Sunday, May 15, 2011
The front reception room is more of a grown-up room. It's mostly baby safe, but it has a lovely walnut and glass cabinet and our antique chaise longue. Oh, and it's where Niall plays Black Ops on the Wii (also know as "merc-ing".)
When we bought the house I liked the front bay windows and the light in the room. And the old, thick baseboards and the crown molding.
And, of course, I liked the door.
The floor was covered in laminate. (Which we ended up removing and selling.)
As with the rest of the house, there were problems. There were obvious signs of rising damp. I decided to try and address the problem myself, and so began our work on the house.
After getting a survey done and talking with some experts, I decided to put in a damp course. It basically involves drilling a series of holes and injecting a special paste. Supposedly the injection dissipates through the bricks over time, forming a protective layer that prevents the moisture from rising up into the walls. Sheesh. I'm from the desert. Rising damp is news to me. To start the course I had to remove the laminate. And then the baseboard/skirting. And I totally botched it and ruined the baseboard. (Later we'd learn this baseboard is old and no longer sold. Luckily a friend found a matching piece in a skip/dumpster which we "reclaimed".)
I put in the damp course. After some discussion, Niall and I (mostly I) decided to lift the floorboards to put in underfloor insulation. I went to a builder's merchant to buy a crowbar. I guess it was odd having a woman with a baby buying a crowbar in this particular store. Several of the guys there asked if I was mad at an old boyfriend.
The floorboards were in pretty good shape. But on the left hand side you can see the shorter, mismatched boards. They were put in, presumably, to replace a rotten joist some time ago. We decided to relay the boards and replace the shorter ones with some from the salvage yard.
I had no idea how hard it would be to pry up the floorboards. Getting two up took hours for me!
As a birthday gift for me, Niall came and lifted the rest.
For about two months the "floor" was just a gaping hole while we waited for the salvage yard to get the right floorboards and started on the backroom/Family Room.
We found there was additional damp on the outer wall, so made the necessary repairs.
We put in another damp course on the outside. (Don't ask my why the first one was put in so high, and why they drilled right into the bricks!)
Finally the salvage yard got boards so we put in the underfloor insulation and then laid the boards. (Handyman Dave helped so much in this room!)
We sanded the floor. Then put back in the baseboards/skirting, finished the floor, laid tiles where the hearth used to be, added a new vent and painted. (Mostly the handymen did those bits.) And moved in!
The piano and the round cabinet were given to us by a friend. The painting of the lady is from Jared Gillett and is one of my favorite. The painting of Niall looking like stained glass is by me, back when I used to paint pictures instead of walls.
The same friend gave us an old telephone. The chaise longue is in front of the bay. (And no, we don't have any window coverings yet. Our living room is on display for anyone who walks by!)
The baby wanted to be in this shot, I guess. She does live here after all, and has spent a lot of time putting up with us renovating this house. If you've been anywhere Niall has lived in the past decade, you'll probably recognize his photo of Dora. (He doesn't know her, he picked it up in Detroit years ago.) And another painting I did of Niall.
The living room was the first one we started working on and was almost the last one finished. But I guess it was worth it, because for the past week Niall has hardly left the sofa! (In his defense, he is writing.)