Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Labour of Love - Kitchen and Sanding - An Update

Biscuit Boy and I are just back from Labour of Love, our lovely village house nestled in a valley in south-west France. My project was sanding and varnishing some floors and BB was tasked with fitting the oven, hob and tiles.

Here's a few photos from the trip:

There used to be a really, stinky old woodburner in here which didn't work. Well, you put wood in it, it burned and the place remained absolutely freezing. Absolutely not what you need when it's freezing cold and you have no other source of heat. Thankfully, we do now have wall-mounted heaters upstairs, but there were a few winters where there was no heat other than this thing. We used it once, spent many euros on some logs and remained cold. So it had to go. I think this looks good. Now for some tiles, no ?


I love the contrast of the white subway tiles with the grey grout, and the grey tiles with the white grout, and the variation in laying style. I wanted the oven area to be 'similar, but different'.  I am happy with the finished effect. Now, here's a view of the whole kitchen....

Oh... and here's what I did, the floors on the top level...

The floors came out really well, I am pleased with them. In the style of my recipe writing, here's what I did:

1) Scrubbed the floor by hand with good old soap, water and scourer to get rid of water stains, paint and cement 'droppings' on the floor. Sweeping the bits up with a brush as I go.
2) Make sure the floor is clear of all marks that can be removed by hand and is now dry.
3) Get out a hand sander (or larger sander) fit with appropriate sand paper, and sand the whole floor, paying special attention to any remaining stubborn marks. Don't forget to wear your mask whilst doing this to avoid breathing down sawdust. NOTE: even if you think your floor doesn't need sanding, give it a light, quick sand anyway. Apparently it provides a 'key' for the varnish to adhere to.
4) Sweep excess sawdust from the floor
5) Wipe the entire floor with white spirit and wait for it to dry.
6) Varnish floor.
7) Wait two hours and reapply.
8)  Wait two hours and reapply.
9)  Wait two hours and reapply.

Yes, you want four layers of varnish in total for a nice hard-wearing surface. Maybe even more! You might notice that I am wearing socks in the photo above, I am about to apply one of the later layers, basically the varnish is still too soft for you to be on there in hard shoes, and if in bare feet the natural sweat from your feet could mark the floor as you will stick to it. So, keep your socks on ! You need to wait eight hours after the final layer before you allow your usual traffic on it.

We used Ronseal Hard as Nails Diamond Gloss varnish that comes with it's own sponge/mop applicator thingy and it actually works very well. I would recommend it.

If you do get to do some sanding in your own Labour of Love, then I hope that helps.


  1. Great work with the kitchen!

    THANKS AGAIN FOR THE WELL WISHES!!!!!!!!!! im extremely excited tomorrow! youre the best!

  2. Hi,
    Love your kitchen. We're in the middle of sanding our floor, can you tell me what colour you used in teh Ronseal Diamond hard varnish?

  3. Hello Sam, Thank you for passing by my blog. BB and I believe we used an 'antique pine' woodstain in the kitchen, followed by the Diamond hard in clear. Since it was brand new untreated wood. (see Kitchen photo). In the second photo, in my socks, I am applying just a clear Ronseal 'hard as nails' varnish as the wood is old and didn't need a stain. I hope that helps ! Good luck with your floor-I hope it goes well. All the best, Kg.


Thank you for leaving me a comment !