I haven’t blogged in ages because there have been a few changes in the house. I have been doing so much DIY and gardening I haven’t had time to write about it and I until just now I haven’t even known where to start!
So, I’ll start with the news that the extension is on hold to find out the reasons and musings behind our change of heart take a look at my other blog The Stairway To Happiness. To find out what I have been doing instead stay here!
The big change is that we have decided to give our children separate rooms. They are now 8 and 9 years old (we have kept them together for about four years longer than we thought we would be able to) Time to move one into the spare room but who? The debate went as follows:
Samson, “I don’t think we need our own rooms, I like chatting to Mabel at night. Anyway, I’m not going in there, it’s tiny and I don’t like change.”
Mabel, “I don’t really mind, I’d quite like my own room.”
So it’s makeover time! I have been busy transforming the well used spare room (when not inhabited by guests it is the store room, laundry room, place to hide presents room…) into a room fit for a fabulous, boisterous, craft loving super girl, with the understanding that she might need to go back into the bunk beds if we have overnight visitors.
First we needed to sort out those cracks – they’re not structural so they just needed replastering.
For a small box room it really did hold a lot of stuff. Taking everything out was an even longer and more painful job than it should have been as we all had the most horrific tummy bugs. Everything was removed one item at a time on the way back from the bathroom and followed by a lie down for twenty minutes. While the renovation was going on all the stuff had to go in our bedroom so I spent my recovery time in a room reminiscent of a slum bedsit.
Now, I know that this is a DIY blog but they say plastering is like icing a cake (something I really can’t do) so I called the lovely Gordon. He has plastered the other bedrooms and wears stilts to do it. I can’t ice a cake or walk in stilts so don’t judge, I couldn’t be any less qualified for this job. He plaster boarded the ceiling and then skimmed the whole room in a day for £200.
While waiting for the plaster to dry out I tackled the fireplace.
This next photo comes with a warning to anyone squeamish…
I decided to open the vent while the room was empty and clean the soot and debris out of the chimney…
I was prepared that there would be a lot of dirt…
I was not prepared for the pigeon graveyard!
One plump fresh corpse and two skeletons! I’m very squeamish! Think of them as chickens, think of them as chickens! I’m just throwing away the roast chicken bones! Off you go, block it out, never open that ever again la la la!
Amongst the dead stuff was a very lovely thing – a letter to Father Christmas from two children, Tiff and Matt. This link to the history of the house did give me a gorgeous warm feeling inside but not quite enough to make up for the smell.
This lovely period feature is also covered in about a hundred years worth of paint. In my enthusiasm I decided to strip it all off, using my new blowtorch! Woohoo!
This got through quite a few layers and stank the house out even more. Luckily the kids were helping Big Hubby with the garden renovations (there are a few picture of this on my Facebook page)
For the stubborn remaining layers I used Nitromors paint stripper, more stink but it did the job, well, near enough. Then pure elbow grease and wire wool to finish.
I had a chat with my daughter about colours and finishes and she decided she didn’t want any black in her room which ruled out a lot of fireplace paints. For one, horrid, I’ve just wasted three hours of my life moment, I thought she was going to ask me to paint it white again but she’s not stupid so we agreed on a dark silver.
The walls were always going to be white so we could swap rooms around if we needed to and it would be easy to touch up.
As it was fresh plaster I used cheap emulsion diluted 70% paint to 20% water for the first coat followed by a second coat at full strength.
For the top coat I used a hard wearing emulsion in the hope that it would stand up to the rigors of playdates (only time will tell) I used Wilko Durable as it said it could be used on walls, wood and metal – no masking!
Now for some top tips for painting skirting boards: Arm yourself with a garden kneeling pad, card that you can move along the floor to stop drips and some music to take your mind off the unfeasibly tedious job. I used some old school Destiny’s Child to keep me Bootylicious in this instance but I’ve found jangly 1990’s indie will work just as well.
I decided to freshen up the floor with a coat of Ronseal Diamond Hard Floor Varnish in Walnut as the floors have taken on an orange tone over the years and I though it would look good with the fresh white walls. I have the idea to take this right through the house but that’s a much bigger project with more furniture displacement. The kneeling pad comes in useful for this too.
I then felt strong enough to go back to the fireplace and did two coats of Hammermite Direct to Rust Metal Paint in Hammered Silver. Get this, it goes on smooth and then morphs into an aged battered finish, witchcraft I tell you!
Well, all that took about a week from plastering to completion. All it needs now is some furniture that will fit in a not standard size room with two large windows and a fireplace and door that sit at an angle. Oh, and it needs to house countless dressing up and craft toys and turn into a guest room when necessary. How hard can that be?