Before the summer holiday Patrick and I constructed bookshelves in the alcoves either side of the fireplace based on rough designs and measurements. With a simple plinth and cornice and a few coats of white paint far from reducing the size of the room they seem to increase the space, especially with the hidden illumination behind the cornice, and give a better sense of scale and proportion to the room. The rhythm of the shelving creates a counterpoint to the rhythm of the ceiling beams and the horizontal lines of the plinth and cornice follow and carry over the lines of the window sills and mantle piece. They are ready to be filled slowly with the accumulation of books which has built up over the years. I am already imagining evenings in front of the fire in the depth of winter in the company of favorite writers, the act of reading requiring both quiet and comfort, one interior space supporting another.
Upstairs I was finally able to give the new oak floorboards a stain of colour and coat beeswax This was physical hard work but one job at least that smelled nice - at least to my sense of smell. I first had to stain the boards to the right colour using a mixture of turpentine and burnt umber oil paint and then when this was dry a coat of of beeswax and turpentine. Finally the plinth was attached and painted white.