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Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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My parents are coming. Yay!...My parents are coming. OH GOD [20100903|00:02]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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One consequence of my parents’ imminent arrival in the UK after six years of not visiting me is that it lit a fire under our asses to fix up the spare room. Yes, we’ve now been in this house for over a year. Yes, the only other room that’s been fixed up is the living room. Yes, the reason why we haven’t fixed up the other rooms is that we spend all our time sitting in our nicely finished living room on the comfortable sofas. Cut us some slack, hey? We both work full time and I have to commute to London daily. You try that and see if you want to sand walls or stand in Homebase and argue about paint colours when you get home at 7 PM.

Anyhow, we’ve been forcing ourselves to deal with the disaster that was the spare room. It was lined with cheap MDF bookshelves and it had been painted marigold in places and left stripped of wallpaper in others. It was, in short, hideous.

Our first step was to divest the place of the bookshelves. This involved a lot of hammering and smashing, which was fun, but also a whole stack of them crashing off the wall without warning and landing on the bloke’s toe, which was not fun. He’s normally the master of the stiff upper lip. That incident turned the air around him blue.

Once we had removed the bookshelves, we turned to the fireplace. Originally we’d planned to keep it. However, the spare room will function both as a bedroom and a study for the bloke, so we needed the corner it occupied for a dresser. The fireplace simply took up space. So the bloke got out a crowbar, and with much glee he and his father yanked it off the wall. We Freecycled it. It was claimed by a neighbour eight doors down whose fireplace had been removed by the previous occupants, leaving them with a gaping hole in the wall.

We boarded up our gaping hole in the wall and began the business of plastering all the holes left by the bookshelves and a huge random crumbly section. This proceeded largely without incident, although father-out-law presided over our endeavours with a critical eye. To his credit, he largely refrained from uttering the words, “You missed a bit.”

As we proceeded through the painting, I discovered a thing called “liquid sander”. I’d never heard of such a thing before, having always resorted to the old classic sandpaper. However all of our rooms feature picture rails. If you’ve never seen a picture rail, look at the following photo.

Notice all the lovely curves and edges that give it a fetching shape. Notice also how said lovely curves and edges make it a total bitch to sand. I was anxious, therefore, to try this magical “liquid sander”. So I picked up the bottle and read the instructions. Here is what the first instruction said.

“Shake well before use.”

So far, so good. But wait! The second instruction read, “Remove loose or flaking paint by smoothing down with abrasive paper.”

Abrasive paper, huh? You know what that sounds like? Yeah, that sounds like FECKING SANDPAPER, you bastards.

It was at that point I decided to stop reading the instructions. I applied the liquid sander with a brush and a good dose of grouchy dubiousness. I wiped it off with a cloth. Lo and behold, it worked beautifully.

The lesson here is clear: RTFM is a load of dingo’s kidneys.

Stage 1: Removal of shelves and fireplace

Stage 2: Base coat goes on, ceiling is re-papered, plaster is applied

Stage 3: Painting begins

Stage 4: Painting continues (second coat). Please note that paint is still drying in these photos and that is why it looks scabrous.

All we have left now is to finish the gloss work on the picture rails and skirting boards this weekend, and then air the place out like mad so it doesn’t stink when my parents arrive next Wednesday. It’s tedious work, but makes that subtle difference between almost and definitely finished. I CAN’T WAIT.

[User Picture]From: cosmiccircus
2010-09-03 02:01 (UTC)
I kind of liked the fireplace, although it was a bit small and in a random place...

So the walls are going to be white on top with the darker color down below?

And do you have furniture for the room too?

Good job!
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[User Picture]From: bryangb
2010-09-03 10:01 (UTC)
I like fireplaces too, and hate to see them chucked out!

But all this decorating stuff is why there are professional decorators.... (-:
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-09-03 21:55 (UTC)
I was glad to give the fireplace to people who planned to reinstall it. Our house is not large and we needed the space it occupied.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-09-03 21:53 (UTC)
The fireplace was a rather pretty thing. It would have been nice to be able to keep it, but our house is not large and we needed the space.

You're right about the colour scheme. We're going to keep the picture rails white and paint the skirting boards a sort of chocolatey brown. We have beds for the room and a table for the bloke, but it's going to need a dresser and a comfortable office chair.

Thank you!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-09-03 21:51 (UTC)
I wonder if their conductive properties are enhanced by listening to, say, Guns n Roses while they're being applied? Will have to experiment.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-09-05 06:39 (UTC)
Fantastic. May I repost it in my journal?
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[User Picture]From: ursarctous
2010-09-03 07:16 (UTC)
Yes, we’ve now been in this house for over a year.

Oh bless. My parents have been in their house for over fifteen years and it's not quite finished yet. You're doing fine :D
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-09-03 19:42 (UTC)
Ah, thank you! I feel a lot less remiss now. :D
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[User Picture]From: senusert
2010-09-03 09:32 (UTC)
I wouldn't want to stand and argue in Homebase ever, let alone after work....
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-09-03 19:42 (UTC)
Indeed. This is why we opt for making rapid, slightly haphazard decisions about colour schemes. We've been lucky thus far that things have turned out okay, but I expect we'll make a major gaffe at some point!
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[User Picture]From: flexagain
2010-09-03 09:56 (UTC)
I'm sure you've investigated this fully, but you appear to have boarded up the old fireplace, is the remaining chimney suitably ventilated?
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-09-03 19:46 (UTC)
It was a little gas fireplace. The chimney is connected to the other little gas fireplace in our bedroom, which is still there. If we decide to board that one up, we'll have to think about blocking up the chimney.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-09-03 21:34 (UTC)
Postal address has been sent to your gmail! I'm screening your comment so evil bots cannot come through and steal your e-mail address.
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