Wednesday, 11 November 2015
We have been living in our house for just over 8 years. One of our first projects back in 2007 was to clean up the room under the house - dubbed the 'Green Room' due to it's heavy green carpet. It used to also have blue walls and particularly horrible cheap-fake-wood sliding doors over inbuilt shelves. In 2007 we repainted the walls white, removed the sliding doors (which I painted and turned into tables), and generally made it into a semi-comfortable guest room - albeit without any ensuite facilities and with the dark green carpet.
After a few years of infrequent guest use, we started to fill the green room up with stuff. Boxes, bikes, bike bags, until it wasn't really a guest room any more. However at the some time we started to make plans to add what was sorely needed to make it really good - an ensuite. We had plans drawn and submitted and approved by council. We even had Shirl and Tim help us start the excavation, then we hired a labourer to help us excavate the remaining square metres of clay so that we were ready to start work. By this time 4-5 years had gone by, and we really needed to be starting the council process again and getting plumbing plans drawn up. And then we went for a run and decided to spend our money on the upstairs bathroom, the one we use every single day, instead.
And I don't regret it at all. I love the new bathroom. I love the extra toilet. I love the bath.
But that did leave the Green Room in rather a state. Every surface was covered with dust from the excavations. The hole in the wall where the ensuite was going to be looked like a horrible and slightly scary dirt cave. The carpet hadn't really recovered from when the water heater was leaking behind the nearby wall and of course the whole room was packed with crap.
So after the bathroom was done, I did the laundry. Then when the laundry was done, I decided that it was time to reinstate the Green Room as a guest room. Unfortunately I didn't take any before photos, when all the junk was in the room, but I did take some during the first major operation - pulling up the carpet. I'd never pulled up carpet before, so I dutifully watched some youtube videos of people pulling up tacks and carefully rolling up the carpet. Then I headed downstairs with some gloves and expectations of being finished in an hour or so.
Yeah. Not. Exactly. Instead of tacks, I found that every square centimetre of carpet had been glued to the concrete floor. The original carpet layer must have used gallons of glue, and of course there wasn't any underlay so it was basically incredibly hard to remove. After an hour of dusty sweaty work I'd removed about a square metre and inhaled about a kilo of carpet dust. The only way to get it up was to edge the claw of a hammer underneath and pull up with all your weight.
Half the time the carpet would just rip (sending you toppling backwards), the other half the time it would come away reluctantly, leaving tufts stuck to the floor.
It was truly horrible work. And it was clear after that very first hour that I needed help.. so I invited my best two helpers (Jon and Clare) for a pulling-up-the-carpet-party..and a few nights later they came!! yay!
Clare is making it look easy there - it wasn't, but after a few hours of hauling and hacking, the room was just left with all those tufts, which I spent the next week of evenings scraping off the floor.
Then I was ready to paint the walls and ceiling, lay the new floating laminex flooring, find a solution for the ensuite-hole-in-the-wall (dubbed the non-suite), and redecorate with the help of Ikea-delivery-to-Tasmania, Target, Bunnings and Kmart…(and Clare of course)
..and it was slow going. The project took another six or so weeks to complete after the carpet was up, but it was fun and I was able to indulge in one of my favourite past-times - assembling flat packs…
I'm really pleased with the new sliding doors which I built with plywood and pine, then whitewashed. Behind them, in the non-suite, are our good bikes and the rest of the storage area. Maybe one day it will be an actually be an ensuite but until then, I think this is a nice solution.
The table in the corner is one of the original sliding doors and there are still some green touches and original decorations from the first time this room got an overhaul. The addition of Janet's artwork, some of the relocated posters from upstairs, and some framed photos of Jon's that were banished years ago, give the room a travelling theme.
So overall I'm really happy with it. There are a few details I hashed up along the way which I still need to fix (like the bottom of the external door which looks like I chewed it), but I'm still really proud of the room. And fittingly, Clare will be the first official guest when she stays tomorrow night.