And so it begins…
Our hallway is by far my favourite room in the house. I know most people say the kitchen is the hub of the home, but in our burrow it’s the hallway.
For a complete and utter *SPOILER ALERT* and to see the finish result without reading the full story click here to jump straight to the Before & After shots.
As I bleated on in my ‘What’s in a name‘ post, most places we looked at when searching for our first home were basically only fit for Hobbits, so we were both blown away when the vendor opened the door and revealed an actual hallway, even if it did look like this…
One of the first things we did was hire an industrial floor sander and set to work on the yuckiness that was on our floors (i have no idea what it was, it was sticky) but after many, many hours it finally revealed some rather nice French pine floorboards (in hindsight we were way to premature in sanding the floor, this was a major lesson learned and one i shall pick up again later).
We then set to work stripping back the staircase. This was done using ‘Nitromors’ which is basically some bad ass varnish stripper, and wire wool and it literally took months but revealed some rather beautiful Pitch Pine. Unfortunately the spindles were not original and were some nasty cheap wood.
One thing i should probably tell you at this point is that we both work full-time and tackled this project head on and in all the wrong ways. We basically tore apart the whole house then fumbled our way through putting the whole thing back together. It took 18 months of working pretty much every evening and weekend.
One of the reasons the house took 18 months to be livable was because we had decided to restore the house to its original layout (you will learn more about our oh so sexy 70’s archway in the lounge when I get to that post) and this meant we needed to knock a new doorway in to our lounge. Of course in doing this it meant the radiators needed moving and light switches moving… yada yada!
You will be starting to see a trend by now, every little job turned into a bigger job and every bigger job had a knock on effect. To save money we decided to do the plaster boarding ourselves and just leave the skim to the professionals. Word of the wise… it turns out that straight lines are pretty key to a well plastered room so bear this in mind, haha, we have no straight walls in the burrow and it did not please any plasterers when they came to quote!
You may not find this as interesting as we did but when we exposed the bricks there were so many little fingerprints in them. At first I thought it was creepy but upon research it turns out they are the fingerprints of the children who would carry the bricks to the kilns…
One of the things I felt strongly about was that if we were going to do a job, we were going to do it properly and research revealed some really nice little details that could be achieved when plastering (and I don’t mean Artex, and my goodness we had plenty of that to contend with), so, of course, I had to have them. The coving in the entrance was original so we added to the detail with the wooden corner beading.
This is where things get exciting (well I think so anyway) as we FINALLY got the room plastered…
Followed by the mammoth task of sealing all the plaster (I believe the professionals call this the ‘Mist Coat’). Now you can get all kinds of special paint for this but our plasterers recommended watering down some cheap white paint and building up the layers which took ages but seemed to work a treat as we have hardly any cracks appeared.
Now i would love to say we were on the home-stretch, but me being me and being completely in love with the original features i embarked on a project to strip back over 100 years of paint of all the skirting boards and architrave (well the ones we had managed to save anyway). This was painstakingly done using a heat-gun, paint-scrapers and files. I had no intention of leaving the wood exposed and yet i needed the detail back. It just had to be done!
Then came the radiators…. Wahoo.
OK, so here’s where i would love to say all that was left was to do was decorate, but remember that beautiful floor we had sanded back and exposed?! Well it had taken a battering. Twelve months of brick-dust, plastering, paint peeling, painting and plumbing had resulted in some very grubby and almost ruined wooden floors! So guess what?! Yep, you guessed it, once again we hired a sander and stripped them right back.
Finally after 2 coats of Ronseal clear gloss varnish, back in February 2011, our floors were perfect and our room was ready to make pretty!!!
40 months later, YES FORTY MONTHS with NO carpets on the stairs, this finally happened…
- Wallpaper: Woods, Cole and Son
- Paint: Timeless (white), Dulux. Apple (Green), Little Greene Paint Company
- Carpet: SCS (Never again)
- Sideboard: Arbol House, Chester
- Lamp: Albus Twisted, John Lewis
- Telephone: Ebay
Our yummy hallway, stairs and landing – before and after –
Fingers crossed you enjoyed this read and that you love our hallway as much as me,
That’s all for now folks…