Sunday, July 21, 2013

It's finished! Pt III

Come in and take a look at the finished bedroom.

A few finishing touches, we applied a clear sealer to the hardwood planks. It was one of the most dramatic changes to the room... well that and patching the deep holes!

We found a large mirror at a local Brocante, a perfect fit over the mantel. We know the mantel is Cherrywood and the mirror frame appears to be a match. 

We also found a cast-iron plaque to fit in the fireplace. We are discussing adding a layer of tile to the inside and bottom of the fireplace, we are still searching for the right tile.

Barry found this chandelier at the local Brocante,  this may or may not be it's final home. In the lower left corner of this photo you can catch a glimpse of a beautiful armoire we purchased from a neighbor. Michel was selling his late mothers home and invited us over to see if there were any pieces of furniture we wanted to purchase... it took two trips to bring everything home!

I fell in love with this elegant chair and matching ottoman at a Brocante in Vic en Fresenac. I removed the linen upholstery sections to use as a pattern. I'll re-draft the pattern to recover both the chair and ottoman when we return. I was told it is in the style of Napoleon III? 

The exterior shutters are closed so are visible in this photo the color is as stunning inside as it is outside.

We moved the beds to the east wall to have a little sitting area in front of the fireplace. The beds are 120cm and 140cm, respectively. The smaller of the two beds got a new box spring and mattress before we left. 

The room is really a "Blank Slate" at this point, although I have upholstery  fabric chosen for these chairs and other furniture in the Loft. I will make quilts for these beds as well as take some of my smaller quilts to display on the walls.

As usual the work was more than we planned, but the outcome more than compensated. We are already looking forward to the next project!

There are still 3 additional bedrooms, bathroom, utility room and wine cave, dining room, enormous foyer and kitchen to renovate, oh and then there is the exterior....

Thanks for following our progress. I love reading your comments, so please leave a note when you stop by.

And if you have, thanks for reading...

Saturday, July 20, 2013

...Are we there yet? Pt III

It looks pretty bad. But really, it's nothing compared to...


On a sunny day the new plaster doesn't take long to dry. 

On each wall the problem areas were identified and repaired before adding the finish coat to all the walls.

It is finally time to plaster! Because the room is so large it will take a couple of days to dry before the sanding can begin.

The ceiling is divided into three sections. The largest beams run the width of the room and hold the joists which in turn hold the tongue & groove oak boards. Each section took nearly a full day to prepare.

The ceiling was scraped, wire-brushed and hand sanded. We used a small hand broom to dust the surfaces before the plaster was applied to the walls. Plaster was used filled lots of the crevices and cracks where the ceiling meets the wall, but we weren't striving for a perfectly flat surface, well finished would suffice.

In some areas the paint held tight but in other areas it seemed to only be held up by spider webs! There were several sections of the tongue & groove that had been damaged and needed repair. 

The doors into the bedroom had been painted a few decades ago, luckily only one side. We attempted to strip the paint but had no luck. Two coats of paint later and those doors looked stunning. 

Little by little the primer coat covered the walls and then the ceiling.

We could finally see that light at the end of the tunnel! We laugh now when we think about the angst of choosing " the perfect color". We had paint chips, color books, pages from magazines, fabric swatches and yet, when it came down to the final decision we chose... White!

Yep, it sure is White. Can you believe we paid to have it "mixed"? 

The intersection of ceiling and wall got a little extra dab of paint here and there.

And if you have, thanks for reading...

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

La Chambre pt deux

Here are a few additional photos of the bedroom project we completed this year. This built-in cupboard was constructed many years ago and served its purpose well. As you know France is known for it's beautiful Armoires, lovely free-standing "closets". Perhaps everyone everywhere feels the need to modernize every once in awhile? I guess we are going back in time... we want to take the room back to where it began, but with a bit of polish.

Deconstructing the cupboard we discovered more water damage from that long ago roof leak. The dark spot near the middle of the photo below shows about a 2 foot section of missing wood. Above this room is open attic space, a hole this size is like a super highway for critters that call the fields and barn home. While in the attic we realized much more than this small section of wood needed replacing, the entire alcove area was beyond saving.

Once the new boards where in place then the damage to the wall could be tackled. Small cracks were "tapped out" to reveal wide gaping holes exposing the enormous adobe blocks. The largest or deepest holes were first filled with a cement/stone mixture. When the cement was dry those patches were then filled with layers of plaster each one allowed to dry thoroughly before the next layer is added, until the surface was even.

This alcove to the right of the fireplace now has the final coat of plaster. As this section of the wall dries we move on to the next section. Discovering and repairing the damage took nearly 2 weeks to complete. Layers of plaster were applied in an attempt to even out the surface, thicker layers took a lot longer to dry as you can see from the photo below.

The temperature stayed cool so it was easy to work but the unusual amount of rain for this time of the year made the drying process quite slow. But it's a big room - a really big room approximately 17' x 2 0' - so waiting for the plaster to dry wasn't a problem. Creating that nice 90 degree angle for the corners, well now that was a challenge but with patience he did it! 

Working in small sections the plaster is hand troweled onto the walls. The 9 foot ceilings meant there were countless trips up and down that ladder! 

Adding the plaster coat is a skill developed with patience and practice. For someone who had never plastered a wall I am very proud of these results - Great Job Barry!

Please leave a comment when you stop by to check our progress I'd love to hear from you.

...and if you have, thanks for reading

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Chambre Pt I

The rain will always be part of our memory of this trip to Montegut. After two months there had been less than two weeks of sun. Although we were not able to complete any major outdoor projects the cool weather did have an advantage while working indoors.

We had a pretty good idea of what was waiting behind the bedroom door. We'd taken lots of photos, measurements and copious notes. We'd read as many DIY books as we could find about repairing plaster walls. 

Yet we still were not prepared for what was behind this door into the bedroom. It's true, memory is fleeting. I realized I had focused on the size of the room - huge! The color of the walls - awful! And what to do with those floors. Not a particularly efficient use of those photos, measurements and notes!

It all seemed so, well, do-able, and then we began a closer inspection. It was immediately clear that my concerns would be addressed much further down the road.

Hmm, didn't remember how bad the plaster looked at the floor level. One quick tap on the plaster under the window frame and it was clear the water damage was extensive.

We knew there had been water damage many years ago from a serious roof leak. Eventually the roof was replaced but repairs to the interior had been deferred. That white patch above the beds is the attempt to repair the visible damage.

A few light taps on this section of the wall and the plaster just crumbled away from the adobe, leaving damaged sections  that would have to be reconstructed layer by layer. That dark spot at the top of the photo is a hole about 10" long by 5" deep into the wall. 

Here is the other side of the same beam, the damage was far more serious than it appeared initially. At some point cement was used to fill the spaces between those ceiling joists. The technique is not unheard of but not well executed.

As they say "In for a inch - in for a mile". We continue to explore the extent of the damage. We lost interest in the count of nails removed from the walls when we realized each one left a deep divot that would need a plaster patch!

Several boards were beyond rescue, this section of the ceiling next to the fireplace had been hidden inside the built-in cupboard. We thought only 4 boards were needed and by the time it was completed there where 8 new boards replaced and covered with new insulation.

We found not only water damage but questionable attempts at repairs tucked behind furniture. We were not able to discover the initial cause of this "repair" and perhaps that story is better left untold?

Up to this point we focused on uncovering the needed repairs and prioritizing the ever growing list.

The fireplace had been unused for many years an upholstered board kept problems hidden from view.  This looks worse than it was, primarily debris from the attic shaken loose during that long ago roof replacement.

Walls and ceiling sections were checked and double checked, cleaned and sanded in preparation for the plaster.

...and if you have thanks for reading