Wallpapering Wardrobes

It’s raining, in August as usual, and I am sitting looking through a window at a waterlogged garden.  So I have a quick moment of calm to post about the cupboards that I mentioned recently were being built.  They were fitted in a day, have a load of space inside and then it was my turn to get going on them.

GUEST BEDROOM

Here they are going into the alcoves, this is in the room that has one built in wardrobe:

The room also had a horrible and ugly boiler cupboard, and my carpenters very kindly made me a new door and frame for free, (probably as it was so offensive in the room compared to the new one above!).

Once they were in they just needed a lick of paint.  They are going to be very simple and white so I had a plan undercoat applied in the workshop.  I will post more pictures once I have finished them.

MAIN BEDROOM

The main bedroom was due two wardrobes, one in each alcove.  We went right up to the ceiling to maximise space and brought the cornice around the front of the doors. I had already asked for a specific configuration of shelves and rails in advance.

As you my have gathered, I LIKE DARK WALLS!  This room was painted in the inkiest dark blue called ‘Hague Blue’ by Little Greene – it changes from inky blue to almost black depending on the time of day.  I have left the ceiling, cornice and skirting white along with the window woodwork.  The flooring is very pale too, so light can bounce around as I didn’t want it like a dark tomb.  The cupboards were also going to get a coat of Hague Blue, so the undercoat was in a dark grey to help speed things up.

The woodwork paint was the same colour in their new range of dead matt eggshell which is water-based, and which is supposed to have a very low 10% sheen.  It is also supposed to be very workable.  However, to be honest I was not that impressed with it.  I used brushes for detail mouldings and  foam roller for the flat surfaces and it dried really patchy, even after 3 coats.  Next time I am sticking to normal eggshell.

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See the streaky finish in the panel area?

However, my master plan meant that the finish on the flat panels did not really matter.  I have been waiting forever to use some House of Hackney wallpaper, and planned to set it into the panels of the wardrobes.  I had even asked the carpenters to make them exactly the same width of the wallpaper so there was no wastage, how sad am I?!

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This is called Florika and it reminds me of Arts and Crafts wallpaper but in a large scale, and with a touch of the plant from Little Shop of Horrors!  It comes in a panel form, a 3 roll set of 45cm x 3m pieces.  That’s why I got the carpenters to make my panels 45cms wide, as much as I would love to do a whole room, it would have just cost too much.

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Usually I am very impatient, but due to the price of this paper, I was very slow and methodical for once.  I estimated that I could get 3 panels across 4 doors whilst keeping the repeat pattern if I was very careful.  I VERY SLOWLY measured, measured again and then re-checked, and started to cut it into panels.  To attach them I used Paste the Wall by Solvite, so there was no soaking of the paper needed, and simply smoothed them into place with a squeegee.  Any tiny bit of trimming needed was done with wallpaper scissors as scalpels can tear wallpaper if it is wet.  That part was really quick and simple.

This is the finished result, plus with new carpet fitted to cover the very poor floorboards that I inherited.

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On the other side of the room I have hung some botanical prints, which will be above the bed when it finally comes.

My husband walked in when it was done to have a look, he had not seen any of the progress at all since the room was bare and stripped.  He just said ‘Jesus!’ and walked out.  I am going to take that in a positive way as I know that once the curtains and furniture are in and I have dressed the room,  it will look FANTASTIC!  I can lie in bed and admire my fantasy wallpapered cupboards, and when I am finally bored of them I can start all over with something else.

What I did notice though when it was all done, is that my fireplace is not central in the wall, not because of the carpentry either side , but as in the room below there is another fireplace which is central, so this one must have been sited like this for a separate chimney stack.  But as the walls are so dark it sort of vanishes, and I painted the dado rail dark blue either side to ‘lose it’ as well.  However, this will be a challenge when it comes to hanging art and mirrors in the room on this wall area

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I’m thinking deeply of what to do with this wall, any suggestions gratefully accepted….

House Renovation Diary Part 2

For the last few weeks I have not had a minute spare to post anything, and have been trying to juggle the renovation, still do another existing part-time job, carry out my school Governor role, look after my kids and still run the family home.  I kid you not, this is multi-tasking to another level.  Luckily, we women have brains that can compartmentalize and manage these feats, otherwise I should be a gibbering wreck being carted off to an institution for intense therapy!

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My view for the next few weeks

PROGRESS

So, since the last post the house renovations has been cracking onwards.  All of the walls have been stripped bare, discovering along the way that the original builders glued woodchip wallpaper straight onto bare plasterboard in some areas, which is impossible to remove without damage. At least 3 walls had this finish so we had to budget for more extensive works to them to get them sorted out.  Who invented that paper and why?

I had to source a building team pretty quickly, and was amazed at some of the outrageous quotes that came in from various trades.  Differences for wiring quotes, as an example, were from £2,800 to £10,000 for the house.  The phrase ‘are you having a laugh?’ came to mind (and more explicit ones that I will not share)..  However, perseverance and a lot of cash deals sorted out a great team.  I then contracted the builders to come in and do the following lengthy list:

Plasterboard where necessary all ceilings and aforementioned walls, re-plaster all rooms  in the house, re-wire and chase in all new electrics, re-plumb, move two walls, install new central heating and radiators, hang & fit all new doors,fit two bathrooms and one kitchen… the list goes on and on.  I also have a gardener stripping out the hideous junkyard that was the garden, with new lawn, planting and fencing coming next week.  My main job is decorating both internally and externally, chosing the kitchen, bathrooms and flooring.  I have been sourcing new joinery and hardware for all the doors in the house, and am become a wizard with my tape measure and minute measurements!  I am also on first name terms now with trade suppliers at the Builders yards in the city.

I asked my building team to start from the top down so I can at least prep the new plaster with mist coats whilst the messy work is being done.  We are at the stage of first fix electrics being finished, and 50% of the house is plastered.  Most floorboards are up and the debris is incredible.  It’s a dust bomb basically, it even gets in my teabags somehow.

Stripping a room, can someone explain the painting method on the door to me please?

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So here are some photos of the works so far.  A small loo has the wall smashed down in preparation for extending it into a shower room.

Continue reading

Wallpaper – The proper kind…

I saw this today online and had to share… it’s like porn for interior enthusiasts!

I love the old colour, the music, the voice-over and most of all the skills and time involved in making the papers.

I know some papers today are hand-printed and hence very costly, but this film will make me very doubting when perusing the mass-printed wallpapers in the DIY store from now on. No wonder you can see 150 year old wallpapers in stately homes that have lasted the test of time, as they have been made by hand as in this film.  Here is some more footage….

Has anyone ever used such beautiful hand-printed papers in their own homes?

 

 

Guest room overhaul part 1

I have a small second spare guest room that is languishing at the top of the house, and one that tended to get used as a dumping ground for all the things I mean to sort out one day, but never get around to doing.  I needed to make it dual purpose as both a room with a piano for my daughter to practice in, (thanks to my godaughter who has lent us one…) and also as a workable spare room.

The room is in the eaves of the house, so it has an angled ceiling and walls, and a dormer window.  It has always been a cream and pale blue scheme, with patterned sisal carpet.  There is a cunning daybed which opens out either into 2 x singles or into a double, (and this is only used at Christmas and Easter when relatives overflow, as we have another larger guest room for visitors to use throughout the year).

The shelves made it really cluttered to add a piano into the mix, so I had a serious purge and cleared them all out and removed the shelves.  I then worked around the existing carpet, bed, artwork and chest of drawers to come up with a new scheme that was fresher and more spacious.  I wanted to keep the paintings which are by family members, they already have a blue theme in their colours, plus beautiful maple and gilded frames.

The mission:

To spend as little as possible on raw materials, and to refresh the room using whatever I had lying around the house.  I did a rough moodboard to keep my mind focused.

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Decorating:

I found a great wallpaper called ‘Charlotte‘ to use on the back wall where the shelves once stood.  It is a light blue paisley on white and cost only £18 a roll from B&Q, plus it is paste the wall paper which is amazing, (first time I have used paste the wall paper and it is SO easy). It took less than an hour to whack it up and I only needed one roll.  I then repainted the remaining walls in First Dawn by Dulux, which is pretty much an exact match for the pale blue used in the wallpaper.  The woodwork was all repainted in Farrow and Ball’s Wimborne White, which is quite a bright white for them.  The room instantly looked fresher, brighter and bigger.

Total cost: £56.41 Continue reading

12 Easy Furniture Hacks courtesy of Houzz

Raring to go… next projects plans

My over excitement at recent transformations knows no bounds, and I am planning new makeovers, (and trying to work out which one I should do first and stop procrastinating and just get on with them…).

The Fireplace:

I have a working fireplace in the dining room which has a lovely cast iron insert, but a really uninspiring reproduction wooden surround.  I am planning to modify it with paint to look like slate.  The room is very neutral, with handpainted pale furniture so I think the surround needs a bit of darkness to create oomph.  I read once somewhere that Nicky Haslam, (genius), always has black somewhere in a room to ground the eye, and it is a great tip that I have followed ever since.

photoI have been looking for various ways to create slate trompe l’oeil via paint effect books, but most just have marble and sandstone effects, so I think I am just going to grab a slate tile and use it as my inspiration.  I did use once the textured stone paint on a fireplace, and although it looked great it is really hard to clean the mantlepiece shelf as it becomes rough and a magnet for dust.  So slate it shall be, and I can always try another effect if it does not work, such is the beauty of paint!

Wardrobe:

I picked up, nearly 18 months ago, a wardrobe in a junk store for £40 as it has potential and nice carvings.  The veneer has started to bubble in a couple of places, so it needs some TLC and is begging for a makeover.  It has been sitting in a friend’s garage since I bought it, and I have finally got it into the house ready to begin its transformation.  I think I shall be going for a wallpapered and painted effect again, and found some great bargain wallpapers down in Cornwall at Trago Mills last weekend.

Progress will be shared… procrastination must end!

Wallpapering furniture – The Result

I had decided to upcycle an old cupboard, and finally settled on a fantastic Colefax and Fowler wallpaper called Snow Tree which has brushstrokes and graduations of tone in the background. As a first attempt I decided just to wallpaper the inset panels and then to do a paint effect to match the background of the paper on the rest of the wood.  I figured that if it went wrong I could remove the paper do a simple repaint…

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Snow Tree by Colefax and Fowler

Here are the results, I am pretty pleased with it.

You will need: Charcoal, Original and Olive Chalk Paints (Annie Sloan) Clear Wax Earthborn wall Glaze Wallpaper paste Wallpaper Scissors Kitchen sponge Paintbushes How to:

  • Apply a coat of base colour over all of the wood that will be visible.  Being chalk paint, I only needed one coat and it adhered straight to the existing varnish without any need for sanding down.  Plus it dries really quickly which is a bonus!
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Base coat applied to all areas that will not be wallpapered

  • Measure your wallpaper for the panel sections, give it an extra inch all over in case the piece is old and not even in its dimensions.  Cut pieces, then one by one put paste on them, wait 5 mins for the paste to soak in well before hanging, and then stick to piece.  Smooth well with a very slightly damp cloth, and cut off excess paper where needed with sharp scissors.  Smooth down well again and allow to dry.  I left mine for about 3 hours as we had the heating on.

Stage 2: Papered and painted with base colour

  • Mix up a separate small pot of a lighter version of the base colour with some white paint and water and start to randomly dry brush and streak it over the base coat using just the tips of the brush.  At this point it looks quite brutal but do not worry.  I did mine in a similar pattern to the wallpaper background.  Allow to dry.
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Rough dry brushing with a lighter tone

  • When dry, dilute some of the original base coat colour with water so it is quite runny and put it onto a plate.  Then dab a kitchen sponge into it so there is just a little on the sponge and start to work it in small smoothing circles on the painted areas of the cupboard.  This softens the highlights you made before without removing them.
  • Work away at the piece until you are happy with the effect.
  • Highlight any mouldings with a complimentary colour, I used Olive as it picked out the green in the leaves of the wallpaper.
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Highlights picked out in complimentary colour

  • Once you are happy with the piece it is time to wax and glaze it.  As the Chalk Paint is totally matt and the wallpaper had a very slight sheen I needed it to all have the same finish.
  • Wax the painted woodwork and buff to a sheen.  This creates protection for the paint, and also very slightly darkens down the paint, even with a clear wax.
  • To protect the wallpaper I used Earthborn clear wall glaze, and roughly brushed it on so the strokes again matched the wallpaper’s background.
  • And voila, the finished cupboard.  The sheen is the same all over and close up it is hard to tell it is wallpaper and not hand painted flowers:

Hand Painted Wallpaper ♥ Want Wednesday No. 1

De Gournay paper and murals from the masters of the most exquisite wallpaper hand made by artisans has always been Number 1 on my dream list for decorating a room, (or Gracie Studios as a close second as well).  However, you do usually pay a small fortune for hand painted wallpaper and murals on silk or paper, and so it has always been out of my reach, and I am not sure my own artistic skills would match the pieces I have seen if I tried to replicate it, (actually definitely not when I think about it).

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All Photos from De Gournay

I love the way the paintings meander over the walls, around corners and are so obviously not normal wallpaper.  These papers cost literally hundreds per roll. A friend purchased a roll a couple of years ago, and hung it like a painting rather than stick it to a wall directly in case she moved house and had to leave it behind.

But, GOOD NEWS, I have just found a supplier of Chinoiserie papers in China (via my lovely friend that is Ebay) that has good recommendations via Jenny Komenda at the Little Green Notebook blog.  They can paint onto paper or silk so you have a choice of medium.   Jenny had some panels from them with the backgrounds specifically matched to a paint sample she sent them, and the results are stunning.  Jenny framed hers as separate panels in acrylic, however I think I would go the whole hog and use them as wallpaper directly in alcoves, and match the background colour paint to the colour on the rest of the walls. The room would then have the hand painted sections in the alcoves, and if you used 2 panels per alcove they could curl around onto the adjacent walls.  Scrummy.

Here is the link to the ebay store where they can be found.  They cost approximately £237 for an 8ft high x 3ft wide panel which is quite a lot less than one roll by De Gournay.

!Bqg7-4wB2k~$(KGrHqEH-CUEu43COgQRBLvzp)R(-g~~_12 !BzJRsogEGk~$(KGrHqF,!i8Ew5judG52BMUufWuWtg~~_12 !BzWi,M!BGk~$(KGrHqYOKjgE)OofPoj3BMVr+sc,nQ~~_12Definitely an option worth investigating further, and not much difference in costs to using a designer wallpaper all over the room from design houses like Colefax & Fowler, Prestigious Wallcoverings or House of Hackney.