Archive for restoration

Rush rushery and a few ‘during’s.

Posted in bathrooms, Renovation, silver with tags , , , , on December 24, 2012 by pimpmybricks

Enter stage right, a small figure scuttling beyond the spotlight to slide a wrapped package unobtrusively onto the floor .

Greets, Ladles and Jellyspoons. I know! I’m late as the proverbial plate yet again, and this is my very last chance to slide a leetle sumsing in before most of the world shuts down tomorrow.  Apols for going awols.  You know the drill by now. You’ve read the headlines so many times before – “Struggling restorers sink into pits of black despair as more termite damage and cracked lintels are uncovered in inner Sydney Regency Wreck…”  It being blogland and all, and moreover blogland approaching Christmas, I have been loathe to come and spread my glooms abaht the place.  No Bah Humbuggery here!

BA07248

But wait, because in amongst all the doom and gloom, in all the tearing of hair and gnashing of teeth (they are mere stumps I tell you),  there has been the occasional sighting of that rare and lesser spotted beast – p.r.o.g.r.e.s.s.  Which is serendipitous because I’ve received a few requests for during shots and I’m nothing if not attentive to requests (unless, of course, you require me to don tutu and dance the Nutcracker Suite, in which case I would have to demur in the cause of Public Order).

ballet

Tubby strictly honest I’ve also dawdled a bit because progress shots are so…well… incomplete somehow and every time Ive seen said piece of modest progress I’ve had the feeling that if I only waited another day or so those tiles may have been cleaned of grout to reveal their lustrous sheen, or the showers might have arrived. Or this or that or the other.  But work has now stopped for the holidays and nothing will happen until the New Year, and so without further procrastination I offer up a few morsels for your delectation.

But because we’re in the act of flinging a few things into bags and scurrying up to the farm, I’ll spread them over a few days, if that’s permissible.  Herewith, today’s little ration.

This unprepossessing little room was earmarked by HRH Princess Pimp as her bathroom:

G's bathroom

She wanted it dark.  And by gum she’s getting it dark:

g's tiles

Those tiles – they are tho thexy. The patch of light you can see to the left is the window in the pic above, which will be transformed into steel and glass doors onto a tiny Juliet Balcony from where, if you turn your head to the right, you’ll get an eyeful of the Harbour Bridge.  This was granted us by the Powers That Be because there was once a balcony on the back bit of the house.  Precedence – thou art a wondrous thing.

g's tiles 2

And while we’re on the subject of tiles, let me show you this place of unaccustomed glam, which is the en suite.  The very en suite which, if you remember that far back,  may never have come to pass.  Which may have remained, if the purists had ruled the day, a mere twinkle in my eye as I hauled myself down four flights to use the bucket in the back garden.

This is it before:

en suite before

We would have preferred to keep the wooden floor but here in Uh Straya such things are verboten.  We bought the limestone tiles as a job lot for $50 a crate at a rather sad liquidation sale a couple of years ago. In the cause of full disclosure I should say sad for them, lustful for us.

en suite 2

Avec crazy bath and the fireplace stripped back to metal:

ensuite 3

et the lav and basin:

ensuite5

 

These are the very tiles which are still smeared with dried grout and don’t yet reveal their shimmery glory, but here’s a patch that have been cleaned:

ensuite tilesI must admit that when I first saw the bathrooms I was a little shocked.  I feared we had imposed too much on the house and felt we should maybe have found a way to minimise our impact.  But someone said the other night that they could still see the beauty of the rooms, even though they’ve been rendered functional, and  I was glad to hear that.

So anyway.  That’s the lot for today.  I sit here in my pre-breakfast frowsiness on the unmade bed while the day outside gathers itself for a full-frontal furnace assault. I must up, up and away before the roads melt and become a shimmering mirage.  Laters, potaters XX

 

On the gender of bathrooms and suchlike.

Posted in bathrooms, Georgian houses, Great Danes, Herberts, Inspiration, Sydney with tags , , , , on July 13, 2012 by pimpmybricks

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of taps–and lavs–and shower heads–
And fascinating things–
And why the bath is boiling hot–
And whether plans have wings.”

‘Pols to Mr Carroll (for not being silly enough).

So yes, here we are then –  the bathroom post.  Do you remember the en suite on the top floor, the very existence of which was in doubt for some time?  You know, way back in the gentle rolling mists of Development Applications?  Well that’s the one I’m talkin’ ’bout.

Ahum, bathrooms, I hear you thinking.  Not much-meaning-of-life stuff there, not much angst.  You’d be wrong about the angst, though, because there’s been a small mountain of it.  Verily!  Enough, in fact, to out-angst an entire cadre of existentialists.

Odd, really, isn’t it?  I mean,  would you have thought that specifying a few bits and bobs of porcelain could drive someone utterly to distraction? Could bring on a fit of the conniptions? Several fits, if the truth be told.  No, and nor would I.  But, let me tell you, there has been every shade of pink and purple madness going on over this bathroom.  Not entirely sure why.  My commitment aversion, tubby sure,  but I also suspect it has something to do with the question of whether the Regency Wreck is essentially  masculine or feminine.  Call me fanciful if you will.  Actually, call you fanciful too, because most comments on this blog refer to the house as ‘she’.  Not he or it but she.  And your lovely comments have caused me to ponder.  Because though the house has a certain lightness to it, a certain airiness that comes with  Georgian proportions,  I have tended to think of it as gender neutral.  Androgynous. But it has been occurring to me of late that maybe the house sees itself differently.  (I did warn you, early in the blog, about anthropomorphising, so no apologies there).

My taste, it has to be said, is usually quite masculine.  I tend to prefer commercial designs to domestic because, probs,  I like a bit of drama. I like a bit of big.  I like straight lines, bold shapes and no nonsense.  This is a corner of my bathroom in the last house – a well behaved bathroom, I might add, allowing itself to be  decided on in a trice.  Black marine ply, even in the shower, grain alternating.  And it was a lovely bathroom to use –  all the fun of the fair in fact.  Apart that is, from having to…ahem… recoat and stain that damned shower every six months.  But anyway, we must suffer for our convictions.  We Calvanist types.

This new bathroom, it turns out, has not wanted to be decided upon and does not seem to wish to be masculine. Nor even gender neutral. In fact I think it has distinctly feminine yearnings, which is, I have to say, outside my comfort zone. Some time back when I was trying to grasp what it might look like one day, I detected a white and silver blur somewhere just at the periphery of my mind.  It was no more than a wisp, a fluff of cumulous; more suggestion than fact.  But for a mere suggestion it has proved to be an insistent little bugger, refusing to be ignored, drifting tantalisingly across the mental stage before vaporising again before I can take hold of it.

So how it all translated into reality has been the usual mix of serendipity, frustration, blind choices and that bloody stuff, spondoolicks.  We started with the bath.  The only stipulation was that it  had to be light (three floors to carry it up and tired old floors). That ruled out stone and composite stone.  Most tin baths I found were boring and I won’t have acrylic because I do believe a person should be free to tune the wind section of their band in the bath without the whole household – the whole street! – sharing in the joy.  Forgive me, but I’m English.

So anyway, a piece of shininess, similar to above, has been ordered. Then came the basin, which caused much thrashing about because those that I wanted (modern, sleek) did not speak the same language as the bath. Many introductions were tried and failed.  It got to feeling like a dating agency for fixtures and fittings.  In the end, a basin similar to the one below has been ordered.  Not my first (or second…) love because it’s a little too ‘period’, but at least it speaks to the bath in loving terms and I got it cheap. Or relatively so. Cheapness is becoming quite a factor in our decision making these days. Just call me The Bargain Hound.

And then recently I found this, which caused a swoon or two before breakfast:

After tunnelling down a few digital rabbit holes I managed to track down the printer, but alas! alack! my quest was doomed because the original source was unknown. But undeterred and with much cunning sleuthery (you can see how my days are spent) I have sourced my own original master residing in a gallery in the north of England.  An email has been duly dispatched to enquire whether they will oblige and we are currently dining on baited breath in our house.  Makan unging, as they say.

And if by chance I should fail to secure my swathe of silk, I have another plan up my sleeve, which is far easier to come by but costs approximately two arms and five legs.  There is also the question of whether I could bear to have all those pairs on binocs trained upon my bathing self.  But oh well, there’s always loo roll and scissors I suppose.

And on the Remington front, he is now almost restored to his original debonair self.   The knee is healing, the black velvet is growing back and although he has to go everywhere on the lead, he is quite jolly.  Thanks to everyone who expressed concern.  Here he is at the farm this week, recuperating.

And that, said Fred, is that…other than to report the blue and scarlet parrots eating seeds in the pouring rain just outside my window.  Oh, and the mail which has just this moment come in to say that yet more crumbling walls have been found which require..oddly enough…more monay!  I feel a post about penury coming on.  I’ll be writing it from the Debtors’ Gaol.  Please send provisions.

A ramble about style and suchlike…

Posted in Dress-ups, Georgian houses, Renovation with tags , , , on April 30, 2011 by pimpmybricks

I am feeling a little impatient – I’d like to move into the house tomorrow.  Rising damp, falling damp, subsidence, termites and all.

Instead,  there are negotiations and discussions to take place. The Pimps, The Architects and The Authorities must confer.  Politics and agendas will no doubt cloud the air.  Acres of silence will unfold.  We will doubt our ears,  doubt our sanity,  doubt out temper-containers. Then, sometime this century, we will be allowed to do essential structural stuff.  After that, whatever changes we’re allowed to make.  Then, if we haven’t died from frustration and impatience, or gone bankrupt in the meantime, the fun stuff happens.

If I were to sit up straight,  put my hand on my heart  and tell the truth (the whole truth and nothing but the truth, swelp me god), I’d have to admit that I don’t find French drains and sumps the most heart- poundingly exciting things. And oddly enough, soil pipe placement and wall stitches don’t much enthral me either.  But I’ll do my bit.   I will get to grips with under-floor membranes and the right grades of gravel;  I will  search for someone who can repair lathe and plaster ceilings (even if the nearest is in Piddle Trenthide or Queen Camel); I will strive to understand the principles of sound transmission, joist re-enforcement and sandstone poultices.  In short, I will acquaint myself with the guts of the house.   

But  really, honestly, only en-route to the bits I like.   

And that, of course, is dress-ups.

At the architect’s meeting the other day I expressed my worry that the house could, quite easily, lend itself to the pompous.  It could, without due diligence, take up attitudes of grandeur, strike poses of self-importance.  And this worries me.  I don’t want an aspirational house that we have to live up to, in which we feel like frauds,  in which our lives feel small.  I don’t want to feel we should be wearing periwigs to breakfast, cleaning our teeth in champagne and never ever slumping in front of the telly.   I want a home, not a lifestyle.   I want to do justice to the elegance and beauty of the house – just no strumpetry, thank you.  Well, maybe a bit of strumpetry but definitely no pomp and circumstance.

Maurice Leloir via Artchives.com

So that’s what I don’t want.  And what  do I want?  Well that’s  a vastly unspooling bolt of colour, yet to be pinned and cut. 

When I was a comic-reading girl, we used to have paper dress-up dolls that you cut out with your blunt, roundy-ended scissors.  First the doll herself, (respectable in her undies, natch) and then all the outfits.  A great deal of mouth-breathing  and puffing went on, with tongues protruding between teeth in the utter, rapt concentration of it all.  Ideally what I’d like would be something like this for houses.  I know – there are software packages abounding but I can’t be faffed learning how to use them and in any case they never look convincing to me, probably because my ability to suspend disbelief has waned since the paper dolls.

via squidoo

So my idea is to collect various outfit styles for the house here in the blog and try them on for size.  And partly because the architect and I are considering keeping this wall in my study roughly as it is now, I’m starting there.

  I don’t know what this look is called, so I’m calling it ‘Deshabille’.  

 This is the house of Debra Cronin, in Woollahra, Sydney.  The pictures have trotted their way around the blogosphere quite a bit, so apologies for that. (But I’m thinking they may not have been seen by M&A, who have bought a house down the road, and who are at the advanced stage of considering the wholeness/holeyness of walls).

 

 

 

Anyway, the meetings start next week.  Let the wild rumpus begin!