Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Office progress

The trouble with restoring an old house is that you can spend weeks working on a room, stripping it right back to bare bricks and building it up again, only to have a room that looks like it's only had a lick of paint. Very frustrating!

So just to prove that a lot has happened in the office (although it's not 'dressed yet') this is what we've (i.e Andrew) has done.

All the plaster came off ( & I broke my toe)

Old fire out
We debated about keeping the old open fire, which was a 1930's tiled one, but it was a step too far even for a retro theme. We then debated about another log burner but couldn't justify the cost. So in the end we decided on a modern electric one (no mains gas here). I don't usually do fake fires but decided if I was going to, it was going to be a fire that wasn't pretending to be something it wasn't. As you will see later!

Anyway back to the rebuild.

Insulation going in

Plaster mix
Andrew put the plasterboard up and then decided to tackle the plastering himself. After advice from YouTube - and better advice from my father - he was off.  I was the able bodied assistance with the main job of bucket washing.

Looking professional
Just get on & wash the bucket instead of taking photos!
New coving
I wanted the coving and picture rail reinstated so that I could have a large white space above the coloured walls. Oh a designers tip! You may have noticed in all the rooms I decorate, large pieces of coloured paper taped to the wall. These are my paint swatches. Never put the paint directly on the wall, particularly if there is already a strong colour as it will throw the colour out. If you have two or three you're trying they will act against each other and confuse the eye. To be really sure use a black or dark grey frame to isolate the colour from it's surroundings. The other benefit of them on paper ( I keep a roll of wallpaper liner for the job) is that you can move it around the room and see how the colour is effected. And as long as you write  the paint colour & manufacturer on the reverse you can use them at a later date. In the end I chose Farrow & Ball Light Blue, a soft blue-grey.

First coloured coat (my job)
Forgot! another tip. Always keep a clean rag tied to the top of a stepladder, then when you lean it against a wall (and we all do) it won't leave a mark.

Once I'd finished painting, the carpet went down and Andrew was called back for a very exacting job. We're fortunate to have a large bay window in the office but are a little security conscious because of this. I didn't want to cover the whole window so we thought we'd try the self adhesive film. It took quite a while for Andrew to do but it looks really good and is very effective.

Smoothing it down
Creating a border
It's all in the detail

I've still got to sort out window treatments, art for the walls and a door probably wouldn't go amiss! and I still need storage for fabric samples etc. so I'm looking out for some vintage luggage I can put on top of the bookcases. Andrew shot a panorama for me.

Nearly finished


And Mortimer likes it!

Note the very fake fire!

Until next time



  1. Really lovely room, Sharon - very calm. It'll be great to work in. I know just what you mean about how when you've finished it just looks as though you've smeared a bit of paint on! (But deeper down the room knows you haven't just done that). And then you think you're never going to forget all the hard graft you put in ... but a few months later you have! Funny old business, this reno lark. I used some of the opaquing film in one of our bathrooms too. Very scary to do, but it looks good. I'll put a photo of it up on my blog soon.

    1. Thank you Kalba, I'm quite pleased with it and now moving on to the bathroom. Probably like you I'm finding the blog quite useful as you can see what you've achieved (and it's a good record of what paint I've used!). I find it after finishing a project we either
      a) collapse on our laurels for a few weeks
      b) are enthused to get on with the next one

      Think this is a b) !

  2. Those first photos....how come you snuck into our bathroom which we're currently in the throes of working on and took snaps? The problem is, we've encountered so many un-looked- for difficulties, we're never going to be able to demonstrate the cool, professional and lovely result that you've achieved. It's great, as are the tips, not all of which we'd yet discovered. Thank you

    1. Have heart Margaret you will get there and I'm sure your bathroom will be a haven of relaxation. That's where we're heading next so I need to get my concept board done or I'll be in trouble. You are right though about uncovering cans of worms - we discovered that the fireplace lintel left a lot to be desired. I'm just grateful that Andrew seems to be able to fix most things, and put up with me having a hissy fit because my supplier couldn't get the paint in time. Designers. Who'd have 'em?