The builders start work next week on the extension. There’s been a delay getting the technical drawings from the structural engineer so the plan is to spend the first week prepping as much as can be – lifting up the patio, digging out for foundations and then moving to strip out the bathroom and working on that until they can move forward with the extension. This is very much the calm before the storm.

In that calm space, I’ve been stripping paint the woodwork in the hallway. It’s always a messy job and I’m working to get as much done as possible before the new kitchen goes in. The driver for stripping back rather than washing down and sanding was that the paint job is one of the many Brucie bodgits. Along with some impressive paint runs, the grubby paint work hadn’t been cleaned before the house was primped for the estate agent photos.

See what I mean…

I had stripped the banister at the old house, which turned out to be a very lovely mahogany. However it took many hours of applying Nitromors scrapping, rubbing and sanding to make that discovery. This time I took to Google to see what advances had been made in 30 years and found the poultice blanket system – Peelaway. I don’t think it’s new but I’ve not seen on the shelves in any of the DIY sheds. Basically it’s a tub of caustic gloop that’s generously applied then covered with the supplied coated paper ‘blanket’ and left to dwell until the paint lifts, sticks to the paper and it can all be lifted away without too much mess.

It took me a while to work out the optimum ‘dwell’ time and out of necessity, I mostly applied this at night and removed in the morning by which time it had started to dry out slightly. When I did manage to get the timing right, it was very satisfying to peel back the sheet and see bare wood with the minimum of effort.

No mahagony this time, I’m guessing pine. I’m disappointed with the newel post that has come up quite patchy in colour tones. I’m guessing that originally the handrail and newel post had been stained to match the dark veneer of the understair panelling. The obvious solution would be to stain it. I’m also trying to decide between varnish and wax to finish the handrail and post – what would you suggest?

A before and after shot

There is still a HUGE amount to do in the hall. I’m going to remove the picture rail to pretend the ceilings are higher than 2.3 metres and that will mean the walls will need a skim or the white is stippled wallpaper that will need to be removed – sadly, I don’t think there’s a poultice blanket system for that job! but wallpaper stripping is in my skill-set.

The parquet floor is going to be repaired and sanded and I have some lovely Cole & Sons cowparsley wallpaper in yellow that will go along the wall to the left. The understairs panelling will be painted blue – I’m leaning towards F&B Incharya or maybe Stiffkey. The same blue on the skirting and through into the kitchen. I’m pondering on some fake panelling up the stairs to give a bit of definition and if so that will be the same blue or the same off white on the wallpaper. The stair carpet will go but still undecided on whether it will be a runner or more carpet, that will be determined by the condition of the treads.

This Canva board gives an idea of what’s in my head.