Day 005…

Newark Farm in Gloucester. A collection of run-down but interesting farm buildings, arranged in a courtyard. The buildings date from the 1850’s so a bit of wear and tear would be expected.

Newark Farm 17.05.13 - 01


DIY week…

Some good progress on the renovation of the utility room (which was the ground floor bathroom at the back of the house) and the hallway, stairs and landing (HSL) area.

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The wall paper has been stripped from most of the walls in the HSL and any holes filled in. Some of the hallway plaster had blown, mostly around where a long radiator used to be – the plaster had dried out too much. So, handy Matt knocked out a few places and filled it back in, mostly in a way approaching smooth and flat!

New skirting was also fitted on both sides and there were a few tricky padding out operations to be done. I made sure the skirting was raised off the tiled floor by about 15mm, to allow for new carpet which will go in the hallway once all the decorating has been done. We’re thinking something like sea grass matting or similar, which will be hard wearing right by the front door area.

The coving on the landing ceiling took a whole day in the end, due mainly to the really awkward angle on the new bathroom wall. Because of the 45 degree angle, the angle of the coving had to be 22.5 degrees, which was a total pain in the arse.

Claire was working on the utility and has painted everything, tiled and grouted and just a bit of boarding and skirting below the tiles to do, but a huge improvement. Tiling is very straight and it’s provided a much better area – final photos on the blog once it’s done.

We’re at the painting stage in the HSL so there will be some big visual improvements soon(ish) : )


The National Museum of Liverpool…

The brand new Museum of Liverpool has just opened. Designed by 3XN Architects, this is the largest museum to open in britain for 100 years.

There is also an interesting description about the use of staircases as central hubs and also social interaction spaces, including views of internal areas. This is exactly the approach taken by the Guggenheim Museum in New York, where the central staircase forms the actual main galleries, with a large central space.

The Guggenheim New York central atrium


Buro Happold Lighting took care of the illuminations and with great effect.

Link to their website:


Painted stairs…

The stairs are nearly done! Might just need another coat on one or two of the risers. Claire did a great job with the colours and painting!


Coloured stairs…!

Some ideas from Pinterest, which we’re seriously considering for our house!

I’ve started painting the stairs white so far and the tops will be left white with alternating colours of the rainbow for the risers part. It’s going to look amazing!


Growing up boys…

Recently, i’ve noticed a few things about the boys which have made me think that they’re growing up faster each day. Sometimes there are periods where things just move along, with quite subtle changes, but then there are things which stand out.

Last week I let Jac climb down the stairs by himself! We’ve been a bit nervous about this and he’s been able to do it for a while, but now I just let him climb down without holding his hand and staying 6 or 7 steps down from him. He holds the bannister and goes down facing out and half-stepping/half sitting to each step – he has had the tendency to want to jump down in the past – Jac the no-fear toddler!

He’s also really into 3 books – all picture encyclopedia type things. He loves just going through them and pointing out various objects etc and practicing his words. He can say some things like ‘tractor’ and ‘bike’ very clearly but some things, like lion, he still uses the sound – GGGRRRRRRR!

Jamie is also growing fast. He’s much more connected to everything and aware of what’s going on – gotta watch what we say now! The other day we were getting some bread from Sainsburys and he went to the toilet and was quite firm that he wanted to do it all by himself, so Jac and I stood outside the cibicle for 10 mins! 

He’s also just brushed his teeth by himself for the first time. He was quite careful about doing each side, top and bottom, then I just said i’ll finish it off.

Just went to Go Bananas in Stroud yesterday, as it was a wet and uninspiring kind of day. My dad’s, partner’s son (kind of the boys Uncle) was staying for a few days and we thought it would be a good activity. He really liked it and it was apparently the first time Jamie had tried the whole place out, rather than just playing in the ‘up to age 4’ area. He was sliding down all the slides, except the really steep red one, and loving climbing up through the various levels.

Jac was also going nuts in there and also trying everything out and wasn’t at all put off by the balls pools or the other kids running around. He wasn’t sure about the rope bridge things but he still went across with me.


Stair-master Jac…

Bit of a landmark today when Jac climbed backwards down the stairs all by himself! This means we won’t have to carry the little guy down every time now.


Loft conversion…

Ok, nice guy from the loft conversion company came around this morning. Good news is that it’s defo possible to get a bedroom up there. Bad news is that i’m going to have to rob another bank to fund it!

We went through loads of options, all of which Claire and I had already considered. I showed him my design for the access with the spiral stairs. To be blunt, he hated it! CRASH AND BURN! He said in 40 years, he’s never once installed a spiral! He’s only put in space-saver types or ‘normal’ stairs.

To be fair on our design though, at one point, he actually thought it was a good idea, as the doorway and wall would be on the 1st floor landing, and not inside the loft (and therefore taking up valuable space).

Spirals can look nice but to be honest, they aren’t the most practical inventions. Getting things up or down them isn’t the best idea but there is enough space on the landing for it.

He’s going to come up with a design and get us some costings, then we’ll have some serious thinking to do. The main idea which he’ll work up is the optimum space option, which will mean not using either a spiral or space-saver, but going for a normal stair which follows the line of the existing stairs.

This would involve a large rear dormer which essentially means we would have usable floorspace right to the back wall. It would give us a large double bedroom (to make it back to 3 bedrooms) which would be larger than our existing front bedroom. This would mean space for guests and other things, such as sewing machine and my decks!

When I asked about planning permission, he said ‘there are no rules anymore – anything goes!’. I didn’t mention we work in the planning department at the Council! hehe. The Permitted Development regs have changed recently and this type of large dormer wouldn’t have been possible before, but We’ll have to look into this ourselves!