The Stairway Window

The plan has always been to have an internal window on the halfway platform of the stairs where they go up in the lounge and past the old doorway into the kitchen, with the idea being to nick light from each room and share it to each room as the day changes.
It is single piece of laminated toughened 8mm glass and works a treat and wqe are well chuffed with the end result

Looking through from the kitchen (being scrutinised by Minnie) you can see the wine rack which is about 30 clay land drain pipes short of completion (Mr Hymas can you source any more?)

Here are couple of detail shots of the lovely old chunky oak that make up the supports.

That’s another long awaited job complete in the touches and features that go to make up Chez Bentley

Love and peace

A Separate Bog Is A Must.

Aye Aye M’hearties,
I cant be doing with a bog in the bathroom, never understood it and never liked it.
Of course when they started cramming more and more houses (or investment opportunities as they became known) into smaller and smaller footprints in the desperate scramble for profit as opposed to building proper, usable, livable, family homes people began to accept the bog crammed in to a corner of the bathroom.
There is nothing worse for anyone when deciding to have luxurious bath or refreshing shower only to walk into the bathroom and be confronted by the hideous odour of someone inconsiderate bastard’s food ghosts lingering in the air.
It is uncivilised, uncouth and uncalled for, especially if you have the space to create a separate small room specifically for the evacuation of bowels and bladders.
I have seen pictures of recent renovations where despite an apparent abundance of space they have still mindlessly shoved the kharzy in with the bath and shower, when for want of bit of forethought and better planning they wouldn’t have to shower or bath engulfed in the stench of someone else’s shite, nor would they have to postpone their eagerly awaited cleansing process whilst the air becomes breathable again.

I just wanted to get that off my chest before I showed you the rather natty old school cistern we have bought for the upstairs bog and the genuine old school (and I mean genuine old “school” as in like they used to be at school) bog.

here is the cistern in polished steel genuine article with new parts to make it work smoothly

Once sited in place we work out the beds and stuff and make template in plastic to required length etc and they also replicate it in the brass or copper gush pipe. It will look marvelous.

Now a good mate of ours on a renovation in the UK found a toilet that wa designed to have no seat but I found it a bit slippery and occasionally cold and I remember thinking that it would be great to find one of those bogs with the wooden half bits like they used to have at school where there is no need for a seat and no cold shock when you sit down.
Well joy of joys because Mongers ( they of the art deco tap fame, also had that style of bog in stock along with the polished steel cisterns.

Happy days I will update when they are fitted in place and give a detailed and graphic description of resting your bum cheeks on a bit of warm teak before discharging ballast.

Arf arf


The Bathroom is functioning

Ahoy! There M’hearties,
The bathroom sprang to life as well this time home.

Here is the shower gubbins in place with just one chrome 90 bend short of perfection

It is a fair torrential downpour of a shower and well worth the wait for it to come on line. Those of you who marveled at and reveled in the experience of the simplicity yet effectiveness of the “shed shower” will be in awe of the new Bentley shower. It is mighty and the attachment part is like setting off a fire hose.
here are some detail shots

Then comes the bath with its refurbished 1930 art-deco hexagonal taps and shower head and a very happy MrsB in the first bath
I found the taps in a brilliant site called Mongers ( absolutel;y lovel;y chap that runs it and they have some amazing stuff for sale.

some detail shots

Then there is the very efficient Oxford radiator and towel rail from Victoria Plumbing, Stands about 1500 high and produces loads of heat.

Then there is the sink unit in place with its more madern tap set up. Will get better pics of that once the plumbing kit has been stashed away ha ha

So there it is so far with just the airing cupboard to build and some tiddyvating to do and we are in business.

Love and peace

The Modern Marvel of Therma-Skirt

Aye Aye Landlubbers
“Therma-Skirt!!!” I hear you ask, “what could it possibly be?”
Well it is the same size as, and looks exactly like skirting board, but it is in fact a radiator that works as low as 35 to 45 degrees that goes all round the room at floor level gently delivering its heat to the entire room.
No more fannying about with gert big ugly (or even pretty) radiators clogging up wall and floor space, because this stuff is all round the room and you can have furniture against it without blocking the majority of the heat.
It ain’t cheap but it is very very good at what it does and because it works at a much lower temperature than normal central heating there are energy cost savings to be made.
Fitting is a doddle
First of all apply a line of heat reflective insulation tape.

Then make a level line at the appropriate height and screw in the securing clips

and then clip on the Therma-Skirt making sure to use the push fit corner connectors

You choose where it comes into the room via the piping and it just push fits together. The corner finish is “OK’, perhaps not as nice as mitered skirting but not really noticeable after a while. It comes with a coloured rubber grommet sealing thing for the top to get neat finish with the wall and there is a cable run beneath it so you can retro fit electric or speaker cables should you so wish.

This is a section side on, with the plastic protective coat half peeled off. You can see the two oval tubes (16mm) that the water runs round.

and in this one you can see how it clips on to the clips you put on the wall.

and here is the cable run that clips or slides in and has already proved useful (again you can see the peel off protective coating)

All in all we are well chuffed with it and our only complaint would be that when it first comes on it does “crack” a bit but then again so do some radiators. It is bit pricey but the way it delivers the heat makes it worth while in my opinion and we will be fitting some other bits where some discreet heat may be required but we don’t want the bulk of a radiator. (oh!! and we have a bit of straight level wall to put it on ha ha )

Love and peace

How the back has changed.

Well M’hearties, it all started 8 years ago and round the back looked like this

But we had a vision so at the end of 2008 it looked like this

By the end of 2009 it looked like this and we called this the “slumdog millionaire phase”

And by 2010 it looked like this, whihc we called the “Swiss chalet stage”

Then came the windows upstairs and the downstairs ones as well

and in the eyebrows

That is how it has been for a couple of years now and this is what it looked like when we cleared the space in anticipation of the window/door delivery.

so imagine our excitement as the lorry turned up carrying the new window and door

Then it was case of carrying them round the back

We had already cut in the air feed channel for the fire that will eventually go in the lounge and also laid wood effect tiles as a threshold for the window/door to sit on.
This took a bit of tweaking to get the concrete base level

So then it was case of edging the framework into position however a few days before we had decided to check the measurements against the hole to discover with some horror that we had ordered it 10 cms to wide for the gap. Despite measuring it 10 timers and double checking we had done it correctly during the ordering process a 6 was mistaken for a 5 and there it was.
Luckily we have over 200mm of oak uprights to play with and the multi talented saviour of my leave “Andrew” used a chain saw to cut a channel out of the back of the oak frame so the metal window frame would slot straight in. WE chose powder coated aluminium frame as it is at the back of the house and has a 3.8 meter span under an oak beam which is bound to saga bit. WE are hoping that the metal uprights will help support that beam. WE have decided that as a belt and braces approach we will probably fit a couple of ornate steel upright columns to stand in-front of the made window uprights to act as extra support for the beam above although we are not 100% sure we need it. (watch this space)

Framework in place

There it is with the windows in although this photo doesn’t do it justice as it has a couple of acro-props in place just as a safety measure at this time but it gives you an idea, the key thing is that we are now secure and weather proof for the first time.

More to follow shortly
Love and Peace

What’s in The Box???

Oh I say I wonder what it could be in these two large packages

Well that’s right!!!


It is the Warmsler 1100 in Burnt Sienna ready for fitting into its new pride of place in the kitchen. First we had to make level plinth on the granite fire site. WE did this by knocking up some temporaray shuttering and using a concrete mix then a self leveling screed / tile glue mix as the top level coat.
The plastic pipe you can see sticking out is the direct air feed from outside to keep the draughts down inside. Once it has dried we fitted a piece of zinc over the top to prevent the surface fomr chipping or gouging when we slid the 250 KG + stove into position

There it is in place (with a temp emergency overflow in red)

We have bit of fine tuning to do on the flue thermostat and lot of learning to do on how to drive it properly and how cook on it but it is already a most warmly (geddit??) welcome addition to the Bentley household.

Next Installment is another significant leap forward in the renovation and that is the fitting of the big back windows and doors.

Love and peace

Fitting the Solar Panels and Why.

Aye Aye land lubbers, I will start off the next round of installments with a simple statement that you are free to argue with if you so wish, “No house with a south facing roof should be without solar panels for heating water” to add to that statement “No new house (south facing roof) should be allowed to be built without solar panels for water”.
OK! so there is the expense (not huge) of fitting them initially but after that approx 75% of your hot water needs for the year are covered. Heating water is the most expensive thing we do so it makes sense to me to have it for free once you have installed the kit.
There are of course the naysayers who whine on about payback periods and other such rubbish and who seem to operate under the short term thinking delusion that it is better to keep the money in the bank and use it to pay for oil or electric or gas to heat the water.
I call it short term delusion because electric oil and gas are only going to ever become more expensive whereas the sun will always shine enough to provide plenty of hot water.
The other argument people use is that if you sell your house other people will get the benefit of the panels, all I can say is that if making a profit on everything you do is how your mind works and what taints your regard to the well being of future generations, then best you keep your precious money in the bank. That said if you think that creating and hoarding wealth is more important than the environment then try holding your breath while you count your money. So speaks someone who works in the industry of exploiting oil and gas so I see how they operate and what damage they do and how they manipulate the market conditions to suit their profit sheet so I also see how something as simple and affordable as solar water chips away at their power.
Ahhhh I’m glad I have unloaded that because I have heard varying degrees of complete bollocks from some quarters justifying their decision not to install solar when the benefits are so obvious, or it could just be me justifying our decision to fit solar as we believe it is worth the effort and cost long term.
So enough of my tree hugging hippy rhetoric lets get cracking with the process of fitting them.
The type we were recommended to choose by our designer were the evacuated tube type. Basically it is a thin sealed copper tube slightly fatter at one end (about as thick as your thumb and about 10cms long) with water in it. Thie tube is inside a black glass tube, which is in side a clear glass tube and between the two is a vacuum. The suns rays (infrared I think) pass through the vacumm and heat up the black glass tube which in turn heats up the copper tube sending all the heat to the fat end which is placed in a heat collector and which takes the heat and transfers it via pipeline to your hot water tank. The vacuum between the black glass and the clear glass prevents any radiant heat form escaping.

They look like this and are 1.85 meters long and about 7 to 8 cms thick. ( I will verify dimensions later)

To give you an idea Andrew from Tecknos (the excellent company who acted as our buying agent and who introduced me to the system designer who put together our heating system) delivered the tubes and collectors to us, and as a demonstration suggested we take one from the box and stand outside with it while we had a coffee. The tube was cold as was the copper end you can see in the photos and yet after 15 minutes standing outside holding the tube by hand in a bit of watery December sunshine the copper end was too hot to touch.

I assumed that large swathes of the roof had to be de-tiled in order to fit the frame but it couldn’t have been easier as the framework that supports the collectors and tubes it is held to the chevrons by 6 stainless steel straps that require two tiles to be lifted for each strap and then re-laid over the strap.

Here you can see a collector with the stainless straps on top of it, each of the collectors holds 30 tubes giving me a nominal kilowattage of 15 to 20 KW I think although I will have to check my figures on that.

With abit of careful lining up the stainless straps are installed and the collector hung from them. Then the rest of the frame is built in place and it is ready to receive the tubes. Here you can see me in my sling almost fizzling on the spot with frustration about not being able to be up the ladder with the guys. Luckily for me two very able, competent and skillful blokes (Micheal and Andrew) were on hand to help and I would suggest that three people does make the fitting of the tubes less risky (in terms of damage to the tubes) and much quicker.

So here we are with both collectors in place

Here is the first tube going in,

It simply slides into a rubber grommet in the collector with the fat copper end sitting snug against the internal heat collector.
It is a bit fiddly slipping the first couple in until you get the feel of it and a rhythm going, but once you get the hang of lubricating properly while getting the position correct, before you know it you are plunging them in to the hilt in a festival of double entendres and schoolboy giggles.

And they they are in place with the copper pipe and sensors all connected and insulated and then covered in protective silver tape.

The internal workings are to follow after the story of the Warmsler 1100 arrival in the Bentley family

Love and Peace

Big Day

Aye Aye Landlubbers MrsBentley had the first shower in the house today.
The shower is mighty, but needs a tweak or two to become awesome.
The thermal store is running, the solar panels are harvesting heat when the sun shines, the underfloor heating in the lounge has been flashed up but it will be 24 hours or more before we know how effective it is, the Warmsler range is afire and the warmth is being spread about the house but we need to spend some time balancing the system and learning how to get the best from it.
That said Chez Bentley is alive!!!!!!

The photos and story will be following soon

Love and peace Bentley