A freezing draft and a hidden window

We are still finding out new things about the Old Brewhouse, most recently from a blast of freezing air that suddenly started coming out with unusual ferocity from the gaps round a fireplace cupboard door. Inside the cupboard, bits of plaster had fallen and a gap above the inside of the door had got bigger.

I anxiously thought – wind damage: what’s blown loose? But closer inspection showed that the wind was blowing down a narrow gap between the structure of the big brick fireplace, with its bread oven and chimney, and the clay daub wall of the house.

The solution – plywood over the gap, sealed round the edges with hemp insulation tapped in with a screwdrivercaulking without the tar
Continue reading “A freezing draft and a hidden window”


The hot, dry weather has produced many more cracks than usual in our front wall.


Much of it is plain clay daub with thick layers of limewash and here and there a smear of recent cement where previous owners had tried to stop the clay falling out. There is no evidence of it ever having been rendered or plastered on laths. Continue reading “Cracks”

More repairs – 2010

  • Chris and I filled the very large number of holes left in the kitchen and living room by the replacement of the sole plates, including some complete damaged panels. Wherever possible, we used hazel lattices and clay daub for the repairs, with a skim of lime render inside, finished with limewash. We salvaged old clay and plaster. See ‘wattle and daub’ and ‘wattle and daub inside’ posts.
  • The interior ground floor woodwork was painted and the brickwork limewashed.
  • An electric storage heater Aga was installed in the kitchen.
  • We deliberately spurned a fitted kitchem. The idea is that separate pieces of kitchen furniture unattached to the walls allow the walls to breathe and stay dry – important given our repair philosophy of using the natural characteristics of the materials to keep the building dry through encouraging breathability.
  • We paid two local landscapers to lay hardcore and a stepping stone path from the entrance to the front door, and to make a small brick patio outside the front door, linked to the doorstep by limestone slabs on a brick plinth. They also made a low brick wall to hold back the slightly higher level area outside the kitchen window, which we gravelled. They erected a garden shed we had bought.
  • A fencing contractor installed a full size five bar farm gate. We later replanted the damaged hedge either side of the gate with hawthorn and field maple.

Continue reading “More repairs – 2010”