Goodbye yellow-stained wall

Today’s plan was to paint the landing cabinet doors in the contrast colour of Crown Hall & Stairs Naughty Step and then zoom off to Wick to get a pale green for the stairwell, as I’d had a text from David to say he’s hoping to come on Friday and I wanted to have it done before he arrived.

The colour was drying lighter than the colour shown on the outside of the tin and the further down the doors I got, the more I started to think that it actually might work for the big stairwell wall as well – and since it’s being used in the hall, it would tie upstairs and downstairs together nicely.  So I bit the bullet, put the platform up over the stairs, masked off the edges and went for it.  I did have a slight moment of panic halfway through when I thought it had gone a bit too Southwold beach hut, but I reckon it looks okay, and so far no sign of the yellow tinge coming through.

It’s going to need the once-over with a roller, because it’s showing the brush marks quite badly, but not a complete proper second coat.  Just the bannisters left to paint upstairs now!

Earlier this week my solicitor emailed me to say that the Scottish Ministers’ solicitor had sent her a signed title deed and a plan, so all that remained was for her to complete the registration of the disposition and we were good to go for mortgaging purposes.  I had a glance through it, but something was nagging in the back of my head and I when I opened it up again the following morning, I saw what it was.  They’d used the wrong plan!  It was about to be registered with the initial draft of the plan, which didn’t show the rights of access over the croft.  Not an issue right now, since I have the croft tenancy and can grant myself permission to cross the crofted land, but a potential legal mess in years to come when either I or my executors come to sell it.  My solicitor’s come back to me today to say that the other side have acknowledged it was their error in sending the wrong plan to their clients for signature, and are redoing the whole thing (my solicitor’s offer of getting out the office crayons and colouring in the applicable bits was politely turned down!).  So that delays us by another couple of weeks, but the end is definitely in sight on that one.

I shall hopefully be letting David have free run of the house tomorrow to sort the stairs out, so my job will be to go round my house and make a list of absolutely everything I need to buy to turn Ethel’s into a home from home for my guests – with Black Friday deals starting tomorrow, it’s time to shop.

Three weeks to photos – eek!

I rang the Scottish Cottages rep today to find out how full her diary was, as I knew she was away visiting family overseas for Christmas.  We’ve settled on 7th December for her to come up, which is three weeks tomorrow!  After a flurry of phone calls, text messages and standing at the foot of Pete’s scaffolding shouting up to him, I have Dougie coming next week, Pete coming in the next five days IF the wind speed is low enough for him to get on the roof and drop the flue liner, Roisin at Riverside is checking they can do the furniture delivery on 30th November (1st December is the first day of their Christmas shopping event, so everyone will be tied up with that) and I’m waiting to hear back from David.  However, if the doors aren’t on for the photographs it’s not a problem, so all I really need him to do is a little bit of work on the stairs before the carpet fitters come and the rest can wait until after he gets back from holiday.

In terms of actual work down the road today, I got the white top coat on the landing cabinets, door frames and tongue and groove and then took advantage of the lack of rain and slapped a second coat of green on the gates, which means the slate Mick got me for Christmas with the name and house number can be fitted at the weekend.

I also might have been a tiny bit naughty and driven out west to scout out a small cottage that’s for sale.  I might have been even naughtier and asked the Scottish Cottages rep to have a look at the for sale listing and give me an idea of what it would make as a holiday let.  It’s in a much better condition than Ethel’s was, the home report is nearly all 1s with only one 3, but that’s for damp, which doesn’t worry me in the slightest, because it specifically states that high damp meter readings were obtained in X, Y and Z locations.  My view is that an old stone cottage which hasn’t been lived in for a number of years and has electric heating which hasn’t been left on is going to produce high damp meter readings simply because it hasn’t been warm enough inside to evaporate the moisture in the air, so it’s condensed onto the walls.  It’s got a large garden, two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs (unusual in a traditional croft house that hasn’t been altered much) and two living rooms and a tiny kitchen downstairs, so that would get turned into a utility, one of the living rooms would become the kitchen, pop in some central heating, redecorate, furnish and welcome guests 🙂  Okay, I’m getting a bit ahead of myself, since I haven’t seen inside it yet, but I like the location, I like the home report, it’s got character and it’s not a mammoth project.  My concerns are (a) they’re overvaluing the croft land with it and (b) it’s been up for sale on and off since 2013 but no-one’s bought it.  The home report is clean enough, there isn’t anything in the surrounding area that would put you off, no planning applications in (in fact the local plan from 2010 specifically states that road in the village is not under consideration for new housing due to the standard of the road and visiblity concerns with its junction to the main road) and the current owner lived there for over 50 years – I’m wondering if it’s simply the price putting people off, as the asking price is nearly a third more than the home report values it at, but does include the croft land, which the home report doesn’t take into account.  Watch this space, anyway!

Two weeks to carpets

Time is sliding by remarkably fast.  My wonderful mother has solved the curtain problem by reminding me about John Lewis.  The pair I absolutely loved for the living room turned out not to be suitable for a window of that width, because the material is too heavy for that long a curtain pole, but they’ve got some plain grey ones that will be fine, plus plain pale blue ones in the same style for the kitchen.  Price?  Just £75 a pair.  I need to double-check the length of curtain pole and then I’ll get those ordered.

Other than that, it’s really been landing, landing and more landing.  The first job was to take the old coat hooks off the wall.  I was going to keep this until I realised that it had been made by sawing off the tops of double coat hooks and could easily slice your fingers open.

Mick carefully filled in all the gaps in the panelling and then ran the big orbital sander over it, to take the top layer of varnish off ready for painting.

I got to work base coating the landing in white and couldn’t believe what a difference it made to the amount of light up there.

First coat of primer on the panelling.

I finally finished sanding the bannisters.

Working my way down the stairs.

The problem is that even after THREE coats of undercoat, it still looks as if someone’s been chainsmoking there.

So I’ve taken an executive decision and that wall is going to be pale apple green instead of milk white!  I went into town today to see if the paint shop had the colour I wanted, but they don’t stock the Crown Hall and Stairs range and I didn’t have time to go over to Wick, so that’ll have to wait until Saturday.

Mick has been brave and started tiling the bathroom.  It’s not a job he likes doing, but he’s better at it than me, so he gets lumbered with it.

The carpet fitters came over last week to measure up.  They were kindly fitting me in after a long day on two jobs roughly in my direction and even more kindly they drove round the village looking for me when they called at my house and found I was out.  I didn’t mean to be out, but my neighbour’s ram had escaped and I was helping her find it before it got anywhere near the ewe hoggs (this year’s lambs, which all roam loose around the village over winter) and we had some unwanted teenage pregnancies!  They called me back with a quote 48 hours later, which I agreed to, and they’re coming to lay them on Wednesday 29th November.

This gives me quite a tight timetable to work to.  If all goes to plan, it should work like this:

  • I finish decorating the landing, hall and bannisters
  • David comes back to lower the lip on the top step of the staircase and fit the downstairs doors
  • Dougie gets all the electrics finished
  • Pete fits the woodburner
  • Mick finishes bathroom
  • Carpets are laid (Wed 29th November)
  • David fits the upstairs doors (Thu 30th November)
  • Furniture is delivered (Fri 1st December)
  • Curtains, blinds, bed linen, kitchen equipment, etc. etc. put into house (weekend 2nd/3rd December)
  • Parking area scraped and gravelled, garden scraped (4th-6th December)
  • Snagging (w/c 4th December)
  • Scottish Cottages rep visits to take the initial photographs and get us on their website pre-Christmas (w/c 11th December)

I’ve been leafing through the Howdens catalogue this evening, choosing doors and door handles, and realised I have no clue whether I need to order 12 x the handle part number for 6 doors or whether they come in pairs!  I think this is the point where I just hand over the details of what I want to David and let him work out the quantities.  Next job: choose the fabric for the two Roman blinds for the dormer windows.