the real renovation begins…

The summer has been a time for travel, seeing family and friends and lots of white-washing of walls. The house feels much more light and airy, now that the bare stone walls are much softer. And now, as autumn starts to take a hold, our thoughts are turning to the bigger renovation projects. The ripping out and starting again of the kitchen and the two small bathrooms will be done largely by professionals – we have clear ideas of how these will look, but we’ll see how that all comes about in translation! Especially as some of the ideas are none too traditional for these parts.

We definitely don’t have a sky’s-the-limit budget, so whilst we’re happy to leave what we can’t do in the hands of those who can, we’re also pitching in ourselves where we can. And one of the places – or should I say *many* of those places – are the windows and shutters. It would seem that when these were originally installed, we think about ten years ago, they were only ever painted with one coat of what looks like a coloured undercoat. They were certainly never treated, sanded, filled, properly undercoated and glossed. They have had ten hot summers, ten cold, wet winters and have been battered by high winds and storms. So, they’ve been in a mess since the day we arrived. We’ve deliberated about having them replaced – and that might still happen – but we thought we had to give them a fighting chance and see what could be done to repair them and make them fit for purpose again.

As you can see, peeling paint, warped shutters and in some cases, fairly damaged hinges. In total, we have fifteen windows. Twelve of them have double casement windows and double shutters, three are single windows and shutters. Plus the front door, and an external cellar door. The windows are all also quite small, making any kind of a repair job, pretty fiddly. But the house is potentially beautiful, and we feel that the windows need to look the best they possibly can – and therefore hopefully be saved. And this is the project we have just embarked up on. Maybe not the best timing, as the weather is just starting to turn and so drying of paint takes a lot longer – but unlike our windows back in England, these don’t have to be painted in situ. They can easily be lifted out and so the Well Room has become a sort of window hospital.

Even though the paint that’s on there now has long since seen better days, we did quite like the greeny-blue shade. We wanted to avoid the very dark grey we’d done the Didsbury house with, as – sorry to say – it’s generally very bright and sunny here, and so wanted something a bit more uplifting. The decision was made to abandon the much loved Farrow & Ball “Railings” and opt for something much softer. Because of space etc and wanting to be able to re-hang the frames at night when it is now a bit colder, this is a slow process. Each frame has to be repaired, sanded, filled, taped up, undercoated twice and then painted with the above satin wood. Repeat the process for the shutters and doors.

We may be here some time, but, we think we’ve made a good start and may be breathing new life back into some sorely neglected woodwork.

Published on 23rd October 2017