Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Through the door and up the wooden hill

Well, think it's time to leave the snug - the original door was still in place here, but had been turned into a sliding door, faced with hardboard(!) It had some old wallpaper set into the door frame, so instead of stripping it - we just painted over the top to tone it all together, as I quite liked the look of the paper.
Out in the hallway you can see the side of the staircase - this was all blocked and faced with hardboard, but the original stair case was still hiding underneath - so it awaits some restoration - as do the stairs as you can see. I quite like the trace of the unpainted surface, left from where I suppose there used to be a stair runner at some point.


  1. Interesting colour palette - very 50s. I quite like the staircase like this. I did see a staircase in a magazine where they had painted the top of the step then used Orla Kiely wallpaper pasted to the stair risers!
    You have been amazingly lucky to find a house with so many original features still in tact - did you suspect they were hidden away under all the hardboard when you first viewed the house?
    I love the wallpaper detail - it works really well. This reminds me of a story that seems unbelievable but is true! T's mother and father lived in a 60s semi with a flat front door which they wallpapered ON THE OUTSIDE! Every so often they would change the pattern overnight to surprise the neighbours. T thought this quite normal when she was a child!

  2. Am amazed at the story of T's M&D. Love it! I think it's very heart-warming when people's tastes and quirks 'escape' from the boundaries of the interior. There is the "Rasta' house in Bristol (a Victoria Villa Style house on the street where I used to live) which was painted very carefully in Rasta colours. A few different people have since lived in the house, but they have kept it painted exactly the same. There's also a house in the next street from us painted a teaberry pink with lilac accents! None of your Farrow and Ball around here!
    We had approx 5 minutes to look round the (our) house on a viewing (packed in quite a few and were behind schedule)
    Everything had been covered up with hardboard and painted over - we did a bit of tapping with our knuckles on the stairs and on all the doors (that's how we found out the doorway existed in the studio) and realised that they were what was hopefully the originals underneath - but we didn't know for sure. Good old Albert again with his 'make do and mend' ways!

  3. It's true isn't it that most people’s taste in relation to their home is confined to the interior, with very few knocking the trend. I’m not sure I even know what teaberry pink is but it sounds interesting! And how great that nobody has changed the rasta house – perhaps they are too scared that there may be a public outcry! I suppose that apart from taking an incredibly bold step like the two examples you cite, the exterior in a lot of instances doesn’t really allow too much flexibility for people to show their personality. My end terrace house is red brick with 4 windows and a door, so apart from the door I am quite restricted (that and the fact the house is listed!) – although maybe I should follow T’s parent lead – I should add at this point that her father was a graphic designer!

    What a star Albert was, I wonder if he was egged on by Audrey, or whether he took it upon himself to make the ‘improvements’?

  4. As the rasta house is a bit of a known landmark - I'm sure there would be a public outcry. What a strange house-owner legacy to have!?
    With a listed building, there is also a legacy isn't there - that of preservation. A nod to the in-keeping of a certain period and style, rather than that of a personality. It reminds me of a story of when a resident of the Royal Crescent in Bath painted their front door the 'wrong' colour. Text below is take from Wikipedia:

    In the 1970s one resident Miss Wellesley-Colley painted her front door at number 22 yellow instead of the traditional white. The city council issued a notice insisting it should be repainted. A court case ensued which resulted in the Secretary of State for the Environment declaring that the door could remain yellow. Other proposals for change and development including floodlighting and a swimming pool have been defeated.[2]

    I'm not surprised that you collaborate with T - what a rich tapestry of a family - brilliant stories, events and information. A huge source to make books with!

    I think from what Margaret has mooted, Albert was a law unto himself, and when he got an idea in his head about something - he usually just found a way of going ahead with it, even if the methods or results were quite unorthodox. i.e. Having 'the biggest bay (window) in the street!'

    1. p.s. the front door of no. 22 The Royal Crescent Bath is still yellow today.

  5. Good for Miss Wellesley-Colley!
    Whilst I fully appreciate the laws of Listed Building Consent, they are times when common sense should prevail... At the opposite end of the row of small cottages to my house, is a house called Drummers, it is owned by an eccentric who refuses to sell, but seems happy for it to fall into disrepair. My neighbour has approached the council to buy the property as part of a compulsory purchase order (I think that's what it’s called?)... he has met with the council who have insisted that upon purchasing it, they will have to approve all renovations, including lime plaster to walls, etc etc. This seems a step too far, none of the other houses have been maintained internally using such rigorous methods. And instead the house continues to disintegrate. However, someone did overstep the mark and replace their wooden windows with upvc, they have since been made to change them back!
    You've gotta love Albert - poor Audrey!

  6. The Drummers house declining over time seems such a shame. I wonder why the owner isn't motivated to look after it? Anyway, yes there sometimes seems far too many layers of red tape to cut through and not enough common sense!

    Well. Albert and Audrey lived here together for over 40 years, so either Audrey was very tolerant and took her marriage vows very seriously, or they were true soul mates. (As time went on I suspect it changed from the second to the first!)

    Interesting that the bottom post of the stair rail is painted the same pink as a layer of paper from the wall in the hallway - an all over downstairs pink experience at some point!? The wall paper either side of the stairs has yet to be stripped - wonder how many layers, colours and designs are waiting to be revealed ...


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