I’ve spent today removing the glass from my bifold doors and sanding and varnishing them ready for the new glass. With any luck on Monday they will have 5mm shaved off the outside edges (“De plane, de plane!” Sorry, I digress,) and be hung. And that will essentially finish stage 1 of the renovations. Scary stuff.
The living room doesn’t have many walls – it’s essentially three walls of windows and one of doors. It did have two sets of built in shelves.
The first thick Tas oak shelves built by my father in the late 70s. The pillar they are on is actually a chimney. When we moved in there was a small wood burner in the flat below, and an oil heater in this room. Dad hated oil heaters so it went so fast I don’t remember what it looked like. The shelves were built to accomodate a revolving selection of plants from the large glasshouse that Dad had in the back yard. I don’t seem to have many pictures, but I have mental images of them stacked with begonias and coleus, overflowing with colour.
Hoewever everything I own seemed to be too large or wide or just didn’t fit on the shelves. And the couch was too close to the coffee table and looked clumsy pushed against a shelf.
They also seemed to make rearranging the room impossible – their position in the middle of the room seemed to define all the spaces around them. They had to go.
Problem is, my father built things to last. I didn’t realise until later, but I could have climbed the things instead of a ladder to paint the ceiling! Each shelf was attached to the wall with a 30cm dynabolt (long bolt into a metal tube that expands against the brickwork. The bolts were placed through holes through the depth of the shelf . The holes were covered by a facing of 1cm thick timber that was not only nailed on but glued too. Each shelf was in 3 pieces – but not just a diagonal seam – it had a another angle in it (hard to describe and not really visible in this pic – the middle shelf was like a jigsaw piece, it interlocked.
Chisel, hammer, more chisels, pinch bar, just getting the strip off the first piece took some 30 minutes hard work.
One section of shelf the bolt simply wouldn’t shift so I ended up pulling the whole thing out of the wall. It managed to pull a pulverised brick out with it. This was the second layer of filler in that hole
The phone plug was half way up the wall. Not just inserted in the plaster – oh no, that would have been too easy, it was mortared in againt the bricks.
Nearly done. A full week of filling and smoothing and setting and filling. Of course the originsal wall isn’t flat or level, so that makes it hard to work out what level is smooth.
One edge of this hole is actually several millimetres higher than the opposite. It could be worse, the house across the road has textured plaster – every mend is visible for ever. Renovation there is going to have to start with coating every wall with plaster board.
All in all, although I KNOW where the patches are, most people can’t find them so I’m pretty pleased.
In the opposite corner we had a built in tv unit.
I actually designed these shelves 20+ years ago and we had them built. Practically the tv was too far away from where I put chairs, and again limited the rearrangability (oooh a new word!) of the whole room.
So, lifting off the tops was relatively simple (got to find a good project to reuse that timber).
Then the strips were screwed into the wall – simple. Some of the screws weren’t even filled as they weren’t visible. Well, three of these long screws managed to strip themselves as I tried to undo them. Tried levering them out of the wall, but they wouldn’t shift (the wood broke around them). No hope of hammering them far enough into the wall. I ended up using a combination of hacksaw, pliers and brute force to make them break at the top of the thread.
However the green plastic plugs were still in every hole and wouldn’t pull out, nor push in enough to get plaster over them. So the neat little screw holes had to be opened up with a chisel and the front of the plug sliced off. Oh great, more gaping holes to fill.
I used the better part of two large tubs of polyfilla in this room (the ceiling cracks weren’t deep, but they were plentiful). Sometimes I feel like I am singlehandedly keeping Bunnings in business. Plastering done, time to paint.
Coming up – the living room reinvented.