Monday 9 December 2019

Changer d'Avis

There have not been many "changes of mind" in the castle's renovation. As there is so much of the castle to tackle, and a very limited budget, changing one's mind is an un-indulgable luxury and one has to always try to move in the forwards direction instead. As I am restoring the castle back to its original state as far as is practicable, then there are not really any gross stylistic changes of mind, but there are a few things I would like to revise. Certain detailings are slightly out of alignment and there are areas where I wished I had put in more insulation, etc.

The entrance hall originally had a flagstone floor, but the flagstones have long since been stripped out. A strip of flagstones survives under the fireplace and this will be kept. At £400 a square metre, new replacement flagstones are not an option. Accordingly, the plan was for the entrance hall to be floored in marble tiles. A typical Victorian look would be a checkerboard pattern at a 45 degree angle, so something in this vein would be suitable.

However, subsequent to a concrete sub-floor being poured in the entrance hall, the idea arose of building the entrance hall staircase economically out of reclaimed hardwood flooring, that had come from Eassie Community Hall just 10 miles away. The related blog entry is here. Then putting two and two together, it was obvious that doing the entrance hall floor in the same wooden flooring would tie the decor together and indeed avoid the expenditure of marble. So last week Greg jack-hammered up the old concrete sub-floor, which actually had done good service in the last few years. 

breaking up the existing concrete sub-floor

It pained me greatly to undo work already done, but it was a no-brainer that the wooden floor was the way to go. Such is my embarrassment over the wastage, that the title of this blog entry is in French: somehow it is a lessens the admission of the faux-pas.  The good news was that we managed to get 10 cm of insulation under the new wooden sub-floor; there had been no insulation under the previous concrete sub-floor.

rebuilt wooden sub-floor - looking west

rebuilt wooden sub-floor - looking east

The reclaimed flooring has been in storage for the last 8 years in the Great Hall - another point of shame. However, this makes the joy at finally using the material all the greater. At present, we are still laying the flooring as you can see in the image below. There was a great deal of preparatory de-nailing. We also spayed the flooring in an anti-dry-rot solution, given that there are still occasional leaks in the Great Hall so the storage conditions were not the driest.

laying hardwood flooring - looking east

So much to my joy, the entrance hall has undergone a recent spurt. There are still missing moldings (architraves and skirting boards), but the order with a carpentry workshop to duplicate extant moldings is just going ahead.


  1. Looking great - quelle surprise!

  2. I guy I used to work could handle the fancy stuff , and the more routine. Freelance he would welcome any work

  3. Re your hand rail problem.John explained to me that he would make a plane to order, no idea how, replicate original moldng.

    1. Many thanks for the offer. In fact, there is no surviving original handrail. This part of the castle lost its roof many decades ago and everything rotted. In fact, the reclaimed handrail sits very nicely and I am delighted with it - we have stained it and put on the final coat of varnish today.