The stud wall had left its mark on the ceiling but it survived relatively unscathed. What it did reveal was the original (?) paint work. Someone had painstakingly painted each of the raised plaster grapes yellow and every vine leaf green. That person would have had a) a very stiff neck, and b) a lot of patience and dedication, and maybe c) too much time on their hands?? They are 12ft ceilings!
Although the removal of the wall had let in much-needed light and created a more open space, the room was still dark and dingy, mainly due to the black trims and dark paint colour.
THIS IS WHERE THE HARD SLOG BEGAN…
First impressions were that the room looked in fairly good condition. It was going to be a straightforward cosmetic job. Except it wasn’t.
A section of the original skirting board had been removed when the built-in wardrobe was installed. It became impossible to find a second-hand/reclaimed piece with the same profile, even after hours of sourcing. As much as I wanted to replace like for like, I wasn’t about to lose the gorgeous high skirtings so, I had to go reproduction:
I carefully removed a small section of skirting, took it to a local repro yard where they traced the profile & made an exact replica out of a length of MDF. Perfect.
Then came the striping back of many, many, many layers of paint on all the trims including the picture rail. As it was too thick to sand, I turned to my trusty head-gun. Oh I do love a heat-gun – it’s fast and satisfying when a big chunk of paint blisters under the heat and is scraped away to reveal beautiful timber. However, I don’t know what they used on the trims because in some sections it became a sticky glug of yuck. I could only remove so much of the paint before sanding down the rest.
Then came the walls. What can I say about the walls… well much of the paint was chipping or lifting off mainly due to the age and vast amount of layers. If I was to paint over this, my paint would continue to lift off with the rest of it. One option would have been to have the walls re-plastered. This would have been extremely costly – removing the 1.5cm thick original plaster back to the bare brick before professionally building them back up again. Unfortunately my [lack of] budget didn’t stretch that far, so I had to scrape off as much of the chipping paint as possible, sanding back any ridges left by the remaining paint.
As the plaster was so old and crumbly, it was very easy to inadvertently take small chunks out of it which, in turn, also meant having to inspect every square metre of wall and fill each and every chunk/scrape/hole by hand. It was a labourious task but well worth it to create a more even surface.
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