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 .