Renovation begins.

After launching a successful campaign against the spiders – a victory won only with a Dyson handheld thingamabob – we were ready to apply our carefully chosen colours to the uneven walls. We’d visited Monk’s House in East Sussex, home to Virginia and Leonard Woolf, only a short while before, and Virginia’s use of a soft, pea shoot green filled us with enthusiasm.

Green was Virginia’s favourite colour and is perhaps used to best effect in their sitting room and study, a space strewn with additions from the Bloomsbury Group:

The Sitting Room at Monk's House, East Sussex.

Something else that I am very keen to replicate from Monk’s House is this wonderful lamp, constructed from concertinas of paper, splashed and drizzled liberally with watercolour:


Our Little Greene colour swatches were out, arguments were had, testers were applied with conviction and a decision was made. Normandy Grey. This, I hasten to add, is nothing at all like French Grey. Weeks of poring over these swatches made this difference very clear. There was a quality to this colour which particularly suited the honeyed oak of the sitting room and it is the perfect base on which to hang some paintings.

Before painting could start, cracks had to be filled. These gnarly little spider dens caused C particular irritation, being used to the paper smooth walls of Victorian properties. In contrast, I had grown up in a 15th century farmhouse where the garden could be seen through gaps in the beams and a constant draught whistled through every room.

Searching the bed for spiders is something we’ve both grown accustomed to. Which is a good thing, as we’re sleeping on a mattress on the floor. There was no way our bed was going up the impossibly narrow staircase, so it’s firewood come autumn. Oh, there’s no central heating. There is however, a wonderful oak Arts and Crafts headboard waiting for a bed I’ve yet to order. My tardiness can be put down to the novelty of camping in one’s own house.


We have however painted the bedroom in another colour from Little Greene: Slaked Lime, Mid. This chalky, distemper grey diffuses the early morning night and bathes the room with monastic stillness. This is a far cry from the freshly painted lilac walls we were greeted with when we moved in – seemingly a moving in present from the previous owner hoping to improve the primrose walls seen during our viewing.

With French trousseau bed linen, and perhaps a 17th century mule chest, this will be a lovely bedroom. Oh, and a bed.



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