Tuesday, 19 April 2011

What I found in the garden ...

The Plan for the Outside Back Space ...

Soon we will knocking down the appalling 1960s porch at the rear of Fairlea, which was added in the mid 1960s when the basement floor was converted into a separate flat. Best knock it down before it falls down!

In preparation for "Demolition Day", we're clearing the pebbles outside .. which although look "okay", were forever being brought inside, so the kitchen filled up with more pebbles than Brighton Beach! So it looked like this:

And now it looks like this:

(okay, I admit, it looked better before, but sometimes things have to get worse to get better!) Eventually when 1960s porch and 1990s shed are gone from this space, decking will run right across the back of the house, creating a lovely warm "outside extension" to the kitchen and planned new downstairs living space.

After lugging about 40 bags of pebbles up the side steps to the front (where they're going to a good home), the back area is now clear and we can create an extended area of paving (to later support the decking) and bring the grassed area slightly closer to the house.

What I found ..

I got somewhat sidetracked from my job of digging out the soil for the extended paving line, when I started finding crockery fragments, and a lovely old glass stopper. This stopper is marked Holbrook and Co on its end, and research revealed that Holbrook and Co Worcester Sauce was very popular around the turn of the last century.

There were many fragments of old crockery, but nothing with any sort of date or distinctive pattern, although I am fairly sure that this came from a chamber pot, as the pottery is so thick and solid looking.

I am sure we will find more when we knock the old the shed down! No treasure chests or old valuable jewellery as yet though ..

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

The time travelling fireplace ... 1950s to 1900 .. in pictures

Despite the "monstrous-hideous-tiled-solid-concreteness" of the 1950s fireplace .. we felt guilty about simply destroying it, and when it came out in one piece, even more so. I phoned a number of reclamation yards, we wanted no money for it, just for them to "take it away!", however no one is interested in these at the moment, may be it will change, in about 50 years ...

I also contacted these guys who specialise in 50's fireplaces (http://www.c20fires.co.uk/fireplaces/original/postfires.htm) however they are based in Manchester and there is a limit to how far someone will drive to get these things, even if they are offered FREE!

I also tried offering it on Freecycle, without so much as a nibble of interest.

The problem with it that it was SO heavy, taking 3 blokes to move it, even then only trundelling it on wheels, not actually picking it up. It's solid concrete, then coated in tiles and the hearth protruded into the room more than double the original Victorian slate hearth which we found in "okay" condition underneath.

In the end, it met it's end .. by being smashed into many pieces on our driveway and going to the tip in about 25 car trips!

The 1950s fireplace is about to "meet its maker" ... 

Solid block of cement covered in horrid 1950s tiles is heavy!

Removal of the 1950s fireplace reveals the size the original fireplace would have been .. The 1950s version has quite a narrow opening .. But the 1900 one a very high mantle

Dave has had to lower the mantle by using a metal insert and one row of bricks, then sort the inside out to accommodate the reclaimed one as well as concrete the inside to level it to the height of the new slate hearth (see covered here). Whilst the original slate hearth was in okay order, it doesn't comply with current building regs (too thin).

Dave checking the new insert will fit and my husband pretending he actually does DIY these days!!

Our "new old" fireplace in situ and looking grand!

One floor down, 3 floors to go ..

Due to (mainly) lack of funds, we were 3 months finishing the living room, longer than I planned, but it's done now and we're pleased! (The only planned change is to paint the fireplace surround chalky downs instead of ivory so it will blend more with the skirting boards, that's tomorrows job ...)



The ground floor hallway floor is also "semi-sorted", but eventually the stairs will be painted completely ivory, spotlights fitted (when the 1st floor carpets are being ripped up) and stair runners fitted .. but we won't be doing that until after the lower ground floor work is completed, so here is what it looks like now (7 coats of varnish later!)