We went dark

It’s been a while, but our flat has been a hive of activity for the last few weeks. We had an unexpected visit from my Dad, who helped us get back on track after a low point near the end of November when we thought there was no way that we’d get the room done before Christmas.

The evening he arrived we got straight to work on prepping the room with a coat of primer all over the walls, and clearing all the gear in to the bay while we protected everything. Dominie helped prep too, before they both headed back home for some well earned rest. The next morning, we would be ready to start with the papering early while Jennie took Dominie over to Glasgow for her flight back to Dubai.

Plans are great and all, but a combination of morning traffic in Edinburgh and Dad’s car locking itself with they keys in the ignition, the engine running, and no one in the car, left us a little delayed in starting… ACE recovery got the doors open with deft use of some inflatable pouches and a long stick, and then we were ready to start, but not before we signed the wall (and replicated the previous signatures…)


We papered the room together over a couple of days, a fun job to do together as we got in to a good groove of measuring and pasting. Our cuts need some work, but it’s not particularly noticeable and the lining paper gave a really good finish to paint on and well worth doing with unskimmed walls. Originally I thought I would be able to paint the plaster as it was, but there’s no way it would have looked any good at all.


After a weekend visiting friends in Yorkshire, I finished off the floor sanding. It was a bit of a mission, as my Makita 9404 belt sander gave a good finish, but turned out not to be able to hack it for long enough stretches to do the whole floor. I used it to do all the rough sanding with 40 grit (should have started with 24!) which took a few days, and then did the edges with a Bosch random orbital, which was pretty good and much less horrendous than using the big heavy disc edgers from a hire shop. The finer grades were going to hold us up though, and Dad had set a critical path(!), so I hired a normal drum sander from HSS for an evening and went through 80 and 120 grits. It made a big difference and was well worth doing for the smoothness of the floor, but I wish I’d done the course grit with the drum, or better yet a flooring belt sander, then moved on to the Makita belt sander for the finer grades to get the better quality finish.

We put on a coat of varnish each night for the next three days, in between painting the cornice using a HVLP spray system, and the ceiling with a roller. Finally, I masked everything again, and got to work painting the woodwork.


I used the spray for the primer and the first coat as well, and it was good, but not as helpful as it was on the cornice, so I reverted to using the brush for the top coat. Getting it to Pure Brilliant White really makes everything look cleaner and crisper.


When we were renting, we always used to say “I just want to paint a real colour on a wall!” Little did we know how long it would take to get to that point, but it felt really great to finally do it. Particularly with this strong, deep shade, there’s nothing muted about this room!

We’re not done yet, it needs a new light, a bit more painting in places, the door needs painting and fitting, and a whole load of tiny jobs, but the important thing is we’ve moved in. Having all our books and games out of the cupboard and here for us to use is a total relief, and knowing that we won’t be coming home from Christmas travels to more slog on the same old project is great for the motivation.

We really wouldn’t have got here before Christmas without help, thank you so much for getting us on track, Dad!

Next up will be some details on the cornice and a bit of a how to for those of you curious to use porridge in your decorating!!

2 comments Add yours
  1. So impressive. Stunning bit of teamwork and perseverance reflected in a stunning room. Am floored by your determination and true grit. (sorry … couldn’t help it)

  2. It was a total pleasure to be of any help at all, son – Mum was saying you needed a morale / progress boost before I came over, though I really was not so sure I could add very much … She was right though – and I’m very glad to make a little difference to getting you back on track : to have that so appreciated is very kind of you !

    But really this is unequivocally yours and Jennie’s job : you have got yourself organised and the whole house and routine set up to enable the work, you have taught yourself where you needed to, planned it and been patient with the process, and then both put in the hundreds of hours and the massive effort needed to do the preparation properly and thoroughly – and I take none of that away from either of you. I just stepped in at the last moment and helped you over the finish line – bit like Alistair Brownlee did for his stumbling brother Jonny in the Olympic triathlon this year !!!

    Well done : that whole room looks absolutely stunning ! I can’t wait to get back and see it properly – and maybe have a wee dram with you, sitting in there, to celebrate !!!

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