|The lounge is no different to the rest of the house, in fact probably only second to the kitchen for icing! However, after we moved in the room was perfectly useable once your brain had learned to ignore the plaster.
|We decided some time ago to put in a wood burning stove, one of the modern built in stoves. The plan is to use this with a system of vents and heat ducts to provide heat to the rest of the house, either to provide all heating needs or more likely to boost the heat when it is particularly cold and the air source heat pump is struggling. I did quite a bit of research and decided on the system we wanted and Karen tracked down the local sales rep and got us an appointment (on my birthday) to see our local reseller, at Gatwick! This is what we had to start with, the ice cave.
|The company (CPM) arranged to came round to look at the fireplace and give us a quote, so we spent a day ripping out the fireplace so that they could view the area properly. What was I thinking? I was expecting this to be a simple job of removing one hideous plaster covered fake wall to reveal the old fireplace, but this is York Cottage and nothing is ever that simple!
We pulled out the first fireplace to reveal another one, which we had to remove to get back to the original one. Then, so we could see the extent of the chimney breast I cut a hole in the thick artex ceiling, only to find another ceiling (a mock tudor thing) 3 inches above that. So, I cut a hole in that one to find another ceiling 18 inches above that, with a hole where the builder put his foot through when building the extension all those years ago. That means we had three fireplaces, one on top of the other, and three ceilings, one under the other!
CPM came and looked at the chimney but couldn't quite work out how it had been constructed because the whole fireplace has been lined with bricks. They gave some advice and then arranged to come back after I had removed a few more bricks to reveal the structure behind.
So, I spent another day removing the rotten timbers across the front of the opening (you remember, the one that the previous owners had silicone sealed instead of fixing the leak outside!) only to find that the original fireplace wasn't the original at all.
|It looks as if there was something else in that area at some point in the past judging by the way the plaster is neatly finished and covered in wallpaper, and the way the huge concrete slab had been cast in place held up by another brick wall. Looking at the old photo of the house it looks like this was originally patio doors.
|I started by removing the carpets which revealed a wooden "stage" which was part of the original building before the lounge was added in 1969. This area will eventually become the music room. Once the room was empty I started to remove the ceilings, well the first two ceilings anyway. This wasn't actually too difficult as the first ceiling was easy to pull down and the wood was screwed into the second ceiling.
The second ceiling wasn't too difficult either because the plaster board was laid in top of the fake beams and just stuck in place. The supporting perimeter beams had been packed out using the Times newspaper dated February 1988 which is when I guess the ceiling was put up. With the ceiling(s) now removed the room feels huge.
|Of course when I started to pull the away the plasterboard on the walls there were two layers. I also revealed what appears to have been the original door (or maybe only a window) into the room at the centre of the wall where the stairs are now. I cut a new doorway beside that leading to the bottom of the stairs and started to block in the existing arch from the dining area.
Chris and Tony came back to remove the internals of the chimney, far more difficult than expected! The whole internals of the chimney was solid brick which took Tony two days with a kango to break out. He was shattered by the end of it and the skip was half full of bricks. On the third day they broke out the raft lintel.