aryanhwy: (Default)
We'd been waiting on buying the wood flooring we'd picked out for upstairs, because we didn't need it immediately, and we hoped we might catch a sale. Now, it turns out it we may not buy what we'd chosen at all!

When we pulled up the carpet in our room so the builders could do the floor reinforcement, we found that the wood beneath was old...really old. So old that it has worn down to nearly half its original width in places (you can tell because the knots HAVEN'T aged, and they stick up a substantial amount). Looking at how they've aged, we began to wonder if they might actually be the original floorboards, which would be really cool, because there isn't any other visible feature we've identified that is possibly original. And other than being thin in places, and having a few gaps, they're actually in rather good condition; they'd need to be refinished, but we started considering options for doing that rather than putting a new floor on top (especially because the floor isn't QUITE flat enough to make putting a new wood floor on it anything but a daunting task. We asked the builders for their recommendations. They suggested carpet...). The other day Joel spoke with the historic buildings expert that we have doing some other work, to see if Barry had any suggestions for what to do. It turns out that he thinks the floorboards have both been in place for a very long time---perhaps even original---and are also reclaimed. Joel says: The installation is clearly very old due to being put in with iron cut nails, and also the uniform look of the wide floorboards and the repair around the hearthstone. But the floorboards don't all go full-length and the joints aren't staggered. The floorboards themselves are also clearly very old due to their width. So, he thinks these were reclaimed from something else, but hundreds of years ago." Which is rather awesome, and now we're interested in preserving these as much as we can.

Unfortunately, we can't just go with what's there, because there ARE some gaps, and one place where the boards have been replaced with newer ones. Barry said he'd talk with his wood supplier to see if he could put his hands on some reclaimed wood that would be a suitable match; and called back later the same day to say his supplier had actually just gotten in some wood (probably from a church or a mill, given the amount) which is an almost perfect match, in terms of type, width, and likely date of origin.

So now we're glad we hadn't bought any floor, because we're considering using some of that to finish off our room and then, why not?, the rest of the upstairs as well.


Being an early 18th C building, it has rather low ceilings (its one drawback). In particular, the arch in the hallway to the kitchen is not the highest. It's fine for us -- neither of us are very tall -- but some of the builders, who are, have commented on it! Now we're thinking we need to stencil a warning sign, in a nice Gothic/blackletter font, over the arch. Some options we're considering:

* Cave caput; Cave caput vestrum.
* Cave fornicem (just THINK of the humor possibilities here!)
* Ad altiora tendo
* Ecce fornicme
* Sic itur ad astra
* Vide supra


We bought cheap linoleum for the bathroom, but it's a temporary measure: in a few years' time we're going to take it up and put in a penny floor. The big question: Do we use US pennies, UK pennies, or EU pennies?


I haven't managed to convince Joel to let us paint our bedroom glittery purple, but we HAVE agreed on some shade of deep/bright purple/red, with a medieval-illumination-style vine pattern stenciled across the top in gold.


Sometimes I wonder how much of our home-decor is influenced by "we can do whatever we like! we own the place!" The end result is certainly going to be...unique.

I like it.
aryanhwy: (widget)

Looking down the hall towards the front door


Yes, that is a hole in the livingroom ceiling/bedroom floor, allowing you to see up to the paint samples in the bedroom



Aug. 20th, 2015 09:27 am
aryanhwy: (widget)
They say marriage is about compromise.

About knowing when to give in, and knowing when to hold your ground.

About making concessions, about mutual agreement.

Last night, we basically finalized the kitchen. We had to scrap the previous layout we'd planned when we realized that we had to move the stove over about 15cm so that the range hood fit to the far side of a ceiling beam (if we fit it to the near side, there simply wouldn't have been enough counterspace on the left side without someone standing there bumping in to whoever was at the sink), but we came up with something that gets us nearly as much cupboard space BUT less counterspace, which ends up saving us some, because even if you go with the cheapest tier, granite counters are not cheap. We agreed on size and number of drawers in the drawer sections. We agreed on the type of counter edge (rounded, please, top and bottom, so as to avoid "bang head/elbow into sharp stone" as much as possible). We're still debating between three possibilities for the cupboard handles, but that's because we each don't have a settled preference yet, not because we do but they differ.

Then Joel brought his floorplan up to the bedroom where I was reading: We needed to determine which side the door hinges for the cupboards should go. That was straightforward: There was either no choice (e.g., with a double cupboard, the left side has hinges on the left, the right side on the right) or it was obvious which way they should go.

Obvious, I tell you. One clearly preferable option. Like, if you have a sink that is next to a corner, and a large cupboard for big dishes on the other side of the corner, you want to have the cupboard under the sink open on the left, away from the corner, so that it would be possible to have both the cupboard under the sink AND the cupboard that goes into the corner open at the same time. I.e., you can treat the two of them like a double cupboard, just with a 90 degree angle in the middle, and you want the two of them open outwards.

Joel insists that this is a stupid idea, because then the cupboard underneath the sink, wherein the dishwasher tablets will reside, will open up towards the dishwasher, meaning that to put the soap in the dishwasher, one would have to lean over the cupboard door to reach the soap. (I fail to see how this follows: You needn't lean over anything, simply open the door th requisite 3-4", put your hand in, grab a tablet, pull it out, and shut the door. Furthermore, there is no normative requirement that the dishwasher tablets live in the cupboard under the sink. They could in fact live in the cupboard above the sink, or the cupboard on the other side of the dishwasher.) In fact, he says that if we have the under-the-sink cupboard hinge on the left, that it will bother him on a daily basis (as he's the one who usually puts the soap into the dishwasher), whereas the number of times that I would be inconvenienced by trying to open the cupboard under the sink and the cupboard in the corner at the same time is much, much smaller.

Sometimes, there is no point in arguing someone out of a clearly irrational position, one that is deeply flawed and goes against the natural order of the universe. In the end, I struck a bargain with him. He's allowed to have the hinge on the left if I am allowed to cast it up to him how inconvenient it is to not be able to open the sink cupboard and the corner cupboard at the same time every time it happens for the rest of our lives.

See? Compromise: It's what makes a marriage work.
aryanhwy: (widget)
Sunday, [ profile] hobbitomm brought E. over to play with Gwen while Joel and I were working on things at the new house, and helpful let himself get roped into helping retile the bathroom and then paint Gwen's room while I took the girls to the playground. (E. to Gwen: "Sara's very old, that's why she can't push us on the swing for very long." I was not averse to perpetuating this idea.) We finished the first coat, and then decided that we'd come back on Monday evening and do the second coat, and also spend our first night in the new place -- we've got a decent air mattress and Gwen's travel bed, and though we don't have a working bathtub/shower, fridge, oven, or microwave, we had leftovers Joel could bring over for supper, and I told Gwen that we would get donuts for breakfast on the way to nursery Monday morning. The biggest problem about trying to do any work in the evenings is that by the time we both get to the new place and eat supper, there's maybe 20 min. before we have to turn around and head back to get Gwen to bed on time.

The sticking point was that if we were painting in her bedroom, she wouldn't be able to be sleeping in it. I thought maybe we could put her travel bed in the hallway and then I'd bring along her tent and set it up over that to try to make it dark and enclosed enough, but when we got over there, I had a much, much better idea. And thus, Monday night saw me telling my daughter, "As a special treat, just this one time, tonight, you can sleep in the storage closet!" The closet is under the eaves at the top of the stairs, and is remarkably big. She's been using it as a play place while it's still empty, and was THRILLED at the idea of getting to sleep in there. Heck, if it wasn't violating all sorts of health and safety codes, I'm sure, I'd consider making it her bedroom and leaving her room as storage/guest room until we get the attic converted! As the person who had a fort underneath the stairwell to the basement while a teenager, and who's preferred place to sleep at her grandparents' house was underneath the spiral staircase, I wholly understand Gwen's delight at getting to sleep in that little nook, and it worked great -- it was dark and quiet and we were able to work until late and she slept until 7:30 without any issue.

We've gotten two coats of paint on in Gwen's room, and I'm really pleased with our choice. This is after one coat:

Gwen's room

When the sun shines in, the room glows. We've got dinosaur decals to add, and she's requested rainbow curtains, for which I'm thinking the thing to do might be simply buy a couple of Pride flags!
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We got our listed building modification consent yesterday, and Joel's already gotten back in touch with the architects and builders. This was the one thing on which everything else for moving forward with the move hung. Once we get the floors reinforced, we can put in the kitchen, put down the downstairs floor, order the upstairs floor and put it in, etc. (The one thing we can do before that is finished is paint, but so far the only room we've decided on a color for is Gwen's. The weekend before Raglan we did a bit of prep there in terms of sanding and smoothing down the halls, ripping up the skirting, filling in some cracks, etc. We might possibly get to do the first coat this weekend.)

We may still very well be moved in before our lease here ends (29 Sep.). I never had much doubt, but Joel-the-pessimist did.
aryanhwy: (Default)
Last night we ordered a bunch of fixings for the bathroom. What's in there now is fine, but it doesn't have a shower, so we knew we had to put one in. We also knew that eventually we would replace the tub with a nice standalone footed one, and in pricing things out we realized there wasn't any good reason not to go ahead and replace it now before we move in.

As a result, we need to get a ring that hangs from the ceiling for the shower curtains, and we were debating the merits of the two available types: One has the support arms on the short ends, the other on the long ends. Joel asked which I thought we should get, and my first thought was, the supports should go on the long ends, so that the gap between the curtains is along the long end, i.e., where you step in, rather than on the short end, where you'd have to pull the curtain half-way down before stepping in.

We went back and forth on this, in terms of just how far you actually need to -- or want to -- open the curtain in order to step in ... when I realized that if we had the opening on the long end rather than the short end, we would be unable to access the faucet knobs for turning the water on and off.


We ordered one with the supports on the short ends.
aryanhwy: (Default)
Yesterday I cracked open the paint samples we have and started testing them on the walls in Gwen's room, downstairs, and our room. I'm doing three samples of each -- on the wall opposite the window, on the wall parallel the window, and on the wall with the window, and in varying arrangements of next-to and not-next-to each other, so that hopefully we can get a good sense of the possibilities.

Gwen has repeatedly request red with dinosaurs for her room, so we picked out two different shades to try for her; I was worried that, because her room is pretty small, the red might be too overpowering so since we also had an orange, I figured I'd try that too:

Gwen's room

I'm pretty sure we'll end up with the center one ("flame"), possibly with one accent wall in the orange. She'd also asked for dinosaur wallpaper, but we don't want to deal wallpaper, so we compromised with these decals.

We had five different colors picked out for the livingroom, one of which we thought we be pretty close to the current color (a short of greenish-mint), which I'd actually be happy sticking with. We were surprised by all five: None of them were what we thought they would be, and I think we'll be going back for variations on each of them, some lighter, some darker, some greener, some purpler.


This photo doesn't really capture them well (I was taking them with my phone), but it DOES illustrate an idea we were playing around with semi-jokingly last night -- which would be what if we took one wall, divided it up into squares roughly that size, and painted every square something different? That could in fact be really, really cool.

We tried the purple upstairs, but I only had time to do the wall with the windows (i.e., the darkest wall) before we had to head back home, and on that wall it turned quite dark. However, we're still thinking it, or maybe a slightly lighter tone, will work, especially since our two wardrobes are unstained pine, we've picked light-colored oak for the floor, and in the afternoon the room gets a lot of sun. I also had had a very deeply held, quiet thought that doing something with gold in the bedroom would be amazingly awesome, but I didn't even bother saying anything about it because I knew the idea wouldn't fly. Then last night, Joel suggested that maybe one way to lighten up the purple would be if we got a stencil and did a band around the base above the skirting and a band around the top, something plant-like or leafy, in gold. This could be very cool.

The other idea I had, a combination of the "paint with gold" and "checkerboard" ideas, is to find a single accent wall, maybe in the hallway upstairs, and do a pattern of checks in blue, red, and gold, with whitework, so mimic the diapered background of a 13th-14th C initial (like the backgrounds here).

We are still utterly stuck on how to do the kitchen. I think ultimately Saturday we're going to spend 5 hours travel time to get to and from the show room of the place we're ordering our cabinets and worktops from to see their selection in person. Toting Gwen. Ugh.


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