Extreme Decorating

Bedroom 020 Wm

There’s a paint chart on my desk.

I was thinking of ‘Marbles’. It’s a sort of creamy off white. With grey undertones.


Bedroom 014 Wm


The trouble is perusal of said paint chart may be a tad premature.


Bedroom 018 Wm


The plasterers are in..


Bedroom 017 Wm


They seem to know what they’re doing and I’m so glad we found them.


Bedroom 019 Wm


What they say does make perfect sense.

There is no point applying new plaster on top of the old where the old is no longer sound. That went for some of the ceiling laths too.


Bedroom 015 Wm


‘Twas simple then..


Bedroom 016 Wm


All the old loose stuff would just have to come off.


Bedroom 022 Wm


If anyone finds my marbles could they return them please?


2017-10-26T10:50:06+00:00July 18th, 2016|Tags: |


  1. Backlane Notebook July 18, 2016 at 12:57 pm - Reply

    Well very essential and somewhat comforting that the chaps know what they are doing. Jessica it will be gorgeous in a few weeks time just hang on in there. Are you going for a light or dark paint colour?

    • Jessica July 19, 2016 at 4:35 pm - Reply

      Light, light, light! Cottages tend to have small windows with the south elevation of this room having the tiniest of all. It’s quite bright in the morning but as soon as the sun goes round it’s a different story. Finding the right finishes is proving quite a challenge.

  2. Christina July 18, 2016 at 1:17 pm - Reply

    You knew it would be like this didn’t you?!!! Life would just be boring if it weren’t for men who know ‘best’

    • Jessica July 19, 2016 at 4:37 pm - Reply

      I didn’t think it would be quite this bad! Having done the study last year I’d expected the odd patch of stone and cob showing through. But..

  3. Mag July 18, 2016 at 1:17 pm - Reply

    I’m loving your pics of such a characterful room. (It’s just what we need to do here but the thought of it is a bit scary: thirty odd years of possessions to sort out/accommodate, including those of a mostly absent adult daughter… Then there’s the mess… and the cost… Marbles are easily lost here as, especially in a small house, progress is never fast!)
    But hey, that lovely plaster job of yours will be fantastic and I’d guess you’re more than half way there. Can’t wait to see the result!

    • Jessica July 19, 2016 at 4:43 pm - Reply

      There’s a long way to go yet, which will keep me in blog posts at least! The trouble with using traditional materials (lime based mortar and plasters) is that they need time to dry properly between coats and at least a further month before we can start painting. Plenty of time to change my mind about the colour ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Mag July 18, 2016 at 1:20 pm - Reply

    …And, of course, you knew all that wood chip paper was holding the plaster up…; – )

    • Jessica July 19, 2016 at 4:48 pm - Reply

      There were several areas where we could see the woodchip had ‘blown’. I’m noticing the stuff everywhere now, sad person that I’ve become. We were in a pub (in another old building) having lunch yesterday looking at the woodchip and speculating as to what might lie underneath.

  5. Amy at love made my home July 18, 2016 at 1:37 pm - Reply

    OM many GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG’s!!!! That is why the woodchip is staying firmly UP in our hallway. I don’t want to know what is underneath there! Just think, it will be beautiful when it is done! Perhaps you should hide a time capsule in the wall before they cover it over! A link to this blog!!

    • Jessica July 19, 2016 at 4:53 pm - Reply

      That’s a brilliant idea Amy. It also makes me wonder about the technology they’ll have in another 400 years.. will they laugh at our ‘modern’ internet? Perhaps it’ll all be down to mind transference or something even worse by then.

  6. CJ July 18, 2016 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    Oh my. These things just have a habit of running away with themselves don’t they. But it’s a good thing to have it all redone, as they say, no point half doing it and ending up with problems later. Get your paint chart, a long cool drink and go and sit in the garden, close your eyes and visualise the end result. Ask them to call you when it’s all over. CJ xx

    • Jessica July 19, 2016 at 4:56 pm - Reply

      Oh I wish! But at this rate I’d have to over-winter in the garden and that would be none too pleasant.

  7. Jenny July 18, 2016 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    Oh gosh – I just found your blog last week, and I’ve started following and LOVE it! I can see from this post that I’m going to have to just settle in with a big cup of coffee and just go back in time and read everything! It’s so interesting to see your old, old home and how it was constructed and such. I live in a 90-year-old home in Baltimore, MD, and over here we think THAT is old! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jessica July 19, 2016 at 5:01 pm - Reply

      That’s the bit I love most about working on an old house, peeling back the layers and seeing how it was constructed. And the clues we get as to how people lived here way back then. This current exercise is a bit more dramatic than I was expecting, but it’s still fun isn’t it?

  8. Island Threads July 18, 2016 at 2:09 pm - Reply

    they are right and you know it, if they had plastered over it would all have to be done again in a few years or sooner, your stone wall room looks like much of my house when old crumbling plasterboard was striped, you could have moved to a nice no work needed house instead, you had options, and at least you have plasters who can do the work, c’est la vie, Frances

    • Jessica July 19, 2016 at 5:05 pm - Reply

      It will all be a bit long winded because the plasterers are fitting us in between other (outside) jobs. Pray for rain for me Frances. (I think today’s sunshine and heat, being so unaccustomed, has gone to my head.)

      • Island Threads July 19, 2016 at 9:56 pm - Reply

        oh, that is annoying! how dare they disappear, I’ll pray for rain for you so long as it fizzes out before it gets this far north, I can’t believe today, last year when the rest of the UK had a heatwave we still had temps in single figures, today I was actually gardening in a tee-shirt and trousers first time since 2012, best wishes with the plasterers, Frances

        • Jessica July 20, 2016 at 8:48 am - Reply

          It’s been lovely hasn’t it. I had to adopt siesta hours.. Up with the lark to spend a couple of hours on the bank yesterday morning. Temperature will drop by about ten degrees today though.

          • Island Threads July 20, 2016 at 10:02 pm

            well Jessica if your weather has been just half as bad as ours today the plasterers should have made good progress, talk about one extreme to the other! Frances

          • Jessica July 20, 2016 at 10:20 pm

            I was right about the ten degree drop. It was probably more and will now remain so apparently. It did rain, but not enough to get the plasterers back. I’m sorry it’s been a bad day for you.

  9. Anne Wheaton July 18, 2016 at 2:45 pm - Reply

    This is decorating and maintenance for the future. My father-in-law was apt to say “it’ll see me out” and though that was true, much of his work hasn’t seen us out – though the acrow prop holding up the dining room floor is still going strong.
    This is going to look fabulous when it’s finished.

    • Jessica July 19, 2016 at 5:09 pm - Reply

      I’m sure your father in law wouldn’t have employed some of the short cuts we’ve found here… bathroom mastik squirted into cracks in the cob wall to name but one.

  10. Caroline July 18, 2016 at 2:52 pm - Reply

    Woah! That’s a lot of loose stuff. But they are right, better off now rather than falling off later. Will be sure to keep an eye out for those marbles.

    • Jessica July 19, 2016 at 5:18 pm - Reply

      The trouble is when you start removing one piece it destabilises the bit next door and so it goes on. I hope the worst of the destruction is over now though!

  11. TextileRanger July 18, 2016 at 3:34 pm - Reply

    I cannot imagine the knowledge and experience needed to analyze and fix so many layers! I love the time capsule idea from Amy, above. I also think that whatever color you end up going with, you should use some of these pictures as the artwork in the room, because they are beautiful!

    • Jessica July 19, 2016 at 11:16 pm - Reply

      The pictures would be a great reminder of where we’d come from wouldn’t they! Thanks and welcome.

  12. New Moons For Old July 18, 2016 at 3:43 pm - Reply

    Oh, Jessica! No one does decorating like you. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy your adventures in interior decor (but I’m afraid I guessed the punchline right from the start!)

    • Jessica July 19, 2016 at 11:22 pm - Reply

      And I thought the study was hard! Yes, the play on words was a bit transparent. But there really is a paint called Marbles and it really is the one I thought of using. Now I need to find the match pot. It must surely be one of the many I bought last year.

  13. ontheedgegardening July 18, 2016 at 4:26 pm - Reply

    You will get there in the end, I have every faith in you!

    • Jessica July 19, 2016 at 11:25 pm - Reply

      This one could run and run. It’ll be a long wait but hopefully worth it.

  14. Vera July 18, 2016 at 5:27 pm - Reply

    Oh. Hope you find your marbles soon. I have found most of mine but am still missing one or two. Not to worry, it just makes me slightly more eccentric, which is what renovating an old house does to you!

    • Jessica July 19, 2016 at 11:28 pm - Reply

      That’s OK. I’ve always wanted to be eccentric. You can get away with so much more that way.

  15. FlowerAlley July 18, 2016 at 7:06 pm - Reply

    Bless you. My OCD-self would have to leave town for a while until that is done. Whew!

    • Jessica July 19, 2016 at 11:32 pm - Reply

      I started off trying to keep the house clean but I’ve mostly given up now. The next day the dust will be back worse than ever.

  16. frayed at the edge July 18, 2016 at 7:33 pm - Reply

    Just keep telling yourself it will all be worth it ……..

    • Jessica July 19, 2016 at 11:33 pm - Reply

      I do. Very many times a day!

  17. ginaferrari July 18, 2016 at 7:37 pm - Reply

    I stopped by to remind you to tell yourself it will be worth it in the end… And I see I’m not the only one!

    • Jessica July 19, 2016 at 11:36 pm - Reply

      It’s the only way isn’t it. I do wonder sometimes why we start these things. But of course by the next room I’ll have forgotten (repressed?) all the really bad bits.

  18. Kris P July 18, 2016 at 8:01 pm - Reply

    A friend of mine is going through a major renovation and is constantly in a lather about what she got herself into. I think I should send her a link to this post. Still, as others have noted, I’m sure it will all work out well in the end!

    • Jessica July 19, 2016 at 11:43 pm - Reply

      There’s just so much to think about, research, source.. It’s never ending. Please pass on my sympathies to your friend.

  19. Dorothy Borders July 18, 2016 at 8:17 pm - Reply

    Extreme indeed, but no doubt worth it in the end. I hope you find your marbles.

    • Jessica July 19, 2016 at 11:46 pm - Reply

      I think they got thrown out along with all the old plaster.

  20. Denise July 18, 2016 at 8:38 pm - Reply

    How peculiar. Whilst weeding today, I DID find a marble. It was blue. Yours? I can post it back. As for the plaster…well, it needs a good, strong colour to give it some ooomph, I reckon. Like orange. ????

    • Jessica July 19, 2016 at 11:53 pm - Reply

      At least you dig up interesting things. Beats bits of rock. I did find a set of fairy lights last year though.

  21. Mark and Gaz July 18, 2016 at 8:40 pm - Reply

    Radical changes but it’ll all be worth it ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jessica July 19, 2016 at 11:55 pm - Reply

      I’m relying on it!

  22. justjilluk July 18, 2016 at 9:16 pm - Reply

    Oh God Jessica. Hang on in there. It will be superb. At the very least you have workers who appear to know whats right. Deep breaths. xxx

    • Jessica July 19, 2016 at 11:56 pm - Reply

      It’s awful isn’t it. Feels like living in a cave.

  23. Hannah July 18, 2016 at 9:21 pm - Reply

    Oh my Lordy! We’ve just replaced the plaster in our bedroom, and I thought ours was bad! It’s so scary when you see the bare soul of the home isn’t it? But rest assured it’s survived hundreds of years like that, so you can only make it stronger! In the meantime, I’ll keep my eyes peeled for marbles here in west Wales! Xxx

    • Jessica July 20, 2016 at 12:01 am - Reply

      Holes in walls are a bit scary, but they don’t go very deep when you think the wall is at least a couple of feet thick. And they’ve already made it stronger. Hopefully now good to go for another 400 years.

  24. Sue Garrett July 18, 2016 at 9:23 pm - Reply

    Scary stuff.

    • Jessica July 20, 2016 at 7:48 am - Reply

      I’m assured not nearly as bad as it looks!

  25. Val July 18, 2016 at 10:00 pm - Reply

    Eek! I think if it were my place and I saw that, I’d have fled! You have great stamina and optimism, I wish you all the best with this.

    • Jessica July 20, 2016 at 7:51 am - Reply

      Thanks Val. At the end of the day once you start these things there’s no choice but to keep going. I’m getting fed up with camping in the dining room already!

  26. AnnetteM July 18, 2016 at 10:29 pm - Reply

    Extreme doesn’t begin to describe it! Good job you got those photos as no-one would ever believe you. . . . . .

    • Jessica July 20, 2016 at 7:52 am - Reply

      One day we’ll look back and laugh!

  27. Sol July 18, 2016 at 10:39 pm - Reply

    Oh I feel for you. I have also lost my marbles with our build, I am sure all marbles and mojos go to the same place. I think the Nargles have them…

    • Jessica July 20, 2016 at 7:59 am - Reply

      Perhaps every project goes through this stage. It’s when it all slows down (or goes backwards) and you think there is no end in sight. Then there’s a bit of progress and the world looks good again.

  28. Colleen July 18, 2016 at 11:37 pm - Reply

    Thanks for reminding me to keep my marbles safe and to forget about getting anyone to look at our ceiling. Window man comes tomorrow. Fingers crossed…

    • Jessica July 20, 2016 at 8:00 am - Reply

      Hope it went well..

  29. Helene July 19, 2016 at 3:44 am - Reply

    Oh my goodnessโ€ฆ..well, thatโ€™s old houses for you, never a dull moment!
    Iโ€™ll be sure to let you know if those marbles turn up on my shores ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jessica July 20, 2016 at 8:09 am - Reply

      You never know what you’re going to find next. Hoping that the next surprise will be a good one is what keeps me going.

  30. Sigrun July 19, 2016 at 7:00 am - Reply

    Oh my goodness, what a disaster! I feel with you … Sigrun

    • Jessica July 20, 2016 at 8:10 am - Reply

      Thankfully it isn’t as bad as it looks. And at least it came down in a controlled way. Much worse if it had all collapsed of its own accord!

  31. kate@barnhouse July 19, 2016 at 7:55 am - Reply

    On the one hand I felt aghast at the temporary carnage,yet, on the other it’s fascinating to peel back the layers of a structure. Just think, you’re probably the first people to see the building’s structure like this since it was built ….

    • Jessica July 20, 2016 at 8:18 am - Reply

      It does make you think. The plaster on the chimney stack was definitely lime based and most likely there since it had been built. I felt very guilty removing it but there really was no choice, it had completely separated from the stone in many places. How much has changed in those intervening years. We will repair like for like. Not all our predecessors have approached the building so sensitively, as you can see from the pink gypsum plaster in evidence.

  32. Suzanne July 19, 2016 at 12:34 pm - Reply

    WOW! This is an achaelogical dig!

    • Jessica July 20, 2016 at 8:19 am - Reply

      No treasure though sadly ๐Ÿ™

      • Suzanne July 20, 2016 at 12:42 pm - Reply

        Well your cottage is a treasure for sure. I know it has been a lot of hard work and money spent, but I know you love it!
        Here in the US the oldest buildings are youngsters compared to what you have in the UK. So neat to think how many generations have lived and worked in these buildings.

        • Jessica July 20, 2016 at 10:10 pm - Reply

          And how much has changed since they did. I wonder what they would make of us channeling into the walls for ethernet cables and the like.

  33. derrickjknight July 19, 2016 at 3:12 pm - Reply

    Scaaareey. But we’ve seen what you are achieving outsde

    • Jessica July 20, 2016 at 8:21 am - Reply

      We’ll have the photos to remind us of what it was like, once it’s all covered up again.

  34. Wendy July 19, 2016 at 3:33 pm - Reply

    Crikey – extreme decorating is right. You’re certainly stripping the house back to the bones which is a bit scary to watch – but I’m sure it will look fantastic when it’s done.

    • Jessica July 20, 2016 at 8:28 am - Reply

      I must say I’ll be happier when the plaster goes back on. Filling the gap around the ceiling would be nice too. Bits keep falling off the roof in a most disconcerting way!

  35. Jill Anderson July 19, 2016 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    Most decorating jobs seem to expand as you go along, but really worth doing it properly…. looking forward to seeing the room when it’s done!

    • Jessica July 20, 2016 at 8:31 am - Reply

      Thanks Jill. Definitely worth doing properly, with all the disruption this is one job I only want to do once!

  36. jannaschreier July 19, 2016 at 6:37 pm - Reply

    And….deep breaths! I need your sanity (broadly) back in a couple of weeks, please.

    • Jessica July 20, 2016 at 8:36 am - Reply

      Deep breaths most definitely needed. Dust mask on first.. I shall be more than ready for a bit of fresh air.

  37. Caro July 19, 2016 at 7:33 pm - Reply

    Thank goodness for men who know best. I think you know you’re in safe hands and all will be well in the end. Lovely to see what lies beneath (before it all gets covered over again!)

    • Jessica July 20, 2016 at 8:40 am - Reply

      We got to the point where it became obvious this wasn’t going to be a job we could do ourselves. I’m grateful the chaps have agreed to take it on at such short notice, even though it means we’ll be waiting for gaps between their existing work.

  38. germac4 July 20, 2016 at 1:17 am - Reply

    I have renewed respect for all those people, like yourselves who have restored/are restoring, those lovely cottages sprinkled around the English countryside. Good luck!

    • Jessica July 20, 2016 at 10:02 pm - Reply

      Thanks Gerrie. It’s not an easy task but it’s a satisfying one when it goes well.

  39. Jackie July 20, 2016 at 8:36 am - Reply

    Oh what a nightmare, but soon you will wake up, and all will be well. Thank God for chaps that know what they are doing!

    • Jessica July 20, 2016 at 10:07 pm - Reply

      I’m definitely looking forward to waking up in a finished bedroom. The camping thing is losing its appeal!

      • maddishopwell October 13, 2016 at 11:07 am - Reply

        I’m full of admiration! I thought my renovation looked bad but those photos fill me with hope.
        The camping thing is dire…

        • Jessica October 13, 2016 at 2:37 pm - Reply

          Hello Maddi and welcome.
          The camping thing is dire. Looking back the better option would have been to get the worst of the work done before even moving into the house. The alternative (our choice, for budget reasons more than anything) is to be living in the midst of mayhem for years!!

  40. Pam July 20, 2016 at 9:50 pm - Reply

    Am I wrong in loving this stripped back look? ? But how gorgeous it will all look when put back together. And it seems to me you have all your marbles! Whereas mine…..well, let’s just say I’m starting to wonder if they’ve gone on their jollies xx

    • Jessica July 20, 2016 at 10:14 pm - Reply

      I rather like the stripped back look too. We thought long and hard about whether we should leave the chimney stack exposed. Decided not to in the end because it is of rather rough construction. At least we’ve got some stripped beams that we didn’t have before.

  41. Brenda July 21, 2016 at 12:45 pm - Reply

    You haven’t found any skeletons under there, have you?

    • Jessica July 22, 2016 at 9:25 pm - Reply

      Not yet..

  42. stephanie young July 21, 2016 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    eep!!! I have a near meltdown when we have to paint a room…don’t know how you do it!!!

    • Jessica July 22, 2016 at 9:27 pm - Reply

      There are meltdowns a plenty I can assure you!

  43. Cathy July 23, 2016 at 8:02 am - Reply

    Enjoyed reading about the exploits and discoveries, as always!

    • Jessica July 23, 2016 at 9:50 pm - Reply

      A problem shared is a problem halved. Allegedly. ๐Ÿ™‚

  44. rachel July 23, 2016 at 9:11 pm - Reply

    Eeek! Scary!!! Remember the mantra “It will all be worth it in the end”…… The cottage along the road from me has just had that stripping-down work done to its exterior, to reveal its wonky jumble of stones beneath, and now that the new render is on and being painted, it looks just superb. Very definitely worth it!

    • Jessica July 23, 2016 at 10:10 pm - Reply

      It will be worth it, absolutely. The room has become so much more characterful already, just by stripping the beams and removing the woodchip. When it’s done I’m sure we’ll forget the hardship.

  45. welshhillsagain August 3, 2016 at 10:14 pm - Reply

    Oh yes. We have been there and ended up with a kitchen where you could see daylight between the gaps in the rubble stone. Unnerving doesn’t begin to describe it. Like you we trust that what we have done will help the house stand for another 400 hundred years. But maybe the next house I buy might be a Hufhaus…

    • Jessica August 5, 2016 at 6:59 pm - Reply

      Hufhaus does have its attractions. I’d like to do maybe one more house after this one. If it isn’t another period dwelling then maybe a complete new build. All glass, steel and.. underfloor heating!

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