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Dining in... making a dining room

There were, and still are, parts of No 19 not quite fit for living in. In fact, depending on what you are used to, you might argue that the whole house during certain times of the year is inhospitable as there are only a couple of stoves downstairs and a few expensive-to-run and inefficient electric heaters upstairs. I've had some friends and family members come to stay during the cold months and all of them have vowed never to return unless there are leaves on the trees. I consider myself very lucky in that I'm able to adapt to almost anything.

Over the years there have been parts of the house that have fallen into depressing states of disrepair and this is something that saddens me. These areas are like wounds, draining the house of its energy and making it sick. One of the most striking examples of this was the room that is now a small dining room at the front of the house.

I believe this room used to be a kitchen at some point and has quite an elaborate vaulted ceiling with simple plaster details and a window overlooking the village pond. By the time I had noticed the room, it had become a total mess - filled with junk and a lot of the plaster had come down due to the damp in this particular corner of the house. But I knew there was potential: I just needed to work out how I was going to approach it.

As with everything regarding No 19, the budget was basically zero so when I had money I would buy materials and do some work. During my days I was cleaning the room out and patching up the walls, and I spent my evenings watching 'teach yourself plastering' videos on Youtube, and when it came down to it, I didn't do too badly for an amateur!

I was also hoping to discover an amazing tiled floor I'd heard about from my neighbor who had lived in the house as a child, but once I'd emptied the room, it became clear that these tiles were long gone, at some point having been replaced by concrete. So I took what I understood the floor to have looked like as inspiration and painted tiles of my own.

I drew out the design I wanted, and using colors I mixed myself from acrylic based floor paint and multi purpose acrylic based colors, I painted in the two color pattern over a base color. It did take a long time, but I think it was worth it as the room suddenly started to come to life.

Mario had suggested we make the space into a dining room as it would be the perfect place to house our ever growing junk shop Willow Pattern china collection, and he was absolutely right!

Taking an old cupboard and wood I found in the attic, some used tongue&groove, and some unused shelving, I fashioned together a dresser-style unit that was small enough to fit in the room, but large enough to hold the Willow.

The finishing touches were a car boot-sale chandelier, junk shop table and chairs (which I recovered with off-cuts of fabric) and a flea market mirror and candlesticks - it was transformed! The room had suddenly become a part of the house that in my mind simply hadn't existed before.

When I think about the progress of this room, it makes me smile... and I can feel No 19 smiling too.

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