Sunday, 9 February 2014

DIY part 1

Warning!  This post is all about DIY, which I know isn't very interesting to a lot of people especially if you read my blog because you're a knitter, crocheter or you just like saying hello, so I don't mind if you skip past this one.

DIY is a BIG part of what I'm upto these days so it would be a bit odd not to talk about it.  When we bought the house it didn't look like anything needed to be done, other than cosmetic stuff, but I guess once you move in you start to properly notice all the little things.  Our main bedroom was a pale blue which we wanted to change for something a bit warmer.  I also wasn't mad on the wall paper.

DIY (our bedroom)

We noticed a small crack running between the two windows but we weren't too worried.  It looked like the top layer of plaster wasn't bonded to the wall very well, bits of it came off when we pulled off the paper, but no biggie; this could be re-skimmed.

And it was okay that when we pulled the dado rail off the plaster came off as well...

But it was not okay when we pulled away the wall paper here.  Er yes, this is brick.  Brick with absolutely NO plaster on it whatsoever.  Hello House!

So the first piece of advice I have for you, if you buy an old house do not pull the wallpaper off unless you're absolutely certain that you wouldn't rather put a picture over it because there's a good chance it's gluing the house together.

Luckily my Dad is a dab hand at DIY.  He built a climbing frame for me and my brother when we were kids, our garage, a conservatory and an extension to our house, but he never did put up my clock (thanks Mum!)

We decided to gut the room completely...  This was all the day after we moved in so I was pretty shattered but OH it was so much fun!   tool of the moment was the crowbar.

We found some beautiful wallpaper, which judging by how thin it was I think was pretty old.

My Dad got to work building a frame which we'd fill with insulation and cover in plasterboard.

Bye bye brick!

There's some green plastic in the wall to keep out moisture

Starting to look like a padded cell now...

We foolishly (I cannot emphasise this enough) thought it would be a good idea to take the ceiling down.  The original ceiling was quite springy and my Dad was having trouble finding the joists in the loft to drill the plasterboard into.

This my second piece of advice if you buy an old house.  Do not take the ceiling down because you and everything you own will quickly become covered in a layer of 100 year old dust, dirt and soot.  As soon as we realised it was getting everywhere (I mean everywhere) we stopped and decided to try again with finding the joists...  I looked like a chimney sweep and I had to visit B&Q like that for more screws.

Upon abandoning out quest we started to get cracking.  My Mum did an amazing job helping get the plasterboard onto the ceiling with my Dad, the car jack and a wooden contraption that my Dad built.

Over Christmas we couldn't really do much work until the room was plastered.  My Cousin who is a decorator / plasterer offered to come and do the whole thing for us, which was amazing and saved us a fortune.

They came up bright and early (8.30am!) from London one Saturday morning and did the whole thing, with a bit of help from coffee, Red Bull and Radio 1.  My neighbour who is amazing said she didn't hear a thing but I don't believe her :-(

And then we let it dry!

My Mum and Dad put up the coving while I was at work.

I cut some skirting board and it was the straightest cut you'd ever seen, no word of a lie!

Although it was the only cut I did ;-)  I was recovering from a teeny tiny operation, which is all good and I'm fine but lots of rest was in order, particularly annoying as there was so much left to do.

J and I painted the rest of the room and got covered in it.  You have to do a watered down mix onto plaster so it soaks in (otherwise it just flakes off) and believe me it's messy!

I got to work stripping the poor door frame, which I think was covered in about 20 layers of paint so had barely any shape left to it.  This is another project of it's own!   tool of the moment was a shave hook

I finally got to put on the new skirting.  We toyed with keeping the old stuff and stripping it but after the doorframe I couldn't face it.  We've kept it though so it may do another room.  While I slightly regret not using it here, I know it would have been too much work.

A glimpse of our lovely floorboards and stone flooring where the original fireplace would have been.  We want carpetas it's a bedroom but it seems such a shame to hide these beauties.

And that's it for now!  We are very lucky that my Mum and Dad are coming back next week, because we cleverly kept their tools and they need them back ;-)  We should get the new dado rail cut and then we can start painting properly.  It's going to be well worth it but it's been a lot of work for one room and we're both hoping to get in there soon!

x x x x


  1. Wow! What a job that turned out to be! But really exciting too :) x

  2. Well done! Living in an old house too I know EXACTLY what you mean about one job leading to another! Well done (I know I have repeated myself!)

  3. I have spent a fair amount of time watching DIY programs...fascinated, sometimes horrified by the processes shown, but they help me appreciate your huge project(s), Nicole. So glad you have help! I am excited for you and cheering on your progress :) xx

  4. I just loved this post, Nicole! I also watch HGTV here where they do lots of home remodeling and I just love seeing the transformation! I'm glad you have such a wonderful and helpful family.. and they must love you a lot!
    ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  5. Heck Nicole, what a job! It'll be worth it in the end. I need to get my partner building a frame like the one your dad did in our spare bedroom which has a really cold wall and the paint just peels off the wall all the time. I'll be showing him this post that's for sure! xx

  6. Although I understand very little about what's going on I can definitely say you're doing a great job! :D Brilliant to get help from family as well, I'm very happy for you! :-) xxxx

  7. It looks like you have quite a job on your hands. I've noticed everything always look good at first sight...but unless you have done the job never really know whats behind the tiles or under the wallpaper or under the carpets. I hope you get it all finished soon!

  8. Ooh, this all looks like such hard work Nicole (but exciting too!) and you're so lucky to have such a wonderfully helpful family which must make everything so much easier for's going to be wonderful!
    Susan x

  9. Nicole a good piece of advice to everyone - I loved the wall paper you found, it is magical. Well done to all of you including Mum, Dad and Cousin - I cannot wait to see it all finished and hope that you will show us all. A lovely post Nicole, have a great weekend, loves and hugs

  10. Oh wow, I can totally relate to the dust issues. We had our kitchen and dining room done not long ago and I don't think there was a room in the house which wasn't covered by a thin film of the stuff. I'm still finding it in weird places!

  11. Keeping the tools was a genius way of luring them back! Its overwhelming isn't it to start a job like that, but it sounds like your family came up trumps, and now you can be confident that a proper job has been done. How exciting to get finally to the colouring in bit! Have fun!

  12. Waaaaaaaaah this is all sooooooo familiar! Only we have been here 4 years and it's still not done ;-) we just keep finding problem after problem haha. Will get there in the end though. Hurrah for helpful family!
    x Heather at LTB


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