A room of one’s own: bad smells, dodgy MDF and crumbling plaster (part 1)

Thursday, April 9, 2015 1 , , , , Permalink 0

Oops, this blog post is long overdue! For the past month I’ve been working non-stop decorating the second bedroom so it’s been hard finding time to blog.

The room is quite small (3 metres by 2 metres) but for me it’ll be one of the most important places in the house – my study and a home for my books.

Here’s what the room looked like at the start.

Second bedroom

Second bedroom

Convention dictates I should start with the first thing I did…

Step 1: getting rid of cat urine smells

I decided to rip up the carpet fairly quickly after moving in because of the pungent cat smell but it didn’t make much difference. The floorboards had obviously soaked up some of the cat urine from the previous furry occupants. To get rid of it, I made up a solution of warm water, bleach and floor cleaner and went over it with a mop. Then I let this dry and went over it again with a solution of warm water and white wine vinegar. Once this was dry I just used warm water and floor cleaner. Eventually the smell faded which meant we didn’t have to take up the Victorian floorboards.

As well as the carpet, something else which found its way into the skip that day was a modern pine fire surround. It was propped up against the wall but for some reason it fell over and landed bang on my ankle. I was so annoyed I just wanted rid of it as soon as possible!

Step 2: adding a new electrical socket

There was already one double socket in the room but it was nowhere near where I wanted my desk so I decided to install another one. It was a pretty easy job since I’d already taken off the skirting and the walls were just plasterboard which was easy to cut away. I added the new socket in the corner of the room in a more convenient location.

Wall with a new double socket and wire exposed.

Installing a new wall socket

Continue reading…

Quick intro post before full-on DIY geekiness begins

Monday, January 19, 2015 0 , Permalink 1

I had always wanted to live in a Victorian house so last Summer, when I moved into a 3-bed end-terrace built in 1884, it was like a dream come true. The house needs some TLC – it has very few original features, it suffers from damp and there’s poor quality building work (both modern and Victorian).

Over the new few months I’ll be decorating each room, repairing the fabric of the building and researching its history. Above are a few photos taken soon after moving in – there’ll be plenty more to follow as I decorate.

I’ve completed a couple of DIY projects already so there’ll be posts coming up about fire doors, plaster cornicing and damp proofing.

I’ve already discovered something worrying about the history of the house! The local man who came to fit my satellite dish told me a story about the students that rented the house several years ago. After they had moved out he was called in by his friend (the landlord) to help tidy up in preparation for the new tenants. What they discovered when they walked in was a humid, dark house complete with an abandoned cannabis farm. There were plants strung up downstairs and on the very top floor in the converted loft space. The floorboards had even been taken up in the living room to accommodate more soil.

It’s sad to think people would treat a house in this way so I’m looking forward to putting things right.