the attic – moving in!

Day 115:

Yesterday I was wiping black dust from bags and boxes before storing them in the attic cupboard.  Today they got a new layer of dust as Gary sawed hardboard to make hatches.  Oh well, this dust is fairly pleasant compared to plaster and brick dust.

I though the there would be hatches that you push into place but these hatches are hinged and have handles like kitchen cabinet handles – actually much better.  Gary has already painted them white.

Also there is a second coat of paint on the doors, and there are now radiators in Xan’s room and the spare room.

Day 116:

The first coat of Gentle Fawn went on today.  It doesn’t coat well, said Gary, as this is water-based satin.  Looks like I managed to buy the “quick dry” satinwood formulation for this colour – there is just so much choice in paint types I didn’t notice. But Gary thinks the water-based satin is fine, and two coats will do it; it is only the ‘Once’ paint he doesn’t like, as two coats are always better.

Carl hadn’t called, but I got home fairly early and gave him a ring.  He was still waiting for the carpet delivery, having expected it earlier in the day.  We arranged 9 tomorrow.

Day 117:

I worked from home.  Gary arrived first, then Carl prompt at 9.

Gary had an idea about the order for tackling the rooms, and he and Carl had a chat about that.  We all carried paint cans out of Xan’s room, and Gary helped Carl move furniture around later on.

Carl was here till 6, and did Xan’s room, the bathroom, the spare room.  Xan’s chocolate brown and purple looks really nice, and the dark marine in the spare room has set off Spring Breeze perfectly so it is now exactly right.  The bathroom colours I’m less certain about – the dark vinyl abutting the line of dark cabinets looks slightly dingy, and the bland countertop doesn’t help – but overall (and awaiting the landing carpet, something sandy and bobbly chosen in a rush) the results are pleasing.

Gary installed the towel rail radiator today.  He’s going to come on Monday to finish painting the stairs (I think these are mended now) and then Carl can come on Tuesday to do the stair carpet.

I was surprised when Gary offered to build Xan’s bed.   On an Easter holidays childcare day Kev had assembled the IKEA bunk bed that now becomes exclusively Fern’s and I was thinking that next Tuesday’s childcare day would be a chance for Kev to build this one – not that it wouldn’t be better for people and dog to go out for a walk.

Anyway, Gary got the bed built, and luckily it does fit into the back alcove in the room.  Gary had to use his own screws as the set provided had a small number of extra ones with no identifiable purpose but no screws for the slats though these were all drilled.  There were two bits of timber left over when the job was finished but Gary surmised these had been used to pack the boxes firmly.  And there were two of the clip-on bedside shelves though the website had shown a single shelf  – however, one of these would need re-drilling and adjusting to actually clip over the bed while the other one isn’t so bad.

Gary got Carl to get the wardrobe and chest back into Xan’s room.  And this room is now ready!

It was the last day of term.  Xan, Fern and I wiped the wardrobe and chest (Gary had wiped both but they still had a dusty white sheet).  Then we polished them with oodles of wood polish and the results were surprisingly good, especially considering what these furniture items have lived through.

So Xan moved in!!  The gerbil, still alive, doing much better on his new diet of soft, moist food, hasn’t come up due to the smell of polish.  But we want to welcome him up there soon.

The den under the bed is fab.  The pink and black tiger-print foam chair is underneath, and has been tried in different configurations, as is the pine chest.

Fern and Xan played in the spare room and begged to keep it as a playroom, but piles of stuff is waiting to invade.

There are no curtains yet and the summer sun will rise in the North East and burst into the room early on.  But no worries.  We fetched a clock upstairs so Xan will know whether it’s time to get up yet if she wakes early.

This isn’t actually Xan’s first ever night away from Fern ever because there was a single day recently when she slept over at a friend’s house.  But it is the second night ever when Xan and Fern have slept apart, and the start of a new era for two babies who always turned to be facing each other in their shared cot.

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

the attic – cupboards and doors

Day 113:

We all went to Clare’s early morning Lord Mayor’s award ceremony at Wisewood, then I signed Fern & Xan in the late book at Marlcliffe and nipped in the house to see if Gary was there and painting – he was.  We talked about getting the cupboard under the stairs empty and the stairs repaired.

Carl phoned just after I got home at 6.  He came round soon after and fitted the vinyl in the roof-space cupboard.  Great!  – one “room” is now ready to go.  Now I can stuff this area, and empty the cupboard under the stairs.

There has been a slight improvement in living room locomotivity now that the hippo has gone to Kev’s.  Kev has replaced his mattress with it but, despite the extra thickness of the hippo compared to the average futon mattress, reported today that he is able to feel the bones of his pine bed through it.  Non-devotees of futons may nod sagely.

The rest of the vinyl / carpet should be here on Thursday, so I agreed with Carl I’d arrange to be home early from work on Thursday, and we’d see about Friday.

Carl asked whether there should be silver or brass door bars.  Tricky question.  Silver perhaps, to match the chrome in the bathroom-?  Brass, suggested Carl, to go between brown and sandy coloured carpets-?  Probably the main factor is the colour of the door levers and I couldn’t remember what I’d said to Gary when he asked me to make the same choice for these.  Who cares, really.  But I said I’d find out from Gary and text Carl tomorrow.

Day 114:

I left for work before Gary arrived but texted to get the answer about the door levers: we’d decided on chrome.

When I got home there were doors to all three upstairs rooms.  Gary was painting the non-painted edges.  He said he’d left space for underlay and carpet beneath the bedroom doors, and a bit less space for the bathroom vinyl.

I reiterated my promise to empty the under-stair cupboard tonight.  Gary has already been undercoating and making good the stairs from the top.  He said there had been numerous nail holes to fill – presumably there have been numerous bits of carpet nailed to the stairs.

It was late at night before I started carrying stuff up to the roof space from the dumps in my bedroom.  It was tiring, and once again I marvelled at Granny & Grandad’s amazing effort in carrying all this stuff down during a week of childcare while I was in the States.

I shifted enough stuff so that the stair cupboard evacuation would leave the heaps no higher but felt discouraged by the large quantity of stuff remaining, which is mixed and needs looking at and weeding out before storage.

Then I turned to the stair cupboard.  Having the doors tied shut hadn’t stopped black grit and ample black plaster dust raining in through the gaps in the stairs – a surprising amount, considering the old stair carpet had stayed on through all the demolition action.

It wasn’t too bad thumping bags from the cupboard onto the heaps in my room, and soon I was looking at the underside of the stairs.  “Ramshackle” was the word that sprang to mind, with ad hoc repairs having been made, more or less untidily, over the years.   But this word was a bit unfair – the stairs are mostly intact and, as much as anything else in the house, they have soaked up history and have endured.   And now the venerable old stairs are getting another refashioning on the surface.

How surprising – tucked right away under the bottom step, were 5 rolls of wallpaper and a plastic elephant.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

the attic – more colours and carpets

Day 108:

By the time I left for work Himalayan Musk had been rolled onto a large area of wall. Grandad, whose comments have been mailed and not posted to the blog, jokingly speculated that the wonders of science had created a paint to continuously give off a sensuous scent. Well no, the smell seems just like paint so far. But the actual colour could have been engineered to work on the senses. My initial thoughts on purple – that I would agree to a not-too-dark purple but it wouldn’t be the best colour for a bedroom – had been softened by reading the Dulux and B&Q colour guides, which describe the “intimacy” of a purple room, etc. And Himalayan Musk is looking really good. Gary’s comments too suggested that he had been doubtful of purple but was surprised at the nice colour.

When I got home from work there was a large area of Spring Breeze applied in the spare room. Wow – this is a strong colour. Don’t think primroses at dawn, think daffodils hammered to the ground by April gale. The little hint of green detectable on the paint sample card seemed absent in a bigger area. One unqualified word is enough to describe Spring Breeze: yellowy.

Yellow and purple make an interesting contrast when you’re standing on the upper landing looking at the adjacent bedrooms.

I went to see Carl to say that I’d found a roll of the first floor landing’s carpet in the cupboard under the stairs. Perhaps we could get a bit more of it if necesssary, and use it for the upper stairs and landing-?  Also, I wanted to let him know that getting down the vinyl would be the top priority and to find out when vinyl and carpet could be bought and laid.

Carl came round to the house and spent a while carefully measuring the attic stairs, discussing also the ‘bull’ and the ‘bullnose’ issues, and checking the pile direction of the carpet offcut, as it’s important to get this right on stairs, including on the winding stairs. I concluded that it would be too difficult to try to reuse the offcut.

Regarding priority of vinyl the bad news is that the chosen vinyl isn’t probably isn’t available any more (though Carl’s brother might be able to locate some). Carl said he’d price everything up and we could finalize choices and ordering.

Day 109:

Now Mineral Mist is going on.  This is a surprisingly strong blue and colours the shower screen and the sloping ceiling with the blue mist. Let’s hope Golden Pharoah on the landing can pull off the upstairs colour blend.

Kev and dog were round last night while I went out with work, so Clare got the impetus to move back to her a room, which has even improved very slightly in terms of disorganization. Truly we are on the home run.

Day 110:

Now the stairwell and landing are being painted.  I felt momentarily concerned about the paleness, but realized that this is just undercoat so far, so the golden hope of pharoah is still alive.

Gary has painted the big storage cupboard too (a 16ft tunnel with max ceiling height of 3ft 6″ must have been a pain to paint for someone tall).  The finish is rougher than the walls of rooms (which are extremely well finished) but is great for a cupboard.

The other rooms now have the skirting board glossed (or satinned, in fact), and there is skirting board in the cupboard.

Xan’s bed arrived today. It had been due next Wednesday but Strictly Beds and Bunks had phoned yesterday to ask if they could deliver today. I’d forgotten to mention this to Gary, and the van driver didn’t phone me 30 minutes before delivery as promised, but luckily Gary was around to receive the delivery.

Actually it isn’t so much a bed as a build-a-bed kit, comprising 3 surprisingly small bundles of planks and 1 small box with a couple of bits of wood to make a little shelf for the bedside rail.  Anyway, there’ll be no problem getting it up the attic stairs.

Gary said he might work Saturday to be on top of the schedule.

But Carl turned up just before 5 to say there was a problem with the carpet chosen for Xan’s room. However, we were heading out for the first night of Harry Potter 7 Part 2, so didn’t have time to discuss it.

Day 111:

Gary turned up in the morning and did glossing/satinning in the upstairs rooms.

And we went round to Carl’s to re-pick carpet for Xan’s room. We have gone for a cheaper felt-backed polypropylene carpet, similar to the type of carpet chosen for the spare room, though possibly slightly higher quality.  Sister Clare will be relieved to hear that moths will have no place in the dark and untidy corners.

I steered Xan towards Coffee rather than Chocolate. Chocolate is a rich colour that might look good with antique pine as well as purple. But the slight mottling of the Coffee will definitely help the room look better when it’s not just been hoovered.

The bathroom vinyl is available after all. So we’ll definitely go for this, wide plank or not. The roll-width makes this an uneconomic choice for the cupboard, but it was easy to agree with Carl’s suggested narrow-plank multi-wood-effect vinyl for the cupboard, which doesn’t require non-slip finish (though this one is non-slip to some extent) nor have colour-match issues.

Later on in the day, the choices and price for the carpetting and vinyl had been finalized.  As the cupboard vinyl is available from stock, it should be possible for Carl to buy it and fit it on Monday, at last making it possible for junk to begin migration back upstairs.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

the attic – stairs

Day 107:

Gary turned up on his own again this morning and started hoovering.  This will have been to get rid of all the dust around the skirting boards, which received their undercoat today, as did all the other woodwork.  With this, and the painting of the big stairwell walls with their matt white first coat, and the painting of most of the ceilings with their matt white second coat, the top floor is looking really white.

Later in the afternoon Gary got rid of the old attic stair carpet.  He summoned me to take a look.  The problem is that the stairs aren’t in great condition.  Two of treads near the bottom are broken, though only a small portion of each has snapped off, and one of the risers has got pushed back, its nails ripped out of the adjacent tread.  But the stairs are repairable, and Gary will repair them.  One tread has been replaced previously: it is a discordant slab of wood, but still has a nose, so the idea of carpeting  just the treads is still on.

Halfway up the stairs the names “Zac” and “Kate” are painted splodgily across adjacent risers, and there is another “Kate” on the top step.  I’ve no idea who Zac and Kate are or were.

Having the stairs mended means emptying the cupboard under the stairs.  Granny did a great job pre-builders in bagging up all the duvets, pillows, etc., and ramming them into this cupboard.  I managed to squeeze in just slightly more, compressing Clare’s winter duvet and everything else as much as possible, and tying the doors closed with a ribbon to stop all the bags bursting out again. Gary and I eyed the bulging doors.  Hmm, where to put the stuff, I mused, as it’s packed in solid all the way into the corner.  “Yes– I can see the bags through the gaps in the stairs,” said Gary, suggesting that the stairs waited till the attic storage cupboard was done.

Though battered the stairs evidently have an aura, as Gary and I spent 5 or 10 minutes reminiscing about the old days, starting off with memories of stair rods.  The stairs are painted at the sides so they definitely had the once usual strip of carpet up the centre.  Later I had another look.  I could just imagine a glorious patterned red strip of carpet on the stairs.

You can see that stair carpet got wider through the ages as the more recent paint layers don’t go as far across the steps.  There are three wonderful old-fashioned colours:  a chocolate brown paint on first, then a maroon, then a powerful and nostalgic cream.    If I’d have seen this cream before I might not have bought “Gentle Fawn”.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

the attic – painting

Mon 11t:

Gary arrived in the morning.  I didn’t see the painters, but when I got home from work there was white paint throughout Xan’s room and the spare room, and quite a lot of white paint on the bathroom walls too, not much in the stairwell yet.

At 6:45 I had a call from Gary saying that more white paint was needed – 10 litres more, if I wanted the inside of the cupboard painting, which I do.  I carried on getting dinner for 5 more minutes before remembering that Tesco were booked between 7 & 9, with a texted estimated delivery between 7:15 and 8:15.  I scooted to B&Q to grab the paint.  I got the 2 of the last 3 tubs anywhere on shelves.  I had a quick look in the mirrors aisle – still no sign of Fixing Kit B.

Xan went upstairs to look at her room.  But we spent rather more time looking at and
holding Joe.  “He won’t get to move into the attic after all,” said Xan regretfully.  Alas, the gerbil is fading out due to old age.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

the attic – carpets and colours

Day 101:

On arrival, Gary went straight outside to finish the work on the soil pipe.  Not sure if he escaped the torrential rain, which started as I drove to work.

I got home early.  Gary said he’s put a stopcock in the toilet’s water supply, to isolate the leak and in case of any future problems.

He’s fixed Clare’s desk.  I hope that she & I will start work on returning her room to habitability at the weekend.

She’s happy sleeping on the ‘hippo’ in the living room.  But Xan’s mattress arrived today, and Xan has agreed Clare can sleep on it, so maybe Kev can take the hippo home where it has a new life awaiting it.

I took Xan and Fern to see Carl about the carpets, two doors down the road.  We had the Dulux Colour Click card to photograph samples for later exploration of the Dulux Tailor Made Colours range.  The kids were keen to use my camera but less interested in picking carpets – even Xan wanted to rush the choice and get off home.

We picked a good quality wool mix carpet for Xan’s room, name of colour ‘Dark Brown’.  There was a good choice of brown colours.  This one is chocolatey and speckledy.   Speckedly is good for not showing the bits, and chocolatey is good with purples and might be OK with the antique pine furniture.  We’ll choose the exact purple now that the carpet is chosen – ‘Dark Brown’ seems good with various of the Dulux purples.

We picked a fairly dark, overall brownish wood effect vinyl for the bathroom.  Carl reckons a narrow plank is better in a small room, but this one happens to be a wide plank.  Hopefully it will match the 3 different MDF finishes OK.  Don’t know what paint colour we’re going to go for.

A bold choice for the spare room is ‘Marine’ – fresh dark blue should look fairly zingy with the Spring Breeze walls and the teal futon.

Blimey – all dark colours chosen for flooring.  This was unintentional, but seems to feel right.  The white ceilings will hopefully keep everything light and airy.

Day 102:

The holes in the bathroom ceiling were plugged today, so no more dust showering down into the bath from the attic insulation.

Gary also cemented quite a few of the holes and rough edges elsewhere, like at the top of the stairs.

But, though Gary was talking of writing a list tomorrow of paint to buy, I’m not sure the painting really could be next week.  The toilet isn’t plumbed in yet, and there aren’t any doors or radiators.

Day 103:

Not a lot was done today.  Gary had already left when I got home from work at 3:30.  There was the start of paint list in the attic, but only 3 items on it.  Presumably painting won’t begin at the start of next week.

Carl came round to measure up for the carpets.  We talked about the stairs.  I was thinking it would good to have something not too bulky on the stairs as they are narrow enough already.  Carl found it interesting that the stairs have lips. This means you can just carpet the treads and not the risers.  Apparently you staple the carpet under the lips. Hmm – that could look quite good…

Day 104:

Saturday morning surprise: Gary arrived before 10, when Fern & Xan & I were still lounging around in my bedroom.   Paint list now established ….

And I’ve decided to get the 16ft storage cupboard laid with vinyl too.  It will be a really user friendly cupboard.

The toilet isn’t fitted yet because it’s going to go *over* the vinyl.  Gary explained that this saves a difficult cut around the bottom of the toilet, and you get a good seal.  (Sister Clare will be interested in this – perhaps I didn’t need to get a smeary dark brown colour after all.)

This afternoon, after a quick look online for stair carpet (I reckon Carpetright’s ‘Nordic Berber Sand Square’ will do it), I took Fern & Xan to B&Q to buy paints.   The girls weren’t interested in buying paints and I saw hardly anything of them in the shop.  I left the mixing of the purple to last, and Xan did show up to confirm that she does like the Himalayan Musk she said was her choice when I showed her the Dulux website earlier.

With the polyfilla, wood filler, sandpaper, and knot sealer, the paint bill came to £262 – phew.   Wipeable, long-lasting paints will be worth it though. The full list purchased was:

  • 10 litres Endurance Matt Pure Brilliant White – for undercoat everywhere, and all ceilings and slopes, plus one side of the dormer window in Xan’s room
  • 5 litres Endurance Matt Himalayan Musk 4 – for Xan’s walls
  • 2.5 litres Endurance Matt Spring Breeze 3 – for the spare room (which has 50% ceiling)
  • 2.5 litres Bathroom+ Mineral Mist – this being a standard Dulux colour
  • 5 litres Golden Pharoah 6 – for the stairwell and landing
  • 2.5 litres white undercoat for wood
  • 2.5 litres Satinwood Pure Brilliant White – for all woodwork once you are at the top of the stairs
  • 0.75 litre Satinwood Gentle Fawn – another standard Dulux colour, this for woodwork in the stairwell, including the stair risers (Gary’s list had said 1 litre)

I had another look for Mirror Fixing Kit B – still none there.

Day 105:

I polyfilla’d Clare’s wall this morning.  I could have done better in the cracks, but I filled in the holes at least.  Later on I sanded and painted.  I painted over the section of wall beneath the window, which was a darker green and a silkier finish, following earlier family efforts to paint over bare plaster patches.  Overall I thought there was a good improvement.  However, Clare is still not satisfied and now I wish I’d bothered to fill the cracks properly though TBH she probably would not have been satisfied anyway.  She has made a start on the tidying, but is still sleeping in the living room for the time being, now on Xan’s plastic-wrapped new mattress.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

the attic – day 100 restart

Day 99:

I texted Gary to let him know I’d ordered beds and definitely am interested in decorating …

Day 100:

Gary turned up! We talked for ages. He thinks he could finish off this week … which means the decorators could decorate next week. I asked how much the decoration will cost, and confirmed I definitely want it doing. Wow – suddenly it looks possible again to be using the new rooms at the start of the school holidays.

Gary thinks the new strip light, ordered online after I gave up on getting one from B&Q, will fit OK; its 60cm-ish width determines a maximum height above the sink and below the sloping ceiling. We measured up for a bathroom mirror beneath the light – maximum height should be 90cm and a width of 60cm to match sink will be OK.

I got home early, with an extra kid in tow – the three 9 year-olds stormed up to the attic and were noisy and inquisitive till I shooed them down the stairs to play outside.

A bit later I took them to B&Q. I had a longish list – including more paint sample strips, Evostik for Clare’s desk, bolts for Clare’s bed (as some are broken and missing and the handrail has dropped off, and it took ages to find something with potentially compatible length, width and thread), and the bathroom mirror.

I wasted some time looking for “Mirror Fixing Kit B”, finding only one opened packet from which the important bits had been removed. The chap at the till checked stock, hunted around, and sought advice from a colleague. There should be 5 Kit B’s in stock apparently, but he ordered some more. It was lucky I’d not managed to stop the kids taking their DS’s to the store, but they were a bit disgruntled about their free time being used up, and no time for tea before Ali went home.

Good progress was made upstairs today. The strip light is up. More significantly, the water supply is now connected in the attic, though the waste isn’t yet fully connected. (There is a pool of water round the toilet pan tonight, which I hope isn’t a problem.)

This morning I learned that there will not, after all, be the big tall soil pipe dominating the view from Xan’s window. The sticking up part has been lying on the floor of Xan’s room for some time, with orange plastic tied over the pipe at gutter level. Apparently the pipe will remain at this shorter level, and will have a valve at the top, same as next door’s. Another nice detail.

Gary has put back the plasterboard rectangle in Clare’s wall. He also started repairing her desk having offered to do this in the morning, though I’d said I was going to tackle it. The pieces are now stood up on the landing, with little blocks attached to back up the crumbly screw holes.

The desk can’t be finished until there is space in Clare’s room to assemble it. I appealed in vain for Clare to throw out and/or box up the junk heap, or for us to agree which or both of us will tackle it. So now I’ve tackled it myself – 2 square metres of visible carpet, but the boxes and loose junk twice as high elsewhere. Yikes, I might have an early call tomorrow as Clare gets up at 5:30 after minimal sleep these days; fingers crossed that the 3rd Twilight book will keep her engrossed.

We now have the pink & black tiger foam chair in the living room, still in its plastic. It was delivered today, and received by Gary.

Strictly Beds & Bunks offered bed delivery on 13th July but I chose 20th due to better working-at-home possibility. They will send the bed on 20th July but the mattress this Wednesday because it went onto the lorry on Monday morning. Who knows, at best we might even get carpet down by then and Xan could be moving in at the start of the hols!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment