As we prepare to renovate, the question of where we will actually live has been on our minds. Initially we thought we could go up to the third story and live in the painting studio for the duration, but the builder is concerned about us having to move through the site to get up and down the stairs. Fair enough.
We have the caravan as a last resort, but are hoping Tipsy will be more of a guest house for the next few months.
Meanwhile, we had loan of a trailer and finally managed to recycle the 13(!!!) old mattresses left in the house when we bought it. It took two trips to the recycling centre. I won’t mention the box springs that had to be stripped and broken down by Hughie for kindling.
They had all been stored in the back room on the ground floor, which isn’t being renovated yet. The room flooded back in December. It was gross. It stunk. I never wanted to go near it, but once the mattresses were gone we could pull up the carpeting.
We expected to find a cement floor underneath, but instead were surprised with Victorian era quarry tiles in traditional red, black, and yellow!!!
Of course, they were caked under layers of black carpet underlay and some kind of thick white film – maybe an adhesive? Or a sealant trying to keep the damp down? It took a steamer, elbow grease, and many hours of work to uncover it. Our friend Colm probably spent at least 12 hours helping me steam and scrape last week. It’s far from perfect, but has loads of character.
With a fresh coat of paint (the pink walls are killing me) and a good scrub we can move into the “tile room” while we renovate. It’s just beside the back door for separate access, and has a fireplace, too. Perfect.
And it gets better.
Hughie started chipping away at the levelling compound in the back hallway. It’s a high traffic area, linking the front and back doors to the kitchen, bathroom, and dining room, so the compound was already breaking apart. As the cement came up, he realised there was more limestone flagstone underneath, just like in the dining room!
We spent a few hours chiseling away at it on Sunday, and it looks pretty great. The damp weakened two of the stones, and the top layers flaked off making them uneven. I think we just need to find the right tool to smooth them out. You can see the darks spots in the picture on the left (below.) There are two more stones that are either missing completely, or are under a very thick layer of concrete. Hopefully we can replace them if need be.
In other flooring news, we had our reclaimed pine flooring delivered by Landmark Architectural Salvage the weekend before last. It came out of a convent in the Kenilworth Road/Harold’s Cross Area of Dublin. We’re planning to put it in the kitchen and our sitting room. I’m still looking for affordable herringbone parquet for the library.