Sunday, June 26, 2011

Loft Bathroom Under Construction

Our loft bathroom is ready for fitting. Since our plumber's tiler has suddenly changed careers he has said he will lay our tiles. I think he also mentioned he wishes we chose much bigger ones! The shower tray is fitted and then the tiles around it.
We choose a light tavertine stone tile that needs sealing as they are very porous. This light tile will contrast with the darker blue walls.
Slowly the floor emerges.
Our plumber has an original towel rack radiator from an old church which I spray white.
The tiles are all on and need grouting.
The idea is that all the features in the room are pristine white against dark blue walls (including the off-white tiles).
I do love the period mixer taps.
Once the toilet is in I can prime the walls.
First white.
Then the nice antique blue. The skirting boards and sills need painting, the appliances fitting, and the tiles sealing. When it is done I will post the photos.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Restoring Victorian Fireplaces

Getting an original Victorian fireplace is easy in the UK. You can get them on EBay and Gumtree (Craig's List equivalent). There are also Heritage Reclaim shops and sites that restore original ones for a hefty price. Above is our large lounge fireplace from the back. We buy it on EBay for very cheap, but on the way home the mantle breaks.
There are missing pieces like the grate to hold the wood or coal, the fire brick, and the flue.
Here you can see the missing pieces. The dated tiles (60's style) are cracked and since we plopped it in our yard the large cast iron fire has begun to rust. It needs professional help!
As for the small bedroom fireplaces. The one above has 5 layers of paint on it built up over the years. I begin the slow process of taking it off with Nitromors (a chemical acid that melts it off).
The detailed bits are the toughest and I use a wire brush to get all the paint out of the cracks.
Meanwhile we have an expert from Architectural Salvage (on Haydons Road in SW London) come and take away our big fireplace.
It is brought back in pristine condition. He has welded the mantle shelf, cast a new fire brick, found another fire grate and incorporated it in, made us a new flue, reblacked it with graphite paste...and...
...put in new tiles. The above tiles were in a beautiful (but too tall) fireplace in his shop window for months. I would admire the tiles every time I went past and decided to take a picture of them so that I could find similar ones. When I arrived it had been sold, but the buyer had another set of tiles so these 10 were left in a pile in the back. I prefer the fine Victorian detail tiles to the art nouveau or bolder styles. The blue/green will go well with the maroon walls.
Meanwhile the one bedroom fireplace has been completely stripped and I am reblacking both of them.
The detail is beautiful.
Once done with all the grates, mantles, and bits...
...they are brought into our lounge, the current storage room.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Renovations: Choosing Wall Colours

Choosing colours for your walls is crucial. I am used to mostly white or off white walls in homes in Canada and want to go for much more colour in our house. It is critical not to overwhelm a room with a colour, but let it help you give the feel you are after.
The loft is finished plastering and the radiators are on (which have to be taken off again to paint).
We quickly paint the ceiling white as the electrician is coming any day to put the pot lights (down lighters) in.
Our plan in each room is to keep the ceilings white and paint the walls a colour. The plaster needs at least two coats of white paint (the first coat must be half water and half paint) before the colour can go on.
At first we think we will keep the loft somewhat more modern and paint it an antiqued white. But when we paint it white it is so bright I have to wear sun glasses when the sun is out. I quite like the feel of the muted plaster before it went white so choose a colour called Sloe Berry (above). It has a period feel and despite purple being my least favourite colour, it is a dusted down and warmed up version. The feeling in the loft is emerging as relaxing, yet bright near the windows.
I find this line of paint above that has rejuvenated traditional colours from the Victorian era. The blue colour on the brochure above is our loft bathroom colour (and may end up being our back bedroom colour as well).
Here is another colour that we will do our lounge in, a maroon-red.