Every (Dust) Cloud Has A Silver Lining

Damage to hall 001a Wm[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=

Once the dust had settled we took a closer look into the hole Mike’s foot had made.

I’d always wondered what that boarded ceiling concealed. After all, in other downstairs rooms there are exposed beams. Why not in the hall? As it turns out, and much to my delight, the old beams are still there.

True, it’s something of an electrical superhighway now and the damage that’s been caused by routing the wires is plain to see. But there’s still an opportunity to be had. The main fuse box to which they all lead will itself be relocated one day. And then perhaps I can restore the old ceiling to how it should be?

Damage to hall 002 Wm[1]

Original ceiling beam and more interesting historic paint


Of course it does mean that when we finally get around to decorating the hall there will be a lot more work to do. Mike, as you can imagine, is doing bunting and frolics already.

The trouble is I’ve seen them now.

I know those beams are there..




In the meantime the plasterboard has gone back up.


Damage to hall 004 Wm[2]


Kind of..

Still some making good to do.


By heck that stuff is heavy. Yours truly had to hold it in place above her head while the new screws went in. I’ll need stronger arms if this keeps up.




It’s not been the best of weeks all told.

On Tuesday the power went out. Not ideal at lunchtime. Nor with the shopping about to arrive. No power means the gate won’t open. The intercom doesn’t work either. And if the delivery man tries to ring us instead? Nope, no phone.

And no sooner had the power come back..

“Where’s all this water coming from then?”

Mike had stepped in a large puddle on the kitchen floor.  The contents of the cupboard under the sink were swimming too. The tap needs a new ‘O-ring’ wouldn’t you know. And not the sort to be found at B&Q either.


Study 032 Wm[3]


But it’s not all doom and gloom.

With the new floorboards (firmly!) nailed down there is at last a feeling of progress.


Study 031 Wm[1]


In old houses it’s not uncommon to come across strange things hidden under floorboards.

Over by the wall we found these old razor blades. Apparently it was once common practice to poke discarded blades into gaps behind wash stands or perhaps down the spaces between the boards. Easier than having to take them down to the local tip I suppose. You can be sure there’d be a premium on disposal, even way back then.

Does it tell us something about the historical use of this room I wonder?

Or maybe just that our distant predecessors were also plagued by those wretched mice..

Whatever the reason, we’ve left the blades where we found them and nailed a board back over the top. Call it superstition, but some things it feels right to leave alone.


Study 033 Wm[1]


Fillets of wood have been glued and hammered into the largest of the gaps.


Study 034 Wm[1]


Already there’s a clue that the colour across the floor is going to look a lot more consistent after sanding..


Study 035 Wm[2]


Et voilà!


2017-10-24T19:32:48+00:00February 6th, 2015|Tags: |


  1. Backlane Notebook February 6, 2015 at 12:33 pm - Reply

    I love a house project just as much as a garden project and I adore those low set windows.

    • Jessica February 6, 2015 at 8:27 pm - Reply

      The windows upstairs are lovely, or at least the proportions of them are. Not so keen on the uPVC in a cob and thatch cottage. I thought I’d put a long cushion on this one and turn it into a window seat.

  2. Linda aka Crafty Gardener February 6, 2015 at 12:43 pm - Reply

    Ahhh, the discoveries of working/upgrading/maintaining an older property.

    • Jessica February 6, 2015 at 8:29 pm - Reply

      The discoveries are the exciting bit!

  3. Sue agarrett February 6, 2015 at 12:51 pm - Reply

    You have had an exciting week in one way or another.

    • Jessica February 6, 2015 at 8:30 pm - Reply

      Need a more productive one to follow it. This project is getting both of us down now.

  4. Sol February 6, 2015 at 12:52 pm - Reply

    love the colour of the boards. Old houses are a labour of love. Thick walls, dust and debris. Every wall has a story

    • Jessica February 6, 2015 at 8:33 pm - Reply

      It is rapidly becoming more labour than love.

  5. Sue Garrett February 6, 2015 at 12:55 pm - Reply

    Sorry the above shot off from my iPad somehow without me telling it to

    • Jessica February 6, 2015 at 8:35 pm - Reply

      I have the same problem. Either that or a comment won’t post at all. The thing has a mind of its own.

  6. bushbernie February 6, 2015 at 12:58 pm - Reply

    There’s never a dull moment when you’re renovating an old house and uncovering all its secrets.

    • Jessica February 6, 2015 at 9:01 pm - Reply

      It’s what keeps us going Bernie. Those moments add a bit of spice to what is mostly a very tedious job.

      • bushbernie February 6, 2015 at 9:24 pm - Reply

        We did our fair share of renovating at our previous house, and I know just how tedious it can be. Unfortunately we didn’t find any lovely surprises. They were more of the ‘oh no’ kind.

        • Jessica February 6, 2015 at 11:13 pm - Reply

          Yes, there have been plenty of those too!

  7. Pauline February 6, 2015 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    It’s fascinating peeling back the layers of history, eventually your house house will be really beautiful. Your floor is amazing, the old blending so well with the new, you must be so pleased!

    • Jessica February 6, 2015 at 9:04 pm - Reply

      I hoped the new boards would be a good match and we’re delighted that they are. Whatever we put on to seal it is inevitably going to pull out the differences in texture. The old boards are quite pitted from (hopefully dead!) woodworm.

  8. Mark and Gaz February 6, 2015 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    Despite the glitches progress is very visible and things are shaping up very nicely! The new floorboards looks great and you have the option now to open up the ceiling on the hall in the future to expose those beams.

    • Jessica February 6, 2015 at 9:06 pm - Reply

      I’d really like to do it.. much depends on the cost but it would make a more characterful entry to the cottage. We shall see.

  9. Suzanne February 6, 2015 at 2:39 pm - Reply

    It’s going to be just lovely. All good things require some amount of work. If everything came to us easily we wouldn’t feel satisfied in the end results. Just look at these rich celebrities. I always wonder why they do drugs and get themselves into so much trouble. It’s all to easy for them, they get bored, it’s never enough because there is no feeling of a job well done.
    Looking forward to seeing your progress here. It will be such a nice, warm cozy room in the end.

    • Jessica February 6, 2015 at 9:34 pm - Reply

      It’s shaping up well and I’m very much looking forward to using the room again. Celebrity is also a very fleeting thing. The fear of losing it must be horrendous, you’re only as good as your last film/single/whatever. Plus there’s always someone younger and better looking waiting in the wings. I prefer my rather pedestrian life!

  10. Alain February 6, 2015 at 2:57 pm - Reply

    You do find all sorts of things in old houses. In our former house, whenever the previous owners did a renovation they put the front page of the newspaper behind the new work! We kept the tradition as it was fun to see these and they told you when the change was made. The oldest front page was form 1893.

    • Jessica February 6, 2015 at 9:37 pm - Reply

      That’s a really nice idea. If I’d thought of it in time I could have put a time capsule under the floorboards. Next room I’ll do that.

  11. Christina February 6, 2015 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    The final colour of those boards is lovely, you must be so pleased. I think I would leave well alone in the hall, moving all the wires will be a huge amount of work.

    • Jessica February 6, 2015 at 9:43 pm - Reply

      It will be a lot of work and much depends on the cost. But if you saw where the fuse box is now, and the meter and all the other electrical gubbins, and how ugly it all is.. It’s crazy too because the main power comes in on the opposite side of the house and at least four wires travel all around the external walls. There is a much neater solution in the offing if we can do it.

  12. justjilluk February 6, 2015 at 3:44 pm - Reply

    You are doing really well. Bet the house is loving it too. I am convinced houses havs soul!

    • Jessica February 6, 2015 at 9:44 pm - Reply

      I think you’re right Jill. It’s just a case of tuning in to it.

  13. Denise February 6, 2015 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    Coo! Look at that lurvely wooden floor! Tres bien! And why is it that things found under floorboards are never things like, oh, gold bullion or a lost Monet (not actual Monet himself – I know his sight was going towards the end but I think even that wouldn’t get him under floorboards in a cottage in the West Country) or a precious Tudor ring stuffed with an emerald the size of a duck egg? It’s all very vexing.

    • Jessica February 6, 2015 at 9:47 pm - Reply

      I know. The holes in the floor were big enough to lose a duck egg down too. I looked very hard..

  14. Anna February 6, 2015 at 4:05 pm - Reply

    Oh that floor is looking good Jessica. I’m sure that you have said somewhere along the line but how old is your house? We built our present house – well himself did a lot of work on it and that too can be traumatic as well as exciting 🙂

    • Jessica February 6, 2015 at 9:55 pm - Reply

      I’m not done yet with development projects and I do like the idea of building a house from scratch. There are always too many compromises with an old house. I don’t know exactly how old it is. My guess would be 300 years or so. I’ve always meant to research the history if ever we get the time.

  15. Joanne February 6, 2015 at 4:05 pm - Reply

    What a lovely discovery & the floor is looking fantastic! I agree with you leaving the blades in position, I’m not superstitious but I found an old teddy i the attic & refused to throw it away, it just felt part of the house x

    • Jessica February 6, 2015 at 10:00 pm - Reply

      Some things speak to you don’t they?

  16. Em February 6, 2015 at 4:46 pm - Reply

    Those boards look gorgeous. Sorry about your bad week. I thought our snow and permanent ice sheet on the drive were annoying but your experiences make feel MUCH better. Thank you! We should get together soon.x

    • Jessica February 6, 2015 at 10:01 pm - Reply

      Happy to be of service Em. 🙂
      And yes!

  17. Anne Wheaton February 6, 2015 at 4:52 pm - Reply

    Good looking floor. The trouble with knowing that something lurks behind the plasterboard is that the thought niggles away – sometimes I’d rather not know because I feel bound to do something. Still, you have quite enough to contend with. But one day …

    • Jessica February 6, 2015 at 10:03 pm - Reply

      It’s Mike’s fault. If he hadn’t exposed it in the first place all would be well..

  18. ginaferrari February 6, 2015 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    It almost makes me want to renovate an old house! But I think I’m better off following you do yours!

    • Jessica February 6, 2015 at 10:14 pm - Reply

      Your life would be even more bonkers! It’s rewarding at the end, but the time it takes up is so challenging. My plans for this year have gone out of the window so far.

  19. Jacqueline February 6, 2015 at 6:19 pm - Reply

    Love those wide floorboards Jessica.
    …. and, we have found all sorts of things under the floorboards in out 17th century cottage and our present late Victorian house. A wonderful part of living in an old house. XXXX

    • Jessica February 6, 2015 at 10:50 pm - Reply

      We’ve only just started on the work really. The revelation in the ceiling gives me hope that there may be other original features and interesting finds to come.

  20. Jayne Hill February 6, 2015 at 6:36 pm - Reply

    I used to think we’d taken on a big project moving to Bag End but when I read your blog I can see that we are merely babes in arms compared to the task you’ve got. Mind you, it’s going to be utterly gorgeous when you’ve finished :}

    • Jessica February 6, 2015 at 10:54 pm - Reply

      I hope it will be gorgeous. If so, in complete contrast to the burnt out and haggard old woman who lives in it.

  21. woolythymes February 6, 2015 at 7:23 pm - Reply

    That floor is already gorgeous!! WOW. What a labour of love. 🙂

    • Jessica February 6, 2015 at 10:58 pm - Reply

      Thanks Steph. The floor is looking promising! I’ve now got all sorts of potions coming through the mail so I can experiment with what to put on it to protect it.

  22. wherefivevalleysmeet February 6, 2015 at 7:50 pm - Reply

    Last photo – fantastic, the floor is going to look brilliant. What a pity they didn’t poke old coins into the gaps rather than razor blades.

    • Jessica February 6, 2015 at 11:01 pm - Reply

      Absolutely! Or even lost a few, the old age equivalent of down the side of the sofa. I’ve looked to no avail.

  23. CJ February 6, 2015 at 7:56 pm - Reply

    Oh wow, that floor is utterly gorgeous. Well done on holding up that plasterboard. It sounds like quite a dramatic week, but all of your efforts will pay off handsomely in the end. Have a good weekend. CJ xx

    • Jessica February 6, 2015 at 11:06 pm - Reply

      Plasterboard is incredibly heavy. In the end I was using the top of my head as a third arm, balancing on top of a ladder. Health and safety regulations clearly don’t extend to wives.

  24. Vera February 6, 2015 at 8:13 pm - Reply

    Aha, and you have the photos as well to remind himself of what lies behind that plasterboard should you need to strengthen your argument about having those lovely old beams exposed! And that floor is lovely. All we had was earth floors when we came here, which of course had to be cemented over so I think you are very lucky to have so much original wood left.

    • Jessica February 6, 2015 at 11:10 pm - Reply

      It’s the only room that has the wide boards unfortunately. Elsewhere all I can find is more modern stuff, narrower. But we’ll still sand them down and give them whatever finish we decide upon here. Downstairs it gets more exciting.. there are old bricks underneath the carpets.

  25. Amy at love made my home February 6, 2015 at 9:56 pm - Reply

    I am glad that you have managed to find a silver lining! How good is that. You are right about plasterboard, it weighs an awful lot more than you imagine doesn’t it. The floor looks fantastic, the colours blend so well, you have matched perfectly!! Did you add anything under the floor for future generations to find when they go digging? xx

    • Jessica February 6, 2015 at 11:17 pm - Reply

      No, but reading Alain’s comment above makes me think we should have done. There will be plenty more opportunity in the future. It’s got me thinking about putting together a time capsule of some kind to hide under the next lot of boards.

  26. Colleen February 6, 2015 at 10:11 pm - Reply


    • Jessica February 6, 2015 at 11:19 pm - Reply

      Merci. Getting there.

  27. threadspider February 6, 2015 at 10:31 pm - Reply

    What a week! I can recommend some exercises as arm strengtheners if you need …… The boards look beautiful and I would want to strip out the newer ceiling too, if I were you. But I’m married to a surveyor who shudders at all work of the renovation variety so I’m glad the work here is done and we are just maintaining things. Having said that, I love watching progress in your house.

    • Jessica February 6, 2015 at 11:26 pm - Reply

      Your arms are getting longer and mine shorter! Mike (usually) appreciates the end result but hates the work involved. The next few jobs we’ll need to get some help in though. I can’t see us successfully rebuilding a chimney!

  28. elaine February 6, 2015 at 10:38 pm - Reply

    Remind me never to buy an old house – it all looks like too much hard work – but the end results look to be worth it – the floorboards have come up beautifully.

    • Jessica February 6, 2015 at 11:29 pm - Reply

      It’s a real dilemma to know how to proceed with the boards. They need to be sealed somehow, but I don’t want to spoil them. We’ve got some offcuts of both the old and new wood, so it will be a weekend of experimenting.

  29. casa mariposa February 7, 2015 at 2:53 am - Reply

    How fabulous would it be to rip out the modern ceiling and expose those old beams? Your new floor will be beautiful! :o) I really love old houses, too.

    • Jessica February 7, 2015 at 8:24 pm - Reply

      There’s a lot of work to do on the other beams as well. It was once the fashion to paint them black. It makes a room rather oppressive if there are too many of them.

  30. Indie February 7, 2015 at 3:27 am - Reply

    Ooo, old beams! I wouldn’t be able to forget about those either! My, that does look like quite a project, but such potential! I hope your next week goes more smoothly, though!

    • Jessica February 7, 2015 at 8:28 pm - Reply

      We’ve decided it’s time to treat ourselves to a day off. Take on next week with fresh eyes, maybe that will help!

  31. hb February 7, 2015 at 7:07 am - Reply

    Wow! And you garden, too?

    • Jessica February 7, 2015 at 8:33 pm - Reply

      Madness eh?

  32. Sigrun February 7, 2015 at 7:57 am - Reply

    I show your pictures Mr. Wonderful! A lot of joyless surprises in old houses. I love them all, but, if I would buy a house, I prefere a new one because we are no cratsman. It is very intersting to see all your action! Good luck.


    • Jessica February 7, 2015 at 8:38 pm - Reply

      There is a lot to be said for buying a new house. It gives you more time to do the things that you enjoy!

  33. Charlie@Seattle Trekker.com February 7, 2015 at 7:59 am - Reply

    It is such fun to see the layers of history being peeled back…You might like to take a look at the progress of the restoration of this home.

    • Jessica February 7, 2015 at 8:40 pm - Reply

      There are relatively few original features left in this house, so I get very excited when I find one!

  34. Linda P. February 7, 2015 at 9:12 am - Reply

    Beautiful boards – I’m envious! You’ve had quite a week, but it’s good to see your progress. My husband renovated some interesting historical buildings in England as a dry liner – only one of his trades before he retired – so I know how heavy plasterboard can be from work he’s also done in the home. I hope you do research the history of the cottage later on. Meanwhile, all the best with house and garden.

    • Jessica February 7, 2015 at 8:42 pm - Reply

      I did have a brief poke around the internet to see what I could find out about the cottage but didn’t get very far. It will take a lot more time and patience. I would like to do it though.

  35. Rosie February 7, 2015 at 1:27 pm - Reply

    The floor boards are such a lovely mellow colour. I think I’d have left the razor blades in place too. People would occasionally come into the Museum where I worked clutching a shoe box containing things like old shoes, bits of clothing and I’m afraid cat skeletons which they had found behind plaster walls, up chimneys and under floor boards whilst renovating an old house. We had quite a little collection of these objects in the store room all luckily with good provenance:)

    • Jessica February 7, 2015 at 8:47 pm - Reply

      It does seem to have been quite a tradition doesn’t it. There is a fireplace here that is still boarded up, just a small one upstairs. And work on the chimney is the next job. I do wonder if we will find anything else as we go round.

  36. Donna@Gardens Eye View February 7, 2015 at 6:30 pm - Reply

    I am amazed and exhausted every time I visit as you have so much to do and you just keep working away at it….I love the beams in the ceiling you might eventually get to rescue. And that floor is stunning.

    • Jessica February 7, 2015 at 8:56 pm - Reply

      The trouble is once you start these things, especially when there are holes in walls, ceilings and general disarray, there is only one direction of travel left open!

  37. Kris P February 7, 2015 at 8:26 pm - Reply

    When my husband complains of the difficulties in working on our 64-year old house, I’m going to pull up pictures of your renovation to provide him with perspective! I hope there are no further calamities and only pleasant surprises.

    • Jessica February 7, 2015 at 8:59 pm - Reply

      Steady. I don’t want to be held responsible for marital ructions. There are plenty enough here to contend with!

  38. Josephine February 7, 2015 at 8:45 pm - Reply

    A labor of love indeed, and slowly, painstakingly, the cottage is restored to it’s original beauty.
    How exciting, you two are relentless in your efforts, well done !

    • Jessica February 7, 2015 at 9:05 pm - Reply

      I hope we can restore it Jo. It’s been so altered over the years, but we will do our best. Thankfully the trend has moved back to cherishing and re-using vintage items so it is a bit easier to source the materials that we need.

  39. sustainablemum February 8, 2015 at 11:08 am - Reply

    A slow and steady project with a beautiful outcome, what a stunning floor. Who needs a gym when you can do a spot of DIY, even if it does leave you feeling old and haggard!

    • Jessica February 11, 2015 at 1:17 pm - Reply

      It’s proving quite a problem to find something to seal the floor without darkening it. I’d hate to ruin it now that so much work has gone into it.

  40. Jo February 8, 2015 at 6:09 pm - Reply

    So many discoveries. You won’t know what to do with yourself once the house is finished, I bet you’ll be looking to take on a new project.

    • Jessica February 11, 2015 at 1:19 pm - Reply

      It will be a long time before I have to think about a new project.. I’m sure you’re right though!

  41. Jennifer February 8, 2015 at 6:40 pm - Reply

    I know this hasn’t been the easiest process for you two but your posts about it have been fascinating to read. That’s really interesting about the razor blades. The most unusual thing we ever found in a wall during a renovation was an old cigar butt. My mother once told me about finding men’s underpants in a wall, now that’s thought-provoking…

    • Jessica February 11, 2015 at 1:21 pm - Reply

      Crikey Jennifer, I hope they were clean.. apart from the plaster dust that it.

  42. Linda February 12, 2015 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    Glad you are back; had a moment of panic thinking maybe you had chucked the blog. It’s a lot of work blogging when you are doing a house project of your scale. Floor looks fabulous at this stage. We wrote quotes about books on the wall just before we installed our bookcases. And wrote some info with dates before we laid carpet. I like to imagine someone finding them down the road.

    • Jessica February 13, 2015 at 10:40 am - Reply

      It’s a nice thing to do for the future. It’s what makes renovating an older house so exciting. Little snippets from the life of people who enjoyed living here many years ago.

  43. Peter/Outlaw February 15, 2015 at 12:05 pm - Reply

    You are having all kinds of fun with your house! I didn’t know that about razor blade disposal. Interesting!

    • Jessica February 15, 2015 at 9:09 pm - Reply

      It’s rapidly losing the fun element! But the end is in sight, for this room anyway, thank goodness.

  44. islandthreads February 22, 2015 at 8:49 am - Reply

    Jessica I’m trying to catch up and have only just seen this second post about the hole and ceiling, nice you found something positive though it will be a lot more work, the floor is looking very good and really nice, a great feeling of satisfaction after all the hard work, you and Mike are like my mother said of me, with all the work in your house and garden you have no time for any other jobs, Frances

    • Jessica February 22, 2015 at 10:41 pm - Reply

      No time for other jobs, nor much for relaxation. There is always something that needs doing. Probably not good.

I'd love to hear from you..