Mice and The Butler’s Pantry

There is water coming through the living room ceiling!

The plumber was called to investigate. The problem was that mice had nibbled their way through the shower flexible waste return. MICE! we have never had mice. Why were they eating our shower?

They are getting up through the Butlers pantry and under the floor where it is nice and warm, the plumber told us as he replaced the pipe with a rodent proof one (why we didn’t have that in the first place is another question).

We never had a Butler and nor did anyone else in the house but we do have a Butlers Pantry. (Should really be called a cook’s pantry). It is a large walk in cupboard just over 1 sqm. It is home to all our dried food and it appears a load of mice.

How to get rid of mice

We thought all our food was safe in the Butlers pantry. It was where unopened packets were stored, rice coffee, tea, tins and bottles.

I picked up a vaccum packed pack of ground coffee and the mice had nibbled a corner , coffee spilt everywhere. I picked up a box of fruit tea and they had eaten through every teapig tea bag, leaving a pile of loose fruit tea in the box. This was war. I scurried off to Ikea and bought lockable large plastic containers.

All provisions locked away

We thought we were finished, no food, no sign of any mice. Then one evening I opened the pantry door and a mouse jumped in front of me and landed on the opposite shelf. Arrghhh we need to sort this out.

Plan of attack

Get rid of the mice, block up all entrance and exit points for the mice. The ceiling of the Pantry had massive holes where successive trades people had got access to electric cables, and plumbing. When we moved in there was a boiler in the cupboard and they had knocked some of the shelves out to fit it in. When we moved in we had the boiler taken out leaving massive holes where it had been.

Holes in the ceiling

The pantry had never had any love , it was just a quick dumping ground. The mice made us finally give this space some love.

Small spaces

Small spaces are hard to do, there may not be as much to do but there is also no space. We stripped the pantry of all its belongings

Stripping back the thick layer of past wallpapers finally revealed the bottom original paper. It was a thin paper that was attached when the house was built and was firmly stuck to the plaster. Often this paper would be treated with a layer of varnish to make it more durable.

The paper looked quite smart, I imagine, when it was first done, and the shelves seem to have been coated with a linseed paint.

What will it look like?

After much thought we have settled on the following mood board

Gold leaf, dark shelves are the general vibe, but this is subject to change as we continue the restoration. It might be green with wallpaper, or maybe yellow and chocolate shelves. Samples are being ordered

What about the mice?

Two large mice traps (friendly catch type) were set up. Baited with peanut butter we caught a couple, but then we changed to dry dog food and things went crazy. We caught 12 mice all of which got either driven to the park where we walk the dog or taken to work to be released.

The final reveal

We settled on gold leaf for the walls, black for the ceiling and skirting, Penraevon Grey for the shelves (similar to French Grey). The gold leaf comes in 12cm square sheets and attached by painting the wall with size (pva glue). I leave it for 24hrs before then gently brushing to remove all loose bits and to gently burnish the gold. As you press on the gold leaf it almost seems to bond with the surface. Here are some during photos.

the walls are finished just need second coat of eggshell for the shelves
black for the bottom and all gold needs buffing to neaten up
restocking begins

The Golden Pantry

fully stocked and mouse proof
full reveal

Conclusion

The gold makes a dark window less space glow and it makes it easy to find things. Hopefully we have removed all temptation for mice to return.

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