Spurred on by the suggestion (from a company who shall remain nameless) that I should sell the house and instead have a new build, I have taken my annoyance and channelled it by getting cracking with the ground floor of the big house.
I stripped out a lot of the hardboard (used in place of plasterboard courtesy of the sixties) this time last year, and let the place begin to dry. There is no point doing anything inside a house until it is weather tight, and so I waited until I had finished pointing and white-washing before doing anymore internally. Now that the house is externally improved, the time has come.
Inside a week I have: stripped plaster from the sitting room, stripped the middle room back to the stone, and removed all the battons from the end room.
Not only that, but thanks to a friend who encouraged me, and did a fair share of the demolition work too, I have opened up not one, but two original fireplaces. The 50’s monstrosities just had to go, and I am so glad I’ve done it, although I will admit to more than one or two moments of terror. A stove will go in each big room to accelerate the drying out process.
Drying the ground floor out is the whole point of the exercise. It has suffered from decades of being badly boarded, unheated and unventilated. Stone walls need to breathe. Putting it all back together in a thoughtful, sensible way will be the hard part, but stage one is well on the way.
I am shattered, but big thanks to Lynne for the company and hard graft, and to Mark for a loan of some fabulous sledge hammers…
ps. I only opened the fireplaces up after first checking that they had secure lintels and that those lintels were resting on strong uprights. It’s safe to say that mine were – this house was built to last but if you are thinking about doing the same, check the walls first!
There are still a few barrow loads to go…