In the pink

Progress in the basement flat continues at pace as now it’s all about adding things that make it look better as opposed to stripping off plaster and generally wrecking the place as part of the “battle of the damp”.

Here’s a before shot.

And here’s the best of the interim ones.

The floor has been painted strong white like the rest of the house and the walls are setting plaster also from Farrow and Ball. I really like it, but it’s a slightly depressing colour to use when you pay someone to plaster the walls, then carefully prime them only to paint them basically the same colour as they were before. Again the ceiling is also the same colour and the skirting will be too.

And one of the many deliveries that helped get us there.

The boiler will be boxed in as part of a cupboard.

From this angle you can see the unpainted end of the room which will be a kitchen area. The lighting is already in for that work area.

They are from B&Q.

Still some work to be done on the door and obviously the stairs beyond but you can see the flagstones are back down and looking good.

The view into the bedroom.

And here’s the fireplace with the beautiful tiles that were uncovered when the heater was removed. Unfortunately there’s some pretty extensive damage, although ultimately the plan is for a wood burning stove in here so that might cover the gap and work. We shall see.

Here’s a close up of the lights which are from John Lewis (like the ones in the bedroom). The plan is that a sofa will sit under these.

Off the entrance to the flat is a kind of cellar which sits under the front steps. It was a horrible hole full of coal dust and a bit scary. It’s now had a new floor put in and is ready to act as some handy storage.

The plan is to put another toilet in the space under the hall stairs and because of that some serious digging has been required to put new plumbing in. Which also means going out the back door and particularly using the outside tap is a bit tricky.

And lastly, also outside some of the holes in the patio filled from our large supply of random bricks.

Uncovering the fireplace and recovering the ceiling

As the weather turns colder we’ve been thinking about getting our fireplaces sorted. We need a complete new grate and surround for the dining room fire and for the sitting room we have a surround but need a new grate to make it useable. 

The sitting room fireplace is in a classic Georgian design and we’ll probably get something similar for downstairs. However the one in the sitting room is covered in thick white paint. When we bought the house it was mentioned to us that this was a marble fireplace underneath. So we’ve had a quick look using a heat gun to peel away a bit of the paint. 

What’s was really surprising at this stage was that it seemed to be two colours. A normal pale tone and what looked like a lime green outer section.

Removing the paint with a heat gun was probably not the best idea from a health point of view as we don’t know how old it is (lead is a worry) plus the smell is truly terrible. So we ordered some specialist products to take the paint off and fully reveal what lies beneath. You have to keep it under clingfilm to keep the moisture in. 

and it worked. 

This was the results after leaving the paste on for one week. A few bits still on but we can sort those and the lime green has strangely vanished. We’re so pleased this has turned out well as replacing this like for like would have been really costly.

 Now, still in the same room but looking up.

You may remember this disaster where the ceiling collapsed.

Here’s the original post about what happened. We also had that repaired this week.

Here’s an action shot.

Nice technique.

And the ceiling all done afterwards – original features intact.

And so now we’re in a position to start decorating this room. We think we’re going with carpet in here, but otherwise we have no firm ideas.


Klaus has been busy uncovering fireplaces. At the moment we’re just removing the heaters that were in front of them. The room we are turning into our kitchen / diner is the best as a guide.

Here’s a before shot that shows both chimney stacks in that room.

before shot of new kitchen

The one in the foreground we have knocked out ready to replace with something more period appropriate.

The one at the back we are going to leave open and use the recess to slot our oven in. The only problem we have at the moment is that the stack needs to stay structurally secure (obviously) and so a lintel has been put in, but also wide enough to fit our range oven in. Currently that looks like this.


The oven is actually in shot covered by a forlorn piece of curtain to protect it. Around the stack we’ll have work surface and shelves.

And then upstairs in the bathroom and sitting room we have the following. The beer can is a bit of unfortunate art direction.

sitting room

 We will at some point take the paint off the sitting room fire surround and fingers crossed we’ll find something good underneath.


Again we’ll look to replace these. The sitting room should be a working fire again. But the fireplace in the bathroom will probably end up being in a small study area and so we’ll have to see what works in there.

All the old heaters we’ve removed and put in the front garden ready to go to the tip have been taken by members of the public before we had a chance. I dread to think what they are doing with them as I am pretty sure at least one was rained on.