House Got a Shave….

July 30, 2007 at 7:12 pm (House renovation) (, )

A long time ago, the previous owners painted the stonework on the front of the house. Unfortunately, water can get inside the stone and get trapped behind the layer(s) of paint, causing eventual bubbling and cracking of paint, and damage to the stone. The house looked awful on the outside, so we agreed to spend a big portion of our budget on having the stone dealt with.

There are two ways to remedy the problem. One involves applying a chemical paint remover to the stone, and the other involves manually scraping the paint off. You can guess which one we went for.

The stonemasons have now finished “cleaning” the stone at the front of the house. In fact, you could say they shaved the stone. First they used a rotary sander, then finished it by hand.

This photo shows the amount of stone taken off by the sander, up to 8mm in some places.

After they finished scraping, they washed it all down with water, then filled in the joints with matching lime mortar-type stuff.

It looks awesome, and it’s a nice feeling when we spy passerbys admiring the work done by the stonemasons. A neighbour was particularly impressed — she commented that it’s raised the tone of the street (yes, because it was definitely lowering it before!!!)

UPDATE:  We’ve had many compliments on her stonework now and several people have actually approached us and asked for the name the stone mason.

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Main Bedroom Nearly Done

July 9, 2007 at 4:50 pm (DIY) (, , )

The main bedroom is nearing completion. We’ve removed the woodchip from the walls and ceiling, had the ceiling repaired and skimmed by a plasterer, then we painted the ceiling, coving and skirting boards*, put up lining paper*, painted*, scrubbed the floors, and oiled them.

The photos feature two of our eBay bargains, a restored Victorian fireplace and an Edwardian wardrobe (lined in some lovely cedar!).

* work still in progress

The paint on the wall behind the wardrobe is Cotswold Stone by Green Paints. They are soybean oil based, low odor, and better for the environment and people. The paint seems great apart from the fact that it’s not quite the colour we saw when we chose it from paint samples! However, we’ve decided to live with it!

For the floors, we chose against the standard “sand and varnish”. We’ve sanded floors in the past, and it’s just soul destroying. The prep takes forever, it creates a huge dusty mess, uses loads of electricity, costs tons to rent the machine — and it always takes longer than you think. Furthermore, it strips the floorboards of their character.

So, this time round, we’ve decided to go with the rustic and natural look. I realise it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but we like it. The colour of the boards in the photos is their natural colour, darkened with age. The lighter boards show the colour pre-oiling.

The boards have been scrubbed clean (-ish…the coal dust is really impregnated), allowed to dry, then then oiled in two coats of Osmo Polyx hardwax oil. This stuff is great! It’s environmentally friendly and super easy to use. Plus, I’m almost embarrassed to say, but we both kinda like the smell!

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Kitchen and Bathroom Update

July 2, 2007 at 7:53 pm (House renovation) (, , )

Well, surprise, surprise, the kitchen and bathroom aren’t yet done. As it stands, we’re desperate to get our furniture out of storage. Our things have been in there too long and it’s really made a dent in the budget!

So, with the kitchen and bathroom (inc shower!) functional, we’re now concentrating our efforts on the bedroom.

There’s so much I’ve wanted to mention here – tips, product reviews etc but it’s all just fled from my mind. I’ll update it later!

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