The Boudoir Beautification Project

You know when you’re tired, and out of nowhere one of your eyeballs spasms for a few seconds?  The reason we could afford to buy the Suburban Mansion was that every single surface upon which gaze was cast led to eye-spasm and involuntary cursing.

Making our surroundings look less as though they’ve been paint-balled, tarred, and feathered is a labour of really quite ongoing love.  The master bedroom is getting its dose of TLC as I write this.  Let’s recap: what follows is a photo that might cause eyeball seizure.  If you can remember the pinkness from reading about it back in the day, you may wish to look away now.

One day we woke up and couldn’t take it any more, so we painted the walls and removed the carpet, enabling temporary relief for the last 18 months.

Every so often, usually when I needed to dispense with some rage, I would attack those hideous glued-down floor-tiles, until only the space under the bed was not tile-free.

The original plan was to clear all the floor-tiles, belt-sand the wood, and stain it deep brown.  My imagination basked in the glory of a stream of home decoration magazine shoots, and people fawning over the lovely non-dustmite-harbouring natural feel of my home.

Impracticality bites like a crocodile, folks.  The sad truth is that without a carpet plus underlay, a person sitting in the room below needs earplugs to cope with the sound of a mouse creeping its way across the floorboards in the bedroom.  Our already-cool house becomes a fridge.  I wailed, but had to admit the floorboard idea was not going to work.  We assessed the options, which included insulation between the ceiling and floor (too expensive with no guarantee of success), laying new wood on top (raises the floor level in this room to an unacceptable degree compared with the hallway; the floor looks flat but bows upward in the middle), and finally, carpet plus underlay.

We want the same flooring in the whole house (apart from the kitchen and bathroom) so we would either have to go through expensive hell to have all the floors under-insulated, or new floor on top (with attendant levelling difficulties), or take the easier cheaper path of least resistance.

Carpet it is.

This frees us from fighting the glue, which we now believe is bitumen, across the remaining four rooms of the house.  Oh, how the mighty have fallen!  How swiftly the noble goal of back-to-shell redecorating is abandoned!

Everyone knows carpet is the last thing on the decor list, so meanwhile we’re concentrating on the wall and ceiling combination in the bedroom.

I know you’re not going to believe this, but my suggestion was that we simply call up the APPT and arrange for him to come to smooth, skim and line the walls that are full of irregularities and cracks.

K-man’s suggestion was that I grow a giant tree of patience in my soul, and permit him to carry out the works himself during evenings and weekends.  We would save a packet (that we would then apparently spend on an unnecessary vehicle) and I would not be required to become ill at the very sight of the APPT on day 14 of delay.  Also, K-man believes he can do as good a job as the APPT, albeit in seven times as long.  After competency-related promise-extraction, I agreed.

We moved all of our things into the spare bedroom three weeks ago, and work commenced.

This is the bay window, where once there were polystyrene ceiling tiles holding up the plaster, and flowery old-lady curtains.  They had to go, not only for aesthetic reasons but also because our home-buyer survey identified them as a serious fire-risk (shh, not a word to my mother).  Now, there is plaster-board and expertly – very slowly – applied filler and sealant where once there were cracks.  In approximately a century, our made to measure plantation shutters will be fitted.

Yeah baby, I love a layer of plaster-dust over everything.

The time came to attempt to put lining paper on the ceiling by ourselves, with no previous experience.  But for the lack of canned laughter, it could have been a poorly-written sitcom.  I would hold one end of the gloopy 12-foot length of paper above my head, and K-man would endeavour to make his end stick to the ceiling.  As he progressed along the length towards me, it would come unstuck behind him.  Like a scene from Pantomime Alien, I’d yell shit! look behind you, and he’d turn around just in time to be gruesomely smothered to death under swathes of sticky paper.   A strategy involving a long-handled broom and a shit-ton of extra paste was deployed, and the ceiling is fully papered.  It only took two days.

I would have helped to paint the ceiling for more than five minutes, too, but K-man chose to wait until my back was turned before hastily and passive-aggressively re-doing the parts I’d painted.  Harsh words were exchanged, and hence-forth I shall not be assisting with the home-improvements.  This may seem like laziness on my part, but I call it marriage-saving.

The dusky pink paint-splotch that looks odd in the photo above will be the colour of some of the walls.  The plan is:

  • built-in wardrobes in the two alcoves either side of the fireplace
  • about the fire-place: painting it, since I don’t hate the shape
  • electrician to put electric sockets in sensible places
  • plantation shutters
  • natural-coloured carpet ultimately, but large rugs in the meantime to stop us impaling our feet on wood-shards
  • one wall of bird-oriented wall-paper (sounds horrific, but isn’t)
  • wrought-iron bedstead
  • the cupboard thingy we bought in November

We have found a man to build our wardrobes; he can barely speak English and I find his name utterly unpronounceable, but he comes with great references and if pictures of his work are anything to go by, he’ll do us a solid job of excellence and individual design.  He’s scheduled to complete the job in mid-March.

So, the Boudoir Beautification Project is approximately half-way through.  And if anyone in control of this situation is listening?  I’ve had enough disasters for 2012 thanks – please leave this room alone, OK?

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15 Responses to “The Boudoir Beautification Project”


  1. 1 Ashley February 27, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    Amazing what paint can do. I love that bay window!

    Help me understand the ceiling lining paper. I’ve never done any work to a ceiling so maybe I just don’t know that all ceilings are lined with some sort of paper. And I’ve seen wallpaper with a print on the ceiling – but you painted over your paper, right?

    • 2 Nic @ Life, Smudged. February 27, 2012 at 6:32 pm

      @Ashley: thanks! To answer your question, the ceiling has cracked along the lines of the plaster-board (think grid-pattern). To repair, there are two options: take down all the plaster-board and re-plaster the ceiling. That’s a huge amount of expensive skilled work. Or, leave the boards up, fill the cracks and paper over with thick lining paper. The lining paper is like wallpaper but has no pattern or gloss of any kind; it’s literally thick grey paper. But you paint over it and hey presto! you can’t really tell paper is on there at all. Same deal with lining paper on the walls. You could paint onto bare plaster, and lots of people do, on walls particularly. But lining paper is super-common over here because it covers up all kinds of sins and is a good surface to paint on to.

  2. 3 mrs. g. February 27, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    I think you and K. could create a funny, imformative, marriage saving reality show on BBC 1 I would never miss. Your narration alone would make it all that.

  3. 4 Jen February 27, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    Instead of carpet, what about a thick area rug with a pad under it? You get the benefits of insulation but also can still see parts of your wood floors?

    Those pink walls and rug were truly hideous.

  4. 5 Jenn @ Juggling Life February 27, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    I believe that if a marriage can survive wallpapering together it can survive anything–so you’ve got that figured out now!

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