creative 1975

Living Room: Chapter One

In Renovating/DIY on September 26, 2013 at 12:39 pm

In Western architecture, a living room or lounge room (informal: lounge) is a room in a residential house for relaxing and socializing. Such a room is sometimes called a front room when it is near the main entrance at the front of the house. The term sitting room is sometimes used synonymously with living room, although a sitting room may also occur in a hotel or other public building. The term living room was coined in the late 19th or early 20th century. –

The renovation road is long and arduous, and as we keep ourselves on track and move forward, we have at last turned another corner and finished the living room—a room in our villa that has not been used by us since moving here except for storage. With single-glazed windows along the outer wall; including a large door, a rotten window at the front of the room and no heating, it could have been used as a fridge in winter! It had last been updated in the 1980’s with floral wallpaper, brass light-fittings and a light-coloured carpet that had many large stains and had definitely come to the end of its days.

July 2011 055 July 2011 056

“The Plan”

Colour schemes for the room: brown, gold, red and green.

The Ceiling: In good condition with pattern wall covering, freshen up with white emulsion.

Windows: The outer wall with four small windows plus a large door with glass side panels. Too many windows on one wall and the door is awkward (like having a main door in the living room. Considered replacing with French doors, but too expensive and out of our budget). Remove two of the four windows on the outer wall; including the large door with glass side panels. Replace the two remaining windows and the large front window, which is also the front aspect of the villa. Keep all original window frames, sills and mullions where possible.

Plasterboard the internal wall thereafter and fix weatherboard to the external wall.

Heating: Possibly in the future fit a fireplace with log burner on the outer wall, but too expensive and out of budget at present, therefore move an existing heat pump, which is close by (and inefficient where it presently lives) in to the living room, giving heat and cooling in the summer months.

Decoration: Strip walls and paint. Colour ‘Bunnythorpe’ from the Dulux NZ range.

All woodwork: Sand, undercoat and paint white.

Flooring: Replace underlay and fit a carpet with a more luxurious feel to the other carpets in the house, keeping the colour neutral.

Furniture: Refurbish some of our older furniture to put in the room and treat ourselves to a new sofa as it’s been ten years since the last one. Furniture components will be a mix of wood and light shabby chic.

– I like matching pieces in a room and I enjoy a room that has matching furniture, however I also like a mixture of elements that gives an interesting look rather than everything looking the same. This is what I wanted for this room in particular and will carry that through to the study room that is now in the planning stage.

Window dressing: To be bold and warm looking and in-keeping with the colour scheme chosen. Purchase ready-made curtains from the UK—after a lot of research this is going to be the most cost effective route with the help of my mum sorting the postage. One large pair for the front window and another pair made into roman blinds to match. Hang the curtains on a double pole (sourced from a site in NZ) to enable hanging a voile curtain panel behind the curtains. The voile can therefore be drawn to diffuse light when needed instead of closing the curtains during the day.

Lighting/electrics: Replace existing wall lights with something small, discreet and heritage style. Replace the two existing ceiling lights with a chandelier style. Buy new lamps. Replace all light switches with heritage style switches and all visible electrical sockets with matching heritage ones. Switches and sockets to be a dark rustic copper tone in colour.

IMG_3238I found this picture of the small windows and door mentioned, which is the outer wall of the living room. By taking out the two windows on the right and the door away it also gives us more wall space inside. The two windows to the left that you can’t see give sufficient light to the room along with the large front window pictured below.

20130623_150309   The outer wooden window frame was saved, sanded and painted by Mr C. However, the mullions (a vertical component forming a division between units of a window, door or screen and is also used decoratively) were too far gone and were replaced with the mullions from one of the smaller windows. The internal wooden window frame was also kept, but the sill and mullions were made by Mr C and sanded and painted by me.

2013-07-27 13.34.41 Mr C (whom you can just about see in the corner) removed the windows and door and installed some Pink Batts insulation, before covering the whole area with building paper. I assisted him with fitting new weatherboard over the whole area and filled in the nail holes with filler ready for painting in the summer.

2013-07-27 15.26.59 You can see the weatherboard working its way up on the outside in this photo that was taken inside the living room. Mr C then removed the existing plasterboard inside that housed the two small windows and replaced the whole area with new plasterboard (including skirting board that was missing from where the old door stood), skimmed the joints and sanded them down ready for me to apply the first coat of emulsion. The first coat always shows up imperfections in the plaster that need attention.


The three windows left in the lounge were replaced with new UPVC double glazed windows. They have tilt and turn opening and have transformed the room and not just in appearance but also in temperature. This moment was epic for us both, especially having the large window removed the next morning (It was beyond help). After waiting more than two years, we were thrilled.

Now we have lovely new windows to admire and enjoy.

The picture below was taken at night (before they became lighter!) It is the first of the small windows completed – awesome!



This is the completed pair taken from inside the room, but unfortunately the colour of the walls appears to look yellow in the photo! And it’s not yellow; it’s more of a creamy-beige colour that I chose from the Dulux New Zealand range named ‘Bunnythorpe’ named after a village in the Manawatu-Wanganui region of New Zealand’s North Island. The original wooden frames and window sills were kept and I sanded them down and painted them with three coats, lightly sanding in between.

Mr C made an excellent job of fitting all the windows; a job that he used to do in England many years ago. The UPVC windows are becoming more popular in New Zealand and they’re definitely a window that we would recommend. The only downside is that they are incredibly expensive in comparison to the UK. Years ago, and in two different houses, we replaced all windows and doors in both properties: the first one Mr C fitted them all himself and in the second property we had contracted fitters do the job, and the whole property cost in the region of 3,500 pounds. In NZ with the current currency exchange that would only buy you approximately six or seven windows. If my hubby, Mr C, had not have been experienced in window fitting it would have certainly made a difference to the cost of the windows we’ve bought so far. We are renovating this old kiwi villa on a budget and have estimated it would cost approximately $25,000 to replace all the windows, excluding doors. Therefore, we will be doing a few-at-a-time!

2013-09-11 13.53.22 2013-09-11 13.52.06

The main double doors leading in to the living room from the hallway were a brown stain wooden frame and fully glazed. It was difficult to remove the stick-on lead effect from the glass and we decided they had to have something done to them to change their look. Replacing the glass would be expensive, but half the cost if we half-glazed them, however it had to be toughened glass. Mr C decided to fit a panel into the lower part of the door using some plywood that we already had and some beading. I sanded the doors down previously ready for painting, Mr C  fitted the new glass panels and painted the doors twice, followed by a final coat done by me.

No skirting board had to be replaced in the room. The missing board where the door once stood was fitted to match the exisitng.

I sanded down all the boards, followed by an undercoat of paint and another light sanding and then applied two further coats of white paint.

With all the structural work and decoration out of the way, it’s time for furnishings and carpet!

Coming soon… Chapter Two

may2012-063.jpg  A picture of our home a long time ago! It’s had many changes since then, many that were evident when we moved here in 2011, some that have transpired since and with our renovation it evolves again.


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