So it was down to B&Q and a hefty bill for some of their pine and stainless steel staircase balustrade construction-things, the fitting of which was a bit of a ball-ache because our staircase was not like the ones in their “Instructions on how to fit one of our nice pine and stainless steel balustrades to a nice neat standard sized staircase”, suffice to say that I had to fit some of their parts upside down and thats when I discovered that they are not designed to be fitted upside down – so I had to “adapt” them.
Eventually though the pine and stainless steel balustrade was finished, and very nice it looks too.
“Do you know what else would be good” she said, totally ignoring my excellent work on the staircase and staring at the inner hallway wall.
I did not answer at all, I know from experience that questions like that do not require an answer for they are going to give you the answer after the next pause for breath whether you reply or not.
“What would be good” she continued “Is if you knocked down this wall as well…”
Let me explain, again – in the 1950’s it was fashionable to have your front door inset from the front of your house by three feet or so, causing a sort of porch, in fact thats exactly what it used to be, a porch, somewhere for folk to step into while they knocked on your door, somewhere for the milkman to put the milk, a quaint 1950s idea of suburban utopia, a place for your guest to shelter while they hammered on your door and muttered to each other “I know they’re in because I saw them run into the kitchen when we arrived”
Then sometime much later some previous owner of this house thought that the porch idea was a ridiculous waste of space given that people don’t visit other people anymore like they used to do in the 1950s, people visit each other virtually via computers these days and seeking shelter in a porch while knocking on someones front door is no longer acceptable practice of a Sunday afternoon.
So those people decided that what would be good would be to enclose the porch with a new front door thus creating a new internal space for the house in which you could dump all of your rubbish and coats and shoes and stuff that you aren’t going to ever need again for no-one knocks at your front door anymore so you’ll never need to go into that internal porch ever again.
“What would be good” she said “Is if you knock down this internal wall and open up the porch to the outside door, this hallway would be much bigger and there would be much more light inside it”
“And all the rubbish would be inside the hallway instead of hidden in the porch then” I explained gently
“I’ll move the rubbish” she said, grimly, noting my reluctance to cause myself further work
“The walls inside the porch are bare brick, it’ll be cold having bare brick walls inside the hallway” I vainly tried to think of a more reasonable excuse not to do it but I was failing fast
“Then you will replaster those walls” she commanded as if HM The Queen herself, turned on her heels and stomped off out of the house to “do shopping”.
Out of the garage came Mr Sledgehammer again and we re-aquainted ourselves in the demolition of the internal porch wall, during which 50 years worth of shit and dust fell on top of me from inside the cavity, and then I cleaned everything up, took the rubbish to the tip, came home and stood and admired my handiwork.
Thats when I noticed that the newly extended hallway now had two different floor levels, by a difference of several inches.
Just before I noted that the carpet that we’d ordered would now be too small.
to be continued…