Sometimes it’s the easiest projects turn out to be the ones that end up causing you the biggest headaches and our hallway update is definitely turning into one of those projects.
Really it’s (or should be) a simple makeover. Most of the hard work like sanding the floor, sorting the electrics and heating and restoring the staircase have already been completed, so all that’s left is a bit of plastering and some simple painting. Easy, right?
Usually painting is the easiest of all DIY projects and although actually painting the hallway was as straightforward, getting to the point where we could crack open the tins of paint and swing our paintbrush was a different matter as the plasterer had made a complete mess.
Initially, when he’d first finished and the plaster was still wet things looks okay, but as it started to dry all was not well as the plasterer had not only made a huge dirty mess but it turned out that the new plaster was also less than perfect.
Although we’d already seen that he’d not been the cleanest of workers, I totally underestimated how much dirt there was to clean up. I spent almost 2 full days scrubbing the floors (which had of course been covered, but obviously not well enough), cleaning the door frames, doors, skirting and dado rail. It seemed to take forever and progress was unbelievably slow.
All of our woodwork is fairly detailed, so getting all of the bits of plaster and PVA (which had been used to prime the walls before plastering) out of the grooves and corners was a complete nightmare. Even when I thought I’d managed to remove most of the dirt it often looked just as bad as before after drying.
And then came the sanding. Oh, the sanding – it was never ending! It turned out that the new plaster wasn’t only uneven, but there were also a lot of imperfections. There were countless blobs and ridges, there were lumps, some of the corners were uneven, there were holes and grooves that needed filling and in parts even the scrim tape hadn’t been properly skimmed over so that it was still visible and we needed to fill and patch up the edges before we could even think about painting.
The amount of dust was unbelievable and inevitably it got everywhere (which then involved yet more cleaning). Admittedly I may be a bit of a perfectionist, but if I’d wanted lumpy walls I could have just left the Artex!
After scrubbing and sanding everything for hours on end we then also had to repaint all of the woodwork before we could even think about moving on to painting the walls.
Basically, we spent two days cleaning which we’d not expected, we spent 2 more days sanding which we’d not expected and we spent almost another day repainting the woodwork which we’d also not expected. Oh, the joys of DIY and messy tradesmen. I actually spent so much time scrubbing and sanding that I ended up not being able to unlock my phone as I seemed to have sanded off my fingerprint!
Overall I wish I’d done the plastering myself. As daunting as the large wall in our hallway seemed it really couldn’t have been much harder to do than the other walls and seeing the plastering that we paid for has confirmed that I’m actually really not a bad plasterer (actually it turns out that I’m pretty good!)
After a week of cleaning, we were finally ready to start on the painting, which luckily turned out to be much more straightforward.
If you follow us on Instagram you’ll already know that we had a bit of a colour panic after applying the first few patches of colour (we’re using Cornforth White over the dado rail and Strong White under the dado rail) but after some reassurance from some lovely fellow Instagrammers we stuck with it and after applying the second coat of paint the colour started to look much more solid, chalky and a lot more like we wanted it to.
As easy as painting usually is, tackling the large wall over our staircase was definitely a bit more of a challenge. It’s such a high wall (from the bottom to the top it’s just under 6 metres) and balancing over a construction of ladders and scaffolding planks was definitely challenging.
We still have a few finishing touches like installing the architrave around our kitchen door to complete but we’re almost, almost there and are already so excited about getting this project finished and sharing not only the transformed hallway but most importantly our new magnetic wall with you (spoiler: it’s amazing!).
I’d better get back to painting so that we can share our new magnetic hallway wall at the end of the week!
Do you second guess your colour choice when it goes up on your walls? Have you ever had to deal with messy or unreliable tradesmen?