A Castle in the Sky

In March 2013, after years of talking about it we eventually sell up and move out of the city with our 2 year old, Gracie. We both grew up in the countryside and this is what we want for our daughter. So we swap a 2 bed flat in London for a small country pile on the west coast of Scotland that needs a lot of work. I've done a bit of interior design and my partner, Ed has a good knowledge of the outdoors – but we're on a tight budget and we've both got a lot to learn. It's a life time's project and this is a record of our adventure…


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Bringing the kitchen back to life (Aug 2)

Lots of rooms in this house have their secrets and in time we hope to reveal them all, layer by layer.   Bringing the old servant’s kitchen back to life is our first labour of love.   We’ve been excited about uncovering some of its hidden features ever since we moved in and this weekend we make a start…

It’s a tired old room that obviously hasn’t been used in decades but has plenty of timeworn treasure; a huge bricked up fire place with a massive stone lintel (and possible bread oven),  a flagstone floor hidden underneath a glued-down carpet and what used to be a walk in pantry concealed by a partition wall.

_MG_0221An iron ring bolted into the stone surround of the old kitchen fireplace

Back in March Ed took a sledgehammer to the fireplace (see Sledgehammer happy Mar 4) but it quickly became clear he was going to need some assistance.     My 2 nephews offered their services and are now here for a long weekend…

photo4After a day’s work half the fire-place is open, the carpet’s gone and the partition wall is out – which is adding loads of light and space.

IMG_9902The table came from the workshop – it’s ends had been cruelly sawn off to fit the space.   It’s probably the original kitchen table so our plan is to restore it and use it again if we can.

IMG_9904The unassembled bit of furniture against the back wall is an old butler’s pantry that I picked up in a salvage yard earlier this year.  It came out of a georgian house in Glasgow and like the table needs some tlc.  It was the handles that sealed the deal…

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Trying to envisage how it will all come together is a bit of a leap and it’s going to be a tricky space to get right.   Luckily Ed and I have similar ideas about taking the best of the old and making it work with the new.   One advantage of not being able to afford to do everything straight away means that we’ve got plenty of time to make sure we get it right…

I’m now dreaming of  a fire in the grate, coffee on the go, friends up for the weekend and Sunday papers strewn across the kitchen table.  The unveiling of this house is a slow process but we are in it for the long haul and the transformation is underway.

 

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A puzzle? (Aug 4)

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There are large hooks on the hall walls that run from the first floor to the top of the house and we can’t work out what they’re for.  We’ve considered family portraits (too low), lanterns (too many – and no hooks on the ground floor), tapestries (wrong place) and the previous owners can’t tell us either.    They’ve been put in quite roughly so we don’t think they were part of the original Georgian interior.  We’ve been told that the army used the house in The Second World War so maybe they were put there to string up light bulbs powered by a generator…

It’s a puzzle and everyone who comes to stay asks about them.