Restoring and decorating the master bedroom
We decided we needed to focus on one room to start with, get that all ready to go and then expand outwards. This meant we’d have a nice little base within the house to feel comfortable and settled and give us time to get other rooms/project sorted.
This is what the room looked like to start off with. When we were looking for a property we really wanted big bay windows and original fireplaces, so we hoped to make features of both of these.
Inspiration for the Bedroom
The main inspiration for the bedroom was my ‘spinster’ bedroom which I was moving out of. You can see a little bit of it in the photo below, behind my hair:
And here are some photos of little bits and bobs about the room.
My husband said he liked the style of my room, but would prefer it slightly less feminine and a bit more neutral. I imagined making the most of the windows and having a very light background for the wallpaper with some kind of traditional/neutral coloured floral pattern. We definitely wanted bare wooden floorboards too, I’d made sure to check when we were buying the house by pulling up a corner!
Our theme was going to be blue, white and red- something patriotic, interesting to look at and a bit of fun too. We wanted the floorboards and the furniture to be dark wood and the curtains etc to be white.
Preparing the floor
As with the living room the very first task was the take up the carpets and sand the floor. My memory of doing my old bedroom was that I got it done in a day, and remember thinking of easy it had been. I just used a small electrical hand sander and I’m sure it only took an hour or two! So I had high expectations for the time we needed to spend on this room.
We took up the carpet, which was a bit of a job in itself, and the underlay. The carpet had been laid when the house went on sale, so it was newly laid using modern techniques. I then went round pulling up leftover staples and nails with a claw head hammer and pliers. It’s a big room and as I realised, pliers weren’t the right tool for this job. I got quite a big blister near the base of my thumb from pulling out all those staples! I think these tasks took up about half a day, my estimate of getting the whole room finished in a weekend was fast slipping away…
After recuperating over lunch, we got stuck in to sanding. My parents had bought us a belt sander as a house warming gift, so Mr started sanding the middle of the floor with the belt sander and I took the smaller hand sander to the corners.
Mr was going quite well with the middle of the room, it was hard work and took a long time but it was getting done. Unlike my corners.
The fresh carpet glue and residual underlay were proving absolutely impossible to remove with the electrical sander. The underlay gummed up the pads and I made no headway, no matter how soft or hard I pressed; what movement I used: forwards/backwards, round in circles. I was confused because I hadn’t had this problem on my old bedroom. Retrospectively I think it was the fact that the carpet had only been laid a few months previous, and directly onto bare floorboards (unvarnished and untreated floorboards are more absorbent and have a greater surface area which would hugely increase the adhesive strength). I’d put a lot of elbow grease in and was starting to feel a bit hopeless.
In the end I had to take drastic measures and ended up planing off the top layer of wood, damaging the floor itself quite significantly in the process. There are substantial gouges around most of the edges now! However it got it done, and ultimately the edges are mostly covered anyway! We probably could have gone back in with some wood filler and tidied it up, but at the time it didn’t seem worth it!
It took a few days but the floor came up nicely in the end. We sanded the woodwork at the same time.
Ceiling and Woodwork
The next job was a thorough clean! The wood dust gets everywhere, it was downstairs, up all the walls, in our ears- horrible! We swept, vacuumed, brushed, and then wiped everything down with white spirit. Mr then painted the ceiling (plain white) and I started preparing the woodwork.
Now I made a bit of a mistake with the woodwork, generally the rule is to sand everything first and then move on. You don’t want to get wood dust on wet paint! But I lost my head a little over the floorboard corners and moved on to the skirting board too soon. For some reason I got us to finish (sanding, cleaning, priming, painting) the skirting board before we had finished the sanding the floorboards. Which is why the skirting board is blue in the photos above! This proved itself to be a bad move as we scuffed the paint while finishing off the floorboards.
So after painting the ceiling we went back round and patched up the skirting board, which considering that it was a slightly botched job, didn’t end up too badly done.
Varnishing the Floor
This is us testing the colour of varnish whilst still in the process of finishing the floorboards, you can see I’ve made a start on the skirting board too. I’ve since realised that you can layer varnish to create your preferred colour. So although we were a bit nervous about this first application, looking back, if we had considered the colour too dark/too light or too cool/warm then we could have just used a balancing colour over the top. For example, if the colour was too cool, we could’ve used a warmer shade of varnish over the top to balance it out.
The bedroom was a lot of fun- we’d just got engaged and bought a house, and were planning our wedding for a few months time; excitedly anticipating moving in together after the honeymoon. So this was a really lovely togetherness thing to do. That said, it was harder than either of us expected and we learnt a lot.
Wallpapering and Decorating
Despite my high hopes of finishing the bedroom in a weekend (we bought the house in July, married in October), it wasn’t finished by the time we went off on honeymoon. We had picked out the wallpaper, having chosen a blue toile theme- we were thinking Edwardian inspired, slightly more gender neutral florals (although florals haven’t always been considered feminine…..
So while we were on honeymoon my parents came round and did the wallpapering for us. Here’s what it looked like after they hung the first two pieces:
I didn’t get round to working on the fireplace until about November time. By then we were moved in and starting to settle down. I was working from home so was able to get jobs done here and there around the house. I don’t know why we left the fireplace out when we did all the other woodwork, it had just turned into such a big project by that point that perhaps I just couldn’t face it! As it was a small surface area, I hand-sanded it, wiped it down and primed it with relative ease. The wood paint we were using was oil based so it had to be left to dry for 24 hours. I applied the first coat and then reapplied the next two coats over the following days.