We have completed sanding the floor and woodwork in the room, but if we thought that was the end of it, Nic has had a bright idea and the original banister rails are being replaced by scaffold board bookcases. Inspired by Elephant Buffet’s blog post ‘How to keep from falling down a staircase’, we’re starting off in a similar manner but with some differences in the construction to keep it simple, rustic and thoroughly modern with straight lines and clean corners.

The staircase opening to our modern rustic (to be) bedroom with the original banister rails

Our starting point is unique to this room, but for anyone wanting to create something similar, the existing bannister rails need to be removed. The bannister posts here run down into the floor and are incorporated into the structure of the downstairs walls. Rather than remove them completely, we have decided to allow the posts to contribute to the base of the bookcase. Having placed the lengths of wood that will be used to make the base of the bookcase on either side of a bannister post, they act temporarily as a cutting guide. The bannister post is then saw off, running the flat of the saw across the tops of the guides.

Dismantled banister rail with a small piece of the original post

The remainder of the bannister rails are removed. In our case, a small piece of the old bannister is left in place but it could have been completely saw down to the level of the floor.

Destined to have been made into bath trays, we’ve taken our scaffold boards and cut them to size for bookcases instead

The bookcase is mostly constructed from reclaimed scaffold planks. Having decided how big we wanted the bookcase to be, the scaffold planks are cut to size, one length for the bottom shelf and two pieces to make the sides. Just to check everything is correct, we balanced everything in place and cast a critical eye over the dimensions, condition and warping of the planks. Not bad.

The bookcase is to have 2 shelves, one at bottom and one halfway up. As scaffold boards are about 35mm thick, a grove of this width is chiselled into both planks that make the sides. As this bookcase butts up against the wall, it is sanded smooth and bolted into place, making it very sturdy, steady and safe for its dual role as bookcase and bannister.  Our second bookcase/bannister will be free standing and we’ll post on this blog the way we make it. At the moment, we plan to make it much like this one.

Put the base of the bookcase in place and screw to the floorboards

We’re using lengths of wood cut to a square profile. The one at the front that can be seen has been darkened using our aging solution. The other at the back of the bookcase has been left its natural colour as this will be hidden in the construction. Both pieces are screwed to the floorboards.

Our reclaimed scaffold boards are slightly warped. Clamping before screwing gets them nice and flat.

Sand the scaffold board that makes the bottom shelf. Screw the shelf into place along one edge – in this case the back and then if you have something to clamp to, apply pressure to flatten it out and then screw. We we’re cautious in applying the pressure as it is possible to split the planks in two if done too much. However in this case it did flatten out nicely so all is well.

Any clamps can be removed and the bookcase is ready for the other side to be fastened to the base and middle shelf slotted in. We did think about using dowels, glue and screws to hold the shelf in place but simply slotting the shelf in is enough.

Finally, the two planks for the top can be screwed down into the side planks. Originally, the top was a light blond colour when removed from the pallet but will be aged using the solution we’ve made. This needs to be done to both planks and the back of the bookcase needs making. We’ll show how this was done and the second free-standing bookcase made in ‘How We make A Bookcase – Part 2’.

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.

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.

A big thank you to our local auto parts salvage yard for the unwanted car number plates. We’ve been looking at cool ways to arrange them and having picked up a couple of trollies from English Salvage a few days ago, it was obvious that it all belonged together.

Just working out how it should connect. We have a few ideas and it shouldn’t be long before we have another fantastic coffee table in our Etsy shop.

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.

Chunky knitting is very much part of the Estuary Home look and with the Autumn now upon us, our thoughts turn to cold weather, the westerly wind that comes in off the sea and darker evenings. Cosy blankets, cushions and soft furnishings add some needed warmth and comfort and makes your space inviting. Sticking to our love of the industrial, we’re using light and dark grey wools to give our soft products a sense of the factory – utilitarian and cool.
We now have chunky blankets and squashy cushions ready for winter on our Etsy shop – EstuaryHomeUK.

After dismantling several pallets to give us the materials for our coffee tables, we now have all those wooden blocks that are sandwiched in the middle just hanging around. Bashed and nailed into place, they are in fact made from really good wood that in our mind, would be a shame not to reuse in some way…

Therefore we’ve just been out and picked up this drill bit. It may just be the thing…

As well as those great little wooden blocks from the pallets we have also been picking up driftwood and branches. Hmm.

 

Here are some great vintage planes we’ve found. Not sure how old they are but it’s entirely possible they are as old as me… and some. Probably not suitable for woodworking but very aesthetic and well used.

If these don’t shout industrial at you then I don’t know what does.

Might be good as bookends or just placed for full aesthetic effect. Not sure yet but surely something good will come of these…