The Reshuffle Part 3: Go Progress Chrome

Earlier in the year I published a few posts concerning a significant reshuffle of our home layout; ultimately leading to us creating a kitchen/diner at the opposite end of our garden flat (the existing kitchen then being converted to a bedroom/nursery for our new edition ‘Beatrice’). The summer months yielded hardly any progress thanks to unreliable tradesmen. By September, in a fit of frustration we changed contractors and have watched things progress at rapid speed since then.

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October – only first fix pipework in

The flat sits within a large 1860s property, but with the new project we have completely disregarded all rules of period correctness and have heavily indulged our interwar design fantasies.

The room is a very generous space, but is not without its problems. The walls were a mixture of bare brick and crumbling plaster, with numerous steel pipe brackets seemly growing like grass out of the walls. The original Victorian terracotta tile floor (which runs throughout most of the flat) was very dirty and poorly repaired with concrete in places. The high ceilings gave little heat or acoustic insulation from the heavy footed residents upstairs, and there was little to no natural light.

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November – battening and joists going in.

To counteract these we fitted a false ceiling crammed with rockwool, batton and boarded all the walls, knocked out a bricked up window and fitted a double glazed sash, and gave the floor some much needed TLC repairing the damaged sections with coloured cement and buffing the whole thing. All wiring and pipework has neatly been hidden behind the new walls and ceiling.

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Late November – freshly plastered with ‘Sunstorm’ air vent

After much searching and deliberation I had to abandon my hunt for lights that mimic those in the Cafe Zedel (see my previous blog) and do the obvious thing, ship a bunch of matching reproduction light fittings from Australia!  I would have loved to use original period fittings, but finding items that matched in our chosen chrome scheme was near impossible. So in one of chr20astoria203lt20detroit20sml20copythe most extravagant & indulgent purchases I’ve ever made I found myself placing an order for some beautiful wares at Restoration Online. A three branch chandelier, large pendant and two wall lights from the Astoria range found themselves heading in my direction, arriving with a nasty customs bill to keep them company. They’ll be mounted on ‘Miami’ roses from Classic Ceiling and should look fantastic.

The kitchen units are on order fromh601128sstz_l_2 DIYkitchens and should arrive early in the new year. We’ve gone for a fairly predictable (but thoroughly appropriate) curved white high gloss ‘Livorna’ range with rusty black quartz worktop and bow handles.

Between now and then I’ve got to paint the room. After dismissing large mock up copyblocks of green in our original plan as being too imposing we’ve opted for a more radical scheme. Thick bands of white, grey and ‘twisted turquoise’ with a 30mm black line will run from the worktop around the whole space. The turquoise will stay 300mm from the black line, but climb up and over doorways and other features. It’ll test my frogtape abilities to the max, but should hopefully be worth the trouble and strife in the long run.

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Knocked up over my cornflakes. “What are you drawing daddy?”

 

…”It’s fun to shop at the YMCA”

Earlier in the week I found myself stumbling into the local YMCA shop on the way home from work. I occasionally do the charity shop rounds in the town centre when I’m in the mood. This usually results in a new paperback or the occasional bit of tat for the kids. On entering I had stocking fillers in mind.. but this was quickly put to the back of my mind when my eyes caught sight of this:

It’s a 1934 Stentorian Junior Type 38J ‘for use as a principle speaker’. Despite it’s somewhat disheveled appearance it clearly had to be mine. My wallet was swiftly unearthed from the bottom of my man-bag to close the deal.

What am I going to do with it? It’s still up for debate, but as the amplifier apparently no longer works I’m considering renovating the  veneer, replacing the fabric, carefully removing its inners and fitting a bluetooth speaker of some kind. Thus producing an attractive and useful bit of home audio. I’ve dabbled in this line before, creating a cabinet for the sky box out of a 1930 radiogram with pleasing results. For now it will probably reside in the workshop with a couple of other projects I’ll get around to in the New Year.

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Television sitting on an old radiogram hiding the sky box

12 White Roses

In the hunt for beautiful Art Deco features to add to our current kitchen fantailrenovation project I stumbled across the fantastic Birmingham based firm Classic Ceilings. This small enterprise run by Marc Newey creates high quality period plaster ceiling roses, coving corners, overdoors, light switch surrounds and air bricks. He personally designs and manufactures pieces in Arts & Crafts and English & French Revival styles, but its his love for Art Deco that made my jaw drop. His attention to detail and eye for multi layered design really captures the period beautifully and the execution is perfect.

sunstorm209x8plaJust browsing the site gave me a deep yearning to be renovating a modernist interwar property. Sadly there’s no sign of that opportunity presenting itself in the near future, so until then I’ll make do with my current project.
Marc has supplied me a ‘Sunstorm’ vent cover which I’ve installed over an airbrick on a chimney breast, and two ‘Miami’ ceiling roses that echo the appearance of an old cinema clock that will hang at one of the room.