Monday, January 11, 2010

Guestroom turned Drawing Room: Before and After

Strictly speaking, decorating is not crafting. However, when decorating, crafting often comes into play. I have noticed that a lot of rather crafty blogs which I follow, very often include posts on their remodeled/redecorated/renovated rooms. So I hope my esteemed readers do not mind me posting a "before and after" here which refers to the (ongoing) remodeling of my drawing room. It's a longish saga, so bear with me, please ;-)

What is now our drawing room started out as our guestroom. (Historically, however, the room was the master bedroom of our 200-year-old house and then had been used as an office before we moved in... what a journey!) I have I only got one picture of it - it just was never nice enough to merit the taking of photographs... Here it is before:

The deep burgundy on the wall was our choice *eeek* - well, it was the late 90s... The room housed a merry mixture of all the old furniture in the house. Some rather tatty, some nice antiques but all mismatched. It had nasty light brownish carpet in it and the walls were papered with structural wallpaper. As you can see it was also used as the kids' playroom, hence the mattresses on the floor (must have been some gymnastics session going on there...).

Anyway, I always thought it was the nicest room in the whole house: Very large, 2 really tall windows which look out onto a park, and always warmer than all other rooms because it caught the morning sun and heated up nicely. In short: It was a shame and a waste to use it as an occasionally used guestroom and not for continuous use. So the decision was made to turn this space into our drawing room. But oh, how long it has taking us to remodel this room *siiiiiiighs*. Finally about a year ago we tackled the project. The Royal spouse is a hands-on man, so he ripped off the wallpaper one day when I was at work and on my return I was met with this frightening sight:

The most difficult part of the whole project was actually reshuffling all the furniture, paintings and bits and pieces that had accumulated in the room over the years. But since we were working towards a particular date (an exhibition of my photographs that was due to take place in this space), we had to plow on.

Once emptied, the room was even nicer than we had thought. The floor badly needed some kind of treatment although it consisted of beautiful, wide planks (I think it is spruce???) and was in very good condition. As is traditional in old houses like this, it was only stained around the edges. Most of the floor would have been covered by a large rug, so even the Georgians cut corners and only stained that part of the floorboards that was visible. There was no option but to sand the whole floorspace. We rented a sander and did it in an afternoon. The result already enhanced the room.

We thought the colour of the floor was too light, though, and also wanted to stain it for protection. The colour of choice was something resembling cherrywood. We stained the floor - and were disgusted with the vibrant, orange floor that we achieved. So disgusted in fact, that I did not document that detour on our road to the perfect drawing room... The only efficient way of dealing with this desaster was staining over the orange stain. And that meant a really dark brown stain, something we initially had not considered. So we stained again and this time the result was satisfactory:

Here is another image with less reflections, looking towards the fireplace: 


With the floor finished the room was ready for the exhibition. The neutral walls, the pristine floor and the high ceilings certainly enhanced the displayed images - it was a successful enterprise, I must say... See for yourself:

Now we were ready to furnish the room. But the reshuffling game was so daunting, that the room languished several rooms until we made the last push. With a nice sofa ordered, some lampshades crafted (check my blog post here!)and assorted pieces of furniture approved for and placed in the room, the drawing room is now my favourite room in the house! 


We thought long and hard about the wall decoration - and decided to leave the untreated wall as it is. We washed it down with sugar soap and dusted it. What appears as very obvious paint brushstrokes on the walls, does not stand out nearly as much when you look at it. It's a bit of a statement that not everyone likes. (As in the inimitable words that only a mother could surreptitiously comment: "Oh, so you are not going to paint the walls..." NO, mum!!!)

It is not quite finished yet - we have plans for a large bookcase on the wall opposite the fireplace and I would also like to rehang pictures (they are still hanging on the nails we hammered in for the exhibition...), but it's a space that I do invite guests to sit in. But no more sleeping in here - it's not a guestroom anymore *yay*.

I am linking this to the DIY Show Off Show & Tell.

21 January 2010: Linking this to Transformation Thursday .


Beth@The Stories of A to Z said...

Getting rid of the red and redoing the floors has brightened up your entire space. I love the lighter look! Thanks for visiting and leaving a sweet comment. Looking forward to having you join the Mantel Party this Friday!


Sonja @ Craft-Werk said...

Hey Beth - thanks for taking the time to visit and comment!!!

Heidi said...

i like the wall treatment, it's really different. looks great! (stopping by from DIY Show Off)

Sonja @ Craft-Werk said...

Thanks, Heidi, for the comment!

Queenplinker said...

Thanks for the visit , Sonja.

The photos of this room make me soon. Looks like the perfect place to curl up and read a book. Just a beautiful home and room. I love it.

Roeshel said...

Sonja - I had to scroll back and forth to make sure that was the same room! Wow. It's an amazing transformation. I love old homes and you know what - the walls left untreated look perfect to me. It reminds me of old vintage paper, like old sweet love letters for some reason. Vintage. Good call and so comfy. :)

Thanks for linking to the DIY Show & Tell party ... I don't get around to everyone often enough so I'm so glad you joined in!

Have a great weekend!


KimMalk said...

I am going to check out those cool lampshades, and good for you on not painting the wall.

Sonja @ Craft-Werk said...

Oh no - can't believe I missed your kind comments, Lynea, Roeshel and Kim! Thanks for taking the time!!! The drawing room is still not complete - I have sneakily omitted showing you the other half of the room. Because it's UGLY with a makeshift tabletennistable leaning against the wall!!! can you believe it??? Mad. Well, my decorating efforts seem to be unappreciated by the little people I share my home with *sobs*... I will plough on, though!

Treasia Stepp said...

Much nicer being so much brighter. I love the hardwood floor color. Very pretty.

Low Tide High Style said...

It's just lovely! I've never heard of the "sugar soap" wash, I'd love to hear more about the technique as the end product is truly striking!

So glad I found your blog via Better After!

Kat :)

Caroline @ The Feminist Housewife said...

What a transformation!! It looks fabulous. I love the dark stain on the floors!

Jackie said...

Hi! I'm new to your blog! found you from B&After! I just love the windows in your room and the walls look fab, after the sugarsoap ( I think thats right) with the dark floors. It is lovely!

Sonja @ Craft-Werk said...

Thanks for your comments, Kat, Caroline and Jackie, and mentioning how you found me! It has taken me until now to cop on that I had been featured on Better After *doh*!!! How arrogant it must seem, that I never acknowledged that... Off to eat humble pie now!