Archive for georgian house renovation

Bali bye.

Posted in Georgian houses, hallway, kitchen, Renovation, sandstone walls with tags , , , , on January 28, 2013 by pimpmybricks

Eh bien Mesdames et M’sieurs.  This was going to be a brief missive, the merest whiff of a post dashed off in haste as I winged my way out of the door and into a waiting aeroplane.  Can’t you just see my suitcase trailing chiffon scarves and feel those kisses blown from my fingertips?  (All very Isadora Duncan before the car trip, I know).

isadoraflying

It has been a rather grim couple of months trudging through my crappy health issues, and as well as that there have been a couple of big parental health scares.  When we arrived at my birthday a couple of weeks ago Mr Pimp, gawd luv  ‘im, suggested  we find a cheapie break and take ourselves off for a few days.  And so we set our caps at Ubud.  The plane was booked for this afternoon, the Herberts stowed, the suitcases packed, and we were more than ready to go.

Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal Temple, Ubud

Except. Except. A most exceptionable except.

My passport has gone missing!

It has vanished, seemingly, off the face of the earth. Gone off on a little sojourn of its own.  Or, more likely, it was stuffed into a box when we packed up our old house and moved to this godforsaken tin can, and then taken to the farm.  Where it now languishes in stygian gloom beneath lawd knows what boxed rubbish,  and has grown tired of calling to us.   So here we are, a half hour after we should have taken off, drowned and dismal and with the week ahead hanging off us like an extra skin.  And I am feeling like the egregiously air headed flake that I sometimes am. Bali Hi? Sadly, I don’t sink so.

This was going to be our bedroom:

naya

But anyway,  that a leaves me with a whole swathe of unexpected leisure time in which to show you the latest bit of progress in the house.  One, luckily, about which we are wildly enthusiastic. The pictures are a little dark because, ahem, I have a new camera (one birthday present which didn’t go wrong).  A new and, I must confess, somewhat frightening camera.  So frightening in fact that I felt quite unable to attach the flash (a flash that isn’t in-built?  New to me).  Anyway, when I get my confidence, we might all look forward to better pics.  But now,  Ladies and Gents, without any further paffing and faffing, I give you the steel doors (cue a bit of  parping fanfare):

steel door from hall into kitchen

The picture above being from the hall into the kitchen and through to the door into the pantry.  And below, into the pantry:
steel door into pantry

And from the kitchen into the dining room and hallway:

steel door from kitchen to dining room

So that being done, I shall return to my sitting and thinking and failing to believe that anyone could really miss a holiday by dint of a disappearing passport.  I mean, it’s absurd and unbelievable, isn’t it?  (Even now I keep expecting it to sidle around a chair leg and waggle itself for attention).   But actually, I have decided that we shall not sit here moping but gather ourselves up and go forth into the torrential rain and try to extract a bit of fun from this molten, silvery day.  Tally ho!

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Red herrings en route to the Mercuridome.

Posted in Inspiration, Renovation, silver, Uncategorized with tags , , on October 20, 2012 by pimpmybricks

Greetings dearhearts.

I am on a mission!

Back in the days of yore, before we discovered the full extent of the Termite Inheritance, I fell in love with these doors and wanted them for the dressing room.

It was in that faraway time when when we were bathed by a sort of  pre-lapsarian innocence, believing that the budget would provide for everything.  It was before we realised just how bad the house was and how much of our money would go on re-building walls and floors and joists. You know, those things  they tell you are necessary.  Though me,  I’m not so sure.  Floors, I say? Surely all we need are wings, willpower and the merest dab of mousselline.

Since that heady time, my various houseyhousey passions have wandered their usual fickle paths, but to the mirror doors they have remained true.  So unusual is this, I must tell you, that I have been considering a proposal of marriage, or at the very least a long term arrangement.  But even  back then when the world was golden, an investigation into the  cost of antiqued mirror revealed a price that would have sagged the sails of even  the most intrepid retail voyageur.  It was quite bezonkers.  However, being of a ‘can do’ mentality (at least sometimes), I began, undeterred, to collect the hows and the whyfores to do it myself.

And it has taken me –ooo— the best part of a year to gather together  all the gubbins needed for  the alchemical transformation of  new mirror into ‘old’.  I tell you, it’s tough out there in the non-digital world! Mental, physical and temporal co-ordination don’t come easily.  Nothing like the instant gratification to be had at the end of a cursor!

But anyway,  eventually I got my arse into  (low) gear when we were at the farm and I was ill but not prostrate, and in need of a project.  So what follows is not a tutorial exactly, but a scruffy and ramshackle account of how to (and how not to) Do It.

Firstly, gather thy apparatus.  To wit, one pair of red and white polka dotted rubber gloves (colour and dots optional), one spray bottle, one bottle of hydrochloric acid, one tin of paint remover, sundry mirror tiles, and the requisite dollops of time and mental space. Oh, and a mask suitable for inhibiting fumes.  I hang my head hung in shame and admit that I omitted this item.  Or rather, that I tried using a face mask suitable for dust because it was to hand, found it (quelle surprise!) of no use and thereafter held my breath while doing fumey things.  This is why this is not a tutorial.

Proper blogs would have a picture of the equipment. I was in too much of a hurry. Here is a picture of the back of the mirror tile instead.

Secondly, don thy rubber gloves, take thy mirror tile, and consider its reverse side which will probably be coated with a grey plastic layer.  Smear said plastic liberally with paint stripper. And I do mean liberally.  At this juncture it’s advisable to go away and have a cup of tea, read a book, chase some cows or get on with another project.  Because along the same lines as watched kettles, mirror tiles are shy when undressing.  As for how long to drink your tea or read your book – this is a delicate equation that I didn’t manage entirely to crack.  Overnight was too long for my tiles – they came with a copper layer under the plastic layer which I found it best not to dislodge, bearing in mind I wanted a more subtle end result.  On the other hand, a quick cuppa and cursory flick through a mag was too short.  Let’s say – oh – two hours then.

Thirdly, take thy rubber scraper and dislodge the by-now softened plastic layer.  Go about this Gently Bentleyish.  Channel the spirit of a gentle breeze just caressing the tops of waves.  Do not even think of Bob the Builder.  It is less important to remove all of the plastic than it is to not  scratch the copper or reflective surface underneath.  Because, forsooth, those scratches will be visible on the final product.

Ask me how I know about the scratches.

Left hand tile demonstrating the hung-ho method, with most of its copper backing removed. Right hand tile demonstrating restraint.

Fourthly, wash thy mirror gently, and dry.  Treat it as you would a baby’s bottom, but without the talc. Then take thy spray bottle and make a 50/50 mixture of hydrochloric acid and water.  These measurements are  entirely haphazard, by the way; plucked from the ether.  Take a roller tray, or similar somesuch,  fill it with water and have it close by.

Fifthly, identify thy aesthetic and consult it whenever in danger of gung-ho-ness with the spray bottle. If you want a full-on look, give your tile a full-on spray.  If, like me, you prefer a gentle foxing, go at it as would a good butler, with restrained hand and circumspect manner.  Observe intently for any slight changes in the mirror backing – this may take less than a minute – and immediately submerge in your tray of goodly water. Those minute changes will grow and enlarge and may, if you are not quick enough, become a mutant mess that gobbles away all your backing until all you have left is plain glass.  It is easier to re-spray than it is to start again.  Naturally, this stage whizzed by so fast there was no time for photos.

Too much hung-ho, too much time, too little backing.

Sixthly, decide on thy backing colour.  This will be cover thy bare glass patches. Some  people slather the backs of their mirrors in black paint.   Some favour a melange of brassy, silver and other tones.  Me,  I tried silver and found it too pale.  In the absence of a handy spray can of darker silver in the shed I tried grey.  And what I will say unto you is Nah.  Not quite.

And this is the end result.

Looking positively distrait – in reality it was a little less so.

A little calmer, out in the grass.

Not as I would have wished, but passable.  A little uncouth for my liking.  A little short of finesse.  I did several experiments, rearranging the parameters each time and what I concluded was that the process is easy to do but hard to control. The hardest thing of all was taking photos of mirror without making a cameo appearance in it myself.  Even so, I can imagine making something like this:

But wait!  It doesn’t end there.

Because it seemed to me that no matter how proficient I became, the end result was never going to have a certain quality of softness that I was lusting after in the original picture.  So.  Cue more internet trawling, and what I discover I actually need is mercury glass.  The wherewithal for effecting such being readily available.

So, as they are so fond of saying, watch this space…