Monday, 28 April 2014

The Basement

The Housekeeper's Room

Well folks, I hope you are all well, your health's your wealth after all :)

Firstly, I just want to say a big thank you to Giac, Debora and Ilona for their wonderfully kind words and encouragement.  It's lovely to know that there is someone out there with such kindness and willingness to look at what I'm doing.  Thank you again, it's really appreciated.

My Housekeeper's Room - the picture seems very blurry, but it's not really!

Now, I had been waiting for months for my chosen wallpaper for this room, which was Les Chinoiseries 'Bourges', but I was browned off waiting and had to pick another from my stash as I felt this was holding up my decorating.  I eventually chose 'Weeping Willow' from Brodnax.  I really wasn't happy to change as I had the whole room decorated in my head (I have been known to go to sleep, decorate and finish rooms, only to wake up - realise I have been dreaming, and being soooo disappointed that I have nothing done!)  You are probably thinking I'm a bit of a mad woman, and you'd probably be right :) - anyway, as it turns out, I love the new look of my housekeeper's room.  I hope you do too!

Of course, within a week of starting this, the paper arrived, typical, anyway, I may use it for the nanny's room on the attic floor....better not get ahead of myself!

Now, as I have said before, I am totally new to this wonderful hobby, and, as I have also said, I usually don't do things by half.  I decided to put a corner fireplace in here - boy did I have trouble with cutting the angles for the cornicing......  Thank goodness I have my hobby space in a cabin away from the house, because the language....dear me, not good.

I used my old camera for this picture, dreadful, must change the date too!
I made a template of the floor out of paper, then cut the shape from card and marked my centre lines lightly with pencil.  I then covered the card with double-sided tape - I say tape, but it comes in an A4 size, and then started my parquet floor.  I bought this flooring from and I was thrilled with the result.  They are real 'slivers' of cherry and mahogany, lovely.  I trimmed the bits sticking over the edge - I needed to do that to continue with the pattern.  I lightly sanded the floor and just applied some bees wax to finish.

I papered the room and inserted the door - after having to scrape off some of the top of the opening - I explained the panic of the doors not fitting in my previous blog.

I then drilled a little hole in the back wall for the wiring for my fire and glued in the corner fireplace.
But I couldn't leave it at that, I needed to make a new wall/chimney breast for my little angled friend, just to make the room more real.  I glued a couple of triangular bits of wood to the walls where I wanted the new wall to be.  I cut a piece of thin wood, chamfered the edges and then wallpapered it.  Now, in hindsight, it was a stroke of luck that my original choice of wallpaper didn't arrive, why? I hear you say.  I'll tell you why; the original paper had a very distinct pattern to it, and it would have been a nightmare for me to match it up.  The pattern I chose was brilliant.  It is an all over leafy sort of design and when the new wall over the fireplace went in, it blended brilliantly, eventually.

I first papered the wall before gluing it in.  But when I did that, it looked awful, there was a gap on each side which I just couldn't look at, so out it came before it stuck fast.

I really should remember to take more photos, but I find when I am really concentrating I just forget until it's all done then I go....I didn't take a picture of that.. :(

Anyway, I ripped off the paper and had a good old think.  So on papering the new wall again, I lined up the paper with the bottom of the wall (that was going to sit on the mantle of the fireplace), and cut the paper about two millimetres (1/16th ish) wider on each side of the wall, so that when I placed the wall in position, the longer sides blended into the existing paper and left no gaps between the existing wall and the new.  If you follow me.  I also had to trim the skirting board to mould to the shape of the fireplace.

I love this little room, I think it is cosy.  I dressed the bed myself.  The little pillowcases and sheets I made from an Irish linen handkerchief with a piece of cotton lace attached, I'm very proud of the bed, I think it turned out very well - even if I say so myself! 

 The finished corner fireplace, I have knitting on the go on the fireside chair!

The rosary beads and sacred heart picture are a nod to my mother-in-law.  A wonderful woman with a very strong faith who raised a house of seven, six boys and a girl.  I married son number two!
 The reading glasses are in a little leather pouch. 
 My housekeeper loves to read, and she also has a sweet tooth, can you see the jar of boiled sweets on her shelf? Cross-stitch and a sewing basket on the floor are a reference to my hobbies.

The lights are on, but there's no-one home.....or is that me I'm talking about :)
There are lots of 'fancy' items in this little room, quite posh for a housekeeper, but the lady of the house is very fond of her, so when she was getting new hat boxes and luggage, she kindly donated her used ones to her housekeeper.  That's my excuse for putting them here! :)
I have come to the conclusion as to why I find this whole project so amazing.  You really have to use your head.
Not only are you an interior designer, a decorator, a carpenter (of my case!) but a combination of everything together.  I think it's the challenge of wanting to do something - having a vision and trying to figure out how to achieve that.
There, that's my philosophy for today! :)
I hope you have enjoyed this blog and I'll be back soon with more exploits from Fox Manor.
All the best,


Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The Basement

The Downstairs Halls

Well, I hope everyone's keeping well.

Sorry it has taken so long to put up another post, but I have been as busy as a nailer!

Now I have to say from the outset, that my Manor is not specific to any particular era or date.  I am decorating it just because I like the look.  So any comments about items or décor not being correct, please, please realise that's not what this project is about.

I have been working so hard on my basement - I decided to start at the bottom and work my way up... I had been itching to get to the main house, as I thought the basement wouldn't really be that enjoyable to decorate and 'dress'.

I have five rooms and a tiny room, which I have used as a hallway or connection to the rest of the house.

The rooms are going to be as follows:  the back left hand room is the housekeeper's room, the back right hand room is going to be the entrance to the basement as there is a door there - that's to make sure that the gents do not dirty the grand entrance hall of the main house when they come in from riding or shooting.   There is a large hall in the middle of the basement which is going to be kept just that, a hall to connect all the basement rooms.  The last two rooms are to the front of the basement, they are the kitchen to the right and the scullery/pantry to the left.  I really wasn't looking forward to doing these rooms at all, as I thought they would be dull to dress - how wrong I was, they have been the most enjoyable rooms to do so far.

I thought I would decorate the basement as much as I could without the lid/top on.  I have discovered that even if I wanted to tackle one room at a time, I really can't.  The wall covering and floors need to be done before I put in the doors - just to make life easier - I can't imagine trying to paint or paper around a finished door!  Life's hard enough...

Look at the size of this baby!  And this is only the basement

An aerial view of the tiny hall at the back of the main hallway.  Papered, floored with a chair and picture to finish.  It looks really effective glimpsed through the main hall.  It has been tiled with glossy pieces of 'marble' glued on a card cut to fit the floor and glued down, and I think looks fab.  Perhaps something like that for my grand entrance hall?

This is the back entrance hall.  The joints on my wood were dreadful here.  They were my first attempt at using my little mitre box and craft saw.  I didn't fill one in, just as a reminder of starting out on this project.  (This goes against my grain as I like things to be it may get filled in later on if it really bugs me). I thought I would iron on this flooring directly to the mdf of the house.  What a baaadddd idea.  It moved and the iron took some of the paint off the outside edge of the building.  Anyway, I won't be doing that again.  Lesson learnt.  ALL wooden floors should be fixed to cardboard first.  The checked paper here was bought off the internet before I discovered Les Chinoiseries and Brodnax.  It bled a bit when I was applying it to the walls.  I have a library of wallpapers now and a vast collection of furniture bought for this house that I could nearly open my own shop.....but the funny thing is, when I have an idea in my head and I am looking for something specific, I just don't seem to have what I want - typical woman eh!  A wardrobe full of clothes, but still has nothing to wear.  The lower panel was painted with Annie Sloan chalk paint in 'Arles', a rich gold colour.

My little fireplace fitted and wired up....the first of many, I hope.

The hooded chair, placed strategically, to hide the bad joints in the corner!

That's the finished lower entrance hall, with working clock.  The lady of the house is just back from her trip to Paris - lucky lady; and the gents are just back from shooting.

My large hall which connects all the basement rooms together.  You can just glimpse the tiny hall at the back, which, in my mind goes on further back into my Manor.  The flooring here is also by Richard Stacey, each little tile put down by hand, grouted, then coated with a matt varnish to seal.  The wallpaper is 'Romance' by Les Chinoiseries from Spain, I just love their papers and fabrics - Brodnax has some lovely ones too.

Just a note here - when I was putting in my doors, they wouldn't fit!  I nearly died.  What happened was that the flooring was a millimetre or so deeper than had been allowed, so I had to take my craft knife and start scraping off the top of the door opening...not an easy task for a novice, I can tell you.  Sore hands and the odd piece nipped out of tired little fingers, ouch!

I added a skirting board and dado rail to a length of timber, painted it with Annie Sloan chalk paint in Duck Egg Blue (it's really a green to me) and put on the lower part of the wall.  Can you see the little chair through the door in the back of the hall?

The roof's on, and the coving, ceiling rose and light are all in place.

A few items of furniture, and my hallway is complete. 
I really hope you have enjoyed my blog and I hope to have more updates very soon.
All the best,
(I don't know why the typing is centring itself!)