When Only A Big Drill Will Do


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It’s a while since I’ve written about The Study.

You know how it is. A job gets to within a gnat’s crotchet of being called done and something intervenes. If you are a gardener then Spring is a pretty big something. The call of the wild was just too strong and the finishing touches got left for a rainy day. As luck would have it, or not according to your point of view, precipitation has been generous of late. At least, if you live in the south west of England it has.

I moved back into the study on Easter Sunday. Yep, that long ago. Just after I’d applied the final coat of wax and buffed up the floor. The liming wax went down fine on the original old wood but the replacement boards turned out to be a different matter entirely. Perhaps there was residual moisture or natural oil left in the centre of the beam from which they were cut, but something certainly resisted the wax. I stripped the whole lot back twice and started over again.

And just when I’d declared it as good as it was going to get this happened..


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The edge of one of the ‘new’ boards started to cave in and had to be repaired.

Mike did a good job; we now have to look very hard to spot the mend. And anyhow, it’s supposed to be a rustic floor.


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The replacement radiator arrived, after an 8 week wait. You’ll recall that plumbing skills are still in their infancy chez rusty duck and tensions were running high. No leaks. So far..


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A further trip was made to the salvage yard to get more of the wood from which we had constructed the door and given the aid of a friend with a garage full of carpentry tools there are now architraves too.

Really pleased with these. Simple. Low profile. Rustic.


So what is left?


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Ah yes..


For a veritable small fortune I purchased specially made extendable brackets to suspend a curtain rail a distance out from the wall and thereby overcome the slope. We didn’t even need to screw the rail assembly to the wall, just offering it up was enough: it was grossly overpowering for the size of the room and an expensive mistake. A roman blind, which would be my preferred solution, is tricky here because the window opens by tipping inwards at the top. So it was back to the drawing board with a completely different idea. An idea that I also bounced off Mike.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so quick to tease, a few posts back, about chainsaw envy. Because a couple of days later, this appeared..


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Oh my..


And what exactly is he going to do with this beast?


As Mike squared up to the wall I wafted the hose attachment of the vacuum underneath in a somewhat futile attempt to suck up the worst of the debris. It was a lot like being at the dentist really. Except that we could laugh about it afterwards.


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The resultant holes are deep enough to allow a metal rod to be inserted and manoeuvred across the window recess


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It’ll probably only get used on the very coldest of winter nights, when that little bit of extra cosiness wouldn’t go amiss. Given its size it is rather a faff getting it into and out of position, which may prove to be a showstopper if I’m honest. But for now it can simply be folded up and stored away and I have a clutter free window for the long summer days.


Getting there?


2017-10-24T19:32:44+00:00July 3rd, 2015|Tags: |


  1. annincumbria July 3, 2015 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    That looks soooooo good Jessica it would cost an arm and a leg to get the work done to that standard by a builder, well done that man

    • Jessica July 4, 2015 at 7:51 pm - Reply

      I’d like to think we’ve saved money doing all the work ourselves, in reality we’ve wasted a lot on false starts. But hopefully once we’ve learned what works best it will start to pay its way.

  2. justjilluk July 3, 2015 at 3:22 pm - Reply

    Your Mike is considerably more adept at diy than my Mike. Three years to straighten up a slanting curtain pole. He was waiting for the request to take the curtains down to be washed……

    • Jessica July 4, 2015 at 7:54 pm - Reply

      We have our own versions of the slanting curtain pole, believe me! And the hall ceiling still shows the scars of the foot that went through it.

  3. Sigrun July 3, 2015 at 3:32 pm - Reply

    I can not think about cold winter nights – I’m cooked in 36 ° in Germany! So hot. Your curtain looks very nice.


    • Jessica July 4, 2015 at 7:56 pm - Reply

      Nothing like that hot here, but at least we don’t need to worry about cold winter nights. Yet. Thanks Sigrun.

  4. Jacqueline July 3, 2015 at 4:33 pm - Reply

    Your Mike is a keeper Jessica ….. he is just like my uncle who built his house, made furniture, built banquettes, ran up curtains and, because he was a biker, he even made leathers for my aunt and himself !!!!
    …. and, I have floorboard envy !! XXXX

    • Jessica July 4, 2015 at 8:02 pm - Reply

      I don’t think we’ve reached your uncle’s standard yet! The floorboards are lovely but very creaky. In keeping with an old house I guess. But no quiet creeping about in the middle of the night!

  5. Backlane Notebook July 3, 2015 at 4:37 pm - Reply

    That’s a neat solution and I like the curtain fabric too. A bit of home DIY is as pleasurable as gardening in my opinion -in fact I’m inspired to ask (for the second time this week) for two pictures to be hung.

    • Jessica July 4, 2015 at 8:06 pm - Reply

      I start to feel we’ve got there when pictures are hung and cushions are chosen. Done the former, I need to make a cushion tomorrow and then I’m declaring the study complete. What a relief that will be.

  6. Angie July 3, 2015 at 4:43 pm - Reply

    What an ingenious idea. Mike is worth his weight in gold! I like your choice of material, it is so fitting with your home and colour scheme.

    • Jessica July 4, 2015 at 8:10 pm - Reply

      The fabric came from a pair of curtains I had in the previous house. I was determined to make use of it somehow. If we hadn’t spent so much on a curtain rail we didn’t use it would have been a very cheap solution!

  7. Sam July 3, 2015 at 5:10 pm - Reply

    Nice solution. Lovely room. I’m not showing this to my husband. He already has too many power tools.

    • Jessica July 4, 2015 at 8:14 pm - Reply

      Boys and their toys. You can’t have one without the other. Thanks Sam.

  8. deborah @ the magic jug July 3, 2015 at 5:40 pm - Reply

    Down this way we have the so-called 14 month list. Things go on the list, and with luck and a fair wind, come off again 14 months later. Sometimes. Or not. Sometimes it takes longer. But it’s always a pleasure when it does get done, especially when it looks as good as your study looks. Love that floor!

    • Jessica July 4, 2015 at 8:34 pm - Reply

      Hi Deborah, thanks and welcome to rusty duck.
      If we had a 14 month list things would speed up considerably around here!

  9. Mark and Gaz July 3, 2015 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    Definitely! Great work guys!

    • Jessica July 4, 2015 at 8:35 pm - Reply

      I’m at the cushions stage. This is good. 🙂

  10. Rosemary July 3, 2015 at 6:03 pm - Reply

    I envy you Mike and his DIY skills, but fortunately I have a tame plumber and a skilled handyman that I can call on.
    When the cold darks nights arrive – perish the thought – the window blind will be really cosy.

    • Jessica July 4, 2015 at 8:38 pm - Reply

      I feel the cold acutely and need to be cosy. Even if, with double glazing, it doesn’t affect the temperature at all, just covering up the big black hole that is the window makes me feel warmer.

  11. Alison July 3, 2015 at 6:03 pm - Reply

    That’s a very smart solution for your window treatment. I love that it’s easily removeable for days when you want the sunshine streaming in.

    • Jessica July 4, 2015 at 8:41 pm - Reply

      Old English cottages tend to be dark and the overhang of the thatched roof doesn’t help. We need every scrap of light streaming in so any window treatment either has to be removable or pulled back completely from the glass. Thanks Alison.

  12. annamadeit July 3, 2015 at 6:23 pm - Reply

    I love the juxtaposition of the slick new radiator with those wonderful old floor boards. And nice work on the curtain rod – simply beautiful!

    • Jessica July 4, 2015 at 9:05 pm - Reply

      Hi Anna, thanks and welcome to rusty duck.
      We were so lucky to discover the old floorboards.. under a pretty dire bright orange carpet! But some of them had been previously replaced with poor quality wood, prompting a long search for matching 12″ wide boards. In the end we found an old pine beam that was just wide enough and had the ‘new’ wood cut from that. Obviously it’s not an exact match, but good enough.

  13. Kris P July 3, 2015 at 7:16 pm - Reply

    Handy husbands are worth their weight in gold. Enjoy the space Jessica! It looks great.

    • Jessica July 4, 2015 at 9:08 pm - Reply

      They certainly are. Especially when motivated by the opportunity to play with a new toy. 😉

  14. Chloris July 3, 2015 at 7:45 pm - Reply

    It looks wonderful well done. You must be so pleased. Your posts are always entertaining and sometimes educational. I never heard of a gnat’ s crochet before. It sounds vaguely indecent.

    • Jessica July 4, 2015 at 9:15 pm - Reply

      It’s a Humphrey Lyttelton-ism. It comes from the R4 show I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue. It used to be my favourite programme driving home from work.

  15. Freda July 3, 2015 at 8:11 pm - Reply

    That is looking sooo good! Well done to all concerned. I have infinite patience for gardening and none at all for DIY…

    • Jessica July 4, 2015 at 9:17 pm - Reply

      No, I have to say it’s not my favourite activity either. But it all becomes worth it in the end.

  16. Sarah July 3, 2015 at 8:30 pm - Reply

    That looks so lovely and worth such a long wait for everything to come together so perfectly. Sarah x

    • Jessica July 4, 2015 at 9:19 pm - Reply

      Thanks Sarah, it’s taken a while hasn’t it? I dread to think how long the whole house will take at current rate of progress. I dare not try and work it out!

  17. Pauline July 3, 2015 at 8:49 pm - Reply

    What a wonderful job you have both done, congratulations all round! You are going to be so snug in there, you won’t want to come out!

    • Jessica July 4, 2015 at 9:20 pm - Reply

      Not in winter for sure. In summer the garden will always tempt me out 🙂
      Thanks Pauline.

  18. CJ July 3, 2015 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    Oh what a beautiful job you’re making of it all. The curtain pole is a brilliant idea, so simple, but does the job perfectly. It’s a really gorgeous room, well done both of you, and wow, I’m very impressed with the size of that drill. CJ xx

    • Jessica July 4, 2015 at 9:22 pm - Reply

      Thankfully the drill was on loan. I was quite glad to see it go back to be honest! Thanks CJ.

  19. Jayne Hill July 3, 2015 at 9:17 pm - Reply

    Genuflects to Mike

    For both floor repairs, and daring to work with such a gigantic drill bit …. and to you too, for having the vision and stamina to keep going 🙂

    • Jessica July 4, 2015 at 9:24 pm - Reply

      Unfortunately masonry drills only come in one size, even if you only need a hole a couple of inches deep. Credit where it’s due, it wasn’t easy to work with it.

  20. homeslip July 3, 2015 at 10:38 pm - Reply

    The curve and depth of the wall, that desk, but the hole for the pole takes the biscuit. Well done you two, it all looks fab!

    • Jessica July 4, 2015 at 9:37 pm - Reply

      It’s not a perfect solution, but given the ridiculous design of the window I really can’t think of anything else. We’ve been around it and around it so many times.. lesser of the evils. Thanks Sarah.

  21. Amy July 3, 2015 at 11:25 pm - Reply

    Woow, getting there! Lovely, simple??!! solution to the curtain dilemma. And I adore those architraves…

    • Jessica July 4, 2015 at 9:41 pm - Reply

      I find I am getting increasingly minimalist in my old age. Simple is good. And generally easier to clean! The curtain solution isn’t that simple in practice but it will do for now!

  22. snowbird July 3, 2015 at 11:41 pm - Reply

    That is one scary looking power tool…..the mother of all power tools I’d say!
    WOW….what a transformation, your study looks gorgeous, and in keeping with the cottage, that is one difficult window, so glad you sorted it!xxx

    • Jessica July 4, 2015 at 9:42 pm - Reply

      I couldn’t believe it when Mike turned up with that. Well.. I could actually. It’s just the sort of thing he would do.

  23. pbmgarden July 3, 2015 at 11:48 pm - Reply

    Getting things done. You are fearless!

    • Jessica July 4, 2015 at 9:43 pm - Reply

      If only you knew… 😉

  24. mattb325 July 4, 2015 at 12:34 am - Reply

    That’s a really neat solution to the problem! The new blind looks great!

    • Jessica July 4, 2015 at 9:47 pm - Reply

      I kept thinking of your description of the hotel in Sydney with the velcro. It wasn’t so easy to do that here but this is an attempt to create a similar false ‘roman’ blind that is removable. It took several prototypes, but it does work!

  25. suz July 4, 2015 at 1:42 am - Reply

    i love your desk. is there a story behind it? — suz in ohio

    • Jessica July 4, 2015 at 9:55 pm - Reply

      Hi Suz, welcome to rusty duck.
      It was an antique shop find from a few years ago. On moving day the removal men discovered that it wouldn’t fit through the doorway of the study, the only way in was through the window. So as we were decorating we had to keep moving the damn thing around the room because there’s no easy way to get it out. If we ever replace the much hated window it will have to be with one that has no central pillar.. either that or sell the desk along with the house!

  26. casa mariposa July 4, 2015 at 3:12 am - Reply

    Your curtain looks like my curtain. :o)

    • Jessica July 4, 2015 at 9:56 pm - Reply

      You have good taste 🙂

  27. Virginia July 4, 2015 at 5:15 am - Reply

    Congratulations! It looks superb.I love that slopy wall. One teeny suggestion … I’d think about taking it down now, and wrapping the pole in electrical tape, because if you don’t, sure as “eggs-is-eggs” that pole is going to rust, and ruin your lovely curtain. Not necessarily electrical, but something that wraps on easily and gives you a protective covering.

    • Jessica July 4, 2015 at 10:01 pm - Reply

      No worries, it’s a ‘proper’ curtain pole that has a lacquered surface so it should be OK. But I do have a problem with the holes in the walls. They are lined with stainless steel, actually pieces of another curtain pole with a larger diameter, but they don’t fill the entire depth of the hole. So when I remove the smaller pole I’m bringing out lots of plaster dust. We’ll need to find a solution to that. Thanks Virginia.

  28. jannaschreier July 4, 2015 at 6:04 am - Reply

    I’m just in love with your desk and chair…

    • Jessica July 4, 2015 at 10:05 pm - Reply

      We bought a bit of antique furniture for the previous house, another very old cottage. Luckily it’s fitting in well here too, even though my taste has changed to a much more contemporary style. The combination of old and new is quite ‘in’ here at the moment.

  29. woolythymes July 4, 2015 at 3:29 pm - Reply

    oh my goodness….i almost wet my pants when I saw that drill; I KNOW the damage my hubby could do with that in THIS house! Your guy, though, did an amazing job; what a creative team you two are!!!

    • Jessica July 4, 2015 at 10:15 pm - Reply

      A similar reaction to mine when it appeared in the kitchen. Is it any wonder I suffer with ‘nerves’..? 😉

  30. Sue July 4, 2015 at 4:02 pm - Reply

    I think men just love a job that enables them to dash out and buy an extra bit of kit …. especially one that is larger than anything else they own. It looks good, really good.

    • Jessica July 4, 2015 at 10:18 pm - Reply

      Oh, so true Sue. And there seem to be extra points for kit that makes a lot of noise and a humungous amount of mess.

  31. Em July 4, 2015 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    Hooray! A solution at last! X

    • Jessica July 4, 2015 at 10:18 pm - Reply

      Time will tell..

  32. Denise July 5, 2015 at 8:44 am - Reply

    And so ye shall judge a man by the length of his drill! Jolly marvellous window solution! Looking forward to seeing the matching cushions.

    • Jessica July 5, 2015 at 11:46 am - Reply

      The drill has gone safely back to where it belongs. Thankfully!
      Obviously, being a designer room, there will be matching cushions. I’ve just noticed that they also match the laptop, a delightful silver grey.

  33. Chel @ Sweetbriar Dreams July 5, 2015 at 9:43 am - Reply

    What a great solution. Your study looks amazing and the work that you have both put into this really shows. Enjoy many hours in there, especially those cozy winter evenings. xx

    • Jessica July 5, 2015 at 11:48 am - Reply

      Thanks Chel. I’ll just be glad when it’s all done now. This one has really dragged on. But we’re forecast two days of rain.. who knows?

  34. jillmld July 5, 2015 at 10:05 am - Reply

    It looks fab, your clever other half 🙂
    For me there is nothing more pleasing to the eye than freshly painted walls against a wooden doorframe or skirting. I love the crisp edge. I’m a bit OCD.Hioe you enjoy your study 🙂

    • Jessica July 5, 2015 at 12:06 pm - Reply

      Hi Jill, welcome to rusty duck.
      Yes, I do love a freshly painted room. It’s the smell of it too. And for a little while at least I’m even inspired enough to keep it tidy!
      I was interested seeing on your blog the mention of the Tessa Hainsworth book. I read its sequel (I think) Seagulls in the Attic which is one of the things that inspired me to start up this blog.

  35. Cathy July 5, 2015 at 10:38 am - Reply

    That is a brilliant solution Jessica – with the added bonus that it might help to hold the walls together if there was a catastrophic failure in their structure… 😉 Just teasing – we have iron bars across two of our windows where beams were cut to create windows in the first place. Obviously does the trick as they have been there a very long time!!

    • Jessica July 5, 2015 at 12:14 pm - Reply

      They’re necessary too. At our last old cottage we had to have tie beams inserted when we removed part of the first floor to create a gallery. Without them the weight of the roof would have spread the walls apart and the whole lot cave in. I never regretted the structural engineer’s fee!

  36. Marian St.Clair July 5, 2015 at 1:11 pm - Reply

    How cozy it looks! The window covering is perfect and I especially like the way the waxed floors turned out. I wonder why we don’t have waxed floors here? Perhaps too hot? I remember seeing waxed oak tables and chairs in Churchill’s dinning room at Chartwell and thinking how nice they were.

    • Jessica July 5, 2015 at 10:09 pm - Reply

      I don’t know how long the floor finish will last. Liming isn’t recommended for floors, but as it’s an upstairs room and really only me in it I decided to try it and see. It’s still quite slippery when I walk on it with just socks but hopefully that problem will be short lived.

  37. frayed at the edge July 6, 2015 at 8:04 pm - Reply

    Yes, Malcolm is now suffering from drill envy!! And I am suffering lens envy looking at the photographers at Wimbledon!
    An ingenious solution to the hanging problem!

    • Jessica July 7, 2015 at 2:31 pm - Reply

      I’ve effectively quilted the new window covering. It was the only way to hold all the layers together, after several attempts!

  38. Linda P. July 7, 2015 at 10:27 am - Reply

    Excellent. The study’s looking good with the new radiator fitted, woodwork done and the solution to the hanging of a blind on that awkward window wall sorted. Thanks for the update although sharing this post with Mr. P. might set him off to find something to do in the house! He’s either gardening or DIYing.

    • Jessica July 7, 2015 at 2:37 pm - Reply

      It’s no bad thing to have a practical man about the place. We could be a lot worse off couldn’t we! Thanks Linda.

  39. Natalie July 9, 2015 at 2:55 am - Reply

    Love the new window treatment!!

    • Jessica July 10, 2015 at 10:50 pm - Reply

      I wish there was a better solution. But if there is, I can’t find it. Thanks Natalie.

  40. jenhumm116 July 13, 2015 at 2:23 pm - Reply

    My OH has a similar attachment (as it were) which is fondly known as the ‘proboscis’. Glad to see Mike uses his with such skill. All looking really lovely.

    • Jessica July 13, 2015 at 9:27 pm - Reply

      Every boy must have at least one. I’m not even going to try to delve into the psychology of it.

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