Monday, 20 January 2014

La Petite Maison - Work Continues

Can you believe it? January is over halfway gone already. 

Well, what can I say - since the start of 2014 following my recent and now seemingly annual recurrence of winter flu, I have been making up for lost time at La Petite Maison where it it has just been Busy, Busy, Busy!

In the old kitchen / back room - now officially known as the Guest Bedroom and En-suite

(which formerly looked like this)

the walls had been newly plastered

and when dry a coat of white paint was applied, 

before I then had to muster up some energy for sanding the floor. Not without a few glitches I might add! I have convinced myself however that the gash created by dropping the still spinning circular sander onto the floor will only add a more authentically character appearance.

(Gash disguised with some woodfiller)

Failing that a rug can always be strategically placed to hide a multitude......! 

After sanding I used the same lye solution as before in the other rooms, and then with a lot of elbow grease completed the treatment by rubbing white wood oil into the floorboards.

William arrived to finish the woodwork. Taking one look at my pale wan face and hearing my croaking voice - alarmed that he may fall prey to any air borne viral particles, he redoubled his normal whirlwind speed and wasting no time on goodbyes disappeared almost as soon as the last screw was put into the doorknob.

Thankfully the en-suite was tiled without the pain of the previous tiling disaster in the bathroom, where the tiler (different tiler I should point out) created more of a basket weave effect with my beautiful Welbeck tiles, resulting in the blue and white patchwork splash-backs having to be unceremoniously removed - still waiting to be redone again at a later date. Fortunately the remaining tiles are much admired by everyone and the unplanned undulating brickwork effect does not seem to detract too much from the lovely creamy crackle-glazed hand-made tiles.

The bathroom tiling made me nervous and I had a momentary panic when I saw the en-suite tiles grouted; panic lasting even as the grout dried - turning from dark wet cement colour to the colour of blue-tack, which against the warm white of the marble tiles looked awful. 

(photo taken in artificial light, so isn't really a true representation of the colour)

Happily the grout is still drying and the now paler silvery white picks out the veins of the marble and looks alright. Phew!

Woodwork done and tiling of the en-suite complete, I was able to resume my role as painter and decorator.

(windows and doors still to be painted with a topcoat in this photo and curtains are only temporarily hung - it was dark when this photo was taken, hence the strange blue light outside the windows.)

Handles for the French doors and the casement windows are still to be fitted. The sanitary-ware in the en-suite failed to arrive on time, so is not yet in place. The curtain fabric I had decided upon for this room is out of stock at Cabbages and Roses; - in the meantime I am adapting my old Caroline Zoob Faded Flowers curtains to fit the windows. But despite these minor set-backs the renovation of La Petite Maison continues to move steadily forward.

Not fast enough though for the elderly lady next door, who has started to complain about the state of the garden. Hmmm - hold on, there are limits even to my ability to do everything at once and after all it is Winter; copious amounts of heavy rain have turned the driveway into a sea of mud made worse by workmen's vans churning it up, and let's be honest - there is no point doing anything about it until all the building work is totally completed.

I take heart in knowing that the roses that I have planted in the front garden are currently establishing 

Munstead Wood planted alongside purple Sage in the front garden

Rose de Recht outside the front door

and I know that I shall be able to transform the gardens into floral havens where there will be roses and lavender; 

(inspiration from Virginia Woolf's garden)

hydrangeas and hollyhocks, 


but perhaps it is the time-scale that she is concerned about. How much longer before the transformation?

Rome was not built in a day and La Petite Maison is certainly taking longer than ever anticipated, but be patient please dear elderly neighbour; just as my my allotment was not transformed overnight, I can nevertheless say that it was well worth the wait and all the hard work involved.

Allotment in the beginning

Allotment last summer (three years later)


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