Drama To The Last


The plastering is done.

And the builders have departed. It took a further few days for the cement mixer and the inevitable heap of builders’ rubbish to follow in their wake but now that they have we can safely say a milestone has been passed. The wine store is down a couple more bottles of Pinot as a result.


Previously, on dining room news:



Remember the window sills and seats? To avoid damaging the new wood with moisture from that final coat of plaster the builders had meticulously covered each piece with masking tape and sticky back plastic. It worked a treat. At least it did in keeping the water off the wood. The lightly adhesive plastic is actually the stuff that furniture removers use to protect carpets as they haul stuff in and out of your house. It’s called ‘Roll and Stroll’. I think that name will be indelibly imprinted on my brain for the rest of my life..



Because, once the plastic was removed, this was left behind.

Is it a Roll? Is it a Stroll? It’s a double ‘l’ without a doubt.



A premium look it most certainly wasn’t.

The sun darkened the wood through the more transparent areas of the plastic. Underneath the solid black lettering of the ‘Roll and Stroll’ the wood retained its freshly sanded (lighter) colour. Fortunately it all came good after another going over with the sander.




We decided to keep the natural knots and cavities in the wood. It all adds to the character. Some of the holes are deep enough to go right through..  wing and a prayer the Dyson nozzle will get down there.



And then there was the dining room hearth.

I’d been hankering after York stone but York is a very long way from Devon. What we found in the end was just as good and, better yet, local to the area.



Reclaimed Delabole slate.

It certainly wasn’t the cheapest solution but I think it looks the part. It came in two pieces, one of which we had cut in half to place either side of the central slab. The cut edges are now concealed by the mortar around the sides of the hearth.

It was the last job the builders did and clearly they were determined to go out with a flourish. Having had the floor of the fireplace templated in wood, the head man himself cut the slate to size and settled it into place. I was on tenterhooks to see how it was going to look but my way into the room was barred. It was to be a surprise. A grand reveal. Two builders stood by the door from the sitting room, a further one by the door to the hall. The path outside is considerably lower than the floor level inside making it difficult to peep in through the window. A gardener, of course, can always lay her hands on an upturned flower pot should the need arise. Sadly for me one of the door sentries spotted this ploy, darting across the room to block line of sight from the window as well.

Suffice to say, when finally permitted access to my own dining room, I was delighted.


So now it’s over to us. We’re still a long way off putting the furniture back and challenges remain.



In this exceptionally damp autumn the walls are taking much longer to dry out than they were.

Enter an old friend..



The dehumidifier is working so well it’s hard to keep up with emptying the tank. Sharing a room with this thing is like a veritable Chinese water torture of drip, drip, drip into the water reservoir. A plop and a splosh every few seconds.

Eventually (we hope!) the plaster will dry and we can start painting. The radiators stand ready to be installed. Light fittings and other electricals need to be connected up. The floor must be cleaned and sealed. This will be a mammoth task in itself, we’ve been walking through these rooms in working boots and wellies for the past few months.



My job currently is cleaning the last of the lime plaster residue off the beams. The builders started this task but there are a few areas they missed. Along the way though they found an excellent tool for the job, a stiff wire brush small enough to fit into all the various nooks and crannies.

‘Elf & Safety alert: best not to leave any of these lying casually around the bathroom when you’re done..