This morning I awoke to pictures from S of the ‘patio at dawn’ and a perfect example of how a builder using initiative, as opposed to the telephone, should be discouraged at all costs.
When we booked the foreman to undertake the patio we showed him a picture of the kind of thing we were after. Despite the fact that he glanced at it only momentarily he has replicated it, thus far, pretty accurately. We have had the stone laid in a similar pattern using three sizes of tile and my penultimate job before leaving for the North was to pin a tearsheet from the brochure on the notice board for their reference. We have a rendered block work wall which we will paint (at some point…) and a set of steps running from the patio up to the lawned garden though we need a bit of imagination for that bit as right now the lawn looks more like builders junk yard. We have placed the steps to the right (if you are inside looking out) rather than centrally so that they take their centre from the bifold doors and this configuration has the added benefit of offering us a bigger area to one side for the table and chairs. The width of the small flight of steps and the height of the rendered wall have also both been painstakingly thought through and discussed with the foreman’s team. Its fairly obvious, then, that we have some pretty definite ideas about how we expect the finished article to look. Admittedly checking in about the detail was easier when I was onsite but yesterday they decided not to even try and instead elected to make a little design decision of their own. The steps, rather than being rendered in keeping with the rest of the patio project, have been built in brick. Reclaimed, mind you, so there’s eco points to be cashed but still I can’t decide whether the move was misjudged or enlightened.. . . not least because neither of us have actually seen it ‘enlightened’ as S both arrives home and leaves for work in the dark. My gut feeling is that its a mix of materials too far and have asked S to find out from the foreman if its too late to have them rendered. If it is we will have to live with our brick steps for a while and simply paint them at a later date if need be. It’s a small price to pay, the control freak is saying to herself, for a holiday away from the site.
You may be surprised, having read yesterdays post, that C the carpenter is in possession of such a thing but the incident brought back fairly recent memories of a time when he used his initiative as opposed to his instructions. He had been brought in to decorate O’s room while S and I took O away for a few days. It had taken me two visits to B&Q and a number of paint samples to get a creamy white paint to match the robot wallpaper I’d fallen in love with – destined for the chimney breast. A blue wall would be opposite and the creamy colour on the rest. I left the 5 litre pot, the roll of wallpaper and a little map indicating clearly which wall was to be painted which colour.
As we got into the car, with C waving us off from the door, I called back.
“I’ve just had a thought…when I had the paint mixed I imagined we would paint the ceiling white but I’d like you to paint it in the cream” I said “So you may need another pot”
“Don’t worry” he had said “as long as its got the name on it Ill pick another up”
“There’s a code” I replied “it’s on a sticker on the can”
With that we confidently said our cheerios and we were off.
Upon our return I made a beeline for O’s room to check on progress. I stood at the door horrified. The room was orange. Annoyed at myself for making yet another Just Walnut muck-up (see yesterdays post) I wanted to cry. I may have done.
“I don’t know why I’m bothering” I said to S back downstairs “I cant seem to choose paint so I may as well give up now”
I returned upstairs for another look and discovered that the paint I had bought had barely been used and instead here were two empty cans of Soft Cream. Baffled, I could only imagine it was a basecoat for the new plaster.
On C’s arrival the next day he, chest puffed, asked me what I thought of the colour in the room.
“Well…it’s not the right one” I said as I watched him deflate. I gestured to the pot I had bought, “the colour should have been this”
C looked indignant.
“Thats not cream.” he countered “In my eyes thats white. You said cream”
I sighed. What woman would ever send a man to B&Q issued only with the instruction “get cream” with more shades of cream and white available than all the other colours put together?
I made him a coffee. I went back to B&Q. I handed him ‘white’ paint, my white paint and a paintbrush. And the room was done again.
The brick steps