Friday, 25 April 2014


I had the urge to do some DIY today so I sat in front of my house and started stripping wallpaper and flooring paper off in the attic.

This is what it looked like before. You can see the dark, mouldy patch where, somewhere along the line, we'd had a leak. It generally looked a bit dishevelled.

This was the stair case, minus the stair carpet that had been there, and the remnants of the old glue that stuck it down.

I managed to lift the staircase up quite easily by wedging a screw driver in the side and lifting it up. I was almost tempted to leave it and have it as a futuristic moveable staircase!! But, no...

This is the flooring that's going in. I think this'll probably go in every room apart from the kitchen where I'll have tiles. It's a cherry wood sticky flooring in strips that (I think) peel off a backing sheet and can be trimmed to size. There'll be more on this when it actually goes in!

Part way through the stripping process (below.) I'd planned on just doing the floor but the edge of the flooring paper was tucked under the bottom of the wallpaper where the wall and floor join. 

 I uncovered all the old wiring which was obviously copper and, over the years, had gone green. A lot of it was also pretty stuck down to the floor boarding and extraction may have to be finished another day!

I found this under some parts of the pink wallpaper - mainly on the middle section of the dividing wall. It's a green patterned wallpaper which looks like it only covered the bottom half of the wall and had white paint on the top half. It's as if my Granddad or Mum had started decorating like this then changed their minds and covered it all in pink wallpaper! Maybe mother could shed some light..?

So far, I've taken up almost all the flooring paper on both sides of the loft room and taken down 70% of the wallpaper. The wiring is going to take a lot of time I feel, as there are a lot of crossing over sections (as in the image below) and each joining part had a little metal peg in it (there were a few in the wall under the lights) which need to be pulled out with pliers. But at that point, I'd had no dinner and so left it for another day/time when I have more strength!

I think I'm going to get a little pot of white or off-white paint to repaint the ceiling and maybe inside the dormer windows and then I get to lay the flooring down!

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Finishing the Exterior.

I've been meaning to finish the exterior of my house for a while now so I made myself get off the sofa today (it is the Easter holidays after all!), brought the house down to the kitchen table and got going!

I'd already painted the house and covered it in the brick compound from Bromley Craft Products. (Blog post Here.)
But the compound had dried with seams and varying gaps between the bricks! (This was due to the stencil getting clogged up with the re-positionable spray mount… annoying.)
So today I went over a few bits with the left over brick compound to fill in some of the gaps and also finished off some of the trickier bits without the stencil - using a trusty cocktail stick instead to create the outlines of the bricks to show the mortar beneath.

Next job was painting! I think I'd been putting this off as I was a bit apprehensive to start and get it wrong - then the paint's stuck there forever! So, I started on a fairly inconspicuous bit: the corner of the back of the house. It was a bit dodgy, but I then did the chimneys which I was pleased with; making the bricks look sooty and old.
I used acrylic paints in green, brown, black, white and a bit of red and yellow to create effects such as soot, moss, dirt, paint and general wear and tear.

Then the boyfriend came home and took over! Being an artist, he couldn't help himself and he actually made it look a lot more realistic. So together, we brushed on some more 'moss' and made the bricks dirty using an almost dry brush and dry-ish paint so as not to spread it on too thickly. By almost stippling the paint, we created what looks like moss and by brushing over a colour the same as the brick compound (apparently, one of the boy's strengths is mixing paint to match a colour!), the bricks look more realistically dirty instead of just splodged with black paint.

We then sanded down some of the paint work to make it look more distressed and weather-worn - another of the boy's ideas which, again, worked really well!

Here's what the house looked like after the painting and sanding.

I love these bricks, here! They really look like moss and lichen!

To varnish, I used Windsor and Newton's All Purpose Matt Varnish bought from Bromley Craft Products. It HAS to be Matt… houses aren't shiny! This was just a little can and I pretty much used up the whole thing with a good first coat and a thinner second coat of the whole house. 

I'm really pleased with how the house looks now! As you can see, I've painted the sides of the roof black which I think looks more realistic and much more dramatic. You can see the moss stippling here and the sooty, dirty look of the bricks. 
It is recommended that you use acrylic paint as its thick and goes on well, its blendable and works with the brick compound too. However, I found that the paint does have to be thick to dry: not watered down much at all as the compound is very absorbent and if too thin, the paint will find its way across bricks and seep into all the little gaps! 

I'm so pleased I've finally finished the exterior of my house! I can now get going on the inside which is the fun(ner) bit! I shall be going upstairs just to admire my house periodically from now on :)