Moving all of the furniture out of the room was the first step of our plan. We quickly changed the plan when together we couldn't budge the armoire, even after it was emptied! Eventually we walked the armoire inch by inch away from the wall giving ourselves a little room to work.
Both windows in this room have lovely views. The window below looks out over the kitchen garden toward the South-East. The window alcove is clearly hand crafted! Small rolling foot hills in the distance were once grazing pastures for Montegut sheep.
Without the heavy drapes sun light floods the room. This window has 2 panels of 14 panes....
The window pictured below has 2 panels of 12 panes! Your might have already noticed the window on the fireplace wall has a straight top and this window facing the courtyard has a curved top. No one seems to remember exactly why the two windows are different. All 5 windows on the front of the house have curved tops as do the shutters.
To be consistently inconsistent... the number of panes in the front facing windows are not all the same, either.
Below is the window overlooking the courtyard of the house. On clear days we get a glimpse of the majestic Pyrenees mountains. Snow capped year round it is truly an exquisite view. The immediate view of the petite valley where Montegut presides is serene and the perfect stage to observe the change of seasons.
Both windows needed several panes replaced and the old glazing putty chipped out and replaced. This one new skill had quite a learning curve! After all the repairs to the windows were made the frames needed sanding and at least two coats of paint both inside and out.
Wallpaper removal was slow-going. Using a sponge to wet the paper was the only way it could be removed. Installation was long before strippable wallpaper. But thankfully there was only one layer of wallpaper, although in several areas thin paper was used as sizing.
Here is a short wall behind one of the entry doors. The paper was really glued down and in some areas pulled the plaster off with the wallpaper!
It would take a full day to remove the paper from each of the 4 walls.
Taped drop cloths protected the oak floor from the wet strips of wallpaper as well as excess water dripping from the sponge.
Here you can see an area with a large section of the sizing paper.
In the lower left corner of this photo you can see a dark horizontal stripe. It appears there were at least four different colors of paint used perhaps as an decorative accent color?
All went well until it was time to check the stability of the plaster on the walls! Light tapping at the base of the wall proved to pinpoint another problem. Water damage from the long-ago leaky roof found it's way down to the base of the walls.
The only thing to do was to chip away all the loose adobe and shore up the walls with cement. The photo below is the bottom corner of the short wall at the doorway.
Several areas were quite deep, up to 6 inches at the corners and 8 or 9 inches high. Small stones and bits of broken tile to add structure to the deepest holes and to resemble the original adobe composition. Proper repair required thin layers of cement with ample time to dry.
Clearly this would be a major endeavor - the entire perimeter of the room had suffered water damage.
Before the cement work could begin the surface of the adobe had to be stabilized in order for the cement to adhere. We discovered a spray on latex product to harden the adobe surface enabling the cement to adhere. At this stage of repair tape was used as a visual reminder to ensure the new wall would be straight.
It only took 8 bags of cement (50 lb bags!) to complete the patching, oh and about one full week of back breaking work. Photos to follow in the next post.
And if you have thanks for reading.