Tiles

Tom

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This is a long shot (I've posted on more specific forums elsewhere), but does anybody know of a service that can reproduce tiles like this?

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/tom.jeffs4/random crap/bedroom floor tiles.jpg

I could happily murder whoever ripped these fireplaces out. They're hearth tiles, modern wall tiles are neithe thick or strong enough.

I've found plenty of websites selling art nouveau tiles, but at £35 a pop theyre too expensive (and they're tubelined wall tiles, which isn't what I need)
 

tRoG

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Those tiles are disgusting :eek6:

I'm sure I've seen some custom tile makers on one of those home decoration programmes that the missus watches... So they must exist.
 

Tom

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gah, 'custom tiles' isn't something I thought to try searching for. I'm emailing a few peeps now. Thanks Trog!

PS Those tiles are nearly 100 years old, trust me, when you see the finished item in situ, they will look beautiful.
 

Tom

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I'm retouching one of the tiles, so I can email a nicer version of it to whatever company I decide is going to make them for me. This is the old, untouched version:



And this is what I have so far:



Its very tempting to make it look brand spanking new, but I think I'll leave a bit of tat on it, so its in keeping with the other tiles. I don't know the costs involved yet, but I doubt I can afford to have all 15 made up.
 

Mr.Monkey

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Funny what people tear up.
I still can't quite understand how it was ever considered a good idea to put concrete facades in front of victorian buildings...
 

Tom

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tRoG said:
How did you find these things?
They were in my front bedroom, where the fireplace used to be. They've been there for a while, its only recently that I've started to decorate the room properly. The first thing I did was to unbrick the chimney. If I had the money, I'd get a mould made of my neighbour's fireplaces, and have new ones made up. Right now, I have to settle for stripping the plaster from the fireback, cleaning up the bricks, painting them the same colour as the walls.

The really annoying thing about these tiles is that there are 15, where most fireplaces have only 10. Therefore I can't get a set of original tiles, I can only buy reproductions. Original sets tend to be cheaper!

I'm going to build a cheap mantle from reclaimed wood, nice old pieces of oak. I'll beat them up a bit, and stain them dark (no vanish though). I might oil them, but its purely for aesthetic purposes.

I also found the place on the wall where the gaslamp used to be (its a large dark patch of plaster, circular in shape). I'm buying a gaslamp from Ebay, and I'll mount it on the wall. I could covert it, but that would leave a patch on the wall where the cable would go, which basically means replastering the entire wall (the wall still has the original plaster on, and its extremely difficult to work with).
 

TdC

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wow tom, good job on the cleanup mate!
 

Tom

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Getting closer now, I've finished most of the difficult stuff. It would take days of work to clean it up to make it look like a brand new tile, so I'm probably going to leave it like this:



That way, I can keep some of the other tiles in place, and it should look a bit more authentic. There is a line down the left side, close to the centre, but thats a manufacturing error! I shit myself when I saw it, but looking at the tile, its on there also.
 

tRoG

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Upon closer inspection, I think that those tiles will look pretty darned decent when you stick them all on together :)
 

Tom

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Got an email today from a company that does this kind of stuff. £8 per tile, + P&P. Not a bad price, they print a transfer and stick that onto the tile (probably a bit more technical than that), then glaze it.

Should be good enough, although I don't really want to spend £120 on tiles :( Have to though :(
 

Tom

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Well, you could have knocked me down with a feather. Today, I was in a local reclamation yard (well about 7 miles away), looking for bits of wood, when I chanced across these:



What are the odds? Exactly the same pattern, same size, same tiles. There aren't enough, but together with the new ones I'm having made up, I'm over the moon. Whats even better is that these tiles were £5 each, whereas the new ones will be £8 each!

I can't believe I found exactly the same tiles! Unbelieveable!
 

Tom

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I measured them, and they're about 1/8 inch larger than my old ones. I think the ones in my house are copies of the ones I've just bought, so basically, I'm restoring a restoration!
 

TdC

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nice one. can you combine them at all?
 

Tom

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Well the old ones have had it, besides, on pulling them up I only got about 5 out intact. The rest had to be broken off, they are as hard as nails. I'm not bothered though, I couldn't really have left them there. I'll put them in a box under the floorboards, so someone can find them in 50 years and have a nice little mystery.

I can quite easily set them down, I'm just waiting for the reproductions to turn up, so I can measure it out. I have to chip away the concrete around the edges, and once they're in, I'll probably replace that with a bit of nice wood.

The old ones are bloody hard, several direct blows with a hammer didn't even mark them :eek:
 

TdC

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Tom said:
The old ones are bloody hard, several direct blows with a hammer didn't even mark them :eek:
ooh quality stuff then. cleaning out my flat I only was left with shards. the marble on the floors is another matter though, it would take some bashing to remove that stuff heh.
 

tRoG

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That was seriously lucky :clap:

Well done, you'll soon have a sexeh fireplace.
 

Munkey

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Aye, always nice to invest in your property.

Any other bits of restoration work you doing Tom?
 

Tom

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Munkey said:
Any other bits of restoration work you doing Tom?
Pretty much the entire house. It was built in 1910, and these are some of the things I've done over the 2.5 years since I bought the place:

Front door:

This was the first external feature I worked on. It was originally dark green, with a cheap aluminium letterbox, crap locks, no numbers, different panes of cheap glass, and no draught excluder.



I had to take it off the jamb, reset the hinges, strip the door completely (took ages), then prime it (I used a paint with aluminium in, really stops the water getting in), 2 layers of undercoat, and 3 layers of topcoat. I used a paint roller to get it nice and smooth, those things rock :) I made the letterbox bigger, and bought a new flap. I'm not totally happy with the flap, it doesn't quite look right, but I couldn't find anything of that size that was edwardian/art nouveau (letterboxes were originally just for letters, and rarely used because the postman would just knock on the door anyway). I also had to cut a couple of inches from the bottom, to get the draught excluder on. That was a bit unnerving, but it worked out fine. The two panes of glass are now double glazed. Its the only original door left on the entire street.



I replaced the cheapo doorbell with something a bit nicer, its victorian in design but its close enough :)

Downstairs front window:



These took bloody ages. All the sashes were painted shut, the cords broken, the pulleys twisted, and to top it all, that horrid green paint again. I completely dismantled all the sashes, stripped them, and gave them the same treatment as the front door. Then I put new cords on, reattached the weights, and put everything back together. They work ok, not brilliantly, but good enough until I have the time to go back and get them up to 100%. The top sash tends to 'settle' a little bit when you push it up, because one of the cords is slightly too long, and the weight hits the bottom before the window hits the top (if you know what I mean). I have to lock them together for it to stay in place. Only a minor thing, but quite difficult to resolve because getting to the weights is really fiddly.

I get double glazing salesmen calling around, and I always ask them how many years their windows are guaranteed to last, to which they reply 'ten years' or so. I then ask them if their windows are so good, how come they don't guarantee them to last 95 years, like mine have? They don't have an answer for that. I do, its called 'fuck off'.



I actually broke the glass in the bottom sash, I left it resting against the wall to dry, and the wind caught it and blew it over. I was bloody annoyed, 30 year old rippled glass gone in a moment of stupidity. The smaller sashes don't open, and were nailed shut, but I still got them open and treated them, so they wouldn't rot further. I painted the stone lintels, jambs, and mullions with gloss and emulsion.



I really like the insides of these windows. Good quality wood, and sound construction. I stripped about 5 layers of paint from them, with scrapers and a wire brush. Took me weeks, but untreated, I think they look fantastic. I have similar windows in my bedroom, but they've been varnished and need nitromors. (image)



All I did in the hallway was remove the shitty carpets, sand the floors (the staircase took me f00kin ages to do), stain and varnish them. I removed all the anaglyta wallpaper, lined them, and used emulsion on the walls. The light fitting is a B&Q job, the handrail I bought from a local timber merchant, and cut it to size myself. I also reinstated the picture rails, which some twunt had removed. You can see my bathroom at the top, but I'm not going to show you that because although I've decorated it, it still has the shitty cheapo bathroom furniture from the last occupants, and thats gonna cost me several thousand to replace properly (I want the old style cistern/chain flush separate bowl type bathroom, with freestanding clawed feet bath).

The floorboards all had an edging of old varnish (people couldn't afford wall to wall carpets back then), which clogged every bastard tool I used to remove it. You can still see where the wood has stained, up the staircase, in the middle of each tread/riser.

Kitchen:



excuse the mess :D

This was a downstairs shower/toilet when I bought the place, no ventilation, tiny little window, and a crap electric shower. I enjoyed ripping that fucker out. It was originally the kitchen (behind the camera is a single-level extension that connects into the back room), and I wanted it back that way. Its the most expensive thing I've done on the house, and I got somebody in to do that. I'm not trying to prove anything, but it cost about 6 grand to get everything done, and it was worth every penny. The kitchen that was in when I bought the place was where my dining table/chairs now are (just behind the camera).



This will eventually be the understairs pantry (just next to the oven in the last shot), I bought some wood panelling the other day, originally oak panelling from Wigan old town hall. I'm using it for shelves, its just the right size for tins/bottles of food. I'll clear the rest out and store my tools in there.



Back of the larder, god knows how old it is, but it works perfectly, makes a really loud 'driiing', and no way am I replacing it. The cables on the right are networking, tv, alarm, all sorts of stuff.

Front bedroom:



You've seen this before, just a better shot of the wallpaper I used, and the tiles almost in-situ. I have run out of paint for the skirting boards. I have to flatten the concrete in the fireplace before I can install them, they still have the old tiles outline imprinted on them. I think the fireplace insert is downstairs in my front room:



I can't afford to rip it out and put a proper fireplace in my front room just yet (the original front room fireplace would have had a big wooden surround, and a tiled insert fireplace, with a proper fireback). Thats gonna cost me close to a grand to get an original, I don't have that money lying around right now. When I do, I might put that fireplace back upstairs, where it belongs.


Oh well, hope I didn't bore you, I just find all this stuff fascinating, I love old houses.
 

Gumbo

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That's really interesting Tom, and precisely the sort of thing I'd love to have a go at. Now if I could just find any house in this part of the world under the 150k mark I could maybe make a start.

Roll on the housing market crash!
 

Munkey

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slate fireplace? Looks like it.

Very nice house btw, i feel all jealous :(
 

Tom

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Munkey said:
slate fireplace? Looks like it.

Very nice house btw, i feel all jealous :(
Nah, cast iron. You only use slate for the surround/mantle, the insert has to be metal.
 

Munkey

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ah k. I'm not exactly knowledgeable about this stuff :p
 

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