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Living/Dining room

55 days ago it was the seventy square metre open plan living area that was definitely the most compromised space in the bungalow. Previous renovations had left the room with multiple ceiling levels, which were rendered even more unattractive on account of the over bearing dark framework that dominated the entire house. Now painted in Taparoa, the ceilings are far more harmonious.

Embossed Anaglypta wallpaper and a lot of patient paintwork by Kirsten has now created a gracious and serene space. Another illuminated artwork is the piece de resistance. The living area's newfound harmony and improved indoor outdoor flow thanks to new tri fold doors hasn't come at an outrageous cost either - the total's in the region of eight and a half thousand dollars.

Getting started
This large space always had good potential. It's north facing so it gets plenty of natural heat and light, because of previous alterations it's a bit 'hickeldy pickeldy'.
So in order to unify this space I'm going to keep it simple by using the cream paint that I have used else where in the house. But I 'm also introducing texture with wallpaper.
To give the dining area more intimacy but still keeping in our palette, I am painting it the same green as Mike's room.

Because of the great expanse of space I'm going to reformat the living area by positioning the formal side of it, towards the back and introducing a new casual seating area near the windows.

These spaces are personalised with their own rugs and furniture styles and a spacious thoroughfare has been left through the middle for access straight to the great outdoors.

Sticky floor
If you have a sticky floor as we did when we removed the vinyl tiles from the dining room area, a quick and easy solution to remove the stickiness and the dangers it can create is to simply sprinkle some dust onto the gluey surface. I used gib- stopping powder but cement dust or sawdust, are examples of alternative things to use. It's a bit like making pastry; you flour the board to stop the pastry sticking to it.

If you are planning to paint areas such as joinery and trims or the ceiling do this work first to avoid damaging any freshly applied wallpaper. Paint the highest areas first such as the ceiling and then work your way down to areas such as trim and finally skirting boards.

Kirsten's spraying tips
- You can save a lot of time by masking an area and then spraying the whole lot
- An airless sprayer costs $120 per day but allows for very speedy coverage
- A drawback to the airless sprayer is that it uses more paint

Wallpaper 'Anaglypta'
Anaglypta brings a traditional texture back into this space, following the theme throughout the house. As usual, with wallpapering, it's all in the preparation.

If wallpapering over existing wallpaper, remove it unless it is in perfect condition.
If your walls are already painted, use sugar soap to clean the surfaces and treat any mouldy areas with a mould killer, both products can be picked up at your supermarket. Any flaking, or peeling paint should be scraped off and fill any cracks or holes with plaster filler.

Sand, dust and size, new paper-faced plasterboard before hanging wallpaper.
Once the walls are prepared, apply a generous coat of wall size (paste) to give a good surface for the wallpaper to grip.

Set yourself up before you get started with a large working surface, such as a trestle table or two workhorses and an old door or piece of plywood.

Working out how much wallpaper you require
Multiply together the height of the wall you are papering with the total of widths of all the walls to be prepared. If one wall is slightly taller than the other walls, add its extra area (Width x extra height) to the figure, similarly for a shorter wall, deduct its area.
Never assume that the room height is the same all the way around the room. Always measure to make sure wallpaper is hung straight.

Measure the area of each door and window (height x width) and subtract from the total area. Multiply your final total by 1.15 to allow a 15% safety margin to cover top and bottom trim margins.

How many rolls will I need?
Divide your total area by the square area the roll covers and round up to the nearest whole number - that's how many rolls to buy. However it's always better to by a little extra just in case you run out (or the shop does).

Pattern wallpaper
If your paper repeats itself, you should allow for an extra pattern match for each drop. Work out how often the pattern repeats itself and then allow that amount extra at the top of each drop. For example if the pattern repeats every 5cm, then allow 5cm extra at the top, if it repeats every 10cm then allow 10cm extra at the top, and so on.

Keep note of things like the wallpaper make and style for reference.

Measuring and cutting
Measure the distance from the ceiling to the baseboard and add 10cm to allow 5cm for trimming at the top and bottom. Hold the wallpaper up and match up the pattern to already hung paper. Mark on the back of the roll of wallpaper in pencil where you want the paper to line up. Cut the first strip allowing the extra 5cm from each of your top and bottom marks for trimming.

You can then use this strip to cut your next strips by laying the roll beside it and lining up the pattern allowing your extra 5cm overlap at both the top and bottom.
Keep them in order so their patterns will match once hung.
And start with the wall that is the least noticeable; take your time to get your paper straight (a good line to begin with will mean you get the rest of the wallpapering right).

Pasting and hanging your wallpaper
As all paper has different ways of pasting it pays to follow the instructions on the wallpaper i.e. Pre-pasted wallpaper or un-pasted wallpapers

Un-pasted wallpaper
Place your strip of wallpaper pattern side down; use a roller to apply an even coat of wallpaper paste. Prior to hanging, loosely fold the glued sides together without creasing. Leave 3-5 minutes before hanging, this relaxes the paper and allows for any shrinking.

To hang, unfold the top section of the first strip of wallpaper and place straight on the wall. Leave 5cm of paper at the top and bottom.

Use a paper brush or sponge to smooth the wallpaper from the centre outwards. This will push any bubbles away to the edges where they can escape.
Wrinkles are a little harder to smooth out. You may have to carefully remove paper and rehang again.
If bubbles will not go through with careful smoothing, pierce it with a pin before the paper dries and then try smoothing it out.

Now trim the excess wallpaper at the top and bottom of the wall. Use a razor knife to make the cuts along the top and bottom of the wall. Check that the top and bottom of paper are stuck to the walls after you have trimmed.

Take your next strip of wallpaper and hang it flush with your already hung piece and remember to match up any patterns. Do not overlap strips. Perfect vertical outside corners may be wrapped with a full strip of wallpaper. Inside corners should be hung in two strips allowing a 1-2 cm overlap to avoid having strips meeting in the corner.

Wipe seams as you go with a damp sponge to remove any excess paste or moisture.
Keep your sponge and water fresh so you are wiping paste off.
Allow about 15 minutes after hanging; use a seam roller to smooth seams. Start in the centre of the seam and work upwards towards the ceiling then restart at the centre and work downwards to the floor.

Wallpaper will remain workable for approx. 10-15 minutes after soaking or pasting, so you have plenty of time to get paper on straight and smooth.

Doors, windows and light switches
It is best to hang a full strip of wallpaper so it overlaps the window frame and smooth it into place to the edge of frame.
Diagonally cut the wallpaper to the corners of the door or window frame so that the wallpaper is lying smoothly against the wall. Smooth the wallpaper and trim the excess off around the frame.
Never assume that windows and doors are straight and true.

Light switches may be neatly wallpapered by hanging the strip of wallpaper so that it covers the switch. Mark the four corners of the switch using a pencil and connect these together to establish the outline of the switch. Lift the paper and using scissors cut from the centre of the switch area outwards. Working one side at a time, push the flap over the edge of the switch, smooth down and trim off excess.

Tips - Sanding floors
Save yourself some money and make sure all your nails are punched below the surface and the room is completely clear before the sander comes around

Tips - Oiling floors
Proceed with oiling your floor as soon as the sander is finished.
Therefore you will get no contamination on floor i.e.& tea, coffee
The longer you leave your untreated floorboards, the more soil and drinks are going to soak into the unsealed surface.
Otherwise clean floors thoroughly before you oil.

In-organic chairs
Turning someone else's junk into your treasure with a simple fix and clean.

Glass shelving
Provides display space for ornaments without being a solid and overpowering piece of furniture.

Dining table
Re-respecting beautiful pieces from our past and giving them new life by adding a modern edge with the new materials. I picked up the table legs from the Salvation Army shop and the Oak veneer sides from an auction. I then had an aluminium outfit make up the frame and the safety glass on top came from our glazier.

Load bearing walls
The walls that the beams in the ceiling, run towards, should always be treated as load bearing and should never be removed by a DIYer.

Note: Before you attempt any structural work on your house you should always get consent from your council first.

A load bearing wall is a wall supporting vertical loading from floors, ceiling joists, roof or any combination thereof.

There are certain structural items that make up a load-bearing wall. There are studs, they support the top plate, and are directly supported by the bottom plate. They run full height of the wall. Stud sizes are taken from Tables in NZS 3604 1999 (building code). Lintels are required over all openings in load bearing walls, these are essentially beams of a certain size to span a certain length, these are also taken from tables in NZS 3604 1999 (building code).

Lintels, must be supported underneath at each end, these are called trimmer studs. Trimmer studs are nailed to the studs at each end of the lintel, and run from bottom plate to the underside of the lintel. Studs are required to be kept straight when loads are applied from roofs or floors. The way we do this is with noggs (or dwangs if your from the south island) two rows between the studs.
When all these items are put together they form a load-bearing wall.

Bracing = Any method employed to provide lateral support to a building.

Where a wall of substantial length, especially an external wall is being removed or an opening is made bigger, we have to assume this wall was a bracing element. Therefore we have to replace the brace. External walls are required to have a minimum of 10 bracing units per meter. There are a lot of other factors involved with bracing as well, e.g. spacing of internal walls, what wind zone your in, and construction materials. This is a job best left to the professionals.

Tri-fold doors
- Remove old French doors, trim and architraves inside and out. This will expose the fixing points (which will be either nails or screws).
- Cut out all the fixing points using either a hacksaw or reciprocating saw - put to one side to use later.
- Take measurement of new door and make new frame size to fit by cutting out original beam and framing of original cladding.
- Cut new framing and beam to fit. Install tri-fold doors into new opening. Wedge and pack tri-fold to make sure your frame is level land true and then fix in position using nails or screws.
- Re-instate trim, architraves inside and out and then glaze.
- Always check operation - movement, locks