Go to suppliers for fixtures, fittings, DIY

TL;DR Overall, long-term I'm looking to go with early 1900s - art deco interior, on an old flat in Scotland, don't know where's best to buy quality everything from DIY to fixtures and fittings and am looking for good supplier recommendations.


I purchased an old tenement flat (around 1910) earlier in the year and am in the process of making it a comfortable home. 
 
I'm trying to be sympathetic to what's left of the original interior and did contemplate doing a full renovation over time, using reclaimed architectural salvage, but I could end up putting something in which wasn't here originally. The only original, or near original, features left are the doors, bathroom plumbing. It's got the usual 1980-90 artex / woodchip paper in places and also has concrete floors (I've seen very old photos of this building and can place it to 1919 with my research to date, so far I've ruled out the entire insides being removed to create flats). 

My current shopping list:
1. Lime plaster, suitable for interior and communal areas. The communal areas are unheated and downstairs has three 'open' sections, no doors and is subjected to weather fluctuations. Imagine a T and those three points (bottom, left and right ends of the T) are the open sections the rest has walls, ceiling etc, upper floors are enclosed and not as cold.
-- just out of curiosity, can this stuff be used to patch areas or does the whole section have to be done? I'm assuming no blown areas just where bits will have wallpaper removed (my flat) or show age (communal). If the whole section, does the lath get replaced or is that subject to it's condition? (I've not fully looked into this yet, hence asking as I'm posting about it and would rather know before I need to know).

2. Door fittings. I'm torn between buying originals or chrome modern ones.

3. DG trickle vents. Rectangular type with the switch to open close.

4. Shower room everything. This is where I'm really conflicted. A huge part of me wants to go to a salvage yard as it's only a sink / toilet and I've seen some lovely ones. The old Victorian type sink with the chrome legs is the reproduction one I will go with if I go for new. I would need with a new double shower tray and surround. (I'm pricing up the items so I know how much to save).

It's one thing buying paint and other everyday items. What I don't want to do is buy / do something which won't last, especially as I probably will not be moving. 

For now I'm doing bits, while saving up to the big ticket items and trying to get knowledge in advance of needing it. I fully expect to be asking about other things over the next few years!

Any information you can provide will be greatly appreciated, reading the old posts has got me this far.

Replies

  • ApodemusApodemus Forumite
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    Sounds an interesting project! 

    I'm having difficulty envisaging the type of tenement you are in, with three external openings to the close.  Without giving too much away, can you give a clue to which part of Scotland you are in - east or west, city or rural small town?  How many flats in the close? And are they two or three to the landing?  What is the external appearance of the tenement - very plain or ornamented sandstone?  You say you have concrete floors - are you the ground floor flat?

    In all probability the plaster in the common areas will be directly onto brick rather than lath.  Small, blown sections can be replaced individually.

    If you have original doors, then I would suggest you look for salvaged original fittings - they may even work out cheaper, if you can find a decent salvage place near you (and don't go in with a flashing £ sign above your head!)

    It might be worth signing up to the PPUK Forum, where you will find a lot more like-minded people (although there are a number who also post on here).
  • FreeBearFreeBear Forumite
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    Lime plaster - Buy a tub or two of putty based plaster. As long as you keep the lid on and stop it drying out, it will remain usable for ever. Patching small areas is not a problem. Just give the area a good soaking, and apply in layers. As a layer starts to dry out, cracks may well form, in which case, go over with a wooden float to compact it. Final coat should be thin (~1mm) and a fine aggregate - I use a marble powder in mine, others use chalk.

    Door furniture,  if you can get hold of reclaimed period stuff, use it. I purchased some reproduction rim latches & handles late last year. Whilst they look the part, the steel casing is light and flimsy in comparison (the knobs are good though).
    Keep an eye on local skips and people doing "makeovers" on similar properties in the area - I've managed to score a full set of internal doors from skip diving. Most of them are in better condition than the originals here.
    Her courage will change the world.

    Treasure the moments that you have. Savour them for as long as you can for they will never come back again.
  • ka7eka7e Forumite
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    I have replaced door furniture with reproduction handles from Reborn Bakelite. They also do chrome or copper backplates . I have fancy chevron lever handles on doors facing public areas (hall and landing) and smaller oval ones on the inside ones. https://rebornbakelite.co.uk/
    "Cheap", "Fast", "Right" -- pick two.
  • MovingForwardsMovingForwards Forumite
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    @Apodemus I'm in the east. Block of 6 and I'm on the middle floor, rendered brick with sandstone round the windows. Just an old flat which I was lucky to buy and we all have private gardens, it's not ex-authority either. Thanks to you there's a reveal at the end of this post 😉

    The communal walls need a little TLC, possibly got damaged by furniture over the years as it's minor to the edges and then repainting.  

    It's mainly owner-occupiers now I'm in and there is that tenement community I've read about, we all pitch in to help and look after one another.

    @FreeBear if it treat it like p.filla I won't go too far wrong then, build up layers and no rushing; I've seen the tubs for sale.
    I do skip diving, sadly I've never seen any doors, only the guts of old flats, which is heartbreaking.
    My interior doors are ok, not 100% perfect, but nothing which concerns me; it's a slight bit of character to the side part of the lounge / kitchen doors, plus where the handles were changed on all of them. I'm not taking them back to plain wood, but may try and take a few decades of paint off before redoing them. 

    @ka7e thank you for the link!

    There's a reclaimers I keep looking at online to see what they have and I can pop in at some point, they've got loads of door fittings, amongst other things. I imagine walking out with a lot more than I expect to. 

    Thanks for your all your tips, that saves a few questions 😃

    The HR said it was concrete floors, just having a quick look around and pulled up some underlay in the cupboard, it's floorboards! 
  • ApodemusApodemus Forumite
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    ... pulled up some underlay in the cupboard, it's floorboards! 

    Glad to hear it! I know they do strange things in the east, but a tenement with concrete floors upstairs would have been pretty unusual! :smile:
  • FreeBearFreeBear Forumite
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    MovingForwards said: if it treat it like p.filla I won't go too far wrong then, build up layers and no rushing;
    For small dints & gouges, filler will be OK. For larger areas, Kreidezeit do a lime based filler, or you could mix your own from lime putty, marble flour or chalk. Paint with a lime wash or clay paint afterwards to maintain breathability.
    Her courage will change the world.

    Treasure the moments that you have. Savour them for as long as you can for they will never come back again.
  • MovingForwardsMovingForwards Forumite
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    @Apodemus it's a whole new world for me.  Apparently it's a town, but where I am feels like a village. When I relocated up here a few years ago it felt like I was home, moving up a county I know I am home. 

    @FreeBear thank you for that. I'm slowly working around my flat knocking on the walls, it sounds solid and not blown; assuming it works like plaster does, I may be in for a surprise when I take the paper off. Only the lounge and hall have the woodchip paper.

    Both sides of the chimney haven't been filled in, just had a board or something to close the gap.

    Current project:

    Slowly sanding all the mahogany woodwork including shelving fitted into either side of the chimney breast, painting it white. 

    Freshening up the walls and ceiling.

    Next year projects:

    Replace the front door and potentially have a stained glass window above it. The door definitely isn't original, it's not got that heavy tenement clunk to it when closing.

    Repainting the walls and ceilings for the whole flat.

    Redo the seals around the window frames.

    Fill and paint communal walls and ceilings.

    Future projects:

    Strip paper off and potentially redo all the walls with lime, as necessary.

    Deal with artex.

    The kitchen is possibly 20 years old and has a pantry. Keeping the pantry and saving for a very nice kitchen, possibly handmade. No artex ceiling.

    The bathroom a mix of 60's and modern (ish) tiles by the shower, but wood panelling everywhere else. No artex ceiling. Replace everything, but sympathetic to the age.

    Both bedrooms have lining paper, I'm hoping to get fitted floor to ceiling wardrobes and have them running over the top of the door to create additional storage space.

    Boiler cupboard will have a few more shelves put in.

    External limestone window surrounds, fill any cracks.

    Decide what colours I want everywhere.

    Have an extra electric socket put in each bedroom. 

    I will be doing as much of it myself as I physically can, saving to get some trades in and hopefully will have enough money in 5 years to do the kitchen.

    It's a long-term project due to my health, but if I tackle one room a year, I'm hoping to balance health, projects and money.
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