Over the last year and a bit I have spent a lot of my time decorating 3 bedrooms in my house. I tried to do as much as I could myself* and documented a lot of it with the intention of blogging about the steps as I went along. You may have already seen my earlier post about decorating the front bedroom. This post covers what I did next, which was decorating the back bedroom.
*by this I mean of course with lots of help from friends and family rather than having to get professionals in.
The back bedroom was more of a challenge than the front one which is the main reason why I decided to decorate in this order. The front bedroom was only painted and already had a reasonable finish on the walls. The back bedroom on the other hand had walls covered in thick textured wallpaper and had several pieces of built in furniture that were screwed to the walls and floor.
Here’s what the room looked like when I looked round the house before buying it:
The wardrobes with the curtains are screwed to the walls with heavy duty screws and are also screwed to the floor. In the alcove to the right of the mirror in the first picture there are shelves and a desk which are also screwed to the walls. So the first job was to remove the unwanted fixtures. This felt like a real shame as someone had obviously put a lot of effort into putting them up but they were not suitable for what we wanted and would have been very difficult to decorate around.
I was on my own for the removal of the furniture so there aren’t any pictures of the amusing and non-health and safety compliant things that I had to do to get some of it down on my own! There were multiple layers of paint over everything which made it pretty difficult to find the screws that held it together. Fortunately in most cases this didn’t matter as I could just take a saw to the key locations and dismantle it that way but the tops of the wardrobes and the sides of the desk and shelves were screwed to the walls and needed to be removed carefully to avoid making large holes in the walls. This was something that I was not always able to achieve and there was a lot of filling to be done later. To get the screws out of the walls required needle files to file the paint out of the screw heads, fortunately they were all flat heads. In many cases they were so countersunk that I also had to cut slots into the surrounding woodwork so that I could get the file in to get the paint out of the slot. After that it was a combination of electric screwdriver, manual screwdriver, pliers and a lot of brute strength and ignorance to get them all out.
Here are some pictures of the room after everything that was screwed to it has been removed. Much of it is still in the room in these photos but I also had good fun chucking it out of the window onto the patio.
This work was done 09/03/2013.
Behind the narrow mirror alone there were 20 or so screw holes to fill. In the last picture you can see I have started to strip off the wallpaper. The small white square in the middle of the blue is another hole left over from a gas fire that has been removed before we moved in. The hole turned out to have been filled with a piece of plywood and covered over with a very rough surface of filler or plaster.
The next step was to strip off all the wallpaper. Mostly this came off OK but the exterior wall had some kind of lining behind the paper which was incredibly difficult to remove and required a lot of scraping and scrubbing. I used a Bosch wallpaper steamer to loosen the wallpaper and a metal scraper to peel it off which made the job a lot easier. Once the paper was off the wall underneath needed a lot of scrubbing with an abrasive sponge or wet & dry sanding block to get the glue residue and lining off.
You can see in the final picture above, the paint underneath the paper began to flake off as the walls dried. This lead to many weeks of scraping and scrubbing to get as much off as possible before starting to paint. I bought a floor scraper which was good at removing the top layer of paint. The above pictures were taken between 16/03/2013 and 31/03/2013.
After a lot of scrubbing and scraping, mum and dad came up again to help out. Together we removed the radiator intending to paint and rehang it like we did in the front room. However we found some of the fittings on the old radiator were not compatible with the new thermostatic valves that I wanted to install. So we ended up replacing it with a new one. Like a lot of the plumbing and electrical fittings I have used so far these came from ScrewFix.
As well as this, dad and I removed and replaced some broken floorboards. The floorboards in this house are tongue and groove and therefore need to be sawn along the gaps between them to remove ones in the middle of the room. Many have been removed before for lighting or plumbing and have not been removed carefully. The space under the boards is full of broken bits of wood from where the old ones have been ripped out and the damaged boards have been put back down. Dad was amused that I felt I had to clean out the space under the boards before replacing them! We used a vibrating saw to cut the tongue and groove which made removing the boards a lot easier.
You can see in the photos below the paler boards that we have put down to replace the broken ones. We have also put new skirting boards and ripped out the old covering from the fireplace and replaced it with some plasterboard and filled the gaps with filler. The ceiling cracks have been cleaned and filled.
The cracks have again been filled with Polycell Deep Gap Polyfilla or Fine Surface Polyfilla depending on the size of the crack. The fireplace hole has been covered by a mix of the above and Polycell Finishing Skim. This work was finished 18/06/2013.
Finally we could get on with the painting. I started with the undercoat on the woodwork and then on the walls and ceiling. Again I used Polycell 3 in 1 Basecoat to cover the imperfections in the walls and ceiling. This didn’t work too well in this room and the imperfections are still visible today. This is probably because this is the first room that I finished on my own (without help from mum and dad) and I was impatient to get on with painting. I probably should have been more thorough and careful in the scraping and sanding before I started to paint.
Here’s a little montage of me painting over the strong colours on the party wall with basecoat:
Next it was on to spending ages dithering over colours. I wanted a brighter colour for this room than the front but took a long time to decide on what I wanted.
You can really see in these pictures that the basecoat doesn’t cover the strong colours on these walls very well. The last set of testers shown above are our final candidates. Our eventual choice was Dulux Lemon Pie which is second from the left in the above picture.
Here are some pictures of us putting lemon pie on to the walls. In the first few you can see how we painted round the edges of the walls first to try to minimise overlapping onto the skirting and ceiling when using the rollers.
As more and more of the wall was covered with Pie, we started to realise that this wasn’t the colour we thought it would be. It was far too bright for us and we had to go away and reconsider. Turns out that the colour we actually wanted was Lemon Tropics. I’m not sure what went wrong but it seems that the tester pot had the wrong colour in it! The first shot below shows the testers of Tropics and Pie on top of the wall already painted with Pie so we can see what the difference is. The rest show the walls repainted with Tropics.
This obviously added some extra time to the job but all of this was done in 2 days, 13 & 14 July 2013. Although it only took an extra day to sort out it meant that only one coat of the right colour paint was put on in 2 days and we needed to find a time to put on the final coat. Once the final coat was done on the walls and the ceiling, it was time to call the carpet fitters.
We had been quoted to carpet all 3 bedrooms with the same carpet at the same time but we needed to start using the 2 larger bedrooms before we could start on decorating the smaller one. So on 3 September 2013 we had the fitters come and carpet the 2 finished bedrooms. You can see the carpeting in the other bedroom in my post about that room.
Now all we had to do was to shift furniture into the room and start using it as a bedroom.