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Friday 1 December 2017

My Stairwell to Heaven

It's been sweater dress central in Pout Manor lately.  I've another on back burner for you but I thought you could do with a little break, so today I give you a post on, err, a house horror story.
I should really be giving you a Holiday Home Tour right now which seems to be the bloggy thing to do, but you know, not one decoration has yet come down from the attic.  So house horror it is, then!
This post contains a house horror image which some readers may find disturbing!

It started not with a kiss but with a post, this one.  I intimated there that a crisis was a-brewin' and I would follow that little teaser with a post.
Well this is the post, a year late!

To briefly recap, when looking for specific photos in my photo album stash, stored on shelves on a little half landing, I discovered more than old photos -  I exposed work that needed to be done and money that needed to be spent.  I like neither of those.

The stairs leading to ...

... the problem.

Yes, this is my house horror image.  Yucky, eh?  Damp ingress in the corner of the wall.  Rod the Roofer informed me that rain was coming through cracked leading on the roof.  Oh and by the way, the old pantiles were crumbling too and the whole lot needed replacing.

I decided to put a positive spin on this.  This was an ideal time to tackle the very pokey cottage stairwell which turned under the eaves.  Why so pokey, I often had wondered.  The Photographer jokingly told me it was designed BITD for Hobbits. Well, I'm a bit Hobbit-like (but without the two breakfasts)., so I'd had no issue with the quirky stairwell. TP, however, needed to do a bit of ducking and diving to go upstairs, which perhaps is why we had designated the main bedroom upstairs as a guest room over time.

So I talked to various professionals and learned that a cat slide window maximises head height.
There ensued many months dealing with architect, the local government planners, roofers, window fabricators, builders, plasterers, electricians and decorators. All this palaver just to complete a relatively minor reno.

And sometime towards the end of all of this chat and just before work commenced, we managed to get up into the attic.  As the roof was to be exposed, it was wise to clear the attic of its junk carefully curated and archived items stored for longer-term use.  That was a perfect decluttering opportunity.  And I did.  A little.

Finally the scaffolding went up in June.  (You can imagine how the little ones loved all this!)

The pantiles were replaced during some of the hottest weeks of summer. 
I became ice lolly dolly for the guys.

A big hole for the cat slide window was gouged out of the roof.
We slid Bertie down it to test if it did what it said on the tin.  Joke!

The hole was sealed.  Then a few weeks pause whilst the window was made up and fitted. 

So the electrician went in to lay cables (ceiling spots) whilst the joists were exposed.

I did think to do some type of exposed granite feature but felt it would look a bit odd on a little mezzanine landing and with a plastic window.

The window was fitted in July. Plaster was slapped on the walls - those guys work so quickly.
Then there was then a gap between plastering and painting, as our preferred decorator wasn't available till November.  So four months of bare plaster walls and dangling ceiling spots.

 Then last week, when our lovely decorator chappie, Pete the Painter, arrived mid-week and started painting the whole area white.  But, alas, the job wouldn't be finished until Tuesday this week. 

Last Friday afternoon, I returned home to find that he'd made a feature of the protective plastic sheeting for the weekend.

He even created a cute tie-back.  I think I may just stick with this feature!

The journey.

The destination.

What I now have is a stairwell fit for Gandalf.
It's a blank canvas of white wallage.  It looks fresh and modern. This relatively small tweak has made such a big difference to how this cottage works and feels.   Hey, we've even moved back up into the heavenly en suite bedroom upstairs!

This new space is a place where I'd like to party.  Hmnn, a Window Warming Party.  
I'm thinking of serving drinks and canapes from the window sill at Christmas.  Seating, the stairs.  Mingling area, the miniscule mezzanine.

I now want to give myself some months of thinking time before finishing off the banisters and dressing the window and the space generally.

That's what I've been up to since that butterfly fluttered a year ago.  
Creating My Stairwell to Heaven ...

(You just knew that's where I was heading, eh?!)

I hope my home improvement story hasn't been too tedious for you.  I'd love to hear of any tweaks you've made to your home.  Quirky challenges in the house that have been overcome with a tweaking.  Sometimes a little tweak can really made a BIG difference

A la perchoine.


  1. Love a bit of home improvement Mary, thanks for sharing yours it looks super. Have a super week Hun. x Jacqui

    1. Yes, I love seeing the little jobs like this as well as the biggies. Happy week ahead, x.

  2. Wow, that really is a stairwell to Heaven! It looks marvelous and by all means you should have a window warming party - it is in fact divine! I just love how updating one area makes everything seem so fresh and exciting! You'll need to take all of your blog photos there!
    I love seeing the pictures from outside as well, the foliage looks so tropical and not at all what I'd expect, I'd say you live in a very charming place my friend.
    Our reno hasn't been a horror story but has certainly been a long one. Since my sister is our designer we're getting the family disccount which means things take super long , lol!
    I love your story and your nod to Led Zeppelin and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Always so entertaining my friend!

    1. We have a temperate climate as we are a small land mass surrounded by sea so big things like palms, agapanthus and echium really thrive here ... OK, they are our weeds!
      Yes, one can't push when a family discount is involved. Longing to see your kitchen and your tour. I REALLY am!
      Great minds, I was thinking to do some posing next to my new window!
      Oh I missed that one, should have got some mileage with Cat on a Hot Pantile Roof, rats, you're better at this than me, can you write my stuff for me?!!
      Happy week ahead, hugs, x.

  3. Wow, what an improvement with all that light coming in. Love it!!

    1. Hi Duchesse, yes, this has made a huge change to a little space. Thanks for popping in. Keep warm. Hugs, x.

  4. That does look so much better, full of light and very practical.

    I am just waiting on a quote to come through as I have a small galley kitchen and wanted to knock a wall through so I have an open plan kitchen diner - and french windows installed. Oh, and opening up the chimney in the front room so we can have a wood burner or open fire...

    1. Hi Vronni, well I keep saying that this house has had enough of my money, but some things make sense to do.
      Your plans sound lovely, you will love your new space. I was only saying to TP last week that if I really do any more work, next in line is a multifuel, so I'm longing to hear how yours goes. I have an old 80s granite fireplace which was in the house when I bought it and looking at it makes me feel down in the dumps. Your exciting plans are going to make a great post, take lots if before shots, eh?! Hugs, x.

  5. I hope we get to see the finished look Mary. I love makeover posts xx

    1. Me too, Laurie, on both counts! I stuck a v. old vase of my mum's there yesterday, that's a start! Hugs, x.

  6. Oh your so fortunate to be able to hire workers, we always have to do everything ourselves. My husband has even been putting a new roof on our three story house and I've been so worried about him falling. It does look gorgeous. LOVE the new roof.

    1. It's a new experience getting a man in as we usually do it all ourselves but its necessity, I'm afraid. My hubby is now in his late 70s and has had some health issues this summer that would make him standing on ladders very dodgy. So this year we've had to get a man in to paint the gable wall and chimney outside and I the stairwell inside. Glad you like the results. Keep an eye on your hubby when he's doing dodgy stuff up ladders, eh?!!! I bet your new roof is looking good.
      Happy weekend and hugs to you, sweetness, x.

  7. House horror indeed but a little work could bring that part back to life. The corner of the wall has to go though but I bet it's easy to replace. Call a builder and have the whole house checked to be sure. There can be serious damage lurking somewhere unnoticed. It would be nice if that part of the house will be functional soon.

    Franklin Stewart @ Muller Exteriors

    1. Thank for popping in, Franklin. The roofer identified why water was getting in and I did get a builder in who took the walls back to the bare granite to check and remedy the water ingress. The area is now functioning so much better than before thanks to the much increased head height. Phew!