I’m finally getting around to updating you with our progress on the first room in our house renovation- the larger of the two guest rooms. Technically it has been finished a couple of months now, as you’d know if you follow me on Instagram, but it has been far from ready to photograph, as it has either been full of guests, or latterly with furniture from the other guest room we are now working on. But I can tell you what happened leading up to the final stages, and you’ll have to wait just a little longer for the grand reveal.
This is what awaited us when we came home from our French adventure (which you can read about here and here). Quite the mess. I do love the pretty colours of the old plaster on that back wall though, but it was just too old to seal and keep it bare sadly.
At the end of my last post about it we had torn out some wardrobes, bashed down and re-pointed a wall, and essentially were ready for the fun part – decorating. Or so I thought. Turns out there was a lot more prep to do to the walls before we could crack on with the painting – they all needed sanding, particularly where we had re-plastered, and a lot more filling. The revolting old carpet and underlay needed to be ripped out, ready for fresh, but luckily we found lovely wood floors underneath, so decided to keep them bare. This meant hours on my hands and knees with white spirit cleaning off old paint splatters and filth. Finally, we needed to seal the fireplace so that the cats couldn’t escape up the chimney! We got an expert in to do this in here and in our bedroom as well, and ensure it was properly capped. You can see the brickwork they added at the back to seal it. I then painted all of this in a gloss black.
So, we should have been almost ready to crack on with papering, but…there was a bit of metal sticking up next to the fireplace that we thought was an old gas pipe, and the only way to get to it was to saw through one of the lovely floorboards at the edge of the stone fireplace surround. Luckily the cut was barely noticeable, unluckily, there was ancient lead pipe directly beneath it, which Ste unfortunately sawed through as well! Cue expensive Sunday visit from emergency gas man in case we were slowly poisoning ourselves. Fortunately, the gas supply to that side of the house isn’t in use anymore, so the very helpful chap capped it and then cut the pipe out. It was what Ste said needed to be done, and he could have done it himself, but fiddling with gas supply yourself can violate your house insurance so we decided not to risk it.
Finally then, décor time! First of all the yellowed paint on the ceiling and woodwork and trim needed a fresh coat of bright white, so I masked everything and got painting: the doorframe, skirting boards, fireplace and window frame. For most it was simply a matter of a couple of fresh coats of white, but the window frame was bare wood and I made the mistake of not sanding or priming it before I started, which meant about 5 coats of paint before I was happy with the finish being streak-free. It was worth the effort though, the room is so much brighter for it. We might have had a bit of fun on the bare plaster walls as well:
We needed to line the walls with wallpaper, which was a complete nightmare. Not a single wall in that room (or in any room of our house) is straight, and there are plenty of corners in the room which make that very obvious. We did our best, but the paper also didn’t want to stick to certain of the older walls either, so it is far from perfect, but I think even a professional would have struggled. Toto was certainly not sure.
Much coffee was consumed during this task.
It was an extremely sticky job too – my socks felt like they had velcro on the bottom and Ste realised that standing with hands on hips surveying our good work was a bit of a mistake.
The room looked so much brighter and clean when we were done. All that remained was a coat of paint on the walls. I wanted to go an olive or sage green shade, so picked up a couple of samples, one which I thought would be perfect, and another too dark, but when I painted them on some spare wallpaper, the one I thought I loved was very grey and the darker shade looked lovely. My very nice Instagram followers all gave help in choosing, and most preferred the greyer shade, but since I have plans for grey in almost every other room, I went with my heart and the darker green – Crown Breatheasy Matt Emulsion in Alliance – and I am so pleased with the finished colour, it looks absolutely beautiful.
And that left the room ready to furnish! More on that and a final room-reveal coming soon. Sign up to my mailing list over on the right if you want to keep up with our house renovations.