Archive for georgian house

The Iceman Cometh…

Posted in Derelict house, Dress-ups, Georgian houses, Inspiration, Renovation with tags , , on August 17, 2011 by pimpmybricks

…or less pretentiously and more accurately, the Heritage Officer doth.  Tomorrow morning at nine o’ clock, actually. On the dot.  Be there or be square.  This has come about because we rang her,  or rather Mr Pimpernel rang her, the phone being an instrument of torture to me.  We wanted  to remind her of our small existence during Esteemed Architect’s month long absence.  You know, in the hope that our Section 60 might not grow mould or silverfish or strange species of flora in the interim.  And her response was that she’d like to come and see what we’re proposing, in situ.  Quite a reasonable request, really.

This is not, btw, the same Heritage Officer as the one who came to the last meeting.  In fact nothing is known of this new one, other than that she sounds about fifteen years old.  So I feel oddly optimistic and rather clean-slatish about it all,  but we shall see.   I still have my private promise to the house that I will eat my hat if things go well.  And I’d rather not.  I don’t think straw or feathers are legal on the eating protocol.

And this surprise visit does at least bring the house to the forefront of my mind again, having slipped a bit into obscurity, so boring and so deathly silent is the planning process.   And at the forefront of my mind it became festooned with yardages of books which in turn sent me scurrying to my picture files for images of libraries.

The room at the front of the house at street level has been designated the book room. 

In my mind for a while it has looked a little like this, but everything is subject to change.

Maybe a smidge darker, like this.

This next one I love and cannot have but as long as I can have all my books it won’t matter too much.  What will Ms Pimp’s generation do for libraries?  Line all their kindles up by colour?  I can’t imagine, being myself of that species who never, ever parts with a book.  Once, I spent six months calumphing around India and sent all my books, when I’d read them, back to the UK.  Still got them.  Natch.  (Salman Rushie makes much more sense, somehow, when you read him in India).   Of course there are a few books, such as anything by Margaret Drabble and a book I read recently, which are so enraging that they have to be thrown around the room (to teach them a lesson) and then dumped with great ceremony into the rubbish bin. But ANYWAY.  Goodness.  The room:

I rather like the look of the trend to order books by colour in much the same way that I like rows of paint samples.  But it would never do for someone who has to have all their books in roughly alphabetical order so that they can, on a whim, suddenly grab one and rummage through it because as a matter of life and death  it is necessary to know how something or other was expressed by someone or other:

 This (only messier) is more how they generally look in my house – like a great tide of paper, forever edging outwards:

Mr P has his bedside drawers stuffed to the gills with books.  I have mine in a leaning tower next to me.  Death by novel.  Forgive me.

A few more

At the moment I’m venturing into the new book by Sebastian Barry.  The translucent beauty of his words. Wasted a bit on me at the moment, if I’m honest, going as I am through some Granny Grunt phase and wanting only the literary equivalent of crumpets and log fires.  Do other people have such phases?

 So anyway, I’m in the rather strange position of wishing that tomorrow comes and finds me chewing my way solemnly through straw or felt.  She’d have to agree to the upstairs bathroom for that, however.  Maybe I should hobble a bit?

chickens, wordlessness, pictures and bridesmaids.

Posted in Derelict house, Dress-ups, Georgian houses, Herberts, Photo shoots, sandstone walls with tags , , on July 29, 2011 by pimpmybricks

A piece of chicken I ill-advisedly ate in Canberra has left me drained of words (and euphemisms). Instead, here are the pictures from July’s Issue of Country Style magazine, shot at the house.  Do you think the model looks a smidge grumpy?  They all seem to. Maybe it’s the dust and dirt and Hanging Ceilings of Babylon what does it.

The picture above was taken in what I HOPE will be the top floor bathroom.  I’m presently looking for baths anyway.  With my fingers crossed.

Taken (above) on the top floor landing.  That bunch of fake yellow orchids seems to have insinuated itself into most of the pictures.  Its friend was a birdless birdcage but that seems to have got lost. 

 On the stairs in front of the jungle lav.


Sometimes I feel destined for life as an eternal bridesmaid. You know, sidekick to the fab and the glam.

A while back I took my Linn Sondek into an audio shop for repair, and from the excited attention it received from the staff you’d have thought I’d taken in an ageing star of the silver screen.  It happens when I walk Remington, who also draws crowds like a (very unassuming) minor celebrity.  And recently we got a letter from a journalist on the Sydney Morning Herald, wondering whether we’d be willing to do a series of articles about our journey with the house. We would, I think.

Actually all the talk of bridesmaidism is disingenuous because I hate to the be the centre of attention.  To the point where, submitting to my mother’s desire for pictorial news when we moved here from London,  I used to don a vast feather hat for the videotapes.  I know, something I should have taken to my training analyst. So anyway, when we received a call from Grand Designs a while back, my heart skipped a fretful beat. Mr Pimp contacted them way back when, in the first flush of enthusiasm after the auction.  We didn’t hear and we didnt hear and we didn’t hear a bit more, and assumed they were not interested.  Then we forgot about them completely. Mr P is still keen, and Ms P is keen, which is fine, but they’re not HERE (or won’t be) and so it would be me left to rabbit on in front of the camera. Anathema!  Could I fish out my feather hat again, maybe?  A veil?

Remington is, as you can see, terribly excited by it all.

Dish dashery and a small excitement.

Posted in Derelict house, Dress-ups, Georgian houses, Renovation with tags , , on June 29, 2011 by pimpmybricks

Well, dash my wig – the Exemptions Schedule has been passed! 

The Flower Garden, etched engraving by M Darly 1777

Actually it came through a few days ago but tardiness, thy name is Pimp.  What this effectively means is that we now have permission to do works that we are, in fact,  required to do.  Only repairs, mind; none of your naughty changes.  No bathrooms upstairs, nor holes in walls.  Oh no no!  All that sort of stuffage has been submitted separately and soberly as a ‘Section 60’ and, having been scrutinised by the lovely Heritage Officer for Housing, has been sent to the Heritage Department and from thence it will make its laborious way to the City of Sydney. Much scope  for waylaying and maundering in dusty corners. But let us hope not.  Let us have our optimistic hats on and bask a while in the glow of the Exemptions Schedule.  

In fact, a few changes of optimistic headpiece:

The Extravaganza, or, The Mountain Head Dress of 1776 by M Darly

Le Strategeme Amoureux, ou la Toilette a la Mode, Anon

Miss Prattle, mezzotint by Carrington Bowles 1771

Top and Tail 1777

The Donry or Top and Tail Turn'd About by Miss Heel 1777


Posted in Inspiration, kitchen, Renovation, Uncategorized with tags , , on April 16, 2011 by pimpmybricks

We’re in a rather dreary phase at the moment, with nothing much happening on the house.  Or rather, that which is happening is happening in the architect’s office and it seems to be crawling along somewhat slowly to me.  Because the house is heritage listed, the government has very kindly drawn up a 40-odd page Conservation Management Plan which has to be gone through with many fine-toothed combs.  Some of it makes sense – we are asked to repair subsidence, and floors with holes in them,  for instance.  Other stipulations stretch the credulity a little – we’re asked to place sheets of perspex in front of the fireplaces in case, silly us, we’re tempted to use them.  And to replace non-existent ceilings with lathe and plaster, no less.  Well yes, of course.

So rather stay on the points and sub-points of the CMP, my mind has wandered off to kitchens, as minds will.  Unruly thingses, mindses.

fromLes Ailments

At the moment the kitchen (as it is in my mind) is two rooms separated by a termite-ridden wooden partition which, when the concrete slab is removed, will stop about six inches short of the floor.  My hope is that Mssrs the Government will not insist on the wall being replaced or repaired, grandfather’s axeishly.  I mentioned this idea to one architect, who did a great deal of tooth sucking and then said “yes, well, of course the historical significance of the wall will have to be established”.  Evidently, nothing can be taken for granted.  Whether we’ll be allowed indoor bathrooms is marginally debatable – there is a vein of zealotry which runs through certain of the heritage individuals which would have us all pee in a bucket in the un-garden.

But anyway.

In a somewhat lumpy, dis-jointed panorama, the present kitchen goes something like this:

then panning seamlessly to the left, there is this:

kitchen east wall

and this is the offending partition which, in theory, will be summarily removed without right of petition:

On the other side of said partition there is this smaller, cellarish room.  Not so big but positively heaving with sandstone all waiting for the tap of my trusty scraper:

 The architect has proposed this as a pantry.  I’m all in favour of pantries, but frankly we don’t have that many jars of jam, so I counter-propose the bit beyond the arch at the end as pantry and wine cellar and the rest as kitchen.  That way,  this other arch will be the entry into the kitchen.  Otherwise it will be lost, compromised by the small shanty town of partitions and flush doors.  And I do like the idea of lining up the arches:

Quite what the kitchen will look like is still unclear.  In our present house the kitchen is part of a large, open-plan room and is therefore white and to some extent deliberately invisible. The new kitchen will be a discrete room, more or less, and can therefore be more kitcheny, more visible.

Victor Gabriel Gilbert

 The architect is keen on sleek and modern, and it could look good with the sandstone, but I’m finding myself attracted to the unfitted at the moment.

Langton Hall 1830s

This is a house in Brighton, and I have no idea whose it is or where I got it from, but I like it:


 What currently flutters my flag is Plain English’s Osea. The fact that they only sell within the EU and their prices start at the cost of a small sports car (of which I am devilish fond) – all that is a mere bagatelle. 

Plain English Osea