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Follow the red brick road

When I first started planning and designing the front path to our cottage I had a grand illusion of an artisan type sat on the floor painting mosaic in the sunshine, slowing bronzing whilst neighbours walked by to check the progress, and hopefully with lots of 'ooo's' and 'ahhh's'. It didn't pan out that way at all. What with the total disruption of Spring, to a wet soggy summer, it wasn't until October that the path was ready to be worked on. By then it was far too cold and damp to sit on the floor painting stones. Plus the paint would take forever to dry, so no doubt every bit of dust would then stick to the stones. Painting outdoor was out of the question

The front path was a slap of concrete which really wasn't a partnership for the stained glass front door. Last autumn when we were digging new beds for tulips we came across Victorian tiles under the grass. In our little bit of the village everybody knows everything about everybody, and so we were able to work out the history of the terracotta tiles we had unearthed. They had been made locally at the turn of the century and became the obvious choice for the front path!

We saved the best of the tiles (which are over an inch thick) for the hearth in the front room. Below are pictures of the tiles in the lounge, they still need grouting and the fireplace needs replacing yet!

The path design came out of necessity rather than requirement. We spent hours trying to lay them out, as we were about 4 short of our chosen pattern. With the help of the path guy, who did a fantastic job, once laid the tiles looked as if they had always been there. A major problem was the dogleg in the path. Looking out from the house, the gate post is in fact the central line. I came up with the plan to have a larger diamond left empty in front of the gate, which detracts the eye from the path not running straight to the middle of the gate. The new path now slopping away from the house needed the little triangles filling in. originally I was going to mosaic stones, but the job had dragged on too long and so we decided on granite chippings. This was perfect for the the edge along the house as the stones would act as great drainage, plus we were given them for free. By the time the path is finished, it will only have cost the labour, as the materials are all recycled.

The photos above show how I decided to paint the stones as it was too rubbish outside. I made a template to the same size as the tile gaps on the front path which I filled it will Play-Doh. The stones were all different sizes and shapes but the Play-Doh helped support the stone as if it were in the cement on the path

I painted the stones by the bucket full, so I had a great selection of shapes, with a rainbow of colour running the length of the path. Using liquid acrylic I hand painted the shapes, dots and daisies so the whole tile had a band of plain colour arching through it.

In total there are 11 single tile spaces. It was important that the path was blues and greens by the front door to match the stained glass, and by a stroke of luck, the colour is blue by the gate, so it is one complete rainbow. Painting the stones inside on Play-Doh made the job so easy, enabled me to paint more detail and each piece is pristine after it's three coats of varnish.


Three months later, and it is finished! I'm very pleased with the end result. It is mid January so getting 3 warm, dry days in a row has been impossible. The next outdoor project will be the picket fence and gate for the front of the cottage!


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