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Monday, December 5, 2016

The Hall - Before & After


Not as dramatic as the previous post but here is the "hallway reveal"


This was the hallway "before".
Tastefully done a couple of decades ago with a somewhat Victorian era influenced wallpaper with matching borders but given the clean up required it was all quickly stripped. The Federation green was also a bit dark and solid to live with to be honest.


We've gone with a white gloss on the architraves and skirtings and "hog bristle half" on the walls as in all the other rooms. It's quiet, calm, light and above all clean.
Unfortunately the front few floorboards are so damaged that they have also been coated with BIN Zinser and painted in the gloss white. The threshold stone is a type of old cement laid over the very worn original sandstone step. It has been impossible to neutralise it so it is coated also and when our specialists can get to it, they are going to have a new sandstone one cut.


It's lovely to have the art back up on the walls again and perhaps one day we will discover a narrow little hall table.


But what's this....? Front and centre....?


Don't tell me I don't have a sense of humour!!!
(If that doesn't make sense to you and you are new to the story you might like to check out some of the other renovation posts)


We feel fresher and lighter along with the house and we finally feel very much at home.
Thank you everyone for coming on the journey as we tackled these major jobs. Thanks for your support and encouragement and excitement.
We now gather family closer around us and are busy getting ready for Christmas.



Sunday, December 4, 2016

Before & After - Front Room


Are you ready for another before and after?
We've had a massive push on in the front room to get it ready for family flying in for Christmas. This is one room that I thought we would never have a win.


Back in June, just walking in her would crush me and shake all my confidence despite the success in the rest of the house. This was the room, that despite dozens of layers of protein breaking solution, still smelled over-powering of cat urine. You may recall we had previously dubbed this room the "pissoir"


No longer!
Victory!
But you know the saying "no gain without pain", it's true and this room is testament to how thorough and assiduous you have to be when dealing with this type of animal damage.


There is a previous post here about the removal of part of the walls and it has great construction reference photos, and here the remediation story continues.


So after all the scratch coats and a final top coat and a couple more weeks drying, the walls were ready to continue on with. Taking out those sections of render made a huge difference to the smell BUT I just knew we needed to go further and remove the skirting boards and remediate them also.


This was a big decision because we would risk damaging them and also faced the daunting task of re-attaching them. So here is what we found beneath. The clever builders place blocks/wedges of wood periodically between the bricks to give the nails a place to hold to.


Above is the outer wall showing the bluestone foundations and the timber for the skirting boards to affix to. It turns out the skirting boards (about 10" deep) are made from Australian cedar. It broke our hearts to have to treat them so ruthlessly but we had to scrub them about four times including the back and sides with enzyme solution to neutralise the urine that had gone down the walls and behind them. Then after thoroughly drying, they were coated on all sides with BIN Zinser, a special shellac based primer. They were then carefully re-attached with a rubber mallet and utilising as many of the original hand made nails as possible.


The walls were then also coated with BIN Zinser including the hearth stone. After painting it was so exciting to be finally able to move furniture in. You may remember the story about the cedar wardrobe in our room (here), well we had a similar thing with this chest of drawers. An exact fit but without the architrave and we had to employ the ottoman on wheels method to manoeuvre it into place and drop it down behind the fireplace architraving.  


Just made for the space and a very opportune find. It needs some restoration work but for now a loving coat of oil and the guests will just bear with it for the time being as we have run out of time.  


The mantelpiece, the window and the door, all Tasmanian cedar, have been stripped of the candy pink paint and oiled and shellacked. The room is light and bright with warm wood tones. We also acquired the little chest of drawers on the other side of the chimney space, another perfect fit. 


A bit more wood oil and some artwork on the walls and it looks nothing like the sad little pink and maroon bedroom that no-one could bear to be in for more than a few minutes.


This little drawer that was the base of an old wardrobe has come in handy as another "blanket box" for storing extra quilts and throws and fits neatly beneath the window. 


There is still some work to do on the floors which will in all likelihood be re-done with tung oil but that must wait till next year now. There is also a tiny amount of architrave that we need to source too.


We have tried to keep things as natural as possible and preserve where we can. These original Georgian boards are typical in width and pit sawn and fixed with hand forged nails. They are for the most part holding up just beautifully and we'll live with that.
We've had a lot of wins but this is our biggest achievement I think. I now consider myself something of an expert in cat remediation and I have the black light to prove it! LOL



Tuesday, November 22, 2016

"Riccarton"


Just on the eastern outskirt of Campbell Town is "Riccarton", one of the first land grants in the area dating back to 1826 and owned by the Lyne family since 1909.


It is a charming serene oasis created amidst the "bones" of very old plantings where Poppy Lyne has created sweeping beds and graceful turns to compliment her great passion for bulbs and peonies. 


Not only do I draw inspiration from plantings, but also from gates and structures, the visual clues to the "doorways" from one area to another. 


This can still be achieved even in small gardens and they need not be expensive, just strong to stand the test of time, winds and to support the weight of growth.



I note with interest also the various ways of using rocks, plentiful on our own land, about the structures for borders and walkways.


An example of "cloud" pruning, a technique where branches are stripped bare and balls are encouraged at the ends, giving trees another design look all together. Their whimsical look puts me in mind of Dr, Suess illustrations.


Strong straight pruning lines and formal clipped hedges.


Box clipped into fences, columns and pillars.


Some focal points are as simple as taking advantage of a lost tree and using the stump as a column.


Or interesting weathered sculptural garden art,


Clever vistas...


Views beyond....


A memorial garden commemoration 100 years of Lyne ownership of the property.



A gate on the outer perimeter of the house garden looking further eastwards. 


The dovecote in the orchard.


The sheep brought in for drafting the lambs from the ewes look on bleating, a reminder of the importance of the wool industry in the district.


And a little further along we come to Poppy's vast plantings of peonies for cutting.


A grand passion and I can certainly understand why she is so captivated. So many varieties, both herbaceous and tree.


I could have stayed for hours but it's also nice to get back to one's own garden and get stuck in with fresh eyes and inspiration. 


Riccarton is a working farm and not a public garden. I would like to thank Poppy for very kindly showing us her garden and sharing her passion, it was a rare treat.






Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Twelve Month Of The New Garden


The garden a little over 12 months on...
The top is today and the bottom was taken in September last year.


There is not a lot in the budget for the garden with all the restoration works so gaps are filled with cheap and cheerful self sowers that I transplant from one area to another. I have been thickly planting to cut down on the weeds and preserve moisture in little micro-climates. Calendula is a great little filler and very useful in my salve and soap making. The borage will happily take over but it is very easy to tame and rip back when you want to claim back space. 


 The transplanted irises and fruit trees are all doing well but the secret is to make sure their transplant hole is filled with water and keep them moist so that there is reduced risk of root die back. Liquid foliar feeds have been key too. I have black currants and irises under-planted with strawberries next to raspberries and blueberries under the dappled shade of the cherry plums. 


Poppy seeds scattered last autumn are now companions to borders of transplanted self seeding violas and curly leaf parsley.


Even heritage lettuce varieties that were allowed to seed last year have been poked and stuffed into spare holes; ornamental edibles all round and crinkly to the tall and flouncy.


My misters straight rows in sunny spots already running out of room in our expanded beds. Thanks to the new poly-tunnel we have been raising lots of seedlings for planting into warming soils.


In hind sight, perhaps bringing the Tahitian Lime with us was pure folly but time will tell...
The first photo was taken in September last year and the choking lushness on the right is today. The lime tree was placed in this "sheltered" spot against the house out of the worst of the winds. It is hoped that the brick work gardens also act as a bit of a heat bank. I've grown tall lush poppies on either side of the tree and allowed the rhubarb to grow tall and kept the seed heads to protect and shelter the lime from the -5C  frosty mornings. It too will get regular foliar feeds through the spring and summer to encourage hardiness. So far so good. Will it ever bear fruit? Maybe not but as soon as the poppies have flowered, out they'll come and the tree can thrive through the warmth. Given that we are still going down to 3C and getting snow on the mountains I'm in no hurry.


Here is another "before" photo taken in August last year through the spare room window.


The same view today. Unfortunately the hedge on the road side had to go as it was clogging the ditch and causing us a lot of grief with flooding. The Northern Midlands Council have been really responsive and pro-active in dealing with the problem and been really impressive. We've lost a lot of privacy and the loss of a wind break is probably the most regrettable part but in time we will have planting established. On the extreme left is my "herbaceous border" and the next narrow bed is planted with tomatoes and carrots.


September 2016


October 2016


November 2016

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