It’s been a busy time in the living room since I started the “Christmas decorating” way back in December.
My new best friend, “Pollyfiller“, has worked wonders on the walls and woodwork, and my favourite tool, my wallpaper scraper has made magic on any lumps and bumps I used it on.
I’m a great fan of happy colours, they’re not to everybody’s taste, but the bright colours in this room work well as, even with the bay window, the bright sunlight only comes in for a few hours in the morning. My yellow walls mean the room is full of sunshine all year round.
The chimney breast?
Hmmn, yes the chimney breast ….
Well, first of all, with the amount of pollyfiller and scraping needed, it’s turned into more of a sculpture that a “decorating preparation” .
The daedo rail which Hubby particularly likes is staying around most of the walls in this room. I took it off from the front of the chimney breast though to replace it with a huge chunk of wood as a mantlepiece instead. No problem I thought, I could just drill holes for the supporting bolts in line with the old rail and hang up the new mantle instead.
The “just drilling” of the holes turned out to be my first problem. My drill, which is an old one of my Dad’s and is quite possibly as old as me, if not older, didn’t have the power to drill into the concrete lintel. Since I was way overdue for a new one, I treated myself to a new, all-singing all-dancing, hammer drill and with a bit more oomph, (technical term there) made the right holes to put it up. Once the mantle was up, I decided the rail on the sides of the chimney breast had to come off as well, and set about the holes it left in the walls with my pollyfiller.
The smiles which arrived with the mantlepiece slowly faded, and gradually turned to a frown. This just wouldn’t do. Off came the wood and out came the drill and the pollyfiller again. It would seem I had been too trusting of the previous workmanship again, I’d lined the holes for the supporting bolts along the previous daedo rail marks on the wall… Will I never learn.
After a lot of readjustment using a spirit level, I was finally happy with the position of the mantle and I set about the fireplace itself. We had been assured by the previous tenant that the wood burner was in working order, they had used it, but when we tried to have the chimney cleaned, the chimney sweeper said that he had told the landlord the burner was unsafe to use because the chimney needed lining. Top and tail of it turned out to be that we wouldn’t be able to actually use the burner until the chimney was lined, and couldn’t arrange that to happen until half way through March.
All was not lost, I used the “waiting time” well and set about the bricks and the old mortar with my wallpaper scraper, scratching and scraping in between the bricks at the mortar and scrubbing away at the bricks themselves until they resembled clean.
I wasn’t happy with the front edges, it took me a little while of chipping at and cutting away the old edge with a Stanley knife leading to more holes and more pollyfillering but eventually I had the result I was trying for and so I sprayed the whole fireplace with a mixture of water and PVA glue to seal the old mortar and the pollyfiller, ready for painting.
It’s OK, after three coats of paint were allowed to dry, the chimney breast looked a lot more like the colour I’d chosen.
The chimney man finally came to line the chimney, he laid a slate tile hearth and gave our burner a clean bill of health.
There are still a couple of bits which need attention, I’ve already polished the brass candlesticks to add a little shine but the chimney man made quite a mess so the bricks need scrubbing again, and the burner itself still needs a polish but it’s almost there.
More “Fixings and finishings” on the new house.