th. Paul suggested that we use the annexe bedroom until the en-suite is finished – it will only be for a few days, or a week at most. There are two other bathrooms in the house! He needs the space in the bedroom to store his stuff and materials while the work is being completed, and I can probably survive that long without the utility room, too – we will have two working kitchens to choose from! Anyway, we will be too busy sorting out all our stuff and getting the annexe ready for Mum’s arrival on the 28th to worry overmuch. The garage can be finished after we move.

On the home front, there is still a huge amount to be done before we are ready to move in a week’s time. I have made up a detailed schedule of my activities over the next few days, to ensure that everything gets done, and that I can pace myself and not get overtired. Goodness, is it only a week to go? We have been waiting so long, and suddenly it is upon us.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Our New House–Completing the Garage Framework

I was expecting to see a dramatic change in the garage today, since our visit on Wednesday, and I was not disappointed. The whole of the studwork frame was up and work had begun on the roof structure.

01 Putting the Roof on the Garage

Here is Paul working on the roof, attaching the roof timbers.

02 Paul Working on Garage Roof

The garage timber frame complete. You can see various temporary braces which will be removed as the panels are added as these will provide extra rigidity.

03 Garage Roof Complete

My hubby’s man cave is massive!

Work on the garage has now ceased until next week when the panel materials will be delivered. It is now time for Paul to go all out on the en-suite bathroom. This job had to be abandoned a while back because attention had to be focused on completing the annexe in advance of the arrival of Mum’s furniture. It’s been like doing a jigsaw puzzle, juggling all the different jobs to fit in with the time frame and everything else that’s been going on.

Paul collected the shower tray for the en-suite bathroom today. This is the nearest I’m getting to an actual wetroom because it is not possible to lower the floor sufficiently for the drainage, but this large shower tray (the same as the one in the annexe bathroom) will cover virtually the whole floor in the further part of the bathroom which contains the shower and the loo.

04 Shower Tray for the En-Suite

Again, it has arrived with its startlingly bright blue protective film – I was really worried when I saw the one for the annexe as I thought Mum would really have preferred a white shower tray to a blue one!

Here is the floor being prepared to receive the tray. Last time we were at the house, Paul, had added the battens on the side of the joists to support the floor pieces, and here they are being inserted, levelling out the surface.

05 Bathroom Floor being Prepared for Shower Tray

Finally, the shower tray installed.

06 Shower Tray Installed

A slight panic today when I realised that they had not brought any electrics in for my bathroom cabinet – Tim the electrician is going to have to come back to see to that. I had mentioned at the beginning that this cabinet had lights and a shaver point, but this had been overlooked. I am really glad I remembered to look to see whether Tim had done any wiring for it before the tiles went up!

Chris helped Paul with the installation of the shower tray, but he said there isn’t much he can do to help him now, because the space is so small that they’d be falling over each other. He will probably not be there on Monday – possibly Andy will not be there either, as he will only just have got back from holiday the previous day. Only a week to go from then until our moving day, so it will be all hands to the pump once Andy is back.

My job today was to clean out the cupboards in the annexe kitchen and begin to unpack Mum’s kitchen boxes and install her stuff. The silicone still had to be added around the worktops, and a loose piece of plinth needed fixing, which Chris was able to see to, and while he was doing this, I unpacked a couple more boxes upstairs and brought a few more things into my new ARTHaven, and then I set to work in Mum’s kitchen. Lots of dust everywhere and I washed out all the drawers and cupboards.

Mum had a dozen banana boxes of kitchen stuff and I thought it would never go in… However, once I started unpacking things, I could see that it would eventually all go in OK. I didn’t manage to complete the tidying away, but at least I’ve emptied all her boxes now. By the time Chris said it was time to go, I had pretty well run out of steam anyway, and the rest can be done on Monday.

Here is Chris cleaning the floor. After washing it down it looks a great deal better than before, and I told Chris that I’d got some special floor washing stuff that seals and shines it, so that should finish it nicely. Chris also put the lampshade up, that had been in what is now becoming the airing cupboard.

07 Chris Cleaning Annexe Kitchen Floor

A very busy day for one and all today.

My hubby and I may go over on Saturday. He wants to paint the edges of the garden steps white, in an effort to save Mum from tripping on them, and I want to paint the rather inadequately-painted red lower walls of the entrance lobby. There is plenty of red paint left over from the front door and I think it would smarten it up, and continue the red theme as one enters the front door.

On the home front, when Chris dropped me home this afternoon, I see my hubby has cleared the final things out of our understairs cupboard. He has now come home and tells me he’s done quite a bit more besides. Yesterday he completed the removal of boxes and suitcases from the loft – mostly empty boxes that various things like printers and TV equipment had come in, that we’d kept ready for our next move. Of course, one gets rid of stuff over the years and forgets the boxes that are still in the loft, and getting them out was like walking through a history of our life in this house! Yesterday I took down some small wooden shelves from the upstairs loo, which are going in various places in the new house, and the curtain poles for the bed drapes in the spare bedroom – these metal poles will go in the annexe sitting room because one of the brackets for the old wooden pole has gone missing.

Mum had two electric kettles in her old house – one that wouldn’t switch on, and the other that wouldn’t switch off! We managed to persuade her to get rid of them both, and she was supposed to be having my kitchen kettle, as I no longer need it, with the instant boiling water tap in my new kitchen. However, a few weeks ago my kettle bit the dust and started fusing everything in the house, so that has also gone to the great kettle graveyard in the sky, and I’ve had to buy Mum a new one. You wouldn’t believe how difficult it is to find a simple, ordinary, traditional kettle suitable for a 92-year-old to whom a jug kettle would be like an alien species… Eventually I found a very nice Russell Hobbs one that looks like a cross between a conventional kettle and a jug kettle – it’s quite small (only 1 litre capacity) so won’t take up too much room in her small kitchen, and I think she’ll get to grips with it! Also, in the course of getting rid of lots of her stuff from the old house and putting the rest into storage, her ironing board seems to have gone missing so I’ve had to get her another one – this came today from Ebay.

My ongoing gripe with Parcel Force is set to come to an end tomorrow (although I have learnt with them never to count chickens or parcels till they hatch…) with the arrival of the utility room tap. All week they have consistently ignored my messages about which days I would be out, and have attempted to deliver the parcel on just such occasions, and then informing me I’d have to pick it up from the depot. I pointed out that it was their mistake, and there was no way we were taking a 50-mile round trip to Exeter when we’re about to move house and have more than enough to do, and they had better deliver it on Wednesday or else… Of course, no parcel yesterday. My hubby said they phoned today and said it would be delivered tomorrow. It had better be. Andy will be back next week and will need to crack on and finish the utility room, and can’t plumb in the sink without it. Andy’s hate-hate relationship with B&Q looks like Forever Friends compared with how I feel about Parcel Force at the moment!!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Our New House–The Garage Rises!

A brief visit to our new house this afternoon – yesterday my hubby discovered the kitchen drain was blocked, and he wanted to return today to deal with it, which he did with little difficulty – it seems some builders’ concrete and other bits and pieces had been washed down there and he was able to clear it fairly quickly.

Work is going well on the new garage. Paul was setting out the studwork frames while Chris sawed the timber.

01 Assembling the Studwork Frames

02 Chris Sawing Timber

Here is Otto, the Builder’s Mate, lying down on the job!

03 Otto the Builder's Mate

He is Paul’s dog, quite an old gentleman now at age 10. He was so friendly and came right over to say hello, and lay on his back waving his paws, asking for a tummy rub! He spent most of the time flopping about in the shade and he was as good as gold. A real little softie!

Paul laying out the frames.

04 Paul Working on the Timber Frames

The damp proof course.

05 Damp Proof Course

The frames going up! So exciting to see my hubby’s Man Cave taking shape at last! A nice big window from the annexe, which will have to come fairly low down below the work bench because of the height of it – it reaches right up to the roof! My hubby says he wants to cut those trees down, but I am trying to persuade him just to trim them down a bit – the one on the left is a bay, and I am looking forward to using its leaves in my cooking.

06 Studwork Frame being Erected

Inside, I popped in to the annexe kitchen to find that Paul had been as good as his word, and grouted the tiles that he put up yesterday. After he’s run the silicone sealant around, I can clean up in there, and start putting Mum’s stuff in. The window hinges need replacing because the window won’t stay open at present, and Andy will probably see to that on his return from holiday.

07 Annexe Kitchen Tiling Completed

While my hubby was busy with various outside jobs, I unpacked another six boxes – of books this time, which are now in the bookcases in my ARTHaven and office. There’s a lot of dust, and I expect we’ll be struggling with that for several weeks but we’ll get on top of it in the end.

On the home front, my hubby has got most of the boxes and suitcases down from the loft, and we can decide what to keep and what to get rid of. He goes up there in the early morning before the sun has had a chance to heat the roof space – it gets extremely hot up there later in the day, above the insulation!

This morning I spent quite a time on the phone, contacting the local council who have made a bit of a pig’s ear out of our council tax bills, billing Mum as well as us! It’s all sorted now, hopefully. It was a bad start in our relationship, as they had not answered my letter of over a month ago. I also phoned the utility companies informing them of the date of our move and setting up direct debits etc., and transferring our broadband from the local firm we’ve been using to Sky who will handle everything from now on – TV, phone and broadband. I have opted for unlimited fibre broadband and I think we are in for a shock when we experience the lightning speed – between 30 and 40 Mbits/sec. – after the miserable 1 or less that we’ve had to put up with out here in the back of beyond in Rural Devon! Our downloads will be arriving yesterday… I am very pleased, because our entire package is going to cost considerably less than at present. We will be without the phone and the Internet for a week after our moving day while it’s all set up. It will be up to me to set up the router and I hope I can get the internal network running without any problems – but we do know someone in our village who is a total genius with computers and network problems and he will probably come and sort us out if necessary!

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