The stairwell didn’t formerly exist. Access to the old upstairs balcony was via two very steep and scary stairways, one at each end of the building. This had to be completely redesigned in the new layout. The stairwell now gives light, spacious and airy access to the first floor. The window on the half-landing is a brand new one, made by local craftsmen in timber, with traditional lead-weighted sash openings, and set into the two-foot thick wall - a particularly fun job! Some of the external stone is original, but new pieces had to be incorporated. We were advised to coat the new stone in yogurt to make the moss and algi grow on it quickly, but we think it's doing just fine without that.
All the window openings have new sills made from some of the original timbers. Jill insisted on those lights up the stairs at floor level, even when the going got difficult, and we’re really glad she did.
The Upstairs Landing
The landing gives access to the four upstairs bedrooms, but before we go there, let’s pause to enjoy the view from the fantastic ‘viewing gallery’.
On the landing, the double doors are held open and you step through them into the relocated pulpit, which overhangs into the living area below. Ahead are the splendid long windows, with their green and yellow-brown tints, seen best in the sunlight which streams into this south-facing aspect. Below is the Cuthbert Room, and this gallery preserves and mimics the original first-floor balcony. It’s wonderful. We've hung an enormous print of our favourite painting so that it can be enjoyed from this fantastic vantage point.…