Friday, 15 June 2012

I am all over the shop!

This blog's title has taken on a literal stance.  I am truly all over the shop doing jobs in every corner, so I don't have much of a complete area or job to show you.  I find I am doing bits of painting of stairs, signboards and edges of doors etc, fixing bits of trim when the floors go down, putting the floors down and putting in the lights and fireplaces.

I thought I'd share the fireplaces so far and the shop name boards.

I am very unsure about the signs above the shop.  Right now they are (long-term) temporary until I can find something better.  They cost all of two bucks in materials so will be fine until I can devote more time and interest to them and I am able to find someone to make me some decent ones.

Basically I think they are a bit OTT and look more like a pub than a dress shop.

If you want to see how they were made there are pictures in my web album - Bentleys the build 

 So far I have only managed to struggle a couple of fireplaces into place .  The first one, in the bedroom, was something of a nightmare in that I had to get the lighting wire set in its groove in the floor (which I had cut a long time ago) before I put the floorboards down; BUT you can't put the floor down with the fireplace in its place.  This results in a bit of a one-handed jiggle between the two things.  At the same time you have only one chance to get the floor lined up perfectly with the front edge and the sides because the double-sided tape grips like fury once it touches anything.  

I cut the wood for four chimney breasts for the four fireplaces I am putting in and then I decided that my original idea of only two being needed was the right one.  So there will be two going up for sale on EBay.  £3 each pretty nearly covers the materials, so fingers crossed.

I only need two because in terraces the chimneys were shared.  Each terrace had one side of their house with the whole chimney breast for both houses in their rooms and their neighbours flues and theirs went into this space.  On the other side of the house they shared the chimney that was in that neighbour's house in the same way.  The fires in the workroom and salon, therefore, don't need chimney breasts in their rooms as their flues are in next door.

I hope you can see the parts to the structure.  It is made from four-inch wide Bass board with one-inch sides.  These are joined together and supported by trim from B & Q.  It is MUCH cheaper to buy it from there than any craft shops, if you can find what you want. 

It has been papered (on the underside) and I cut a slit for the wire for the bulb.  As it happens it didn't need a slit for the wire because the grooves I had cut in the floor went from the wall to the centre of the floor to join the lighting grooves rather than to the back wall.

On the above photo you might be able to see that I have deliberately left a small turned edge of the wallpaper to be stuck against the wall.  This is important for a neat finish.  The paper which will butt up to the edge of the chimney breast looks much better with this good 'seal'.  I'll chronicle this better when I do the parlour one - I forgot to record it this time while I was making it.  This isn't a bad thing as I learned something.  

After I put the chimney breast in place I did the left and right pieces of wall paper.  As I said the front one on the right of the fireplace looks great because of the slight underlap of the chimney breast paper and was a cinch to do.  Not so with the other side.  I struggled to stick down the teeny edge of paper on that side because I couldn't see a thing; it was, of course, on the far side of the chimney breast.  This was followed by trying to cut and fit the left piece of paper which was also a bit of a fiddle for the same reasons.  Eventually I realised that I didn't need the same degree of finish as the visible side.  The only possible way the far side join can be seen is with a mirror.  Yes, I did check it with one and yes, it is perfect (!) but it didn't have to be.  So next time round I will put the back piece of paper on the wall first and then put in the chimney breast with just one turned underlap edge and then add the right side piece of paper - so much simpler.


The workroom fire is also in place but the other two are still waiting for me.  I cut out a space for the fire and its hearth from the floor of the workroom before sticking it down but this time I decided to run the wire around the edge of the room before the skirting goes in so I didn't need to cut a grove and therefore no jiggling of floor and fire.  I just cut a space for the fire in the floorboards, stuck them down, stuck the hearth and fire in place and ran the wires to the back of the room.  It made the whole job much simpler and looks just as good.  I managed to cut a hearth from the piece left over from my very posh parlour fireplace (more of that later) and I had a bargain EBay fender which I bought ages ago, so that fireplace is complete.


I have saved the very best 'til last!  I received my lovely Art Nouveau fire from Sussex Crafts yesterday; talk about efficient and helpful and just down right nice......

I emailed them on Monday and said I wanted the fireplace but I was dithering about which tile insert to choose.  This became a couple of email conversations.  They answered my emails immediately and also offered me additional choices of tile to the four on the site.  I finally settled on a dainty blue cornflower.  I really wanted something not too bold as it would 'fight' with an already fussy Art Nouveau fire surround and would definitely have a tussle with the Voyseyish wallpaper.  I ordered and paid on Wednesday and, as I said, there it was safely in my hands on Thursday.  

Besides being spot on for my 1911 shop and Ellen's refurb in 1906 it is just gorgeous.  The little ash pan even comes out, so you could have a maid cleaning the hearth (?). Even the bulb has a little wire carrier.  The hearthstone proved to be enough for two fires and the detail and finish on the fender is also really nice.

It does need a chimney breast as it is properly constructed.  It needs the space as the fire is set back  from the surround as it should be.  Hopefully I should get enough time this weekend to get it in place.  Watch this space.  

Meanwhile I urge you to have a look at the link (above and in the right hand column) to Sussex Crafts they have a plethora of wonderful things and couldn't be more helpful.  They get to go in my (almost) Hall-of-Fame links to suppliers.  As I have said before I am being super-selective about recommending folk for stuff.  I don't think I have had a bad experience buying anything for both my projects so anyone I point you towards has to be stand-out exceptional.  Sussex Crafts isn't a difficult choice as my source for fireplaces and hopefully more things too when I've saved up some pennies.

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