Sunday, 6 October 2013

Starting with The Den

What a week of progress it has been!  Unfortunately I can only claim a small hand in it, but am taking great delight in seeing our first room take shape.  After a few weeks of odd jobbing that seemed to take endless time but that didn’t seem to provide any visible results, we decided to go forth and conquer our first real part of the project – The Den (code for our office/3rd bedroom).

Being a project of firsts, and with such a huge challenge ahead of us, we decided (tip of the day) to start on the smallest and seemingly most straightforward room – giving us time to try out the new skills, techniques and tools needed before moving onward and upward.  And so we went to it! 

When we arrived in The Old Post Office, The Den had obviously been a child's bedroom and I'd guess was last decorated in the late 90's, with a Manchester United theme throughout.  There was also lots of green, not unlike the rest of the house, and we were blessed with a green window frame, skirting boards, door frame, cupboard frame and radiator.  

The Den when we first arrived

Manchester Utd borders and wallpaper

The lovely big window looks out onto the land behind

After growing frustration at not feeling like I was contributing anything to the project (JCH seems to have a great ability at just picking up tools and knowing where to use them) I decided to throw caution to the wind, pick up the nearest scraper I could find and just start peeling.

Unfortunately it took about 3 hours before I realised that Mr Sharper Scraper just that bit further away  would have done twice as much in the same time, but we live and learn.  Mr Sharper Scraper was a great find.  In fact our first housewarming present from friends who have just finished their home project, and apparently the one thing they couldn’t have done without.     Of course he's not really called Mr Sharper Scraper, he's a 'Hamilton Heavy Duty Stripper' (available in most good stores blah blah) and so good that we went out and bought a second.   None of that blunt struggle, no no.  After a hard days work I stood back in satisfaction and marvelled at my patchy walls.

2nd Top Tip of the Day - you probably have a friend that likes stripping!  Ha, erm you know what I mean.  Although most friends would rather come and help you paint, if you can persuade them with beers and food to come and do some of the early work then what would be a mindless never ending task soon becomes an excuse to catch up with a friend you haven't seen in a while.  For me that good friend was Suzy C, and we passed by many an hour with scrapers and step ladders and good chats.

It didn't take long to cause chaos
THE most exciting part of the project so far came when me & JCH took the radiator off to strip the paper behind.  Firstly was the discovery of THE most exciting wallpaper I think I've ever seen:

Isn't it fab?!  Such great bold colours.  And it really got me thinking about the history of the house...decades of wallpaper on top of each other, possibly all put there by different people who've lived here before us.  Unfortunately there wasn't enough to justify keeping it up there (and I don't think JCH would have let me) but I'll definitely be saving a small little section.
Decades of wallpaper
 As if that weren't exciting enough, we knew there must be something behind the hardboard...

Ta daa!!!!  An old fireplace, just waiting to be rediscovered after all these years.

I don't know why someone would ever have wanted to hide it, never mind cover it with some crappy hardboard and a green radiator but it'll definitely be taking centre stage in our Den.

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