I hope that your week has been a peaceful and successful one.
Here, almost all the stained glass windows have been re-leaded and cleaned. Our specialist, Paul Bradbury, is very talented and I wholeheartedly recommend him to you. The final window – on the second floor half landing – is dark and a completely different style from all the other stained glass in the house. At Paul’s suggestion, we are removing the panes and using them as display items. In their stead, we will have a commissioned piece.
Allowing the house to relate its history has been a driving force of this project. Whilst we have no intention of replacing or reinventing lost features, integrity demands that we preserve as much as possible and sympathetically include further beautiful and useful additions. Including a new window, which fills the top floor with light and elegance, helps with that aspiration.
The week witnessed the flooding of the kitchen, as a lead pipe broke (whilst being replaced) in the bathroom above. Disasters frequently present themselves as a conclusion to the “school run”; approaching the house at 9am-ish and 3.30pm-ish, usually leaves me pondering which part of the fabric of the building – and/or which builder – will be in a less desirous state than when I left! “To be fair” (a local colloquialism), almost all disasters are due to the parlous state in which the house was maintained for a large part of the last 42 years. Slowly, but surely, the neglect is giving way to a phoenix-like transformation.
By being completely oneself, we give permission to others to be entirely who they were created to be, rather than the façade which the world forces upon them. My final struggle, during the last 7 days, relates to this belief and the subject of flooring. Having been guided by my guardian angel builder for 8 weeks, it was time for me to assert my preferences, tastes and opinions. I can’t afford Amtico for the bathrooms and the Karndean, I liked, blew the budget at a whopping £40 per square metre – minus the trim, contrasting edging and fitting. Add to that, the limited range and it was back to faithful lino or vinyl.
Well, well, well, hasn’t vinyl changed? The vinyls, I chose, came in a range of fabulous colours (with embedded glitter for candlelit pazazz) and were not masquerading as stone, wood or anything else! They have 15 year guarantees, so who could ask for more? How many people would be averse to changing a floor every 15 years, especially when the expected lifespan of even a “top-of-the-range” cooker is less than that?
So, as I return to the “patchworking” of the cloakroom walls – a notion adopted from Jocasta Innes – remember, assert yourself; restored stained glass is gorgeous and vinyl is NOT the second-rate option.