Saturday, 13 August 2016

Walk In Wardrobe Part 1...

Things in the master bedroom haven't run as smoothly as I anticipated.

I started to build the stud wall to separate off the end section for the walk in wardrobe. The ceiling has always been bowed in that room but it felt solid enough. I mean, my father in law and I pushed on it and it didn't move so we thought it was fine. The last thing you want to do is take a ceiling down! Ugh, the mess and devastation!

So I started to frame out the wall which was quite tricky when it came to the top. I looked on the Internet to see how to build a stud wall round a bowed ceiling.
That should have been a clue that perhaps this isn't a good idea.

To accommodate the ceiling bow I had to shorten the sides of my stud timbers to get the top sitting level. Then pack out the side gaps.

Parcel tape is the carpenters friend if you are working alone and don't have enough hands!

We got the electrician in to remove the wall light you see above and put a central pendant light in the wardrobe space.

Ta daa! But here's where it all started to go horribly wrong. As I'd had to clear the loft space just above the new light fitting, I thought it would be a good time to board out the loft. We'd done a half arsed job when we moved in but the boards didn't reach the edges so I could gain more storage by doing it properly.

So there I was, toiling away in the loft when I noticed something bad. The loft boards were sliding between the central beam and the ceiling joists below. They are supposed to be tight up to each other. The ceiling was actually dangling in mid air. The boards I had laid looked great but there was a dip in the middle of the floor that you could feel as you walked on it.

We called in a local builder who came highly recommended by a friend. He pushed on the ceiling with one hand and it moved. My husband when up in the loft above and you could see the ceiling bouncing.

Not good.

We decided the best course of action would be to take the ceiling down, insert a new wooden beam, hoist up the joists as much as we could, strengthen them and put in a new ceiling.

This meant emptying the bedroom and the entire side of the loft above. You can imagine the chaos. There was stuff EVERYWHERE.

Not to mention dust and fibre glass...

Here you can see the new beam across the ceiling and the shiny new strapping to pull the joists up.

The new beam is far more substantial than the old one!

It was cemented into a hole in the brickwork at one end and the other end rests on a solid wall that runs down the depth of the house. The new and old beams were bolted together.

We can jump around in the loft now. That's important.

The ceiling went back up...

And then before we could plaster, we decided to replace the window which was an old aluminium frame and very badly fogged. If we replaced the window afterwards, it would bugger up the new plasterwork.

The ceiling works and plastering came to about £1000. The windows (we did the landing one too) came to £1000. This wasn't the worst part. Oh no. There was worse to come.

The builder said he could put up my stud wall in about half an hour. I REALLY wanted to do it. I mean, when am I ever going to get an opportunity to do another one? Never.
But there were things ALL OVER THE HOUSE and I was helping someone out with some childcare so I caved in. For the sake of progress, our sanity and family life I caved.

Rest assured, he put that wall up EXACTLY the way I was going to. But rather faster and without lots of painstaking research into how wide plasterboard is. The builder has all that information in his head as he does this full time.

We also battened out, insulated and recovered that lower end wall as it was very cold. I got the builder to leave the other side of the wall open so that I could reinforce the stud work where I'm going to need extra strength for hanging rails.

So. The room was built. Next was the fun part!

The prettifying! Back soon with that...


  1. This was fascinating! You went through a lot but I am sure the end results , which you will have for decades to come, will be well worth it. I am glad you thought to photograph the process. Many times we did not do that with home improvements, probably because we didn't like the way things looked at first and couldn't wait for the "after" photos! JanF

    1. Thank you! There's a very long way to go. The bedroom is untouched in it's bare plaster state as I focus on the wardrobe. I can't cope with clothes rails and displaced furniture and can't wait to get organised storage!

  2. OMG no wonder you've been quiet for a while, sounds like a bloody nightmare. Just think though, you'd have been living with a dodgy ceiling if you hadn't had a yearning for a walk in wardrobe. I hate to think of the horrors that lurk undiscovered in this house. Did he really erect that stud wall in half an hour? x

    1. I think it was a little longer with the plasterboard, but not much. And yes, it was a bloody nightmare. xx

  3. When I started following your blog, Emma, I thought you were "just" someone who did up furniture, and did some other clever other stuff around the house, albeit beautifully and tastefully. How wrong I was!!!!!!!!! Sorry for such an underestimation..... Just one question - how old is your house?

    1. Thank you! The house was built in 1960 by muppets who hadn't a clue. There are no straight lines in this house. Perhaps they were on drugs. It was the sixties after all.
      Houses are not built this way nowadays. You'd never get away with such spindly loft beams.
      We've heard the previous owner was a bit of a hoarder and his son took a year to empty the house. The loft might have been overfilled and this might have caused the ceiling to bow. Who knows?

  4. How bloody terrifying! Like Fiona says, If you hadn't had the urge to sort out the attic who knows what could have happened. Thank goodness all that mess is behind you now and you can make the space your own. xxx

    1. It's a different mess now! Sanded the floor today! xxx

  5. It looks like progress is being made which is good. :) Can't wait to see it when it's pretty.

  6. Terrible when you have to take ten steps back like that! Still you did the right thing by doing the whole job properly. Hope my blog helped in a small way for the stud work!

  7. I haven't been around for a while because of summer so I missed this - guessing things have moved on a bit since! I love your 'can do' attitude even if it takes a bit longer and you learn as you go along. I've got a 'chazzing from Cornwall' post brewing - SO many great charity and vintage shops!! xx


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