Unlike President Nixon’s first speech to the nation on April 30th 1973 during the Watergate scandal when he proclaimed “there can be no Whitewash at the White House” there is definitely whitewash at our house.

Having looked up the recipe for making whitewash with hydrated lime (thanks YouTube) and fortunately having a huge sack of it for making cement ring cones and other such concrete niceties (available through our Esty shop once we have the finish we’re after)  we’ve slapped on the first coat. As we have blogged before, it would have been great to have kept the bare brick and stone as stripping things back to their raw state is part of our ethos at Estuary Home. However, the cement is too dirty and the brick is still permeated by yellow soot/sap/mysterious ooze and so we’re going white.

The second-hand paint was bought for £3.50 (2.5L white satinwood) from Reciprocal which is sadly closing down. Hopefully we’ll come across another organisation trying to keep good quality paint in use. It does mean that we’re now making the Estuary Home room a white interior. The saving grace is perhaps the floor, which, now sanded, is going to have the Estuary Home aging treatment to make it silver-grey or dark and keep the room weathered and rustic looking.

Having said that, we do have a tin of lime-effect wax and so the room may become completely white.

 

We’ve not decided what to do with the unattractive electric heater. Being off-grid when it come to the gas supply means it’s a balance between getting the right look, being energy efficient and sustainable and having a hygge home

The stairwell bookcases have been designed and will be made from the scaffold planks which we had earmarked as bath trays but when you’re taking reclaimed materials and making them into great things it’s good to see where it takes you. We’ll put this down to R&D and hope it produces something fab.

Only 3-4 days drying time to wait and we can have another go at the whitewash.

With all the sanding that we’ve been doing, I’m amazed we haven’t produced our very own dunes. Enough-was-enough and we gave-up on our own elbow-grease and hired in ‘The Machine’. This was just a standard floor sander, but the 24 grade paper attached, it tore through the varnish and stained floorboards in no time.

Needless to say, the bulk of the floor sanding is now done. Maybe we should have hired an edging sander too but even using the 24 grade sandpaper and working by hand, it is very effective so we’ve pushing round the edge with this. The drop in the summer temperature from the 30 degrees to the 20 is very welcome in light of the physical nature of the work… phew!

Marathon runners describe the feeling that comes, usually after 20-or-so miles of running, when they feel beaten, spent and unable to take another step as ‘The Wall’. In some ways, our attempts so far to prepare the wall in our Modern Rustic room have felt much the same, with progress grinding to a halt having completed most of the work.

However, the summer holidays and we’ve found some time to get back and face another round of scaping, hammering and generally clawing at the paint and discoloured coverings. Initially, we did think that if we could get back to clean brick, then that would look great and job done. However, the joy in the style of house building in the area means that as well as mixing brick, stone and seemingly anything to hand in the construction process, the mortar is a crumbly and filthy black substance. Therefore, to avoid a constant drizzle of grit, we’re giving the wall a coat of lime to give the surface some strength and tidy the whole lot up without loosing all the rustic loveliness of the thrown together materials.

Having pushed through the pain-barrier our ‘hitting-the-wall’ stage is finished – literally. There is nothing remaining now to hammer free just many, many square meters of sanding. The floor has a very yellow varnish but a good sanding takes this off.

Sanding through the yellow coloured varnish to get back to the bare wood

As with the reclaimed furniture we’ve made, there will be a few solutions applied to the sanded wood to give it an aged effect. Playtime awaits!

This is paint, but not as we know it.

There is nothing like a bare brick wall to make for getting a rustic/industrial look. We think our room needs this and so Nic has been scraping the plastic-based sealant paint from the brickwork, painted on by the previous home-owners. It looks like white emulsion but is waterproof and where we’ve removed it, the wall is starting to drying out.

Keeping an old house warm and dry does take some thought, but having lived in a few Victorian/Edwardian houses it seems that any attempt to seal the property from damp and draughts results in condensation, mould and brown stains – just as we have at the moment. We’re not damp-proof experts but based on our experience, if you have an old house, let it breath.

The wall is being scraped clean showing the bricks and stone used in its construction. The floor is also being levelled and after a blizzard of wood shavings, it is getting there.

There is still quite a bit to do so we’re back to it. More dust and wood shavings await.

What is this paint?

We’ve been scraping and sanding for a couple of days and it is proving to be very hard going. I’m covered in dust while writing this and I’m having a break. What we thought was paint seems to be a coating impervious to sandpaper, scrapers, paint-stripper and a wire brush drill-bit (almost). Should we have a nuclear war in the next few months, I’m sure this surface will somehow survive and hang in space, like a ghostly reminder of the house that now lies on the ground, no more than vaporised debris and ash.

If you have ever encountered this, please leave a comment on what it is and how you removed it – assuming you actually managed to.

We’re getting started on the room and the first task is to make some space. The idea was to have a good tidy before we last moved but many of the magazines, books and knick-knacks came with us and have sat patiently on shelves and bookcases ever since.

So nothing intricate, involved or complicated at this stage. Just bagging, recycling, selling and giving away. The plan is to keep as much we can out of the waste-stream and re-use it in Estuary Home products. We’ve sorted some paper and card to be used for packing our online orders but the old ‘Zest’ magazines are for recycling.

There is the furniture from Ikea. It has been with us for 10-or-so years and while it is still solid and very practical, it is made from chipboard sections covered in a plastic venire. Not sure that we’ll keep this as it’s hard to see it fitting in with our Modern Rustic style but the plastic covering is a concern.

The room itself has great potential and we can’t wait to clear it. Back to sorting out years of life’s accumulations.