Works in Progress

Monday 1st May 2017

For almost a year now a programme of restoration and improvement has been underway at my London home, indicating a very full life or an empty one depending on your point of view.

The guiding principles have been light-touch conservation as practised by the National Trust, a deep mis-trust of anything modern, eBay and online antique buying (driving all over the country to view and acquire), ousting of modern furniture and the feeling always hovering at the back of the mind of Buckingham Palace – which does have some stains as a matter of fact.

Seven new antique pieces have been acquired for the drawing room and the 70s coffee table sold on eBay to a man from Caterham.

A new Gustavan-type chandelier arrived from Germany for the back drawing room, which needed to be oumphed up generally. No, chandelier in the back drawing room for the first 20 years of residence! A gilt mirror is still yearned over over the fireplace there -as the final touch for the time being.

The front drawing room chandelier, damaged in the move here 20 years ago, has finally been repaired. For 20 years it lurched at a drunken angle.

So the drawing room is now a maze of little Directoire and top class French brothel side-tables, plus a trolley with pineapple finials which nobody likes and a gilt cane window seat which only cost £120 on eBay (fetched from Long Crendon, the village lived in by Aunt Lavinia’s mother who always said, ‘Long Crendon was the worst mistake of my life.’ That was in fact all she said latterly) which is the most liked of the new pieces.

A programme of framing a massive back-log of art works that have been sitting in drawers for years has been undertaken, resulting in three lunches with my framer in Kensington Church Street and one more to go – the Madonna del Parto is still with him. The vision of entirely old frames didn’t quite come off, but such old frames as have been bought are a success and the modern ones are what one would expect from Kensington Church Street and have an excellent aura.

Where would one be without one’s framer?

The framing exercise led to a re-hang and the problem of dust-marks and old holes in the walls from the previous picture hooks. Polyfilla, a little bit of Flash and some of the original paint from the tin, dirtied with a tiny bit of Raw Umber, have done wonders.

The home is theatre and not every blemish is noticed.

In the entrance hall I want the effect of massed hanging lights as seen in the chapel of St Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai Desert. Two chandeliers so far – eBay – and I crave more – a forest.

No time to cover everything now: the new beds, mattresses, hanging shades in the bedrooms re-made by Val, the new curtains in the back bedroom on the 1st floor…

In my bathroom on the 4th floor, a gap left by Miroslav at the floor’s edge – no filler would take. Just split and crumbled away. Finally I applied Unibond to the grout mix. That was lumpy so I cut a lot of it out, putting Polyfilla on top then over-painting with Humbrol model paint bought at an art shop in Shoreditch. It has in fact split again, but best not to look too closely. From a distance the effect is delicious.

Under the radiator in my bedroom, the seagrass had been all but destroyed by the endless upheaving of the plumber. The epic struggle to get that radiator working… In Angus Willis’s Hasting Home Store I saw some great rolls of edged hessian. Just the thing. I bought in September after the Michel Roux Hidden Kitchen lunch and drove myself to cut and fit in time for my Easter departure for the Far West. Having that task hanging over me another minute would have been unbearable. Val edged the cut hessian with his edger and I sprayed carpet adhesive to stick it down. Only some of the glue soaked through and not even talcum power would obliterate it.

Re-Hang on the Stairs: Solves the Problem of Scuffed Paintwork. Put Pictures and Visitors Keep Away from the Walls. But Now I've Heard of a Super Washable Emulsion Paint so Must Have the Hall and Stairs Re-Done with That

Re-Hang on the Stairs: Solves the Problem of Scuffed Paintwork caused by Passers-By. Put Pictures and They Keep Away from the Walls. But Now I’ve Heard of a New Super Washable Emulsion Paint so Must Have the Hall and Stairs Re-Done with That

Paintwork Restored after Re-hanging in the Drawing Room

Paintwork Restored after Re-hang of the Drawing Room

Back Drawing Room Re-Hang: My Boscoe Holders. The Pictures Now on the Stairs Were Here Before (See Previous Pic)

Back Drawing Room Re-Hang: My Boscoe Holders. The Pictures Now on the Stairs Were Here Before (See Previous but One Pic)

My Van Gogh by Rudi Patterson

My Van Gogh by Rudi Patterson

My Latest Rudi Patterson

My Latest Rudi Patterson

The Bathroom Infill Site: At Last as Right as It's Ever Going to Be after 10 Years of Effort

The Bathroom Infill Site: At Last as Right as It’s Ever Going to Be after 10 Years of Effort

The Hessian from Angus Willis's Shop Installed After the Radiator Where the Seagrass Had Been so Endlessly Torn up by the Plumber

The Hessian from Angus Willis’s Shop Installed After the Radiator Where the Seagrass Had Been so Endlessly Torn up by the Plumber

 

 

 

Posted Tuesday, May 2, 2017 under Adrian Edge day by day.

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