I thought it was high time for a little home office renovation update, since the last you heard on this we were making great progress. Well, we were, until we got super busy heading off every weekend for weddings and celebrations and me trotting down to London for work quite a lot. Ste did a marvellous job of carrying on with the plasterboarding and now we have a finished stud wall:
But then we hit a slight obstacle.
We got a plasterer in to look at the job (who came recommended by a friend), and as suspected, he told us most of the plaster on the upstairs corridor and the stairs had blown and would need re-doing, making the job a much larger one than just plastering the new room and making good the ragged exposed stone. We said fine, it needed to be done, and secretly I was quite pleased because it was a good excuse to get the entire upstairs done in one fell swoop. So he went away to prepare a quote….and then we never heard from him again, despite a lot of chasing. I thought as he looked round he wasn’t keen on doing it – he kept telling us what we would need to do before he would even start, most of which I thought were things he ought to be doing.
So we tried another plasterer (also recommended), and same story! Didn’t even say he’d give us a quote, just disappeared with some vague murmur about being in touch soon. You can guess the rest. This palaver took up almost a month, and meanwhile no progress was being made at all, and I was kind of losing my mind about living in a building site. I did tidy it all up and clean the dust up once or twice, but it doesn’t help that much when you have exposed stone and crumbling plaster creating more dust endlessly. Our entire house is filthy. Not to mention fixtures for the bathroom which we were going to be doing first piled up everywhere.
Finally things are moving forward…
So, a week ago I went on www.checkatrade.com and sent a query to a top-rated local plasterer. I had barely pressed enter on the email when my phone rang, and he came to visit the next evening to assess the job. Straight from the off his attitude was much better – instead of telling us what we should do to prepare, he told us how he would do it. Yes, more cost perhaps to have him do it, but I would rather a professional did the difficult bits, and besides, I am so over the mess I just want it done now! Next day we got a quote which didn’t quite make my eyes water, so I rang up and now he is booked in to begin work on Friday. We just have a tiny bit of plasterboarding to finish first, and the glass to remove from the top of our bedroom wall, which will be plasterboarded so we have a proper bedroom wall. I cannot wait. You can see here the lovely 50s glass, obviously installed because otherwise the corridor would have no natural light, but now we’ve opened up the small doorways it floods in from the double doors to the garden, so we don’t need these anymore (hooray).
Another bonus of re-doing all the upstairs is that we will also be able to finally decorate the bedroom, which we literally haven’t touched since moving in, bar putting up some curtains. I am trying to hold off on getting excited about it and creating moodboards, because, well, we should probably actually finish one room before cracking on with the next!
New Floorplan to show the changes
It does feel as though nothing much has changed since my last post, but you can see from the photos that we have finished the office walls and the landing more or less, and you can already see how much brighter it is upstairs. I cannot wait to have it plastered and ready to decorate (though we still have to move radiators and that kind of thing), I think it is going to be a lovely space, and it really makes our cottage feel more like one home as well, rather than two stuck together from the terrible job they did of joining the two cottages in the 50s.
You can kind of tell why the plasterers were not keen, can’t you? The whole of the staircase wall on the left needs the plaster removing and replacing, and every wall and ceiling on the landing all the way to the bathroom needs skimming to get rid of the artex.
Because a few people have said they can’t quite picture what walls we have taken down when I describe it, I have very helpfully updated the floorplan from the house particulars to show what we have actually done and give you a better idea of the changes. You can also see the built in wardrobes we removed from Bedroom 2. It is a little easier to see that essentially the office is now half the size (but plenty big enough and still with room for a double bed if we wanted to change it back to a bedroom) but the upstairs is now a nice open space at the top of the stairs, not dark with walls all around you.
Can you make sense of the photos now? Is it wrong that I even get excited just looking at the space on a diagram? What a geek. What do you think – is this a better layout? When we looked round the house before buying it, the main thing which neither of us liked was that the only garden access was through a bedroom. We have fixed that now!
Home Office Décor Developments
I’ve also chosen my paint colour and bought some beautiful Laura Ashley wallpaper in the sale. I originally intended pale walls, dark burgundy carpet, because I didn’t want it to be too much, but I love this paint colour so much I have decided the walls are going burgundy with a paler carpet (nothing too pale though, and hardwearing, because: pets).
The wallpaper might be a feature wall, but I am more and more thinking I would like to use it to paper the back of the built in bookcases for a flash of colour. We will see! I love the combination with the paint.
We have also changed the light fixture for this lovely bronze one from BHS that I got for a bargain in the pre-Christmas sale, and moved it to the centre of the room (because when we added the wall we cut nearly two metres off the length of the room).
In a couple of days the rotten window frame and cloudy window on the landing will be changed for a new PVC double-glazed one which will also help with the temperature on the landing. It has certainly made a huge difference changing the windows in the office and bathroom – both rooms are so much warmer, the office especially thanks to all the Kingspan insulation we put in!
I can’t wait to share more home office renovation progress with you very soon. Fingers crossed for no more obstacles!