Old Things, Old House, Modern Building Regulations

It's half term for Andrew which means we can push forward with painting our bedroom. The uncovered tongue and groove from the 1930s is receiving its final coat of white primer. It's been treated for woodworm and dry rot meaning that this wall will keep on going for another eighty years or so. This hidden gem beneath hardboard was a lovely find. Sadly, we couldn't expose the beam running above it because some hidden things are best left hidden when you discover that the boxed in beam, box and all, runs through a wall. Thankfully, our plasterer came to the rescue and advised us to box in the beam further behind plasterboard which gives a perfect seal to the tongue and groove. Which meet building regs. It's like The Wizard of Oz mantra: 'Lions and tigers, and bears, oh my!' but with the modern twist of, 'Old things, old house, modern building regulations, oh bollocks'.

Tongue and Groove, 1930s, Life on Pig Row

The pointing around the windows has been done and the last of the horse hair plaster has been scattered to the wind. Some more white undercoat and the old window surround is beginning to look a little more loved. The problem with painting is the amount of dust sheets you need, you always need more than you think and no matter what you do some drips get through. Thankfully we waxed the floor, so it makes it easier to get rid of the drips as they never soak in.

Painted window surround 1930s

It's time to mix some emulsion with water, a 50:50 mix to seal the plaster and give a better finish for whatever colour we eventually choose. That will be another discussion. They look great and are ready for our handyman in November who will build up the doors and construct us some bookcases along this wall. He's done some lovely work for us in the past, from bookcases to larders. The paint thinned does two jobs, it soaks into the plaster forming a seal meaning you use less of the final paint but also highlights any sanding or filling you need to do. 

New paint on plaster

Halfway up a ladder, splattered in paint and the internal doors arrive. An array of 1930s doors that are now a better fit with the house. Getting old doors is never easy because we have a mix of old openings and new openings that meet building regulations. Old doors tend to be narrower, shorter and in many cases, thicker. It's taken us several months to track these down and we are still missing one for the family room because that door opening appears to have been an external doorway at some time in the past. It's wide. Very wide. The guy who delivers the doors looks at it and scratches his head, he will look out for one for us but in all the years he's been doing doors, he's never seen one that wide. We may have to rethink the family room door or put up with the door that is there at present. The door that doesn't quite reach the floor. Maybe a pub door beckons, something that says, 'Vault' or 'Money pit'. 

1930s doors

Finding old things to fit in with new things is never the easy route but for us it is about being honest about our cottage as much as we can. We're not daft, we have insulated this house to the max and our rewire cut our bills by two thirds but we have never been ones to embrace everything that is new, not when the old holds such beauty as these doors. We need to get back into the garden, soon, or lose what is left of the light. Clocks go back this weekend and we'll soon be arm deep in anti-mould paint (it's an old house), wallpaper, lampshades and hanging doors.

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