Sunday, 8 December 2013

The Restoration - Week Eighteen

This week we've seen the completion of the brickwork repairs and our brickie Stuart has left after working on the project for the majority of the time.

Before he left Stuart rebuilt both chimney stacks and installed the six new pots to top them off.

One of Stuart's last jobs was flaunching the east chimney stack, thankfully without any slips!

As I've mentioned in previous posts, we wanted to install a pot for each of the six flues on the stacks even though only one is now in use. This would certainly have been the configuration as far back as 1800 and maybe earlier since census records show 8 or 9 people living here in the early 19th century and there are signs that what is now the loft was a living space with a fireplace. The wood burner in our living room has had a barrel topped pot for the last 40 years and this worked well, so we replaced it with a new identical one (except it terracotta not buff). The other five pots are capped with ventilated inserts to provide air flow into the blocked up flues while avoiding the ingress of water and crows nests!
The chimney pots arrived and the east stack is restored

The weather turned a bit chilly in midweek meaning that the newly rebuilt west stack had to be protected from frost. Thankfully all was well and its now looking the part with its four new pots. We find it amazing to think that this old house once upon a time would have had six fires burning on a cold winter night - imagine the wood and coal needed to keep them all going and imagine the work bringing all that fuel to the top of the house where the farm servants listed in the census would have lived.
The big west stack restored with a pot for each of its four flues.

Another ongoing job this week was the effort to remove the masonry paint from the corbelling courses in a few places. This thick red paint is proving stubborn, not least because the lower temperatures are now making the solvent stripper less effective than it might have been earlier in the year. With hindsight this might have been better done in summer but the priority then was brickwork and repointing with lime mortar.

Jack jetwashes the paint stripper off the corbelling courses while the new windows have been protected from the solvents.

Finally this week we were able to add one of the finishing touches with the arrival of our handmade kitchen furniture from Unfitted Ltd. Amongst these is a cavernous larder cupboard which fits, millimetre perfect into the kitchen fireplace.

Our new larder is a snug fit!

Next week the final push begins: relaying roof tiles and replacing guttering along the west wall, relaying ridge tiles, making and fitting timber inserts in the window soffits, plastering internal stone walls and window reveals as well as patching all kinds of assorted bits and pieces of plaster. This will probably be the messiest week inside the house so far - roll on next Friday!

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