8 December 2008

Two houses ago - hallway

Welcome to our new home! We were so excited to finally move in. Our offer had been accepted in October 2002 but we only got to move in in April 2003! Even though the house was standing empty it just took forever to get everything ironed out with our mortgage lender becuase of our visa status and then our solicitor was in semi retirement and spent more time on the golf course than he did in the office.

Anyway, we finally got in and could start decorating. This is how the hallway looked when we viewed the house for the second time, before moving in:

Our mortgage lender had imposed a £4,000 retention, which meant that they had kept back £4,000 of our loan until we had certain items attended to, after which they would lend the money. One of the items needing doing was damp proofing downstairs.

This meant that a contractor came in, used a jackhammer to drill off all of the wallpaper and plaster along the bottom of the wall (up to about 3 feet from the floor) and inject damp proofing into the wall, then plaster over again. I can't convey through pictures the extent of the dust everywhere in the house during that time, but I do have some shots of the ripped to pieces walls (this one from the dining room, but the hallway was the same):

We were lucky to have a hallway at all and especially lucky to have one with lovely high ceilings typical of Victorian properties. But the floor was the first thing we had to change. It had nasty, nasty striped old carpet that didn't even extend all the way to the front door. Here is a view from the stairs, facing the front door. The two doorways on the left are for the living room and dining room. Note the newly plastered damp-proofed wall on the right:

Standing just outside the front door, facing in. Note the paint-splattered black concrete just inside the front door. How welcoming (not). Dining room door first on right, living room second on right just before the stairs.

We were working on an extremely tight budget - Grant was working at the university and it didn't pay very well at all, so we were having to watch every penny.

Luckily we found some inexpensive laminate flooring at a local store that was on sale and snapped some up. Our friend Allan came round to help Grant install it one evening.

The exciting moment of laying the first plank on the underlay:

The triumph of a completed floor:

Just as these photos show my humble decorating beginnings, they also show my humble photography beginnings. I swear I wasn't drunk when I took the above photo! I have no excuse for it. I can't even blame the cheap crappy point-and-shoot camera we had, because hello, you can still hold a cheap crappy point-and-shoot camera straight, right? Clearly I couldn't.

But to distract you, please note the lovely high ceilings and the horrid monstrosity of a wicker light shade.

Moving on, isn't this a much improved view from the stairs towards the front door:

And standing just outside, looking into the house:

A few months later we added moulding around the edges of the floor to cover the gap between the planks and the skirting board (baseboard) after having a grumble about how the moulding cost as much as the flooring planks had.

After the floor was done I moved on to the front door. It was inoffensive, a varnished brown wood door, but I wanted to paint it white to lighten and brighten the hallway further. This is how it looked before:

My friend Becky was going to a discount store and I asked her to look for some white paint for me. She phoned me from the store to say they had a tin of paint that didn't say white on it, it was called Marshmallow, but the swatch on the tin looked white. She asked if I wanted it. The price was very low so I said sure, and she picked it up for me.

When I painted the door with it during Daniel's nap a few days later, I was surprised to see that the colour was actually a pale mauve:

Who's ever seen a mauve marshmallow? Anyway, the paint was so cheap that I was quite happy to use it as undercoats to cover the brown, and then finish up with some white. Painting the door really lightened and brightened the hallway as I'd hoped, giving it a clean look.

For some reason I couldn't find any more pictures between then and finishing up the hall, so here are the afters. We painted the walls a very pale off-white, added an inexpensive pine-framed mirror on the right, a very inexpensive pine-framed picture of tulips on the left between the living room and dining room doorways, and a couple of little tins to hold our keys, cellphones and wallets.

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