When we last left the fantabulous house back in April I’d just ripped down the hallway wall to make a new open space:
Taking that wall down left me with an electric cable sticking out of the floor as well as two radiator valves that needed moving.
Fortunately for me the cable was just from a junction box so it was super easy to replace that with a longer cable and just move it to another wall. Don’t play with electrics if you don’t know what you’re doing though kids- that’s how fires start.
Here’s a blurry picture of me using a circular saw to cut access in the floor.
While electric cables mean more possibility of death, the most damaging thing is actually a radiator valve. If I kicked the head of this sucker off pretty much all of the upstairs central heating system would have emptied into the floor, ruining my brand new workroom ceiling and gawd knows what else. My Dad was appearing in a few weeks to help me move it over, so until then I made it a special wooden hat out of scrap wood to keep them safe.
These were screwed into the floor- wouldn’t protect it from a flying kick but made sure the floor didn’t sink to an early grave.
Then it was time to start stripping wallpaper and get the room ready to be replastered.
Holy original wallpaper batman!
This was fused to the wall and most likely as old as the house. Anyone with some wallpaper expertise know when this was made? It’s discoloured from age but there was something about it I loved (despite the vomit-y yellow appearance) and seemed a shame to plaster over it.
After chatting to my neighbour and plasterers I wandered down to a local charity shop and bought a frame to bolt to the wall which the plasterer was happy to work around. He seemed to think I was a bit crazy but by this point I’m used to workmen looking at me like that.
Then I covered it up ready for the plasterers to begin work!
The only thing left to do was to climb into the roof and move the light over by a foot.
You can see it more clearly here- while it looked fine before with the wall knocked down you could see that the two lights were slightly out of line. So I did the scary thing and moved the one over the stairs.
Dawn breaks on the room ready to be reborn!
The chimney was so wonky I just got it boarded and skimed
The wibbly ceiling was too wibbly for this world and fearing it crashing down I got that reboarded too.
(The workmen were not invisible, I just took all these photos while the plasterers were out at lunch.)
Sexy new ceiling being sexy
Bonding coat around the frame
Hot diggity what a lovely new room! It was about 2 days work from start to finish and I still have no idea how they did above the stairs.
(The plasterers finished friday afternoon just in time for my dad to roll up and for us to move the radiator over to help with drying out the room. Cheers Papa Kimpton!)
Hot damn thems some fine walls.
Ain’t nothing smoother than a freshly plastered wall
And check out the wallpaper still intact! Or is it a picture of my ageing decrepit face?
With everything dry a week later it was time to do a mist coat
LET THE PAINTING BEGIN
(I’ve given up wearing shirts while I paint ceilings. Sorry neighbours.)
I decided to keep the swirly wallpaper on the stair wall because I didn’t want to get my entire downstairs hallway replastered as well. I’m just tarting it up with a fresh coat of white paint.
My next job required a second pair of hands a couple days later- making a faux beam along the back of the plaster coving that used to be in the hallway. Much drilling and swearing later we managed to recycle some of the stud wood into 3 parts and put it up on the (wonky) ceiling.
This was followed up with two 10mm planks of timber underneath the coving to help support it.
Then some new (super cheap resin) coving goes up in the other side of the room- not matching but acknowledging that these used to be two rooms and making it easy to put a stud back up if I so chose.
Then lots of expanding foam to fill the (huge) gaps because this ceiling is as straight as me.
Then I basically left the project alone for a month while work got in the way. I spent about a week applying plaster/filler to this beam to get it looking finished. Plastering is hard yo, that’s why people do it for jobs and deserved to be paid top dollar.
I did use this chance to add a corbel to the beam because I think everyone needs support in their life.
Filling in the coving gaps. Coving is the worst and requires SUCH math so I’m not even going to go into how much error and trial went into getting these angles right.
Using a wet paintbrush over filler/plaster is a good way to make it match- I’m going to remember that one for later!
With the plaster drying it was time to tackle the trim…
HERE I GO
Such a sad radiator, it’s okay, we’ll make you pretty again.
Ewww. This house was the kind of dirty that only a coat of paint could fix. I’ve gotten much better at using oil based gloss and now I can use it I wouldn’t go back to water based or satin. It just makes everything so much nicer and easy to clean.
Around this time I got a quote to replace the (slightly broken) window and with my 1 year anniversary housewarming coming up the pressure was on to finish and get everything done in time. Usually I paint all the walls first but with builders needing to change out the frame and furniture being on floors I realised that I needed to sand and paint the floor over the course of 2 days.
I decided not to hire a drum sander for this floor as they are super heavy, don’t make a good job of wonky floors (like mine), and it would save me £100+. Instead I would be using a handheld belt sander because I’d had to use that one all around the edges of the work room floor anyway.
After about an hours sanding my neck started to hurt something rotten though so I stripped off my protective gear (IMPORTANT) and came up with a cunning plan…
Turns out you CAN cable tie a belt sander to a stick. You probably SHOULDN’T but that is what I did and I am still alive. I had a friend with me to supervise and was wearing gloves, face mask, visor and ear protection so I’m not a complete idiot but it’s not on my list of things I recommend other humans do.
I then spent the next couple of hours walking my new dog up and down the the floor before unhooking it and doing the edges.
The next day was hand sanding all the weird bits and hoovering up all the dust (SO MUCH DUST)
Then a rub down with white spirit (WEAR A BREATHER) before onto the actual staining…
Coat 1 (aw yiss)
This probably needed a third coat but I was running out of time and had a room to paint, so down the tarps went
I tape all my edges because while I can cut in a line free hand with a house this wonky it’s good to have a starting line. I also needed to keep white paint off the freshly stained floor.
Here’s how I painted the coving above the stairs without risking my life. Cable ties are really useful!
With the ceiling/coving all dry and a brilliant white it was time to add that splash of colour I’d had waiting in my cupboard for months with this room in mind.
This is dulux ‘Tuscan Terracotta’
By which they mean ‘Salmon Pink’.
I’d been fooled by their man-vertising and bought it, thinking it would add a soothing masculinity to my room. Thing is- I wear pale pink all the time and have several pink shirts, but even I rankled at the idea of painting a room salmon pink.
BUT I DID IT ANYWAY
Because you only live once and you can always paint twice.
And when it was there on the walls, fading from eyes bleeding wet to soothing dry matt, I realised that I actually really really…
It’s more soft pink than the burnt orange photos, but there’s something about it that does have that deep soothing quality I wanted from this room. So masculine stereotypes be damned, I was happy and going to live in my pink room with glee.
Unfortunately even with masking tape paint edges don’t come out very well. However that’s easily fixed up-
-Awwww yisssss. That’s what the good stuff in life is made from.
The paint dried just in time for the window fitters to turn up and blast the old creaky window for a brand new one.
Now it was the rush to get everything finished for the house warming. I’d found this old fire surround in a charity shop for £15 and once again awkwardly fitted it into my car.
(Like the first weekend with my dad, almost a year ago)
This time it was just me though and a very, very slow climb up the stairs with this slung over my shoulder.
Luckily for me I had two large tiles left over from the bathroom perfect for making the fire hearth.
Cutting a hole for ventilation and adding a support shelf for a very special stone block.
I found this broken slab with Karen in the debis of the downstairs fireplace back in August last year
After cleaning it up a bit we realised it was slate painted to look like marble- and would make a totally awesome addition to the fire.
Here it is in pride of place with the surround to check the levels of everything.
I had a bit of uneven plaster at the base of the chimney breast so I wallpapered the entire thing to give it a smooth surface to paint over. This is just black metal paint which might not be the best thing to use but it’s just SO GLOSSY I love it. I decided to just paint the missing section of the stone black so people could see it was something that was smashed- another little mark of the house’s history.
Karen arrived on thursday to help me get all the furniture ready for the housewarming friday evening. I bought some discount chalk paint (this time the tin was truthful and called itself ‘salmon’) and used it to tart up the old set of shelves and drawers that used to be in this room:
Mmmmm faux wood finish
But it was FREE furniture and I wasn’t going to pass that up.
2/3 coats later and a spritz of furniture sealant and I had a lovely set of shelves and a desk.
With furniture drying and guests looming I took to the ladder and changed the light fittings for something a bit more interesting.
Yay now my guests don’t have to sit in the dark
Desk squeezed in and fire surround secured into place over the (just) dry black paint.
Rolling back the tarp, sweeping the floor, adding furniture…
AND LO, A ROOM FIT FOR A KING
And then we had a party and it was very good.
I’m still moving my stuff in but my books are now officially where they should be- might need some more shelves though!
And check out my super fancy coffee table!
Never a dull day at the fantabulous house. The only question left is… what do I call the room?
What should I call the new room?
The Library (because it will have books)
The Parlour (because parlour games idk)
The Drawing room (aka, room to withdraw to after dinner)
The Sitting room (I will be sitting in there after all)
The Middle room (makes sense)
The ATRIUM (technically needs an open top but what a name)
It’s got to be something that I’ll actually use as a name- answers on a post card!
Until next time friends ~ ❤