There is something about the Castle’s hallway, with its central staircase and pair of unnecessary and ill proportioned, but rather charming columns, that piques a childhood memory of HMS Victory. So I revisited the Victory, and enjoyed again the thrilling claustrophobia of the deepest decks, where heavy restoration is less apparent and where there is still a smell of damp and ballast. I took many photos of Nelson’s apartments, an interior where unfashionable brown furniture looks perfect set against apricot/beige woodwork and walls of dark duck egg blue.
Back at home, a smell of damp and ballast also pervades my landing and hallway, but somehow without quite the romance. It is the area of the house to have changed most in the last few weeks. On the landing, the removal of an old partition, probably the front of an old laundry cupboard, as it had portholes for ventilation, has returned this to a space of elegant proportions, with views to the East over a large oak tree and to the West, over the top lawn. Sadly the ceiling has gone, it was plasterboard and poorly done. Shall I go to the cost of replacing with lath and plaster? It would be nice to see it undulate again, without the tell tail accuracy of the modern finish.
Stair spindles have been stripped of white gloss and are now smeared in a brown glue- like substance, perhaps the relic of an old shellac? It is a pleasure to see them dark again and if I don’t re-shellac, perhaps they would look good in dark teal green or grey blue, a touch of Stephen Gambrel, without the slick of wealth attached.
Downstairs in the hall there have been many changes: the removal of early 20th Century boarding on the staircase, put there to disguise staff moving up and down from the service floor below, which turned the stairs into a dark cavern and the removal of a mean proportioned early 20th century fireplace which will be relocated elsewhere. Thinking of what to replace it with, I lingered over the lovely stove in Hardy’s apartments: if only one could buy such a thing. I have managed to find purple brown manganese delft tiles for here though, dating from 1820, appropriate I think, as the drawing room has blue delft and the manganese would suit the black marble surround I propose for there.
There are dubious elements that can’t be changed: two sections of balustrading fitted either side of the afore mentioned ill-proportioned columns. I don’t have permission to remove these, so I am trying to love them. I feel it truly has a nautical feel, in a 1970’s pub- fit way, so perhaps if my walls were duck egg blue and my paintwork, I’ll call it Nelson’s beige, I will truly feel the wind rushing through my hair.