Monday, February 20, 2017


To Cumbria, for a week's heavy-duty DIY at our other house. 

A few years after we acquired the house, we freshened the décor in the front room following the trends of the time: two-colour walls with a decorative border running around at dado height.  Borders like this were knee-deep at the time, along with fancy script, Latin text and stencilling.  Remember those?  It made the room brighter, but did nothing to address the real issue of rising damp.  Let alone the elephant in the room, which was the presence of this 60's tiled fireplace, fronted by a very ugly gas-fire. 

We generally ignored the room, using it as a place to dump our walking boots, but sitting in the other room.  But this was a shame, because the terrace faces due west and the front room is lit by sunlight in the late afternoon whereas the other room is not.  So, last autumn, we employed a builder to remove the fireplace, strip out the old plaster, treat the damp and re-plaster.  This left us with a blank canvas, the only issue being the gas meter in one corner..

Now, my husband likes to do a good job of work, once he gets started.  He has what seems to me to be a miraculous ability to see  how to resolve practical problems.  He also has skills in woodwork and an extensive range of tools.  After some weeks in his shed here at home constructing cabinets, we were ready to tackle the job in Cumbria.

While he reassembled his handiwork, I spent many hours sanding and painting.  Skirting was delivered and he set to constructing mitres.

Eventually, we could see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Two coats of "Natural Calico" emulsion transformed the bare plaster walls.  I can't tell you what a perfect effect you can achieve on totally new plaster: acres of creamy white.

We straightened up - on to the top-coats.  I like the shine of white gloss and was working my way round the room. 

Suddenly, in anguished tones, my husband said: "Oh no!"  I turned around - and there, on the pristine, newly painted wall, was a piece of dynamic modern artwork.  "The tin slipped out of my hand," he said. 

Fortunately, my first reaction was to laugh, remembering, as long-term readers will, how I tipped a pot of bright blue paint over myself when painting the back gate.

But if you are looking for a good level of contrast, I can recommend Farrow and Ball's "Down Pipe" against Dulux "Natural Calico."

(Sorry about the out of focus finished picture, but you get the idea!)

1 comment:

Robin said...

Beautiful work! What a transformation. You are going to love being in the room now.