Hooray! My loft space is finished and only waiting for the things that will eventually go in it.
I decided to have joists after all (see Up aloft, 16 November) but because there's so little headroom, I cheated and used flat strips of wood, 7 mm (1/4 in) wide. I tinted them first with a dirt-coloured wash of paint (add just a touch of white to the mix and you'll get a 'dusty' look when it's dried). Then I trimmed them to fit, remembering that the loft panel slots tightly into the house walls on either side and so the strips had to stop short of the ends. And then I glued them into place.
Where I've used watercolours (poster paints or gouache) I've sprayed the painted area afterwards with a layer of matt-finish fixative (from good art suppliers). It needs to be suitable for sealing pencil, charcoal, chalk and watercolours, so that the pigment won't rub off or mark.
I applied the same fixative to the loft walls, which I'd painted all dark and swirly, having previously hinged the main roof panels together and given them a coat of ivory paint and the old teabag stain, to blend with the yellowed ceiling on the reverse side of the loft floor.
And here is the loft floor in position, as if looking up from the lodger's room and bathroom on the next storey down.
What no one will see, until the front half of the roof is raised, is the loft interior complete with joists. Not only is there going to be a water tank but I'm hoping to construct a brick chimney stack to align with the chimney outside on the roof. It'll be a challenge, as this interesting shot shows!
The real fun will be dressing the rest of the loft with whatever has been pushed up there out of sight in times gone by. I fancy a bundle of secret letters that someone couldn't bear (or dare?) to throw away, or perhaps a heap of toys, abandoned and long forgotten.
I've recently bought a very handy tool that cuts wooden strips and mouldings to whatever angle you want. I've been trying it out on mitring a frame for the skylight I made earlier (A little kit bashing, 3 October).
Hm, not too bad for a first attempt, though there's clearly room for improvement in making the pieces fit flush.
Finally, I'm afraid, a note of complaint from Charlie Brennan himself. OK, he's delighted with the Fair Isle pullover and the scarf, but says he would rather have a head of a hair than wear a woolly hat that only lacks a bobble to make him look a complete fool. Above all, he flatly refuses to appear again until somebody has made him some trousers to hide his long johns. Just how many pairs of hands does he think I have?