The New Old School Bog and Cistern

The subject of toilet seat up or down has never been an issue between MrsB and myself and we both consider the conventional bog lid to be a rather pointless exercise. It is almost a denial of the fact that you have a toilet, or loo, or bog, yet alone have to see the bowl, which will briefly contain your bodily waste before it makes its journey to your favourite beach or river.
Most people just want to flush it away and have someone else deal with it, a sort of “dump and forget” policy.
This is all fine and dandy if you live in some swanky modern metropolis that has a mains sewer system, however once you live in a house that has its own septic tank and the performance of that tank, along with its associated pipework, is determined by what gets flushed into it, one tends to take more of an interest in the whole system and what happens to ones poo and pee once flushed down the pan of a septic tank connected toilet.

It is a fascinating process however I wont go into detail now, in fact I am unsure how I sidetracked myself into talking about the destination as opposed to the drop off point, which is the main purpose of this post.

I have never liked a bathroom where there is a bog in it, it shows a remarkable lack of forethought for the convenience of all concerned, however since profit became many peoples fundamental motive in housing, instead of a decent “home” and “space” to live in, the rooms became smaller and the space became squeezed until, in some houses, the person taking a leisurely bath is rudely interrupted by someone needing to have a dump, or the person who has “Tommy Turtle Head nearly touching cloth” is forced into the half crouched, clenched buttock dance outside the bathroom door accompanied by the ever increasing plaintive pleas of “I really have to go, let me in” so familiar to all who have ever been in urgent requirement of emptying their bowels.
The solution is obvious, have the bog in a separate room. A room of its own.
You can call it whatever rolls off your tongue the easiest, the toilet, loo, little boys room, powder room, washroom, shitter, bog, kharzy, it matters not, as long as if you are designing a bathroom in a house you endeavour to have it separate from the main washing area. If you have the space for upstairs and downstairs bogs then perhaps one of them (the downstairs) could be doubled up with shower for convenience sake (scuse the second use of the same pun)

We designed, into the space available, a separate bog for upstairs and were looking for a suitable pan.
We visited a friend’s barn conversion in Wales and they have this delightful old pan (self cleaning due to the turbo flush motion) that required no seat, but we found that it could be a bit chilly on frosty morning. However the seed was planted and a few months later we had a “eurika moment” when we remembered the school bogs from the days gone by, that had two semi circles of wood as a seat so you never had that cold arse feeling on a winter’s day.

Our search eventually ended up with an on line reclamation place called “mongers” ( absolutely superb and an extremely useful website and helpful crew. There in the gallery was exactly what we wanted but with the added bonus that they also had sand blasted and polished, cast iron, chain pull, cisterns. Whoop whoop!!

So this is how it panned out

First of all had to finish the plaster-boarding of the side wall and ceiling, fit the insulation on the front wall and affix the wooden plates for the main brackets.

Then get on the scratch coat and followed by the top coat of lime and mud render.

Now we had to turn the corner with the 3D tiles and head up the alleyway that leads to the bog

at which point MrsB took over the tiling

and completed through to the end

After the wall was painted and the bracket wood glossed black it was case of fitting the brackets and the cistern (not yet plumbed in and the down pipe will be brass when finished) to get the largest “drop” possible for the water.

And here is the run up to the bog (door yet to be fitted and plumbing connected but it is all there)

and a bit more detail shot of the pan and cistern with heavy duty chain attached.

So apart form a bit of fancy cutting work for the wobbly wall side tiles, the door to be fitted and bit of plumbing for the bog, we are nearly there on the upstairs bathing and ablution front.

I will post up the finished article with door etc later in the year

Love and peace


The Landing Walls and the 3D effect Tiles

So there were some gaps left on the upper landing wall that needed to be completed. First job was to fit framework which was completed by my mate Andy from down the road because I had a broken and dislocated shoulder at the time which made ladder work and carpentry a tad tricky.

Here is the framework in place

The idea was to cement board it then link it in to the completed walls with the lime and mud render we use. Nephew Will had already shown me how you cant use lime render direct onto cement board so with a couple coats of cement and lime water I fitted the boards and then attached chicken wire for extra adhesion for the render

Then it was case of masking off all the wood work and the other complete walls and floor and knocking on the scratch coat

After giving that a few days to dry pop on the finish coat and try to sponge and float it up to the best finish for a day or two.
Then it is on with the 4 coats of lime wash over 4 days. The colour we have used is Burnt Sienna which is a slightly lighter shade of the finished render work. It gives a lovely warm and light glow to the landing.

Once the lime wash was complete and dry we could then start the tiling.

Now many moons ago (approx 7 years) we spent a lovely weekend “daaahhn saaaarrrf” near Montpelier in a beautiful old Chateaux Hotel for a friends wedding and on collecting the keys and going upstairs to our room we had a collective “WOW” at reaching the top of the stairs and finding this 3D effect floor.

Now as you can imagine we were rather taken with this design however the tile in the pic were hexaganol and hand painted in the three shades of colour required to produce the 3D effect, and search as hard as we did there were none available.
We found the same pattern copied onto square tiles but that completely bolloxed the 3D effect by having square grout lines all over the place and was not the quality of finish we wanted.
I popped into to see Brian at New Image Tiles (opposite Jewsons in Bridport) and he suggested making the pattern manually using the three shades of a diamond shaped tile that would give the same effect.
It turned out to be “1500” tiles to do the 12 meters of landing space we wanted however always willing to accept a challenge in the pursuit of the quality level of finish we want we ordered them and now the walls were dry we set about laying them down.

Here is the landing painted and ready for the tiles, with the balcony at the end removed

Here is the decidedly gorgeous MrsB dressed up in her boiler suit to woo!! me and it worked…… ahem!! I mean checking on progress

And here we go!!!

Once you get the hang of the pattern they go down fairly quickly.

Here is where the landing heads of down to the bathroom, study and bog but if we left the pattern unchanged we would end up with long lines of the darker tile and lose some of the 3D effect so we made the decision to “turn” the pattern by usinag dividing line of one couler of the tiles we wee using. here are the first dry attempts to get the turn angles right so it then followed the straight wall again in the other landing. You van see the medium grey colour being used as the break point. Not being relatives of Escher we couldn’t work out better way to do it.

and here is the final few cuts going in so we can re-install the balcony

Oh and here is the balcony receiving its last lick of paint before being put in place at the end of the first landing. It looks down onto the “back2front room” that some would describe as lounge.

and here it is back in place

This will give you an idea of how some of the specialist artisans (like the blacksmith) we asked to make the balconies seem to want to help in “upping the game” when it comes to the fine detail of the place and he made us these knotted bolts to complement the twisted rope effect at the top of the balcony.

This one doesn’t show the tiles off to their best effect but it gives you a better idea of the landing in full.

and here is looking the other way back to the stairs

in more detail

I will stop here because now comes the story of the other landing and the installation of the “old school” new bog or perhaps more accurately the new old school style bog and cistern. and that needs a chapter on its own

Love and peace

More elaboration of the Kitchen Space

Well the kitchen is coming along nicely.
Spending several months designing the kitchen layout, building mock ups, pretending to cook and prepare / serve food in there etc is proving to be time well spent indeed. I cannot recommend this process highly enough and regardless if you like colours, material or equipment we have chosen, one thing guaranteed is that if you are a person who likes to cook, the galley part layout is awesome to cook in. We have a few minor tweaks to make with storage but we are very nearly there.

The most important part of the whole process was the building of dummy surfaces/units and pretending to cook, playing at washing up and getting stuff off shelves and putting away crockery after washing up etc etc. I could not imagine building akitchen without that process taking part.

Once we decided what we wanted We ended up building an island and the framework for where the surfaces and sink etc were to go.

The sink was fitted but not fixed into position and then wooden template tops were built for the work tops.

Then with various instructions/measurements written on these were then sent to UK for fitting stainless steel with splash backs or edgings

Here are the tops in place

then the sink being lowered in

The hob and oven fitted in situ and working

The shelves up around cooking area

Then the granite for the sink surround and drainer

So then we set about tiling the island (haven’t finished the trims or the shelf under the drainer yet)

And this is a look around today, as it is so far.
Still plenty to do but you should get the gist of it now.

In through the door from the back2front room (lounge)

Looking from the back2front wall to the front of the house

Checking out the business end of the galley

Looking across to “Helga” the Warmsler1100 wood burning range and boiler and mainstay of the house during the winter months.

Looking from the galley towards the back2front room

That should give you a better idea of where it’s heading.

I am sure anyone who looks at this will have an opinion about it, (like marmite I guess) but for the record “we” are absolutely delighted to see the closing stages of the rooms nearest completion that we have designed every detail of, created and built every square inch of, the materials we have chosen to use, the equipment we have uitilised, the way it is lit, the way that it feels to move around in, and more importantly the process of doing it. There has been lots of laughter, some tears, drops of blood, (mainly mine) plenty of sweat, but most importantly a large portion of love.

The hallways upstairs with their 3D tiling and the old school bog and cistern next up

Love and peace

Then we fi

Old kitchen door becomes new kitchen draws

So we had some work to do in the kitchen, not least of which was creating some usable draw space next to the oven.

Here is the gap that I reckoned would take three deep draws next to the oven

Now I have acquired many new skills in this renovation, however I have never made a draw or set of draws. By that I dont mean I haven’t bought a flat-pack of draws and put them together, which is a fairly simple task, but making custom ones is new to me. My method was as follows I bought 6 of those slidey bracket things that you see on filing cabinets, I then bought some timber and appropriately sized screws and then set about knocking them up, bespoke size, in situation.

Here is the first of them fitted in place

They are about 30cms deep (near enough a foot in old money) and have also been fitted with sliding tray tops about 10cms down to allow for two tier storage to make it easy to locate items required.

So the top when in first and then I found a way of fitting the next two sets of brackets that required a bit of “getting into small places” as shown here. Quite comfy and MrsB even bought me a cup of coffee as I squirmed about in there grazing my fingers and getting stuck.

Thats the brackets in

Then it was simple case of fitting the other draws making any alterations required, then cutting to size and aligning the fronts.
The draw fronts are cut from the original kitchen door that we first ever saw and MrsB fell in love with on our first sighting of the house. We had a replica one made (without the rot and leaks) in oak by Micheal who did our staircase and saved the bits of the old one to use at some stage in the future for cupboard doors or, as has now happened, draw fronts.

Here is the door on the day we bought the place

And here it is (well two thirds of it) recycled into the house like so many other things that we found in the original and have all found their way back into it somewhere.
The handles are the originals off the door and just re-aligned (with one inverted) to suit our quirky style. The bottom handle was found on an old piece of wood in the house.

We are happy with them because it is more of the original history back into the regenerated house, this is also true of the wood that is around them, with the red upright being part of an old internal door-frame (the only one in the place) and the two dark uprights being from the original roof.

More kitchen upgrades to follow in day or two

Love and peace

The Sheds have Gone Long Live and Long Love the Sheds

Aye Aye landlubbers, Well it has finally happened. It was always on the cards but the planned demolition was often considered almost a sacrilege by ourselves and those who have visited and been “shedded right up” but the day has come and Shed One and YeeHaw are no more.
I forgot to do a complete pictorial history of the de-construction however this was the foundation blocks of Shed One after it was down.

And here is a partially deconstructed Yee Haw doors and windows removed

Here the sun sets for one last time on YeeHaw throwing the golden light on the carcass

And the paper rose that had survived for 7 years under the eaves

And there it was gone

Sad in many ways as a lot of laughter love and joy was embedded in those sheds over the 7 years thye have effectively been our home but as was mentioned earlier they were always destined for removal.

But don’t despair fellow shed lovers because out of the ashes of despair and rising from the sawdust and timbers of the carnage a new and magnificent, and yet to be named (suggestions welcome) shed arises being a combination of the other and a purpose built studio space for MrsB.
It has some of both sheds in it as well as some new materials where required and measures 6 by 3 meters.
WE have the roof on and sealed and the windows and doors in and the waterproof breather membrane around the sides on. Now it uis up to MrsB to clad it as I ran out of time and had to return to sea as many people have often surmised I left a few planks short of a shed.

Part of the floor and two sides

the space where the cherry tree was soon to be filled by more shed

MrsB loading up the cherry tree for sawing and seasoning to be burned in couple of years

First part of roof and the full size of the sides up

Door and couple of windows in

All the membrane and windows and doors in just awaiting cladding and internals

Not very pretty at the moment but from that ugly duckling a beautiful duck is going to emerge

So the sheds have gone but long live the sheds.

Next update on the leaves work to be posted shortly

Love and peace