This weekend, Liam was off galavanting in Norwich with some old university boys and I had the flat to myself. Years ago, that would’ve meant exactly what the title infers – drinks with the girls and out until the wee small hours of the morning. Instead, I spent Friday night out with work friends, and devoted yesterday and today to making some serious headway on the spare bedroom. Our sofa bed is turning up later this week so my aim is to have the room plastered and painted before it arrives.
Because of the way the previous owners ‘fixed’ the walls in the spare bedroom (basically wallpapering over all the massive holes instead of actually fixing them) they needed a lot of love and attention before we could even think about painting. Last weekend we got the last of the wallpaper off, scrubbed the walls down and filled a few massive holes. This weekend was all about smoothing out the worst bits of the walls with some fresh plaster and getting them primed. Not fast work, but very necessary. I picked up a pail of ready-mixed skimming plaster from Wickes for £10 and it is my new favourite DIY find.
I wish we’d found this before we painted the bathroom, and may redo a few of the walls that I’m less happy with in there. It’s a very easy consistency to work with – soft enough that it stays damp and can be smoothed out for quite a while after it’s applied. Sticky enough that it doesn’t run down the wall, and quickly sets. As it dries its color changes from a mushroom beige to pure white, so it’s easy to see when it’s ready for sanding down and painting over. I was careful applying it, which meant it dried perfectly smoothly and I just had a few ridges and bumps to go over with the sandpaper. Which still took two hours, but there was a lot of wall to fix.
Yesterday I spent about four hours going over all the holes and areas we’d filled to try and smooth things out. This morning I meticulously sanded each and every spot by hand so that the edges blend into the existing wall. The worst area required one final go with the plaster, but I think it’s good to go now. After a quick hoover to catch all the dust, I primed the other three walls and left the freshly-plastered fourth to continue drying. Good thing too, as we had just enough primer to do a first go on the three walls. I’ll be picking up another pint tomorrow at lunch.
The ‘crack den’ has gone through weeks of looking much worse than it did before we started pulling everything off the walls, but I like to think of it as purging and starting completely fresh. I think we’ll be doing another pass of primer, just to totally blank the orange. After that, we’ll be layering on some more white eggshell until we decide if we want a colour. I’m thinking about putting a bold hit of blue or a rich grey on the wall with the window, just so the first thing you see when you walk in and look down the hallway is a nice big window with my new rocking chair and something to break up the white. Ideally I would also find a runner for the hallway that would match so that there’s a nice link between the back bedroom / study and the front room. But for now, and until after Christmas we’ll be sticking with clean, pure white.
Next steps will be ordering up the wall storage I blogged about last week from Cubit, picking up another small Hector from Ikea (to match the one in our bedroom and the two larger ones in the front room) finding a small rug, installing a shelf above the door for a bit of extra storage space, and picking up some curtains. Lots to do, but I’m finally feeling like we’re on the home stretch, which is exciting. And also just in time for Liam’s parents to enjoy it.
Any last minute jobs you’ve been trying to fit in before the family arrive for the holidays? And anyone else also ridiculously in love with skimming plaster? I think I need to spend more time in hardware stores – I always come out with something that makes my life easier and nicer.