Having finished tongue and grooving the two walls near the back door I added a panel to lengthen the under stair so they ran parallel to the other side….
The panel is the side of the armoire that the mirrored door in the kitchen came from. You’ll notice the wood block underneath; this was left in the garage by the previous owner. I’ve used others that were there in the will be kitchen.
As the side of the armoire had a detailed piece that I didn’t want to lose and it didn’t quite reach the top the block served to raise it up to fill the gap. Well, almost.
I just marked on the wood the lowest point where it needed to meet the stairs and the highest. I cut along the line I drew between the two with my jigsaw.
As there was a wood strut where the stair panel ended I glued the two together and clamped them tight.
I carried on gluing tongue and groove to the brick wall under the stairs. I have another armoire door (don’t ask 😖) and I thought I could make a cupboard under the stairs using this.
It’s incredibly heavy. As I heaved it down the stairs the weight made me think about how to support it. Although I have heavy duty hinges I thought it would be a good idea to add a few rollers to the bottom too, just to be sure.
I measured the door and it came to just below the back of one of the stair treads. There’s an additional piece of wood that runs along the stair as it descends that juts out slightly. I ran two lengths of wood horizontally beneath that in line with where the door will stand.
I finished tongue and grooving the back and side of the space.
As I finished that days work I took a length of wood and glued it so it ran parallel to the base of the door. The wheels that needed to be screwed in where too wide to attach without doing this.
The mirrored door was a little too narrow so I added a panel to the side of the cupboard.
I left this part of the project at this stage to continue with the doorway. However, having found a bargain Henry II buffet, I used a lovely detailed piece from that to finish off the door.
You can see in the above picture that I’d originally painted the surrounding area white, but not the door. I wasn’t sure at that stage if I wanted to have it all white and thought a contrast might look nice. But I decided that painting all the section would help to unify the whole area in the end. This hasn’t got its fin coat yet, but you get the idea.
There’s lots more work to do, I’ll add another update soon.
Work is still going on under the stairs and at the back of the hallway. As the back door is the only one in the house that’s not double glazed retaining heat is a big consideration. So I adapted this curtain to keep the cold air out and the warm air in.
You’d be amazed at the cold chill you’re hit with when you draw the curtain back in the morning. Speaking of tiebacks, I got these from ebay.fr. They’re meant to go either side of the window, but with the door being right next to the wall one tie back wouldn’t work. So by doubling them up like this they work.
It had been too long, so I took the end off and sewed it as a trim on the top, adding this lovely lace.
That and the dog draught excluder make an enormous difference.
The painting is one I found at a brocante a long time ago. I think the slightly battered frame and her wistful expression suit the area.
The area needed light, as the one that had been there was tucked under the stairs behind the new cupboard.
I bought some beautiful, crystal chandelier wall lights from the same brocante, but there wasn’t a power outlet on the wall. This is my solution, so this is my solution. Now, I’m not an electrician, so please don’t take anything I’m about to say as professional advice.
I bought a lamp, electrical cord. It had an integrated light switch and a plug on one end. I attached this to the wall light and fixed the latter to the wall. Then I secured the cord to the wall and beams with cable clips. Finally I plugged it into an extension cable and clipped this to the beams length until it was plugged into a light socket.
I’m going to disguise the cord in another of my winter proofing techniques later.
My husband went to put some peelings in the compost bin recently and found four little eyes staring out at him 🥰…
Of course they came to live with us. They’re adorabubble. However, they bring to life the meaning of Phoebe’s lyrical genius…
Don’t tell me that she’s not up there with Tolstoy for communicating the mysteries of redemptive suffering; not after I’ve lived with these babies.
They’ve just had their first vaccinations and the desire to get them out and about to do their business has become imperative. However, our back door is predominantly glass. Where to place a cat flap?
I’d bought one for our small dog to go in the will be kitchen, but living on a hill means that it’s very windy where we are. I’ve got an idea for how to counteract the wind howling through the flap, but it’s going to be a next year thing.
Furthermore, the fact that we won’t be using the room next to the kitchen until it’s decorated and a form of heating is put in next year, means that we will need to keep the doors into that area closed throughout winter. That hindrance won’t be conducive to encouraging the little kitty cats to use outside as their litter tray.
I’d already been thinking of ways to deal with the cold emanating from the glass door in the main part of the house. It made maintaining the heat in the hallway a challenge last year I can tell you. A draft excluder had gone some way to helping the situation, but it’s still a challenge.
I’d been talking to my husband about how to solve it and suggested having another internal door, perhaps a front door, just after the one into the living room. At the moment that passage way cuts under the stairs into the current small kitchen. The reconfiguration would mean that we could treat this newly sectioned off area as a mini boot room / porch way.
As we intend to use the current kitchen as a playroom when we transfer over this would have additional benefits. It would be a little area where coats, bags, shoes can be neatly put away as the children go in and out.
You’re laughing at my naivety aren’t you?
Neatly put away 😏.
The idea has been given a new lease of life with the cat situation. There may not be an opportunity for a cat flap in the current glass door, but surely I could have one in this more interior door and leave the glass one open during the day?
It’s a start to a solution anyway.
I’m still continuing with the will be kitchen where, surprise, surprise, I’m facing another, newly discovered challenge. Yet when that gets too much for me I’ve start work on this little area.
As you can see the wall had already be stripped. There had been brown, carpeted walls here. Mmmm…
There’s probably a logical reading for that to do with heat or something, but – as you can imagine – it created a very gloomy atmosphere. One day I got so fed up with it I started to wrench it from the walls. Even the bare walls was better, although I found a few nasty surprises underneath.
I loved the look of the tongue and groove I’d used in the kitchen and decided I’d do it again in this little section.
I bought just one pack of tongue and groove and cut in line with the door frame, gluing the pieces straight to the wall. When it got to the corner I didn’t cut a piece to fit, as I’d only bought the one pack and knew I’d only just cover the two walls I wanted to start with, so I finished it with some left over wood moulding and a 1/4 round.
There was a gap between the lengths I’d cut and the underneath of the doorway (I don’t know why I ended them there 😣) ans I used various off cuts of wood mouldings to fill this gap, but also to extend the section up so when I had a plinth running around the area it could smoothly continue around in the section above the door.
Here you can see I used a wood cornice topped off with a quarter round – extending under the door frame – a piece of beaded trim, the the plinth.
None of these are perfect fits, but I intend to paint it white to ensure that it’s bright, so I can just smooth acrylic into the gaps.
On the second wall I cut one length of tongue and groove to fit up to the door frame where I intended the plinth to take over.
Then I started to use the cut offs to continue right up until the final length when I used another full piece. I did this because I wanted to use this panel somewhere (it’s the odd door left from the buffet I broke down whilst working on the will be kitchen) and as I was short on tongue and groove doing it like this meant I just had enough.
I intended to have two horizontals of plinth as I wanted two rows of hooks to hang coats on. I intended making this plinth work for me though. The carved door is very well made and very heavy, so I une it in place. Then using lengths of wood I glued with the strongest glue I could find I built up the area so that in effect the panel could rest on it.
If you want to do something similar I think it’s important to note I didn’t let it rest on this wood yet, I allowed the glue to set for a couple of hours first. Then I continued to encase the cupboard door with the other parts of wood.
I topped this side with another plinth and a quarter round to both sides as there was a small gap on the door side. I let this adhere for an hour then I got to work caulking both sections.
This took a day, just fitting it around other things. it certainly isn’t a time intensive project so far. However, to be able to put a door in this section I needed to extended the side of the under stairs area. That proved a little more tricky.
Here it all is with the first coat of paint. I’ll update you on the second part soon.
This is a really simple post for New Year’s Day. I’ve been thinking about how to add mouldings to the walls in the part of our staircase that has the turning stair leading up to the higher floors. Unlike the front hallway at first glance this isn’t a simple one third, one third, one third prospect where I have a type of moulding below a dado, something above in the next third, then a picture rail and ceiling section of moulding. The need to follow a diagonal line which turns into a flat can make this simple formula complicated.
The below dado section is fine, but if you want to add a series of panelled mouldings in the next third, as I do, they have the challenge of having to follow the diagonal line too.
I managed to gain inspiration from great houses and how they handled this dilemma.
Here in this green painted stately home you can see how the mouldings have been used in lines to section off areas giving clear horizontals to create tableaux mouldings. So a narrow, moulded frieze runs from the base of a higher floor around the visible stairwell.
Here it is in a more simply painted white decor, although the mouldings are magnificent.
Here is what I will base my blue and white colour scheme on, with the possibility of less expensive stencilled panels surrounded by simple, wood appliqué moulding frames.
Obviously the ceiling moulding is never going to happen, but it’s interesting to see how the final area on a stairwell landing can be treated.
My main goal next year is to finish our new kitchen at long last. I’ve written about it many times, but we still haven’t finished. Nevertheless when it is finished our plan is to move the dining room to the room that’s beside the kitchen, connected via the small entrance area that I spoke about in yesterday’s post.
I love chinoiserie and thought about how I could get the look in the hallway, bedrooms and now I’m thinking of the dining room.
Chinoiserie is expensive, so the only way we can realistically afford this look is if I hand painted it with the help of stencils. I’ll, of course, share here when I do it. However in the meantime you can click on this link to see my last attempt at painting birds with a stencil like tool.
Now to the chinoiserie.
Which is a way of painting in shades of grey, as the name suggests. I love it, but I don’t think I’d ever be able to manage it myself. Here are some of the images that make me want to blow the budget though.
I’ve had a terrible chest infection, it’s something I’ve been susceptible to since forever, but this one has been very hard to shift. It still lingers, but I’m starting to be able to join the land of the living -even if I limp away after short periods of time.
However as it’s the feast of the Sacred Heart today I thought I’d give you an update on the hallway, with its dedication to the Sacred Heart, and in particular the doorways that I’ve painted. The hallway isn’t finished so you’ll see some snags in the paintwork amongst other things which I’ll touch up prior to those final details.
The doors originally looked like this…
I’d already added the vintage fingerplates and I knew I’d paint and gild the doors as I did in the dining room, but as you can see from these picture I’ve also added a feature on the top….
These were wood mouldings bought here that I didn’t painted gold. They tie in with the wood carving over thee main door. Those of you who read the blog at that time will remember that I’d bought this old top from an armour and put it above the door (the post is here).
As you can see I’ve highlighted this in gold too. I’m considering hand painting some roses in the panel that is bare as I did with my secrétaire. When I have more energy I’ll get to it.
On the doors you can see I’ve filled the gaps between the armoir carving with these wood mouldings bought here and spray painted gold.
You can also see that I’ve added additional flourish mouldings bought here and, again, spray painted gold. I’ve also highlighted details on the door in gold too. I did this as these doors are original Art Deco, which would be great in a more modern scheme but doesn’t really go with this. I took a chance that the details would bring it in line with the rest of the room and I think they’ve worked.
Previously I’ve given how tos on the panelling (here and here) but these were literally paint, glue them on and then repaint any details that need it. I haven’t done that last part yet due to my illness and you can see that when I remove the masking tape a little extra gold and blue came with it. It will be done.
You can see the little, porcelain door handle that used to be in the dining room that I’ve now moved here as I thought they went so well with the decor theme and colours.
I gave you a sneak peak of the marble relief picture, but here it is in more detail…
You’ll notice I’ve used the picture rail. The picture is so heavy I’d taken it down for fear of it dropping and smashing. I’d ordered the wire and picture rail hooks from here and here and it had taken some time to get to France (I hadn’t seen an equivalent here). They’re the brace to the belt of the picture hook and eye system that I’d already used. I’m a little more confident now that it will remain there.
The Queen Anne chair has been pictured on both sides of the room as shortly after I took the photos my husband came in and complained about its position. He thought that as it was just in front of the door it was an inconvenience. So I moved it to the other side.
Here’s a close up of the ceramic umbrella stand which is an original Art Deco piece and suits the colouring of the room superbly. I think it mimics the central chandelier with its pink candle cap light shades and the ceiling rose that reflects the stained glass design I made (see here).
In these shots you can see the cornice I’ve added and, unfortunately, the unfinished side panels. The one drawback of ordering the wood carvings from China is that they take soooooo long getting here and I’m waiting for two more pieces.
I was going to add some more wood carvings on the ceiling and above the picture rail, but it looks ‘enough’ now, and I don’t want to spoil it by adding more. Some of them have already arrived and I think I’ll use them in the dining room where I’d intended to do something similar.
What I am also waiting for is some crystal droplets to arrive for the chandelier – I’ll post with the other details as well as one more little thing I want to add.
So I moved the chair on the other side. I covered this about three years ago and had considered recovering it in gold damask as I have some material upstairs just waiting to be used. However seeing it here I’m not so sure I’ll rush into that.
Here’s a reverse shot of the chair. I’ve always loved the rose pattern on the reverse of the chair. I think the umbrella stand looks good here too.
Above the radiator, which I’ve spray painted pale blue along with the gold shelf, are some old dress design prints. One is from a collection in 1914….
or season one Downton, and the other is from 1922….
Now is that season three or four? Doesn’t the old telephone suit them?
Anyway I think they’re beautiful and the black and gold seems to tone down the cutesy girliness of the room as does, I hope, the muted pink and taupe.
I’ve replaced the photos of my great grandmothers, again. Whenever I decorate a new room they are ceremonially moved into it it seems.
Here’s a close up of that beautiful clock. I haven’t even tried to get it going yet. I don’t think it has a key. I know I won’t be winding it up every day so why fuss?
Finally here’s a close up of my Sacred Heart statue. I’ve added some tea light holders and flowers so it doesn’t look so bare as before. I’m dedicating all my family to Him anew today. Are you?
I haven’t been posting or even reading other blogs as I’ve been hard at it trying to complete the front hallway.
Do you remember when I said I was only going to do a little bit at a time? Ha! I’ve put up a cornice, a picture rail, painted it, added details to the doors….I’m aching 😩, but now it’s taking shape and I’m so happy and excited 🤩.
With lots more to do I thought I’d take the time to share these little glimpses of how it’s taking shape.
Here are my beautiful, vintage Sacred Heart if Jesus and Mary statues on a gold shelf…
Without intending to it seems that the décore of the hallway compliments them beautifully.
This relief is marble and incredibly heavy. I bought the little lights when we first started coming to France. As I dreamed of living here I tucked them away. Now they’re on our wall!
This Art Nouveau holy water fountain is perfect here isn’t it? It’s in pewter and compliments the doors superbly. As you can see I’ve yet to finish the first set of panels as I’m waiting for some more pieces.
I’ll post on the details I’ve added to the doors soon.
You may have noticed my long absence; I’ve had so much to contend with and in the middle of it all I decided to start the second part of our mouldings. I cannot tell you what a mistake that was! It turned out to be a huge job -not the mouldings themselves, which were simple, but I suddenly found myself doing lots of other work around them too.
I’ve seen on Pinterest lots of helpful ‘how tos’ on wainscoting or panels to your walls. I always think they look classic and they’re on my decorating want list for the other entrance.
However with the main entrance I wanted something more classicly French that would still go with my Art Noufaux doors (how to here). So I came up with this way to add faux panels (take a look at the more intricate panels in my first how to here).
Throughout the hallway was textured wallpaper with an underlay of very thin polystyrene. This had been used because the plaster beneath was rough and in some places falling a part. So the reason I’ve been delayed, amongst other things, is I’ve been stripping most of the wallpaper off and plastering the wall as well as starting to work on covering the seams of the remaining wallpaper to paint.
I’ve also added a picture rail. If you want a how to for either of these let me know in the comment box below.
For the panels I used19mm half rounds and more decorative wood appliques. The ones I used are here…
You need to decide if you want rectangles or squares for the panels. I chose rectangles as they elongate the room. I cut all my half rounds into the same length though as the height and length of the mounding still were very different so they actually created the rectangular shape.
Unlike the other panels I painted the wall before I applied them to make it easier to decorate post paneling. However I’m not sure if this was the best thing. I’m going for a two tone look in this section and I think I wasted paint in the middle which will be painted over with a taupe colour. Here’s my inspiration for this section by the way….
One benefit of painting first is that you can see blue through the fretwork of the scrolls, as you can see here…
I’d also pre painted the lengths and scrolls. Painting delicate details in situ can be tricky so this gave me a head start. My gold liquid paint is a slightly lighter colour, so I’m going to use the two shades as a detail itself.
As I had to work around the radiator, which I’ve sprayed the same shade of blue and it’s given it a new lease of life, it naturally led to my considering it in the placing of the panels considering its dimensions. Would I place it near the wall, and therefore have the entire panel on display, or would I have some of the detail behind the radiator itself? I went for the latter as I wanted the panels to be parallel to each other and, as there was no impediment on the other side, the spacing wouldn’t look right.
Work out the spacing?
Prior to continuing I placed what would be the upper half of the panels on the floor running alongside the wall to have an idea of how they’d fit. Satisfied I carried on to the next part.
Obviously when I was working out where to place the mouldings I measured the half rounds in addition to the lengths of the appliqués and then with the depth. As I was going to have two panels I subtracted the total of the two from the length of the wall and I was left with 32 cms. So I decided to allow for the majority of the gap in between and divided the space as 10cms, panel length, 12cms, panel length, 10cms.
I did the same with the depth, deciding on a distance of 5cms between the wall and the length of the wood scroll.
Adding the first detail
Just like my previous tutorial I used no more nails and immediately applied some to the back of the first, wooden scroll. I measured 5cms down and 10cms in and applied it to the wall. Using my infra red beamed spirit level I continued along.
Adding the first length
NMN was added to the half round and applied to the wall with the spirit level’s aid. However I checked the distance from the dado rail with my measure as we’ll.
It’s really important to do this as in an old house like this (ours is definitely pre 1850s, they only kept records after that date, so it could be sìgnificantly older) there is often movement in the walls etc. So although the houses are solid they may not be 100% level. As a result a level line might not coincide with the dado rail.
Continue with the rest of the rectangle.
Measure the width between the rectangles and start again
Is this sounding simple? It is. It would probably be tricker if I didn’t have the dado rail already. After the internal double doors, where I plan to continue the moulding, there’s no dado rail. I’ll have to apply a dado rail there and I’ll post about that then.
In the corners it was too small for individual panels without them looking odd, so I continued the panel around the bend. This meant still using four of the scrolls, the same half round length for the depth and a significantly reduced horizontal half round.
I glued the two top scrolls first, then worked out the different length for the top horizontal. Having glued the verticals and the second scrolls I worked out the next horizontal before gluing. Like with the previous panels I checked the measurements throughout.
More odd areas
The next odd areas where too narrow for double scrolls, so I used this carved, corner detail and a scroll without any horizontal half rounds. I’m actually really pleased how this one turned out.
I painted the interiors this taupe colour, but I feel it’s a little strong. I intend to add a raised stencil to that area in the blue to tone it down. I’ll update you on that as well.
I’ve also used a complimentary gold to highlight the scroll detail and, as you can see in my last ‘odd area’ I’ve started to highlight parts in gold.
Of course, I’ve done it all out of order as I should have started with the ceiling first. However I was waiting for coving to arrive and was too eager. Next will be door details and following that the coving, ceiling details and a feature between the picture rail and the coving. Subscribe so you don’t miss any of it and let me know in the comments what you think – I’d love your feedback!
We have two front entrances and I intend the second one to have a simple, country vibe as it’s the one our familly will use most of the time.
I’ve been getting inspiration from Pinterest, of course. You’ll notice themes of wood panelling in wainscoting style, light and airy spaces as well as light coupled with deep, Victorian tones. Wood and stone floors, benches and window seats as well as storage areas are elements I’m hoping to incorporate.
Towards the end I’ve included some ideas for the upper landing as I need this area to flow into the formal entrance and hallway. Enjoy!
I found this chandelier in a state at a local Brocante for 4€. I was so excited because, even though it was badly tarnished, the detail was exquisite. I had placed it in the passenger seat next to me in the car and was driving to pick up the girls when I glance over at a set of traffic lights to admire my special find. That’s when I noticed it, the parts where the light bulbs where held had the electrics burnt away.
My heart sank – would I have to throw this beautiful thing away?
My mind whirred – what could I do with it instead. It simply couldn’t end up in landfil! I considered removing the electrics completely, gluing tealights holders in their place and hanging it from a tree outside as a form of external, candle lighting for al fresco dining.
Then one day in the supermarket I saw what I realised were replacement light fittings. I bought one and asked my Pops, who lives here in France, could they be used to replace the destroyed ones?
My dad’s a star! After much tinkering he managed to attach it. We ordered more and the remainder were replaced to.
When we first moved here at Christmas I took it out and set to work cleaning it. An entire week later and an aching arm saw a gleaming, beautiful chandelier.
Halfway through the project I’d lost the will to live. My mother in law was over for Christmas and she’d sat with me as I’d scrubbed with brasso. At one point, about two thirds of the way through, I looked up and said “maybe I should just paint it white?” She’s from the rougher parts of London, but as a grammar school girl she sounds posh and is a cultured woman who is able to relate to everyone, irrelevant of class. At this moment though it was like an Eliza Doolittle moment as she exclaimed “What after all that work!!!”
So I reconsidered.
After the job was finished I put the chandelier away with the view of putting it up as soon as possible, however other things have intervened. With the completion of the ceiling medallion I couldn’t resist putting them both up this weekend.
Unlike the light under the stairs, or in the laundry room or even our bedroom this was a trickier task and I had to call in my hubby to help after I did started as it was too heavy to do all on my own. Nevertheless when the bulbs where in and the candle cap shades where on I was so pleased with the result.