Thursday, 28 January 2010

Progress at No 11



You either love old houses or you don't.  Whether you live in one or prefer to simply look there is no denying that behind every exterior lies an interior that intrigues, fascinates and holds a key to a secret past life that is sometimes hard to imagine.

In the hallway and our bedroom we are lucky enough to have the original floor tiles dating back to when the house was constructed sometime in the early 1600's.  I couldn't resist peeling back some tacky carpeting in one of the other bedrooms and chipping through the thin layer of concrete.  A sensible person might have left it there, the simple option being to re-carpet and turn a blind eye but tantilizingly of course the entire floor area has wonderful deep red polished tiles, or rather could have ....

Made rather good progress this week even though I say so myself.  Seem to have found a very agreeable team indeed to do the electrics and plumbing and this is of course worth a mention in itself. Not only do they appear when they say they will but they turn up on time, enthusiastic, smiling and doing a competent job.  His Lordship took himself off to the attic where he set about cutting up old German camp beds.  'No wonder they lost the war' he said,' if they had put less iron in the beds and more in their Panzers the outcome may have been entirely different'.  Meanwhile I have to rise above the urge to tear off the carpeting that envelopes the bath and crawls up the walls.  I know the tub has dainty little feet as I've had a peep but I am under strict instructions to progress with order.  Instead I have to transport myself to the day when it will be luscious but who could have resisted the huge old French elegant wash handbasin to start with ? not me.

But it takes commitment to renovate and live in a house of a certain age if you are going to retain its character and appeal.  It is not for the fainthearted and woosies of this world.  There are draughts, spiders, grime and discomfort along the way  but you won't catch me whinging as I recognise that I am priviliged to be in the position to live somewhere so special in the first place. 

Wouldn't it be lovely though if everyone who was fortunate in life just stopped for a moment and counted their blessings once in a while ?

9 comments:

Veronica said...

oh, that carpet and wallpaper -- they are just *horrible*! Really looking forward to seeing how it is all transformed into something beautiful and respectful of the building.

muddyboots said...

there is so much history in this building, so much just waiting to be discovered,can't wait to hear how the restoration progresses! Believe me, those attics are something else, so much stuff horded over the decades,shoes, riding boots, paintings and cots, tiles, stained glass & furniture. Look forward to seeing all the photos along the way.

Frances said...

Sally, thank you for this update. I do admire your spirit, energy and appreciation of what makes for a lively life!

Best wishes. xo

Pondside said...

You are in your element there, Sally. Another wonderful challenge, a little intrigue, and at the bottom a whole lot of very hard work. It's lovely when an old house and an old-house lover find their way to one another. It's not for those who need instant gratification or who have a sense of entitlement - slow, sure and careful must be your motto, but the rewards are there.

Elizabethd said...

How amazing to find all that left in attics...normally a house has to be cleared by the seller. But it's maybe more exciting to search for treasures?!

eleanor's byre said...

Who can resist carpet up the walls - reason enough to buy a house, non? :)

I'll be taking tips.......

Ange said...

Wondered where you'd got too and I see it's poking around under baths ;-) Just picked myself up off the floor after hearing your electricians and plumbers show up on time and when they say. FABULOUS. Get the whole house done and QUICK! Hope you're having fun. What are you doing with the camp beds? Bisous

Thomas said...

A wonderful update Sally! I think you hit the nail on the head with your opening words, "You either love old houses or your don't." I am with you, I love them. I hope you are taking lots of 'before' photographs. That is my one regret - I never took enough photographs of my Normandy Farmhouse when I found it ... good luck and keep us posted. ;-)

Grouse said...

So fascinating...and a blissful way to spend a winter's afternoon. I'm waiting for a photo of these tiles you are uncovering...