A house is never finished

20:37

We did it. It's taken three and a half years, but the wreck we purchased back in 2014 is finally 'finished'. Or is it?


Our last big DIY push was our hallway. Despite having a new front door fitted back in June last year, the hall remained a walkway of dusty doom. After living with bare brickwork for well over a year, when our daughter starting crawling it became a health and safety nightmare. So we boarded it over and left it for another six months. That was until the tile flooring we laid as part of our kitchen refurb starting moving and cracking the grout so it fell out... perfect for little fingers (gah!)



So the hall has been a disaster zone for a long time and with funds and time lacking, we ended up decorating it in a very roundabout way. Firstly, we had to get the walls skimmed. Unfortunately I was really sick with a triple whammy of sinus, eye and throat infection. My Mum came up for a few days to help with our daughter whilst the plasterer was doing his job - and as it turns out to also help my Mum figure out how to open our pram whilst I was asleep!


Then we had to sort the flooring out. We had a concrete screed over the terrible tiles as there was no way we were going to rip them all up! We chose Polyflor Camaro and even though it's a vinyl, we had it laid like tiles with a contrasting 'grout line' so it looks even better than the real thing. We have wooden floorboards throughout our 1930s semi, so the floors can get really cold. The tile was freezing last winter, but we're already seeing the benefits of the Polyflor - it's much warmer underfoot and so much easier to keep clean (although its smoothness does make my hoover squeak!)


Once the flooring was down, we had about four weeks to get enough done to be able to take my Dad up on his offer to come and help us do the wallpapering. This meant we had a manic few nights of painting the ceiling and any woodwork along the long wall that we would be papering. I also began the thankless task of stripping woodwork by hand using our Dewalt heat gun. Every single spindle. And six door frames. And two window ledges. And the handrail. 😓


We chose Little Green's Vine Blue paper. It's c1932 and is taken from the archive at the Whitworth Art Gallery here in Manchester. It seemed like fate when we found it! It was a big gulp making the order though, since we needed four rolls (at £80 a roll) but everyday it cheers me up. My daughter loves it too, especially naming all the colours on the birds whilst we get ready to go out.


The walls are painted with Little Green's Serpentine colour, however, I have a confession to make. We took the paint swatch to our local independent DIY paint store, who mixes paints using a Johnstone's base, at half the price of Little Green paint. And even better, they do a durable matte finish! Our lounge is painted in a Farrow and Ball matte emulsion but it marks terribly and isn't wipeable - an awful mistake when you have a cat, a dog and a toddler! But we love the chalkiness that Farrow and Ball paint finish gives, so we really feel like we're onto a winner with this combo.

The final hurdle to cross was carpeting the stairs and upstairs landing. My goodness I feel like I looked at every single carpet in every single carpet shop in a 10 mile radius. We ended up going for the same brand of carpet in our three bedrooms, Rustic Wool Berber, but in a darker, warmer shade which goes perfectly with the leaves in the paper.


And just like that, three and a half years of constant DIY has come to an end. The brushes have been tidily put in the shed and the remaining paint tins stacked neatly. And then we put in for planning permission which involves punching a massive hole through the £80 p/roll wallpaper we've just hung...

Better watch this space. 😉

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