Period Renovation Blog 21: Working on the Sitting Room
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by Jen Grimble
1y ago
To demonstrate the depth of intervention involved in a period renovation project, here I’m concentrating purely on the progress of one room – our sitting room. Over the last two and a half years this space has been worked on intermittently, as each element dovetails with progress elsewhere in the house. Superficially, the finished room does not appear dramatically different from the starting point. Seeing it during work gives a much better impression of how extensive the renovation has been than the before and after images. Looking back at the Estate Agent’s photos, the room looks more or less ..read more
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Period Renovation Blog 20: Render and Windows
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by Jen Grimble
1y ago
The upper half of the house was covered in a very hard cement render. Not only was this unsightly, but it was also extensively cracked and impermeable. This meant a tendency to allow rainwater into the cob walling behind and trap it there. Cement renders can be harmful to all traditional solid walled buildings, but they represent an extreme risk to cob, which can slump if it gets too wet. We needed to remove the render to assess the condition of the walls and then replace it with a flexible, breathable lime render. As well as potential water damage, we wanted to inspect the cob for deteriorati ..read more
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Period Renovation Blog 19: Mending the Thatch Roof
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by Jen Grimble
1y ago
It’s inevitable, living in a thatched house, that re-thatching will be needed at some stage. We were fortunate that most of ours was in excellent condition and has many years life left in it. For some reason, however, one slope of the rear projection was not attended to at the last re-thatching and was in a bad state. The ridge was also worn out – this aspect of a thatched roof has a much shorter life than the remainder of the covering. There are a lot of thatched roofs in Devon and many thatchers. Fortunately for us, two of the best work locally and have teamed up to deal with the difficultie ..read more
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Period Renovation Blog 18: Installing the Heat Pump
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by Jen Grimble
1y ago
After designing the kitchen, we focused our attentions on the entrance. The front door opens into a room that had once been a shop and, when we took on the house, was a junk store. The staircase rose from a narrow inner lobby just beyond this room and was dangerously irregular and unstable. It created a very inconvenient layout for the upstairs rooms – there was no landing and bedrooms connected directly to each other. The dividing wall between the former shop and the sitting room, which had once been an oak screen, had been replaced with concrete blocks. It’s fair to say that a lot needed to ..read more
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Period Renovation Blog 17: Designing the Kitchen
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by Jen Grimble
1y ago
In the previous segment of this renovation diary, we were taking on structural changes, such as repairing and replacing windows, reconfiguring the master bedroom and beginning plastering inside. Well, after many months of background work, we are finally getting to the satisfying stage of actually completing sections of the house. With the plastering complete, we have been able to decorate the main bedroom and bathroom. We chose Earthborn Claypaint, to maintain maximum breathability of the building fabric. It has the added advantage of being very easy and pleasant to use, with no VOCs (volatile ..read more
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Period Renovation Blog 16: Plastering Begins
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by Jen Grimble
1y ago
When we stripped the plaster in the kitchen we found evidence that some of the stone walls had previously been directly painted. We think this part of the house was a butchery at one time, which probably explains the lack of an internal finish. We decided to follow that lead and make good the stonework and pointing rather than plastering. We’ve finished those walls with lime paint from Graphenstone and are very pleased with the result. Other sections of kitchen walling were cob, modern brickwork or woodwool board (where we have made changes to the fireplace opening). These have been finished w ..read more
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Period Renovation Blog 15: Focusing on the Interior
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by Jen Grimble
1y ago
With our long-awaited listed building consent in hand, we could push ahead with some major changes. High on the list was the first floor of the rear wing. This area was a complete mess, comprising a large space that had been subdivided in various odd ways over the years. Former partitions had been largely removed some time in the past, leaving stray bits of timber, holes in walls and ceiling, and areas of missing plaster. One corner of the bedroom was separated off by stud and plasterboard partitions for a very nasty bathroom. There was a modern fibreboard ceiling to finish the effect. We were ..read more
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Period Renovation Blog 14: Floors & Staircases
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by Jen Grimble
2y ago
I mentioned earlier that we’ve gone for a limecrete screed in the kitchen, laid over the underfloor heating pipes. It will be finished with granite slabs, which are hardwearing and washable. This flooring will eventually continue through to a breakfast room (replacing the current lean-to) and out through a fully opening glazed wall to a terrace. It should be a great feature! Period Renovation Blog 13: Ground Source Heat Pump Prep For the sitting and dining rooms, we decided to lay an earth subfloor instead. This will help to create a comfortably and healthy environment, with exceptional natura ..read more
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Period Renovation Blog 13: Ground Source Heat Pump Prep
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by Jen Grimble
2y ago
I have always advised anybody embarking on a renovation to have plenty of schedule contingency and to be prepared for the unexpected to knock you off track. In March, this came home to our project – and many others – in a way nobody could have imagined, as Covid-19 stopped the nation in its tracks. At Old Barnstaple House, the most immediate problem was that our underfloor heating installers were booked for the day after lockdown commenced. This had to be delayed until some unknown future date. While we waited, we had no usable floors in the ground storey, having already dug out the old concre ..read more
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Period Renovation Blog 12: Electrical wiring
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by Lucy Aplin
4y ago
The plumbing and electrics we found in the house were rudimentary to say the least. The main range had no central heating, no lighting and a highly suspect power installation comprising of a number of unrelated circuits of varying vintage running from an old-fashioned fuse board. We stripped everything out at an early stage so must now start from scratch. Period renovation project 11: Applying for consent Chases in clay plaster made good This gives us the opportunity to get everything just as we want it and enables us to be creative in designing the lighting. We will make use of some of the ..read more
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