Thursday, 31 January 2013


Last year ended with the worrying words............."you seem to have a damp problem in the dining room" The house built in 1845 in a mews in Notting Hill had stabling on the ground floor and had never had any form of damp proof course. So the existing timber floor and everything below had to come up. We ended up going down about 18 inches and it was there that we found the original floor. Sadly not a Roman mosaic but the old York stone flags where the horses had been stabled. These were sitting on earth. To me they were totally wonderful and so the decision to keep them wasn't a difficult one to make.

The original old floor after digging down

As the earth was exposed there arose the overpowering smell of horses, horses that had been dead for probably over 80 years, you could almost feel their presence, hear them stamping it was a magical moment. We then had to tank the walls to keep the damp out and lay a membrane over the floor before laying the York stone. My builder Paul Bond was amazing, highly professional and a joy to have his men working in the house. By Christmas we had the floor laid and it was decided to move back into the unfinished dining room until after the New Year when the builders would be back to finish off the floor and decorate.

The unpainted walls were disguised by a late 17th century Aubusson Tapestry and I hung some of my collection of 18th century engravings of Pointers on gallery rods from the shop, put back the dining table over which hangs a large nickel lantern from Charles Edwards added an Empire console table and lamps, a Christmas tree finished it off. The temporary decoration was modestly grand and we had Christmas and the New Year in the chicest building site in London................

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