Scaffolded, boxed, scuppered and gutted

What a difference a week made. From the installation of the new fireplace, to the installation by a neighbour of scaffolding right outside our living room window.

Let’s step back a month or two.

We had discussed with an upstairs neighbour their wish to install scaffolding to renovate (one of their two) flats in the building. Unfortunately the scaffolding would be right outside our window for about six months. SIX MONTHS!

We reviewed the plans and elevations and understood that this would be the path of least resistance for the majority of the building however we would have reduced light in our already light-challenged lower ground floor flat.

We had only been in the building a couple of months so we did our good neighbour thing and reluctantly agreed to scaffolding with an access platform from the street.

Coming home on Thursday this week, I was horrified to discover a giant plywood box installed outside our window blocking every last vestige of light and sky. We had been boxed in. It wasn’t exactly a platform with access to scaffolding as we’d been led to believe.


It goes without saying that we’ve been scuppered. We certainly didn’t agree to a giant box being installed above our heads and in front of the window for SIX MONTHS. There was a certainly economy of information by our very strategic neighbour who has screwed us royally.

The room intended to be our living room is so dark it’s like the middle of the night and it goes without saying that I am completely gutted and will be for the next SIX MONTHS.


I can only hope that plastering and painting help improve things.

Lying in bed

This is my view.

It’s a bit like being in an insane asylum especially the patch of “insanity green” I haven’t managed to get off yet.

The worst thing is, it’s become normal and I don’t notice it any more.

Better get things moving or we’ll be living like this forever!

Trying to continue the momentum

After all the progress yesterday with the gasman finally leaving at 8:30pm but now with a working gas fire, I was keen to try and keep the momentum going.

I was up with the sodding lark, off to the laundrette, back with two bags of wet washing to hang dry, walked the dog, washed the dog, collected the dry cleaning and dropped off some more and then it was time to start sanding.

I spent a good hour sanding and chipping old paint off the front door so we can paint it before we get new locks. Frankly it looked just the same as it when I started.

I then spent another three hours chipping off the remains of the wallpaper in the front room. And here’s a surprise, it looks just the same.

How can a room have twenty layers of wallpaper that are all brown?

I cleaned everything up, chipped a bit more wallpaper off in the hall and I can’t see I’ve done anything.

One positive thing though, having cleared out all the rubble yesterday, we now have the brown room back complete with Christmas plant, broken window and flowering camellia.

To celebrate, Agnes did a wee on the carpet.

All fired up

After ripping out the fireplace, the logical thing was to put one back in, so that’s just what happened today.

I took the day off work to get some stuff done and by lunchtime had cleared out all the rubble with a waste collector. I hadn’t planned on helping but as he showed up single handed, it was the only way. That was fun.

So with that done, the fireplace was moving along nicely.

And finally by 8pm as the gasman was running late, we were all fired up and ready for a sit down.

So here it is and what a massive improvement! I love the clean Edwardian design, perfect with our simple coving and sympathetic to the building.

Just a bit of plastering and painting to do!

Another day, another fireplace

I came home from work and ripped out the fireplace in the living room… as you do!

The plaster is buggered and literally fell off the wall and the original Edwardian tiles were lurking somewhere under soot and glue but not worth trying to salvage.

From here:

To here…

To here:

I have a busy day on Friday as a fly tipper is coming to clear the latest pile of rubbish, the chimney sweep is coming to hopefully install the new fireplace and the glass man should be coming to replace the broken window.

It’s all go!

The Good Room

I’m not sure if I’ve actually posted any photos of the good room.  It’s a lovely room with a view of large magnolia tree in full blossom. We’re delighted with the colour, a brand new Farrow & Ball colour and while it’s our future bedroom, it makes a really nice temporary sitting room.


We’ve now hung the curtains and replaced the door. It is an oasis and once you go in, the temptation is never to come out again.


This was where the carpet of cremation was.


We moved the radiator from half way up the wrong wall and got rid of several metres of copper pipe.



I do love a good before and after picture and this room shows the potential of the rest of the flat. Only six more rooms to go!

The last wardrobe

It was Sunday afternoon and after a nice treat of Sunday lunch before Big T departed for France, we thought we’d bash down our final wardrobe. It was a very big, melamine monstrosity blocking the window in the small bedroom so it was time to do something about it.


It was really quite easy and before we knew it, the small bedroom felt much bigger and here’s a surprise, another fireplace lurking behind. When I say fireplace however, I really mean hole in the wall. Best not to remove the panel holding it all inside!


We now have no storage and so I had ordered a large clothing rack on wheels to provide a temporary solution. For a mere two pounds more I could have a six foot rack instead of a four foot, and so with a bargain in mind, I had ordered it without really thinking about how big a six foot rack would be. Assembling it on Sunday, it turned out to be MASSIVE!


The wardrobe relocated to the fourth bedroom unfortunately breaking a window pane which means there’s a project for this week.

And the final image, an original Edwardian hearth with an opportunity for a decorative cast iron fireplace.


So that’s our spare bedroom progressing nicely!


This week we replaced four interior doors and what a difference they’ve made so far.

The old doors were stained with years of nicotine, opened the wrong way and had to be held open with cork-stops as they kept swinging closed. Luckily I had a good collection of corks from drinking wine to cope with our living conditions. Numbing the pain.


The doors still need painting and we’re thinking of a rather striking teal as we break away from grey. Perhaps a job for my list of things to do over the next few weeks.


Check out our lovely knobs, we’ve gone over to brass and a beautiful wooden Victorian beehive knob.


The view from the hall. There’s a nice bit of plaster missing from the wall but important to have a room diffuser to create ambiance!

The floors are pretty rough with holes and loose boards and slippers are essential to avoid nails and splinters.

Next up… another wardrobe bites the dust!

Snowed under

I’ve been seriously snowed under over the past few weeks, I haven’t replied to emails, I haven’t written my blog, I haven’t managed to get my bike repaired so it sounds like an old bone shaker but I have just about managed to stay afloat.

We’ve been working on the flat every weekend  so weekends have been covered in wallpaper stripping, dust, cleaning, ripping out wardrobes and finding more fireplaces. Monday to Friday my workload has been fast and furious. Deadlines seem to be daily and it’s all been hard graft. It feels like the run up to Christmas but without the Christmas holiday as the reward at the end.

We are making progress on the flat but it’s been slow (and doing a quick tot up of the numbers, expensive!) Every seems to cost thousands, from doors to coving, to fireplaces and don’t even start to think about kitchens and bathrooms!

For the next three weeks Big T is in France and I’m trying to move things along on the home front.

Let’s see if I can make some progress before Big T gets back!