My carpenters, Gregor and Liam, installed their bespoke kitchen wall cupboards in the housekeeper's room in the basement yesterday. When you are restoring a castle, cabinets from B&Q (even if it were open for business) would look entirely wrong. These cabinets feature pitch pine gothic Victorian doors from box pews, and a modern white pine and plywood carcass.
|wall cupboards before staining|
Today, I decided to give the new wood on the front of the unit a stain to see if I could match the warm colour of the antique pitch pine. This is not an easy task as I was using walnut crystals which you brew into a kind of ink. Depending on the strength of the ink and the number of coats applied, you can obtain almost any shade of brown. It is all too easy to go too light or too dark, and all too easy to leave visible brush strokes - so it is very unlike a conventional forgiving stain.
Anyhow, hopefully the after stain look (below) is acceptable enough. New fast-grown wood never looks quite as good as old, but hopefully by bringing them to the same colour the difference is minimised. This staining took all of 15 minutes. The harder part is staining the interiors, tops and bottoms of the unit which will take many hours this evening.
|wall cupboards after staining|
I am absolutely delighted with the look of the cabinets. It was very much an act of faith that the pew doors could be repurposed in this way, let alone fit in with the ambience of Balintore Castle. Both Balintore and the doors are theoretically in the gothic style, though perhaps the doors are a little too ecclesiastical. Having said that, some stately homes in the high gothic style, are themselves somewhat church-like. And indeed, why not benefit from the secularisation of society by reclaiming the quality fixtures and fittings? :-)
I have instructed Gregor and Liam to make another wall unit for the housekeeper's room, and this should be installed tomorrow. With two matching units the decor becomes more coordinated and deliberate. And yet another wall unit is now planned for the still room, which is also currently under restoration. The large job lot of small doors, once repurposed, will establish a coordinated look amongst the basement rooms.