The first coat of paint goes on.
The first coat of paint goes on.

It almost feels like the house has two very different identities at the moment. Upstairs is really back on the road to recovery; fully plastered, adorned with skirting boards and picture rails and – my god! – there’s actual paint on the walls! Two bedrooms have had a good walloping (technical term don’tcha know!) with Brilliant White trade emulsion – 20 litres of paint and counting – and we’re just starting on the master bedroom, which should be painted over the weekend. So there’s just the small matter of deciding on final paint colours, fitting the radiators, carpeting and sanding the master bedroom floor, and then upstairs will be ready to move into.

The newly created loft has been insulated and partly boarded so we now have storage for some of our accumulated odds and ends which we can’t throw away but which won’t have a home elsewhere –  Christmas decorations, boxes of photo albums, Ted’s baby clothes, that sort of thing. It really feels like the finishing post is in sight upstairs.

Downstairs however, well that’s a different story. In fairness, there’s been a lot more to do downstairs; most of the walls have been taken back to bare brick, fireplaces have been rebuilt and last week Paul and his dad started on the arduous task of excavating the floors.

Digging up floors - a messy job!
Digging up floors – a messy job!

This huge job has involved removing rotten joists and floorboards and digging up damp-infested quarry tiles and bricks as well as several tonnes of dirt and rubble, ready to insulate, damp proof and concrete. The floors will eventually be laid with golden oak parquet, which Paul’s parents have kindly donated. The downstairs of their house has been laid with reclaimed parquet which was once the floor of the school gym that used to be over the road, and they just happen to have some 2,000 pieces left over, which we hope will be enough for us. Each piece needs cleaning up and sanding beforehand, which will be my next project.

Parquet flooring - we're going for something like this.  Image from
Parquet flooring – we’re going for something like this. Image from

We also made the decision to remove a bit of the wall between the dining room and kitchen to open the space out; it wasn’t strictly necessary, especially with the later kitchen extension in mind, but I’ll admit that it really does make a difference.

Knocking down wall - a little bit goes a long way!
Knocking down wall – a little bit goes a long way!

Over the next couple of weekends we’ve got plans to do the damp proof course and concrete the downstairs floors, which will mean the final plastering can get underway and downstairs progress will start to catch up with upstairs. Which means starting on the prettying. I can’t wait!