the old woolshop
Old Woolshop home

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The Old Wool Shop
Diary of a renovation
Part 2:
February 2005 - May 2005


Once the builders had finished the front of the shops it was down to us to complete the rest of the conversion.

Spiral Staircase
Having decided on a rough layout inside we need to remove the existing staircase from the big shop and install a spiral staircase nearer to the centre of the room because of the limited headroom upstairs. We had been lucky enough to spot a suitable staircase on Ebay shortly before Christmas, we won the staircase on late on Christmas day for £225, probably because noone else was thinking about staircases after Christmas lunch. We travelled up to near Keswick on boxing day to pick the staircase up not knowing that much about what was included with the lot. As it turned out it was a bargain, seventeen steps with hardwood treads, plenty of metal balusters and a quantity of straight hardwood handrail which we later sold on Ebay. The whole lot probably weighed over a ton.

I knew nothing about installing a spiral staircase so it took some working out, the first job was to dig a metre square hole on the floor and fill it with concrete to act as a solid base for it. This protruded a 100 mm above the floor to line up with the revised floor height we had planned for once the underfloor heating was installed. It took more than a couple of attempts to get the tread spacing and placement correct but it was certainly worth the effort.

first few stairs alternative route upstairs all the treads laid out
Much of the rest of the job was welding practice, although it was extremely tricky getting the handrails made up (these were missing from the original auction lot). A company in Batley rolled them out of 50mm tube, but knowing little about stairs I was worried that I hadn't measured up correctly for these. Luckily they fitted with only a couple of minor modifications. The landing was made up from similar type balusters.
landing finishing work completed item

The Dry Stone Wall
Now that we had spent so much on the shop fronts we wanted to enclose the front garden area to prevent damage to the new walls. There were two options for a wall, the first a coursed stone wall with metal railings set into it. The second, a conventional dry stone wall. The options were weighed up, but with the first costing between three and five times as much as the second it was an easy decision. We gave our mate Dan a call and ordered twenty tons of newly quarried stone from nearby Johnson's quarry.

dry stone walling walling again 50% complete

The weekend before I had picked up two stone gateposts from a salvage yard, cut eighteen inches off their height and dropped them into the ground in front of the front door (we only just managed this with three men). The stone offcuts from the gateposts were taken up to Monuscript to have the house name and number cut into them. The walling itself was very hard work.

finished namestone number stone enclosed garden

Front Garden

Easter was named as the weekend where we'd get the front garden finished. This meant creating three raised beds with railway sleepers (and one more from dry stone), laying a stone flag walkway to the front door, building steps at one end of the garden and laying three tons of gravel. Ten railway sleepers were picked up from the docks at Goole and I set to work with the chainsaw.

Three tons of 'dorset gold' decorative shingle were shovelled around the new beds and indian slate flags laid from the front door to the gateway.

flagstones from gateway front garden dry stone wall around bed
A fourth raised bed was built in dry stone and the beds were planted up with a mixture of plants.
4th raised bed view up the stairs completed


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