Front room makeover.


Colin

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Hi,


I'm unable to do anything in the gardens due to our usual dire weather and this also impacts on my workshop making everything gloomy and miserable so rather than moan I thought I'd share what I get up to around home. Bron and I moved into this random stone built detached bungalow 30 years ago and last year we finally upgraded the bungalow to as we would like it; this involved every job from foul drains to replacing the chimney stack; it would have been quicker to demolish and start afresh but here's just one project which might be of interest?


Our front room carpet was starting to wear in the door areas so we decided to replace it but this meant fitting the carpet around our 10' long random stone fireplace? Why not upgrade this fireplace it now looking rather dated being the original and over 50 years old; having decided on replacing the carpet and fireplace why not give the room a comprehensive makeover whilst we're at it and so another project sprang up but I love doing this kind of thing; we don't want a show house but we would like something better than simply slapping on a coat of paint.


Bron and I have visited many stately homes and admired the woodwork and decorations so could we do similar but on a much smaller scale. We cleared out as much furniture as we could then spread dust sheets over the remaining furniture so now out with the tools. Whomever built the stone fireplace did a superb job of it because it was solid; I attacked the fireplace with my big SDS drill in chisel mode making a right mess of the room; I filled 9 rubble sacks and dumped these at our local tip but retained the facing stone and timber for future use. With the fireplace now history I was left with a very rough wall so time now to do some plastering. This plastering took quite a while because in places it was thick so I built the plaster thickness in layers and blending in with new and old using finishing plaster; it's amazing how long these jobs take but I was enjoying it and Bron has never ever complained about mess knowing it will all come right in the end.

We visited Flames of Wakefield to choose our new fireplace having first spent many hours online looking at various styles;

http://www.fireplaceswakefield.com/

We were made most welcome and fortunately there was a fireplace on display we instantly liked with a choice of tiled inserts; the tiles we liked were not in stock but could be ordered against the catalogue so Bron chose the colour; we also opted for the matching tiled hearth. We paid a large deposit and returned home only to receive a phone call with an apology regarding the tiled hearth; apparently these tiled hearths are made to order and the company had a large backlog so it could take weeks in order to have one of these hearths; we revisited the showroom and after looking at assorted hearths we settled upon a nice marble hearth which actually worked out much better; it was a great deal cheaper and there shouldn't be fear of dropping something on one of the tiles in future years also the marble hearth would be kept clean with a wipe over with a damp cloth so we were happy. A survey had to be carried out by Flames as to suitability of our chimney regarding the chosen gas fire involving a simple smoke test and all was well; the inspector doing the survey looking round at other work we've carried out said he'd better let his team know they were installing for an engineer?

The new high efficiency gas fire; tiled surround and hearth were to be fitted by Flames because of the current regulations regarding gas safety but I opted to fit our own mantle. The day arrived and the two guys arrived bang on time to install the new fireplace and they were here most of the day taking a huge amount of care to get everything absolutely bang on in fact they did a superb job and although at the time it cost £1,600 we never begrudge paying this because even now we love our new fireplace it being the center of attraction. Bron and I then immediately popped down to Flames with our thanks for a job superbly done and to settle the bill.

With the new fireplace looking resplendent it now fell to me to make the new wooden mantle; Bron and I had looked at hundreds of mantle designs on the web and we chose one that looked ideal to suit the new fireplace but we weren't going to pay for it I was to make ours from scratch a job I've never previously done. Having just completed our master bedroom makeover I had some lengths of 18mm thick MDF left over so I used these and also used the lengths of mahogany from the old fireplace; the only additional cost was £12 for a bit more MDF. I printed out a copy of the mantle design we liked and using drawing callipers I could roughly determine timber sizes and proportions for our new mantle so I drew a simple sketch adding the main dimensions taking a great deal of care to get the opening perfect; anything wrong here would really stand out.

In the workshop I enjoyed running my machinery and using my 3hp router to machine all the mantle pieces; I designed the new mantle to be in four parts; two uprights; the main top section and the shelf. The two uprights and top section were glued and nailed using a nail gun; once the glue had dried all the nail holes were filled and levelled then after fettling all sharp edges with abrasive paper and dusting off MDF paint was applied followed by top coats of paint sprayed on; now I had to be very careful not to damage the new paint. The two uprights simply stand on the hearth not being secured in any way; the main top section however has three long wood screws securing it to the wall and the top shelf remains loose so installing this new mantle was much simpler than I ever imagined. As I say I already had most of the timber and still had paint left over from the bedroom job so the cost of this new custom made wooden mantle was £12 which I regard as a genuine bargain and I also enjoyed making it gaining lots of new experience. The mahogany from the old fireplace was used and moulding run on it using the router; once painted it all came together and the fireplace is delightful. This is the story of our new fireplace but I'll add the rest of the room makeover shortly rather than posting a huge amount of text in one go. Anyone can throw money at a job and get a job done but there is little personal satisfaction in doing this; over the years Bron and I have saved a fortune doing this kind of work ourselves; we started with small projects and now we can do anything from decorating to replacing the entire roof which we had to do 28 years ago with no outside help.

I've added some of the pictures previously but here's more to show the project in depth.

It gives such a huge buzz when everything comes together having done the work ourselves; I'm self taught in woodworking and plastering in fact I hated woodwork at school but over the years due to necessity I've come to love all aspects of woodworking; before installing the new mantle other work needed to be done like installing new wall framing and decorating but more of this shortly; here's the new fireplace pictures.

Kind regards, Colin.

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nice. as I am reading, thinking of the noise you made tearing the fireplace down. Love the profile ladies in that fireplace so victorian. I remember tearing up our carpet in our house, the dirt that is under it, is horrid. we put down wood floors, now I know I get all the dirt when I clean. Good job.
 

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Hi,

Thanks Esther. Yes using the SDS drill was very noisy with me wearing ear defenders and Bron outside away from the noise and dust cloud but by using the SDS drill it didn't take long at all. Getting rid of the debris took a lot longer.

This proved to be a big project and took quite a bit of planning up front because once I started I didn't want any interruptions; I was constantly pestered by Blackie though even though doing this project midsummer (joke) every time I visited the workshop I received a soaking and it was so dark I ended up using a floodlight at one point.

I papered the ceiling using heavyweight lining paper but had to remove three layers of old ceiling paper first draining the blood from my arms. What an horrible job it is stripping ceiling paper using a steamer.

With the ceiling paper sorted I then set about adding wall framing and a new dado rail. I needed 300' of moulded framing timber but couldn't buy it locally so I bought 300' of PAR softwood in two sizes these being full lengths of timber; I then set up the big router and installing a Roman Ogee cutter made my own mouldings. I also used the router aided by an home made jig to cut the mitred half lap joints for each frame and there were many of these joints to cut all having to be very accurate. The new frames were glued and clamped at each joint then the frames were drilled undersize to accept either nails or screws and the heads sunk then filled and levelled off. The dado was then installed ensuring it was perfectly level; I took very accurate measurements and spent ages determining the frame sizes; two blocks of MDF were cut as measuring guides and everything was attached to the walls.

Painting these frames now posed a problem because my 4" wide roller was too wide and painting by brush would be trouble. I browsed the web and found a company selling 2" wide rollers with correct frame so I bought 60 roller sleeves and these worked beautifully speeding the job up; I bought plenty of rollers whilst they were available for future use.

I also sorted out the electrics adding more 13A sockets. With all the hard work now sorted I could at last decorate; the ceiling was painted using a big roller and tray with an extension handle on the roller. Previously I've painted the walls using a 4" roller and tray so this should have been easy but it was incredibly dark due to the ever present Blackie constantly putting down rain and making it a black hole each day. I set about and rolled the paint on the walls above dado level and left the paint to dry overnight; the following morning after putting in so much time and effort I could have cried when I saw every roller stroke in the paint? In desperation I gave a second coat but once again I could see all the stroke marks; at this point I bought more paint but this time instead of buying satin I bought matt and I also bought a top quality 9" microfibre roller; now let it wind me up? I applied plenty of paint using the big roller taking care to blend and finish off all in one direction up the wall; when it dried it was now perfect.

Apart from special undercoat the paints I used were Dulux Diamond white and Dulux Matt Raspberry Bellini

https://paintersworld.co.uk/products/dulux-trade-diamond-matt-pure-brilliant-white

https://www.duluxtradepaintexpert.co.uk/colour/raspberry-bellini

The Bellini is a beautiful colour chosen by Bron after seeing similar colour in stately homes and it imparts a lovely feeling to our room.

Hopefully I can find pictures of the actually woodworking and if I can I'll add these shortly. We visited our local Carpet Barn and Bron chose the carpet to complete the project; once the carpet was laid we then had our very own special room. I took my time wanting to make a perfect job and saved a fortune compared to getting someone in who would have wanted to complete the job as quickly as possible. I doubt one guy would have done the whole project from scratch the way I did involving removing the original fireplace; plastering; woodworking; designing; decorating and electrics; I believe the whole project including buying the new fire and carpet only cost around £2,600. We never tire of it and what a transformation; Bron loves it and has supported me throughout without a single complaint.

Kind regards, Colin.

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alp

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Very nice. I like white .. Well done!
 
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I papered the ceiling using heavyweight lining paper but had to remove three layers of old ceiling paper first draining the blood from my arms. What an horrible job it is stripping ceiling paper using a steamer.
WOW ----paper the ceiling. my neck is hurting just thinking about that. 6 years ago renovated our kitchen, tore it apart, so i know the noise and then the plaster dust gets every where. But painting the ceiling, my neck hurt for a week after, and I did every thing I could , on the ladder, off the ladder with a broom handle. change hands, do some stretches, but still my neck --horrid pain. can't imagine wallpaper on the ceiling. WOW. power to you my dear.
 

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It's not so bad. I have done it myself

images


Once you have had an extension to your roll, it will be easy work.
 

Colin

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Hi,

Thanks Tjohn; Bron and I like colour rather than the modern "All white" which to us would feel like we were living in an hospital; the two colours contrast very nicely indeed giving a lovely warm feeling to the room; at night with the fire glowing and the lights out as we watch TV it really is very cosy indeed. :)

Thanks alp; we too like white but with other colour to add interest and contrast; TV decorating programs always seem to be pushing neutral colour schemes saying houses don't sell otherwise so perhaps this is why people tend to stick with white or magnolia? :yawn:

Thanks Esther :)(y) Yes unless it's been tried then it's difficult to realize just how painful working above head height can be. The person inventing "Woodchip" wallpaper should be locked up for life and the key melted down for scrap. Our ceiling had three layers of paper one of the layers being the dreaded woodchip that had over the years received numerous layers of emulsion; I still shudder at the thought of how terrible it was to remove all this paper even though I was using a steamer. Out of interest though the correct paper steamer I we owned I started to use this on the ceiling working from steps; the hot water splashed everywhere and I had to keep coming down the steps to drain the shield; then coming down the steps I accidently damaged the steamer breaking the hose connector. :dead:

Many years ago we bought a powerful Polti steamer with lots of attachments; could this be used? I pulled out the Polti and brought it up to steam adding the long extension; WOW and WOW; now I could work from the floor as I pressed the steaming head against the ceiling; it was still a terrible job but this polti worked a treat and saved me going up and down the steps with the handheld steaming shield so I was no longer splattered with boiling hot water; I love it when such ideas work.

With the ceiling stripped of paper I then went over a number of times using a wet cloth to remove debris and old paste. Next I gave the ceiling a coat of decorators "size" bought very cheaply at Wickes; once dry the size then aids aligning the new paper by making the ceiling a bit more slippery. I have a length of timber like a smooth stick it's length just less than the width of the lining paper; I took a lot of time to ensure the new heavyweight ceiling paper was given a good pasting then folded the paper concertina fashion leaving the free end hanging down by about 2'. now I placed the stick under the paper allowing the paper to be lifted dropping each side of the stick but keeping the paper straight on width; with a plank and assorted items to stand on I worked quickly pressing the paper against the ceiling with my right hand whilst my left hand held the stick aloft; I had measured and marked the ceiling 1" short in width and allowed a generous 6" extra on length; aligning the paper edge to the line I quickly put up the paper but at the start I attached the first 3" to the wall; this prevents the paper falling free behind me as I works across the ceiling; taking care not to leave lots of big bubbles or ridges I walked the plank smoothing the paper to the ceiling taking a great deal of care not to stretch it then at the other end attached the paper to the wall; now all I had to do was to quickly brush the paper into contact with the ceiling ensuring no bubbles remained. Once the first length is attached the other lengths suddenly become much easier; anyone trying this for the first time work quickly and get everything ready; paste the paper not skimping but not flooding with paste; I work right handed so I start papering from the right. I no longer use scissors for trimming much preferring a sharp utility knife with a new blade installed this is run against a scraper; the scraper is pressed tightly into the corner and the scraper is moved along at each cut this leaves a perfect fit without messing hands or scissors; don't forget to have a bucket of warm water and cloth handy now these are used to remove unwanted paste. Papering a ceiling is a daunting task for a novice but buy an extra roll of paper to experiment with and the usual problem encountered is paper falling away from the ceiling; attaching the end of the paper to the wall though eliminates this so the biggest problem is so easily solved. Have a go and impress everyone; a bit of waste paper and paste costs little so don't be afraid of failure; you'll succeed with very little practice. Here's a good video; this guy uses scissors for trimming; I much prefer a razor sharp utility knife because then once the paper is attached it doesn't require pulling away to gain scissor access; works for me and there are lots of videos showing how to do the job. I've banged on about this because I like to encourage others to have a go at anything.


Nice one alp. :D

Many thanks Moonshadows (y) I've just had lots of practice over many years so now I can do any work at all around home; once I realized I could remove "t" from I can't converting can't to I can there's been no stopping me. :)

Here's a few pictures of frame moulding in progress; I rigged up the wooden guide securely mounting the big router; with the router under power all I then had to do was to feed the lengths of timber through; 300' of timber put through twice to mould the front two edges meant 600' of moulding; I wore ear defenders and created one huge mess but 300' of moulding cost very little indeed; a tip here is to mould full lengths of timber then cross cut the timber to required lengths; saves lots of time.

This kind of work is advanced and I wouldn't expect a novice to jump straight in but as with me practice first on small jobs and work up; a bit of confidence works wonders and don't be put off by negative comments from those unwilling to try. I've included a close up picture of the tiled ladies.

Kind regards, Colin.

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It is very rare over here to see ceilings with wallpaper on it. Is it usual for your area? Or is there another reason.

When we moved into our home 27 years ago, only the kitchen, dining room and the two bathrooms had wallpaper. After renovations all was removed, I prefer an interesting color and then to hang neat art work, art work can be changed in due time when bored. My husband did built on the garden room to our house. we tore down the deck, built the room in that area, and then another deck to that room. We are not afraid of color on walls. Our last reno was the hallway bathroom. After thought of the color for that, since we had so many other colors in the rest of the house, I chose white and black with crystal touches, came out great. I can color it up with colored towels if I chose.
 
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Hi,

Thanks for asking Esther. Yes lining paper is used a lot over here but lining paper I mentioned is not patterned wallpaper; lining paper is plain and comes in different weights; the heavy lining papers are used to cover blemishes in walls and ceilings such as a ceiling like ours at over 50 years old where cracks have been filled and levelled; thick lining paper makes a tremendous difference and once applied it can either be painted or papered over using a patterned wallpaper; I buy the "quad" rolls to save waste but then I'm tight. :D

https://www.amazon.co.uk/1400-Linin...=1514990092&sr=8-1&keywords=1400+lining+paper


Our lining paper was to be painted so was hung like normal wallpaper but if patterned wallpaper is to be hung over lining paper then the lining paper is hung at right angles; above the video explains better than text alone.

You and your husband sound to have been busy Esther working on your home over the last 27 years; good on you both; Bron chooses our colours because I'm colour blind and Bron also chooses the paintings to hang and the silk flowers she uses to make her flower arrangements; I decorate the bungalow but Bron turns it into our home. (y)

I used special very strong tear proof lining paper when I installed our coffered ceiling but this needed the special adhesive and although not cheap it's a one off job that should never need doing again so although it was rather costly in the long term it's dirt cheap. I never ever skimp on materials only insisting on the best after all I'm already saving a fortune on labour costs. :)

Pity I don't know as much about gardening then I would be more useful here on the forum? (y)

Kind regards, Colin.
 
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We have not only worked on renovating our home. But also renovating some apartments that we rent out. Those are older buildings. For ceiling or wall cracks its the practice to plaster the area, then sand, then paint. When we finally finished upgrading them, we turned them over to a management company, so now all they need to do is fresh paint. Too much of our lives are to busy to make the trip and give up a whole day, plus two hour travel. Certainly we learned a lot from renovating those places.
As far as paint. In our local Hardware stores, they have return paint colors in gallons, for cheap. Sometime you can luck out and find something close to what you want, as we did in the apartments, or just need a gallon of white to mix in to get the color. Every cost helps when fixing up places.
 

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Hi,

Very well done Esther and many thanks for adding your interesting video; your bathroom looks very professional; the black and white colour scheme is a nice contrast. Buying paint in bulk is a good way to save money.Top marks I'm impressed. (y)

I stated earlier Bron and I liked visiting our stately homes and based our front room on what we saw but also before giving the room the comprehensive makeover I gave our master bedroom a full and comprehensive makeover installing a coffered ceiling and wall panelling up to dado height; coffered ceilings can be very elaborate indeed costing a great deal of money but I wanted to install ours without it bankrupting us but I wanted it to look nice.

I bought seven full sheets 8' x 4' of 18mm MDF having this lot delivered together with lengths of planed softwood I was to use for trim moulding. I went to great lengths to get everything absolutely perfect with tightly fitted mitred joints; I made my own moulding by grinding up a pair of knives for my shaper Whitehill cutter head; running the long lengths of moulding was easy once the machine was set up. Cutting these big sheets of MDF though proved a real pain as I used my Skilsaw; this is my hand held circular saw that I ran against a clamped on straightedge; this was a terrible job being very noisy and incredibly dusty; I always don my safety kit for this kind of work including ear defenders and dust mask; as I was cutting the MDF I kept growing in height having to stop to sweep up the saw dust; each cut needed to be perfect so it was pointless trying to rush.

This coffered ceiling was a complicated job involving very accurate measuring; designing and cutting of materials; any slight mistake would show up as a gap involving extra work filling to make good so I wanted to get it right first time; I add I've never installed one of these coffered ceilings previously so it was another very steep learning curve but one I was enjoying. As usual I was working in a black hole with just a single socket in the bedroom for power; the central ceiling light was as useful as a glow worm. The room proved to be 2.5" out of square to add to the fun. I manually hand sanded all sharp edges with abrasive paper and used screws for assembly thankful for my new cordless Makita drill for driving boxes of screws; with the main box sections installed I then used my compressor and nail gun on the trim mouldings; cutting all the mitres on the trim was time consuming but they had to be accurate. With the new coffered ceiling timber in place I then bought special heavy lining paper and special thick adhesive to cover the ceiling panel squares. The woodwork was sprayed but the paper panels were rolled.

I thought blood would never reach my fingers again after constantly working with my hands above my head. I then set about creating the new wall panels these also of MDF but now 6mm thick. I used the router with a "V" cutter installed against a straightedge to run the V grooves this being a laborious job and a silly lapse of concentration would mess up a big sheet of MDF. More moulding were added to lengths of timber together with rounding over a dado rail then all was assembled; this panelling too was sprayed. A new 8' long blind was bought and Bron chose the new carpet to complete the job. This kind of room makeover is rather extreme but very enjoyable to create involving lots of skills some of the skills I picked up along the way as the job progressed. The joints all still remain tight and perfect much to my delight and Bron loves the result so I'm very happy. The big combination woodworking machine I used was fully rebuilt by me 17 years ago but has now been sold it no longer being needed but I still have a very well kitted workshop. Both the front room and bedroom makeovers only cost materials the labour being mine was free; I saved a fortune doing all the work myself and could afford to buy best materials; the only mistake I made was to do this work in Yorkshire where the weather is dire the year round.

More 13a power sockets were added by me.

Thanks for reading and I hope al this isn't boring but it's what I do for fun and relaxation.

Kind regards, Colin.

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Forgot to say---the return paint is only ONE DOLLAR a gallon. ONE. one time I happened on a Ralph Lauren paint, it was a beautiful cranberry red. So we used it for a signature color on one wall in an apartment we worked on. And then a co-worker was talking about how she wanted cranberry red for her powder bathroom at her new home, I gave her the balance of the gallon, plenty for her, she was thrilled. So the paint in general is ONE dollar a gallon. as as said above, if you find one that is a little dark, a gallon of white can do the trick.


Colin, Love the ceiling, and the yellow, a perfect yellow, not leaning toward orange as some yellows can do, but a sweet dead on yellow. Nice. that must have been a lot of work the above head area. still recall the week long neck pain from painting our hallways, and two room ceilings. and yes I did use an extension to the roller, then ladder and other things. But not happening again. Last summer we got the living room painted, hired someone this time, as I had done it the last 4 times. Still work full time outside the home. It was worth the cost. The color is interesting, but works great, its a light lavender, it helps to pop out the tapestry furniture and wood floors and the art hangings, and plants. We both love it.

I also go to stately homes for tours, they also offer unique window treatments. and of course to envy kitchens. Some of them have lots of inherited quality furniture which does lend to unique styles.

Nice to see your improvements.
 
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