In my head one of the major milestones, and the point I thought it would feel like we were actually getting there with the renovations, was the plastering. Since we’ve had to remove pretty much all of the plasterwork downstairs, as well as several walls’ worth upstairs, stripping it back to bare brick, I figured that plastering would make the house feel, well, like a house again rather than the barn/outbuilding feel it’s been rocking in recent weeks.
And we’re there. Upstairs only, mind you, but what a difference a week makes! Starting last Monday we’ve had plasterer Pete and his pal in transforming our naked walls and ceilings into perfectly smooth, even surfaces just ready to be whitewashed and beautified with lovely paint. I didn’t know it was possible to get so excited over a plaster finish, but there you go!
Speaking of paint, I paid a visit to our local reclamation yard and Farrow and Ball stockist Cawarden and picked up a few sample pots. With my mum’s expert help – I needed a second opinion and Paul was busy up the chimney again! – I narrowed it down to Cornforth White, Dimpse and Pavilion Gray, which are all lovely true greys of varying depths, as well as the wildcard pick Mizzle, a gorgeous green-grey hue which I really want to use somewhere, I’m just not sure where!
The other exciting development has been the building of the fireplaces in both the living room and dining room. We’ve always said we wanted a log burner in the main living area and luckily when we ripped out the old gas fire it revealed a fireplace recess which is just screaming out for one.
The recess in the dining room is much taller, and we think it would have originally housed a stove. Paul really wanted to create an open fire here – I think he’s got visions of turning part of the dining room into a cosy snug modelled on the snug at one of our favourite country pubs – so over the past two weekends he and his dad have lined the chimneys and built brick fire surrounds.
The dining room one is pretty much finished, with just a hearth needing to be built, and has been topped with an oak beam which had been in Paul’s parents’ garden for years waiting for a purpose. I’ve been tasked with sanding and staining the beam, which I’ll get stuck into when I get some toddler-free time!
Paul’s also been busy this week insulating the floors upstairs, ready for the carpenter to fit the skirting boards at the weekend, so by the end of the week upstairs should really be looking like a proper house. It’s been eight weeks now and it feels like we’re making decent progress in most areas – fingers crossed we’re still on course for March!