Saturday, April 12, 2014

Beauty is Skin Deep...


We finally chose a colour for the house, and now the the masonry is starting to be plastered over. Below is a picture of the rough primer layer of plaster on the outside of the masonry, ready for the coloured render to go on top. 

Above: West Elevation
Below: The covered Loggia on North Terrace.

The primer is a standard gritty plaster made from a gray cement, whilst the coloured render is made from a white lime based cement. It was important to choose the paint colour for the front walls first, as the plaster render is being tinted to match the paint as closely as possible.

The pros of having the render coloured itself instead of being painted are that it gives the house a more authentic period finish. We will get the benefit of the strong durable reinforced masonry underneath whilst achieving the aesthetic of solid sandstone, albeit skin deep. It will never require painting, and will be flecked with real silica and crush limestone particles to ensure it resembles sandstone as closely as possible. The cons are that if it gets defaced with graffiti One can't just paint over it (hence choosing paint on plaster for the front entrance, but coloured render for the house, which is down a long secluded driveway with security).

There are many different textures and colours achievable with coloured render...


After some good feedback from the previous blog survey, as well as several emails and phone calls from friends, we decided to choose a colour that was very similar to C for the main wall colour, with the window architraves, sofit dentils, wall caps and columns being rendered in a lighter colour, similar to B. The exact colour will not be a perfect match, due to the process of turning the colour into plaster render, but will be very close. 


We wanted those architectural details (the architraves, columns, dentils etc) to standout subtly from the walls, but not have a huge contrast. The top picture of this post shows the effects One can achieve with two tone coloured render. 

Here are some further examples showing the versatility and beauty of coloured render...


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sounds Grand...


Peter and I have been on the hunt for some seminal pieces of furniture for the manor e.g. a billiard table for the billiard room and a grand piano for the music room. This weekend we managed to secure one of the pieces - a grand piano. Peter is off to look at a billiard table tomorrow.

The piano is a John Broadwood & Sons model, made in 1880. It is fashioned out of mahogany with ebony and ivory keys....

Above and below: The piano in situ in the vendor's house.

Above: Notice the original fretwork is still in excellent condition, spelling out the name "Broadwood".  The rest of the woodwork is in good condition, it just needs a decent polish, and musically there is nothing that a tune and a service won't fix.

The size is known as a 'drawing room grand' and would have cost 160 Guineas new (even though the last guineas were minted in 1813, guineas still continued to be referred to, indicating a cost of 21 shillings. The term retained aristocratic overtones and professional fees, payment for land, art, horses, furniture and luxury items were often still quoted in Guineas until decimalisation in 1971). The average income at the time was Ca. 1 Guinea per week).


Broadwood is perhaps the most prolific maker of pianos in history, definitely in British history.


He was given a royal warrant by almost every monarch between George II to the present, and many composers owned Broadwoods.


I have been listening to a lot of Elgar lately, so I was pleased to discover he owned a Broadwood...

So all in all a good choice for a period English country house. Now we have a few more pieces to find for the music room, such as nice piano stool, a lyre shaped music stand and a harp.

Above: A nice lyre shaped music stand.

We already have a darling little music Canterbury for storing sheet music, similar to these ones...

Peter plays the flute (a fact I discovered only when I came across his flute when we were packing up the house a couple of years ago) and we both play the piano, so we are working on an Elgar duet for the opening: Elgar's Chanson de Matin...



More pictures of music room inspiration...

Period Rooms:
Above: The oldest grand piano in England, shown here in Apsley House, London (The Duke of Wellington's Residence).


and modern rooms:

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