Downstairs we have an extra room. The person previously living here used this as a bedroom.
We don’t have a use for a bedroom downstairs, but Patrick does need a nice office for his business. So that was easily settled: this room would be turned into a home office.
The room is not really big and it’s quare, so not the ideal room for nice pictures. But it’ll have to do.
The office as we found it
You enter the office through a door in the hallway. The room is mostly covered with floral wallpaper. I like this picture because I nicely illustrates that electrics were not always inside walls and you can wallpaper just over the cables.
When you are in the doorway to the right is just a plain wall, and so is the wall across.
The wall on the left features a big window with three smaller windows at the top.
Seeing this picture makes me cringe. Imagine an elderly lady having this as a bedroom. No heating, a drafty corner on the bottom left and a piece of wallpaper almost falling of the wall.
Oh and you see that big tear in the greenish wallpaper on the right?
This is about 16 layers of wallpaper with this beneath:
This mess needs a bit of explaining. See that mesh-like stuff? That is sackcloth. Traditionally (decades ago) this material was stretched across a wall and set with nails (you see these on the wood).
There is nothing but air between the brick and the cloth, and it features a gap of about three centimeters. The cloth is then used as a base for the wallpaper.
Any imperfections in the brick are easily covered this way. Over the years new wallpaper was applied over the old one. To the top right you can already spot three different wallpaper patterns.
On this particular part of the room there were so many layers of wallpaper it felt like a stiff board.
This way of construction with the cloth and wallpaper is very uncommon to come across. Nowadays you can only find this in buildings with a large historic value like our Royal palaces. In pretty much every other ‘normal’ house it was removed long ago.
Stripping the office
Like with every other room in the house we were greeted by yet another straw ceiling. Mess, plaster, straw, you know the drill by now.
After clearing the floors we started on stripping the wallpaper in the hopes the walls would be in good condition.
Below you see the holy trinity of stripping: wooden beams on the ceiling, bare wall on the left from behind the cloth-and-wallpaper and a plastered wall.
In this picture you have a good perspective into the hallway, so you get a good idea of the location of the room in the house.
As with the other rooms the plaster was in poor shape and thus we decided to strip down to bare brick.
After that the room has not really been in use. Except for acting as a dumping ground for…
…our treasured en suite door….
…tools, tiles and ladders…
Also notice the new electrics.
Time for stucco
We moved stuff in and out of this room so many times I stopped counting.
But finally it was time for stucco. And what is a post about stucco without the iconic red walls and our legendary red chairs (which have been in every room since moving in at one point or another).
Since the room is pretty small (and the scaffold had to remain in the office for a while) I can’t really make an awe inspiring picture of the stucco.
But it looks like a huge improvement nonetheless:
To prevent us from walking the stucco and dust on the floor throughout the whole house, Patrick set out to scrubbing the floor.
But the result was well worth it!
These are the original wooden floors, but as nice as they look in this picture they do have to be covered by a new floor. They are not in the best state so in real life they are more beat up than it seams. There are also a lot of saw marks, from hatchets that were cut in this room over the years.
Finishing the home office
There is still a lot to do for this to turn into a home office:
- The ceiling trims need to be installed.
- The whole room needs to be painted.
- The window also needs a lot of work. Not just in painting, but also installing a new windowsill.
- The door needs a bit of work. It’s the original door, but the paint is in pretty bad shape.
- Put office furniture in!