So, new year new start and all that. For 2013 I’ve decided I’m going to try and kick start some writing by using the ‘write something, doesn’t matter what it is but write something every single day’ method. So from now on I’ll be making sure to post something every day. It probably won’t be very interesting, sometimes it will be techy and sometimes it won’t.
Today’s post is going to be about DIY, and what I hope to do to my front room. The house I currently live in is still decorated in the style it was when I moved in, and doesn’t look like it’s been touched since the early 80’s. Here’s a shot of how it looked before I started doing anything (more on this later):
The cute kid didn’t come with the house by the way, that’s my daughter chilling out in the 80’s haven that is my house. And not the ‘good’ 80s (danger mouse, fraggle rock etc). You can’t really see the full horror in that rather dingy picture, so here’s some close ups of the carpet and the walls.
hmm, not too bad…. I mean, it’s not going to win any ‘best home’ awards, but it’s reasonable I guess. But wait, what’s that on the wall?
Holy Jesus. That’s… not good. What you’re looking at there my friend is artex, probably the worst thing to come out of the 80s (and yes, I’m including hairstyles in that assessment). The fact that this covers every wall (and the ceiling, because bad taste apparently isn’t limited to 2 dimensions) means that I’m going to have to either strip all the walls back to the brickwork and get them replastered, or smooth them over (and lose about 6 inches of space in the room). However, then I started thinking about what I want the room to look like. This is seriously new territory for me, I’ve never really paid much attention to decorating or anything even remotely related, but I started hunting around for things that looked good. I decided I liked exposed brickwork, and wooden floors so I narrowed my search a little bit and then I found this:
I can’t even remember where I got that picture from now (if you know, give me a shout so I can include some credit) but it’s pretty much exactly what I want. Except for the deers head mounted on the wall… that would seriously freak me out. But the general concept of exposed brickwork on the chimney breast, simple plain coloured walls and wooden floors really hit a nerve with me. So I decided to start working towards that. The first job I took on (because it didn’t cost anything to do) was to have a look at the brickwork around the fireplace. So I started chiselling. And then chiselled some more. Seriously, whoever put this plaster on wasn’t fucking around, this stuff is literally 2 inches deep. But I persevered and finally, after a couple of days (well, a couple of hours spread over a couple of days) here’s the result:
Well…it’s more of a work in progress than a finished article. The 3rd wall of the chimney breast (the one you can’t see due to my artfully angled picture) isn’t done yet, since it will mean taking down the bookshelves which itself entails a whole load of fun… but I’m reasonably pleased with the effect so far. There’s some areas need touching up, and maybe a bit of repointing (can you even repoint interior walls? I have no idea) but other than that I think it looks pretty good. I’m not entirely sure what to do about the top of the wall, where it currently meets the (rather hideous) edging that runs around the room. I’m going to have to replace all that at some point I guess, but I’m not entirely sure what with. Also still left to do is removal of the current gas fire. I’ve had the fire off, and the original coal…pit? is still there behind it, but I need to get the gas supply capped off before I can permanently remove it.
Once that’s done it’s on to the floor. I’m slightly torn on what I want to do about the floor. I know I want wood flooring, and the cheapest / easiest way to get that is some kind of laminate…. but laminate always looks vaguely plasticky to me. Even the fancy end of the market still has that telltale plastic sheen to it. I do have a couple of other options though. The first is to just go with the original floor boards… sand them down and varnish them. There is an added complication with that though…. let’s take a look at what’s under the carpet:
Oh lovely… you probably can’t really make it out from that picture, but those are individual tiles of lino that have been glued to the floor. That top corner that’s broken off is my attempt to level up one of the tiles. It didn’t go well. So going for the original floor boards would require chiselling off each bit of tile, then sanding the floor, then varnishing. Something that would take a huge amount of time and effort, and at the end of it I don’t even know what the floorboards will look like.
The final option is similar to the laminate, but real wood flooring. The only problem here is cost. My room is 4.5 by 3.7 metres…so something like this for example, ends up costing me over £500 for the room. Which might not seem that bad, but is more than I can really justify spending on it. So… it looks like the ‘chisel each little bit off’ approach is the only way forward, and I’ll just have to hope that the boards are in decent condition once I actually get down to them.