Flawless surface

Welcome back! As the wind howls outside on this last Sunday of November, I reflect on what a hectic fortnight it has been. I had thought by now that things might have progressed to a tidier, easier, less stressful living arrangement but no, it has got much worse. And just at that time of year when you want the house to look at it’s best. So, I’m afraid I cannot mirror those Facebook friends’ photos of dreamy Christmas tree’s and decorated fire-surrounds. Not this year. Especially as our coffee table is a tool box.

But there has been a lot going on nevertheless: The kitchen arrived, right on schedule, although I had prayed there might be a delay in the delivery. Jason and the Wicks boys crammed all the packages into the garage and our front room meaning I had to stack boxes to the ceiling in order to get the door shut. We had a worktop upgrade – as the beech ones were out of stock at the last minute so was replaced with heavy duty oak one instead. We were pretty chuffed about that. I must quickly thank Wicks for being so customer focused in one word.. athankingyoukindly….

Frustratingly, progress on the kitchen extension has been slow – due to Jason’s best efforts the rain hasn’t stop long enough for him to spend any prolonged amount of time on the new kitchen roof and could only snatch the dry moments to do other projects. He did add the window, grapple with the skylight frames, and batten down the hatches only to loose his wooden planks to the wind narrowly missing next doors MG..it might have slightly scuffed it, but these sturdy British cars can take it.

Upstairs Jason took the old plasterboard off under the window in the main upstairs bedroom to reveal the reason why it had been so freezing at night. Behind the board there was no insulation at all, in fact you could see daylight through the thin backing where the concrete had cracked at the front.


Bad boy – in your corner until the work is complete!

Anyone with a house like this might want to investigate their window panels as it’s a big area of heat loss. As soon as I mentioned this to my neighbour she booked in Jason to insulate hers. No wonder the previous occupant moved to another bedroom during the winters’.

Jason fixed this by removing the radiator, the plasterboard and re-pointed around the bricks where the cement had turned to dust and fallen out. He then added foil-backed insulation between the wooden supports, put up new plasterboard and filled the gaps. It was then wallpapered where needed and sealed with undercoat and two layers of paint. Jobsagoodun.

 excellent work by J. Pickard Home Improvements

Featured article; Wooden floorboards

A few befores’, durings’ and afters’ – yes welcome to floor porn. Its a filthy job but the end result will have you grinning away for the rest of the year. Just look at all the photos…!

Before, filling every gap, scrubbed and washed clean

To get a floor this good its advisable to go through these key stages; Sandpaper/scrape off flakes of paint, vacuum and whilst on knees, scrub floorboards with wire-wool or sandpaper. Have a glass of gin, Vacuum again, wash with sponge mop, fill all gaps with brown flexible filler, wash off residue, wait to dry, vacuum again, apply first coat of glossy varnish, add 2-3 more. Stand back in awe at the wood grain depth! This takes about a week to complete, the work not the awe…although it is pretty awesome.

clean floorboards now for the varnish..BOOM!!


Now that’s thigh rubbingly lovely isn’t it?

It’s curtains for me…

I experienced the joy of living next door to a professional seemstress this week, as I was allowed privileged access into her world and into the world of her clients. My neighbour had the huge task of turning 52 meters of heavy neutral fabric into an opulent backdrop of curtains for a vast open plan living room. Think Grand Designs with tones of velvet sapphire and light grey, think of modern naturally silvering beech on the outside of the building and glass framed staircases, reaching many levels on the inside and you’re now getting the idea of this fabulous home.



All curtains made by Rachel Turner

The curtains looked warm and subtle in the corners of the panoramic glass walls. As my neighbour ironed and straightened and hung them and I ran about assisting her on what felt to me like a dream occupation. They completed the room but didn’t dominate it, they simply added to the exuberant luxury of the lounge and I felt extremely proud of my friend’s hard work. The next day, in her studio I got to learn a little more about real curtain making – not the bodged versions I have made for myself.


This curtain lesson was ideal timing as I had just bought some off-the-shelf curtains but realised this was not money well spent and I had to unpick them as they were too thin. With fresh black-out curtain liner and a quick lesson I was on my way – sewing by hand as my sewing machine was burried amoung the kitchen boxes somewhere. That evening – in between varnishing the floor I kept nipping back to the spare bedroom to sew the nautical curtains. The next day I carried on but it was then I realised that perhaps I should have saved that job for a less-clumsey day. I managed to spill an entire pot of pins on the rug and bed – twice – and then when it came to the finale of putting them up on the track, almost toppled out through the glass and to save myself (and the sleeping cat on the bed) I contorted my body and crashed into the window frame and fell backwards onto the bed..silent screaming while clutching my agonised (and most probably bruised) shoulder.. still the curtains looked lovely so I guess the moment of clumsiness was worth it.

Nautical Curtains cropped

And “get me” the horizontal lines actually match up when closed


And lastly but not least here’s a blind/track fitting related job that Jason did for the same customer (as above). Very nice job if I do say so myself.

Right, that’s almost all from Rise for now. Here’s a little Christmas taster to get your feastive juices flowing.



Pop right back here for my December blog wont you and check out our new Bi folding doors! Until then happy Christmas shopping!


Norgstar xxx


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