There are some jobs which I delight in DIYing, some I have to give myself a bit of a pep talk before and then those which I won’t touch with a 20ft barge pole. Luckily for Moregeous Manisons, these latter jobs are few and far between, but they do crop up occasionally. Mostly when stinky drains are involved. Drains or the dreaded sanding. Years ago, on the very first terraced house I renovated (OMG, so long ago, 1998!), we sanded the floor ourselves. Whether it was the paint, the dust or just the sheer unmitigated hatefulness of the task, I ended up feeling dire with a full body rash for a fortnight. Never. Again.
Hence, nothing gave me greater pleasure than watching someone else sanding the Pavilion bedroom floor this week and seeing the beautiful colour of the original yellow pine boards in all their knotty glory slowly emerging from years of black dust. In a house of this age, late 1900’s, pine was pretty much always the wooden flooring material and though many people now cover it with engineered or solid wooden flooring in anything from oak to bamboo, we’re sticking with the pine finish. I like original features and materials but I’m not a slave to them. And herein lies my dilemma. This is the view in one of the guest bedrooms from the main window to the newly built ensuite. The light’s crap, sorry, but you can see the interior style starting to emerge. My heavily patterned shower tiles are up and the trellis paper is starting to wrap it’s way around the walls. But, the fireplace tiles. They’re original and I was delighted to find them – read here – when we started the reno. But I haven’t, as some people might, designed the room around the tiles and they’re badly damaged and don’t quite ‘work’. It’s such a dilemma isn’t it, when you’re renovating and not ‘restoring’. What to keep and and what to change? It feels very wrong to deliberately remove original features, a lesson I learned long ago.
So, I started to look around at other options, were I to either carefully cover or lift these beauties and replace with something else. Something which would not only be in keeping with the period of our reno, but also work with this palette for the room.I know 2017’s all about the green but I’ve always filled my homes with plants, timber and pattern, and had a fusing of indoors and out. It’s a style which forms the backbone of the design here and one I won’t tire of when this trend for vibrancy passes. So…… when I saw these tiles on the Fired Earth website I thought they might just be perfecto. I even rang the store in Manchester to check they had samples. Size wise they’re spot on, 152mm square, tick. Colorwise, tick. Price wise, well, suffice to say at £4.20 for the plains and £16.99 for the pattern, there’d be more plain that pattern until that lottery win comes in. I needed 37, IF I were to cover or take up the yellows and replace. I was still undecided.Before I had time to go get the sample, we headed off to Yorkshire to swap a loo pan, as I’d been daft enough to order the wrong one and we couldn’t get the soil to connect as I’d got one with a closed back and we needed an open back and… this is boring , sorry, I’ll get back to the tiles. Never one to miss a salvage opp and with a spare 45mins before an appointment back home, I googled whether there were any reclamation places en route from Bradford and boom:
Jack’s place is teeny but ace. A chaotic first floor of cardboard boxes filled with treasure, luscious marble thick with dust, cool chandeliers hanging precariously from wires. He promised he’d recently tided up and was having thorough sort out but in all honestly, I love a good rummage so didn’t mind the eclectic nature of the experience 🙂Mr M always goes slightly pale when he sees my eyes widen in the face of reclamation treasure. He knows: Bang goes this week’s beer money.
I snaffled a huge piece of black marble, below right, and some wicked lengths of geometrically decorative timber. Got a GREAT idea for these.And then, then my lovelies, guess what I found? In this utterly random location, a place we’ll never go to again, unplanned and behind wooden pallets piled in front of the shelving, I spotted a flash of dusty green. Well, hardly a flash, more like a grimy hint. On the very bottom shelf, below the two other shelves of individually salvaged tiles and behind all the patterned ones, was a small pile of green tiles, about six or so. I swooped like a falcon 🙂 And then I saw a cardboard box right at the back. I literally couldn’t believe my eyes when I looked inside to see more green tiles, or my tape measure when it sized them at 152mm square. I opened it up to find 33 more tiles giving 39 of them. 39, when I needed 37. At the right size. Reclaimed and stunning and in the right colour.
There’s something very weird going on when things like this happen. Mr M and I, like most other people is the country had been in state of shock for most of the day, reeling at the terrible events in Manchester the evening before. When such atrocities happen, its hard to see the positive in anything, so you look at family and friends and nature and life. If you’re lucky enough not to be directly involved, you try to remember than nice things do happen and evil is only a part of life and can’t be the main part. Coincidences, fate, whatever you want to call it, sometimes make you smile when you think that smiling shouldn’t really be allowed. On a dreadful day, these little tiles, this very strange and unexpected coincidence, took me by surprise and made me smile, at least for a moment. I bought them. How could I not?
I don’t know if I’ll use them in the Pavilion bedroom yet, but wherever I use them, I’ll fit them with love and they’ll always remind me to look for the light and the good in life when things seem truly dark.