|Pippin having fun on the new old trunk|
It looks like Mr Robot and I are going to have a smarter, sprucer living room too by Christmas. We've been saying for a while that we'd like to get more of it sorted out – a house this old is one never-ending project – and the catalyst was finally getting the chimney swept a couple of Mondays ago. From the state of the knackered fireplace we're pretty sure a previous resident of the house burned stuff in it, even though there's no proper insert. Not knowing the state of the chimney, we've never lit a fire ourselves. From a clogged chimney catching fire to a leaky one spewing carbon monoxide into the upper rooms, fires aren't something to mess about with. We'd really feared that the chimney would need relining or repointing, but the chimney sweep said it was fine, and gave us our safety certificate, which means our plan to replace the fireplace is going ahead.
We've ordered a Victorian-style cast iron fireplace with tiled inserts – the real thing is beyond our budget, but replicas are widely available and really nice – and we've had a fitter give us a quote for installing it, which hopefully will be done at some point in the next couple of months. We had to cut down a tree in our week off, so we've got plenty of wood drying out. By the time the fireplace is in, the wood should be okay to burn. (Green wood makes horrendous amounts of smoke, and I don't fancy cleaning soot off everything.)
Once the fireplace is in, we'll tackle the living room floor: fill in the cracks, sand it, and give it a coat or three of varnish. We did the bathroom floor ourselves and I was very pleased with it, so the living room shouldn't pose any problems. Mr Robot does the sanding, and I do the varnishing.
The fireplace is not the only thing we're replacing in the living room. Our battered old fake-leather chair and footstool are completely worn out, with the 'leather' surface worn away to the fabric, and need replacing. We went to the most recent Shepton Mallet flea market as Cate's been saying how good it is for ages. We thought we'd look for a trunk (to hold all my knitting gubbins and replace the footstool) and wing chair. We didn't find a chair, but we were able to get a nicely battered old boarding school trunk, as seen in the picture above.* The Mr was concerned that the green might look odd in a room that's predominantly cream, dark red and dark wood, but I think it provides a nice counterpoint to all the red without clashing.
The firm that made the trunk, Mossman, has been in business since 1938, and still makes trunks in Britain today, which is nice. A little bit of tradition for the living room! It does indeed hold all my junk, and the cats think it's a wonderful seat/playground too. Ziggy has been particularly funny, as he's worked out that he can stand on it and put his paws on the windowsill to stare out of the window. It's entertaining watching him trying to work his way past the curtains.
*On reflection, I am VERY proud of myself for resisting the many excellent vases, tea sets, bits of jewellery and other stuff that I cheerfully could have taken home. While the fair wasn't what I'd hoped for in terms of large items of furniture – though for all I know the traders may differ at other times of year – it would be a treasure trove for anyone looking for small-to-medium items, from phones and lights to furnishing fabrics.