I’m not sure whether redecorating counts as “crafting” but since this project was a lot of work and since most of us like to have a nosy around each other’s homes I didn’t think anyone would object too much to this post!
We moved into our 3-bed 1910 terraced home over 5 years ago. For some reason we thought we’d get round to redecorating the living room within the first year, but after spending all our money and a considerable amount of time on the kitchen we realised this wasn’t going to happen very quickly!
Having tackled the dining room, hallway (with help from my handy brother), and master bedroom (which involved the discovery of original horsehair plaster!) we were finally ready to banish the textured pink wallpaper of the living room. Proceedings were spurred on by the discovery of an electrical fault which left us with a few holes in the walls!
As you can see there was rather a lot of peeling wallpaper, dated décor, and a plastic wood effect mantelpiece. In addition the curtains in the bay window opened in to the corners – which left the curtains blocking some of the light.
Luckily for us the room also has some great features – original skirting boards and coving, high ceilings, and a lovely bay window.
So, after removing 4 layers of wallpaper we were left with a room looking like this:
Eek! Discoveries at this stage included a hole by the window large enough to lose a screwdriver in, and a 1963 newspaper in one of the walls…
Fortunately a local plasterer came and sorted out the state of the walls for us. We also had a lovely new fireplace installed. It is a gorgeous white marble with a little sparkle in it, to which these photos do not do justice.
Having finally allowed the plaster to dry (this can take a while in rainy Salford in November) we tackled the paintwork. Having repainted the ceiling (white is unbelievably brighter than the cream which was up there before) and woodwork, proceedings were somewhat held up by my fracturing my elbow. This left my husband to tackle most of the painting by himself – although I could paint with one arm it was making me very tired. Fortunately for us my father-in-law loves to help out so he popped over from Liverpool and got us back on track.
One of the tricky jobs about the room was the bay window/curtain solution. As you can see we have a square bay, and finding a curtain pole to go around the corners took a lot of research. Eventually I found this one which you can cut to size. You may also be able to see that we have lovely window frames – the problem with these, however, is that they only leave us about an inch gap between the frame and the aforementioned original coving. In the end we had to fix blocks for the brackets in between the frame and coving so that there was something to fix to. Cutting the pole, brackets, blocks and then putting up this curtain pole took my husband all day, but I think he made a good job of it in the end!
And finally we could measure the drop for the curtains. In the end we went for made to measure – yes, I have a sewing machine, and can sew (mostly) straight lines, which is all that is needed for curtains, but this is a large bay and handling that amount of (expensive) fabric was a daunting prospect. It also would have taken me ages, and when you have no curtains in the middle of December you are looking for a fast solution! So we ordered these wide checked ones from Next – the colour teal matches the chimney breast perfectly and I’m really pleased with the quality. Plus we were able to get thermal linings for them – every little helps in an old house!
It took us a long time to choose the colours. In the end we based the palette on this acrylic ink painting which I love. It is an original by an artist friend of ours, Tas Severis. I love the bright colours and how it looks abstract until you look at it properly and you see the house and landscape beneath the dramatic sky.
The room isn’t finished yet. We are looking for more artwork, and I’m working on a blanket and cushions for the sofa. But since these will take a while I thought I’d share where we are up to!
And of course rooms are never really finished, are they?