Restoration. So far...
A five-year project on
the scale of Wheathills is without doubt a daunting
task, and even at the end of our five-year programme
it is unlikely to be completely finished. Whilst restoring
a period property like Wheathills, there will always
be something to maintain, improve or change.
In December 2001 we purchased Wheathills
- a rundown Country House, wet through with damp, broken
windows, blocked and useless drains and the whole property
divided into nine flats.
In January 2002 work began and two months
later the team of builders had removed all the suspended
dividing walls, filling ten full-sized builders' skips.
Walls, both interior and exterior, were rendered with
hard cement which acted like non-breathable barriers creating
condensation, which literally ran down the walls inside
the house. Luckily most of the inside wall covering simply
fell off, although the exterior has proved very stubborn.
Perished plaster and render were removed exposing the brickwork
beneath and then left for several months to dry out naturally.
This has now been fully re-plastered
in the traditional manner with lime. Plaster moulding throughout
the house have been fully repaired, and missing sections
re-run in situ.
Interior wooden features such as doors,
floors, mouldings, panelling, fireplaces, shutters,
deep skirting-boards and chair rails have either been
repaired or recreated from original designs found around
The Hall floor was missing,
therefore reclaimed antique block floor is being fitted
in the traditional manner. Great care
is being taken not to disturb the natural patina of the
original polished surface. The one and only original
Regency interior door found in the cellar, has had its
layers of hardboard removed and several layers of black
paint and varnish stripped away.
The door has been dismantled, repaired
and reglued with reversible animal glue as was originally
used. The restoration process was completed by colour
blending the door to its original surrounding shades and traditionally
refinishing using lemon shellac, burnished with an oil
and beeswax composition.
Deep skirting-boards constructed of several
components are being replaced throughout, some will be
painted and some polished, dependent on the room.
Some original wallpaper was found in the Ballroom, which
will be carefully conserved. Patches of paper were gently
removed for later use as material to repair the barrel
back alcove, which is now complete.
study on the Replacement traditional sash windows
used throughout Wheathills: