After waiting months to get the keys to our first house we were keen to get in ASAP to start the renovations straight away, and what a difference a week makes.
In order to get the house ready for plasterers and electricians, the first job this week was getting the wallpaper off the walls, and the ceilings (!!!) in the rooms we wanted to get done first. After a lot of trial and error, we found the best way to peel off the multiple layers of wallpaper, that had been painted over until the wallpaper just crumbled, was just hard graft.
The top layer of wallpaper downstairs cracked and peeled in tiny bits as we hacked at it with scrapers, revealing a stubborn base layer underneath, which had to be steamed off. Upstairs in the master bedroom the wallpaper simply fell off the walls in full strips once we started pulling, with a quick steam to take off any stubborn bits. All in all it took us almost a day per room to get all the wallpaper off, with two of us working on it. The most stubborn bits being above the picture rail. The best tip we were given – if the wallpaper won’t come off mix fabric softener and water in a squirty bottle and wet the wallpaper before scraping. Smells a lot better than plaster dust too.
The ceilings were a different ballgame altogether. The downstairs ceilings were coated in a varnish like paint with a textured effect across both in what can only be described as builders brew orange colouring. On closer inspection we found the ceiling in the dining room had wallpaper under the textured paint, which needed to be melted with the steamer before it even started to budge. In the lounge, the paint on the ceiling simply bubbled and cracked, and we peeled it off like old nail varnish. Bedroom ceiling was polystyrene, that was fun…
Taking off all the wallpaper meant that we were able to get an accurate quote from plasterers looking to complete the work, and so we were able to get a proper look at what we were dealing with underneath. We expected the plaster underneath to be in as bad a condition as the wallpaper on top, but luckily we now just need a reskim.
The second priority for us was the exterior of the house. The front door of the house was actually the original oak door which is over 100 years old, with what looked like a hundred coats of dark red paint on top to match. After a lot of research on how to renew, we were told the easiest way to renew and repaint the door was to sand back the paint and recoat, lowering the cost of the old paint bleeding into the new colour. The brass work was replaced to match, and good as new! We chose ‘Silver Eucalptus’ by Valspar, and used the water based exterior paint, after a white basecoat to change the door colour as below.
The masonry around the windows was sanded and cleaned before being painted white, and the black post and coving was all repainted in a black exterior gloss, as well as a few drainpipes being refined.
Finally, we dug out and replanted both the front and back gardens, and jet washed the patio and decking. Home Sweet Home!