Renovation Diaries 04. Building begins, repairing, re-building, brickworks


For right now’s Renovation Diaries instalment, you’ll see that the Chapel renovation began to look very very like a constructing website! This was additionally the a part of the method the place we introduced providers in, water, electrical, fuel, in order that the Chapel could possibly be introduced as much as modern-day requirements. After a number of months of working with no water connection, this was fairly a giant milestone. The repairs and reconstructions commenced and there have been numerous bricks everywhere…

Taking the ceiling down

As soon as we’d painstakingly chipped the plaster off, the outdated lath and plaster ceiling was subsequent in line for demolition.

The ceiling seemed fully totally different as soon as uncovered and we acquired to see the precise construction of the Chapel.

Repairing + re-building, brickworks

Subsequent up was the brickwork — there have been some areas that wanted consideration and re-building inside earlier than the builders began on the outer pores and skin. The Chapel was in-built 1879 and the brickies had been to see that the constructing was of a double brick pores and skin building — an inner construction with a cavity and exterior partitions. When re-building, they discovered primitive brick ties produced from iron that held these two partitions collectively. They remarked that this type of building wasn’t extensively used till the 1920’s, so it could have been fairly an experimental construct in 1879!

First snow on the renovation mission + getting the providers in

A really vital a part of the mission at this stage was to get the service connections in place. It was a protracted and arduous course of to get to this stage and fairly costly too. However bringing water and many others. in was type of important. We additionally wanted to maneuver the electrical meter, which was fairly outdated in order that the an exterior field could possibly be fitted. It was beforehand mounted on the wall inside, with the cable coming in by one of many window frames!

As soon as the Chapel had been related, our electrician got here to suit a brief board inside with the meter, a light-weight and a few sockets to allow us to make use of energy inside throughout the construct. At this level we acquired the primary snow on the Chapel which was chilly with no heating and large holes within the constructing! But it surely did look pretty and solely lasted a day.

Creating an aperture for a door

As soon as nearly all of the repairs had been carried out to the interior partitions, it was time to make holes! Extra particularly, the holes for an outdated Chapel door and for the kitchen window. As I defined in a earlier publish, we weren’t making any main modifications to the constructing externally, other than including in a again door and a window alongside the south wall.

Eradicating the bricks to create a gap was a very thrilling second within the renovation mission as we may bodily see the area for the brand new door actually opening up earlier than our personal eyes. We’d grow to be so acquainted with seeing these deliberate alternations in my two dimensional drawings that when it was really showing in three dimensions, it felt very surreal certainly!

Lifting the ground…

At this level it was time to carry the outdated flooring in order that we may put together the area for the groundworks to happen. The outdated floorboards had been a wrestle to carry as they’d be nailed down (extraordinarily effectively!) to the the ground joists. However with some water and woodworm harm over time, there have been areas that simply broke away as we tried to tug them up. We spent a weekend making an attempt to punch by the nails so the we may carry the boards that approach nevertheless it proved to be a little bit of a headache. This was earlier than even serious about repairing the broken areas too.

After a number of days of exploring our choices for flooring, we managed to supply some reclaimed pitch pine boards that had been the identical width because the originals. The wooden was additionally of a really related age because it got here out of a Victorian mill in Halifax! We actually wished to retain the identical feeling and aesthetic of getting an outdated picket flooring within the area versus something new. However extra on that once more…

As soon as the floorboards had been up, the joists had been lifted and the builders made a shock discovery of some Victorian bricks! They’d been saved beneath the ground and had been used as pylons to assist the floorboards. They would definitely are available helpful for the re-building course of to switch among the broken or blown bricks from years of frost harm.

Listed here are among the bricks, photographed late one night, therefore the blurry images:

With the joists eliminated, we had been all the way down to compacted earth as the entire inside the Chapel dropped by round 3ft/90cm. The renovation mission felt one thing like a swimming pool with this variation in degree – it was a giant step down from the entrance door for some time!

Brickworks and sills

The sandstone sills wanted to be eliminated subsequent – a few of them had been cracked from frost over time externally and from the within, fairly a number of had been crumbling away in elements. Our builder knew a superb stonemasons close by that might copy the unique design in order that we may substitute all of them. One of many bricklayers cheekily remarked that the Chapel resembled a close-by ruined abbey at this level within the construct… it actually was beginning to really feel form of like a brick field!

Some shut ups of the holes from the place the sills had been eliminated:

Listed here are the beginnings of the exterior brickwork repairs and the way the realm across the new again door was being constructed:

It was one of many coldest elements of the 12 months when all this was happening and I liked noticing totally different elements of the constructing lined in swathes of hessian because the mortar dried. Seeing the draped materials added a softness to the in any other case exhausting, angular brickwork and was a type of small particulars that actually caught my consideration.

The Chapel was beginning to be repaired and brickwork re-built the place wanted with our newfound stash of Victorian bricks, and the entire constructing was going to be re-pointed too. The arches that required restore had been skilfully rebuilt utilizing the template beneath left. Acrow props jutting by partitions and holding up elements of the constructing had been a typical sight. Although the Chapel was wanting a little bit battered at this a part of the method, there was concurrently numerous thrilling progress too.

Under is a view from the entrance door wanting in. As a focal point, the channels dug out within the flooring by the unique builders had been there to accommodate the brick pylons that held the ground up. You may also see the unique Victorian railings propped up on the appropriate hand facet.


I hope you loved seeing among the building works for right now’s Renovation Diaries publish — I feel these pictures actually do illustrate the way it acquired worse earlier than it began to get higher! The brickworks after all had been a elementary ingredient to restore to make sure the constructing was structurally sound for the long run. The repairing and repointing was additionally starting to rework the surface of the Chapel after years of getting weatherbeaten. After dwelling up North for practically two years now, I can actually agree with the sentiment that ‘it’s chilly up North!‘.

I’ll be again with the following renovation mission replace in a number of weeks in between my normal houseplant posts. For straightforward navigation, I’ve made a ‘HPH renovates…’ tab on the homepage to catalogue this collection. Alongside sharing the important thing factors of the renovation on my fundamental HOUSE PLANT HOUSE instagram, I’ve acquired a devoted secondary web page — HOUSE PLANT HOUSE renovates, which I’ll hyperlink right here, the place I’m sharing extra of the mission.

This course of is definitely fairly intrinsically linked to HOUSE PLANT HOUSE as a result of alongside being an area for my vegetation and I to develop, it’s additionally going to be a spot from which I can run my small enterprise. This was one thing I’ve needed to placed on maintain for some time, with re-locating and all, nevertheless it’s a aim I’ve been working in the direction of behind the scenes for the previous couple of years. Primarily, the Renovation Diaries will doc the creation of a bodily iteration of HOUSE PLANT HOUSE, which I’m actually wanting ahead to sharing.

Thanks for supporting HOUSE PLANT HOUSE,