Our second double room used to be no more than a crumbling shell with a ceiling that was caving in. It was definitely a bit too far gone to fall under the category of “Shabby Chic”. Have a read to see the renovation photos and what we did to turn it into a liveable bedroom once more…
When Luis and I first moved into the Lodge this room had been untouched for 3 years. It was such a mountain of a job and we simply couldn’t afford to do it straight away either. So the renovation was put off and for 12 months it was no more than a ‘No Go’ zone. Not that you would have wanted to go in there, with the threat of crumbling cement falling on your head and all.
I’ve mentioned before about the ferocity of salt air and the devastation it can do to a building. It’s something we constantly battle against and when it’s left with free reign to attack with no opposition the results are catastrophic. The fact that the window was broken and didn’t close properly didn’t help the situation either.
To see just what I’m talking about take a look at the following renovation photos. The cement beams you can see in the pictures we had installed to make the room structurally sound and safe again. However, one could argue that the process of getting said beams into the room was the opposite of safe. In fact I’m sure it would have gone against all health and safety rules in the UK …. good old Portugal. The doorway into the bedroom leads into the en-suite bathroom, from which there is a Portuguese sized doorway into the bedroom. Portuguese sized translates to small and awkwardly shaped and in no way was it possible to get the beams through it.
So the plan of attack was, Luis and one builder outside with a ladder placed against the exterior wall leading to the window. Carlos and Manuel inside the room waiting to receive the beam. Once the guys on the ground had pushed it up and into the window Luis would run round and upstairs into the room to help the other two pull the beam inside. Needless to say they were bloody heavy.
Unfortunately we didn’t take any photos before we had them put in but you can see the exposed metal work from when the house was originally built. The metal was rusting so badly that it was disintegrating in places and could have been fatal to the whole building if left for much longer.
Once the beams were fitted we had to have about an inch or two of the walls chipped back in order to get rid of any humidity and then they were covered in a fresh layer of cement. The ceiling also had a new layer of cement to give it further support.
Next renovation job was the floor. Luckily the wooden floorboards were salvageable, apart from one plank at the edge of the room, which had to be taken up and replaced. If we are capable, we will try and do everything ourselves, unfortunately we aren’t pro cement appliers but the floor we (ok Luis) could do.
It had a layer of dark varnish on top which needed stripping off. Instead of renting an industrial sander to do the job we had the great idea of applying highly potent varnish stripper to the entire floor. Poor Luis did this task alone (to save me from breathing in the fumes) and ended up leaving the room as if it were a pub and he’d been on an all day session.
Once the stripper had done it’s job Luis then scraped it all off and used a small, handheld electric sander to sand the 9 square meter floor. In hindsight (and after 3 days of hard work) renting a big floor sander looked the far more appealing choice. Let that be a tip to anyone about to embark on stripping wooden floorboards!
The result was a very rustic looking floor, which was unintentional but we decided not to sand it again as we actually really liked the look and texture of how it turned out.
We painted the walls next before finishing the floor in case of any paint splashes (we have learnt from our previous renovation mistakes). We also screwed batons into the back wall in preparation of turning it into a feature wooden wall to go behind the bed.
Luis had to brace himself for the fumes again. He here is giving the floor two coats of varnish, clear this time.
Now we’re onto getting our wooden wall up. This Ladies and Gentlemen, was a mission.
We bought unfinished wooden planks from the Mecca of all DIY stores that is Leroy Merlin. Once home we sanded each one all over and painted and varnished them to seal them. The next part was the hard part, getting them to all line up and fit perfectly along an imperfect wall. In an ideal world the wall would have been the length of the width of all of the planks combined, however of course that was not the case. Anyway to cut a long story short, and lots of cutting and placing and cutting a bit more, the wall was finally up.
The bedroom and bathroom had new ceilings fitted, along with a thick layer of insulation and sound proofing. Luis and I also ripped out the old shower glass (we kept the base) and fitted the new shower and taps. Luckily the toilet and sink were still good but the sink also had to have a new tap fitted.
I’m also forgetting to mention the very important fact that we had a new window and bedroom door installed. The door into the room is from the landing on the way up to the roof terrace and the previous door was smashed. We think it was from a bad storm when no one was living at the lodge, we’re not sure but it was very dangerous and unfortunately we just had to cover it up when we moved in as funds were tight.
Et Voilà, the room was finished…
Or so we thought…
So now I’m onto to the heartbreak part of the story. Remember I said we got unfinished wood? In the words of Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman” – “Big mistake. Big. Huge.”
We thought we were being clever saving money and finishing the wood ourselves. It turned out that was a very naive thing to do. The planks still had moisture inside them, which was slowly creeping out and in turn forming into mould on the wood. There was only one thing we could do, take them down and out of the room completely. We were so sad about it because we loved how it looked and so much work went into them but they just couldn’t stay.
Don’t worry though, they didn’t go to waste and were re-used to make into flower boxes and firewood storage on the roof terrace.
So off came the batons and out came the beloved paint brushes. We still wanted that wall to be different so we opted for a bold statement colour to brighten the room and added a copper wall hanging for the final touch. I have to say I think I actually prefer the new wall but we wouldn’t be us without trying something overly ambitious first, you live and learn