Main House Extension Interior Transformation

Table of Contents

Main Entrance Hallway

1. Main entrance hallway - skylight boxes and walls repainted

The stone wall at left of image 1 was the original rear of the schoolhouse residence section. The doorway on the left was the back door and led directly into the original kitchen before the later separate structure with entrance on the right was built circa 1905, incorporating a kitchen and I assume a laundry/bathroom. What is now the entrance hall would have been an open gap or perhaps a breezeway.

The current plan is to paint the ceiling paneling white the same as the recently painted skylights. Not sure if it'll be too much though, hence have not started on it yet. I think the cove moulding should be left as it is whatever I do.

There's a new coat of paint in a lighter colour on the walls just to freshen the space up a little, getting away from the yellowish/tan base with a pale green that I think goes with the wood tones in the doors and architraves without trying to match tones explicitly - to bring some of the outside to the inside. Two coats were brushed on for the texture. A roller texture is anonymous and has no personality and I felt it would be inconsistent with my reasons for buying an old schoolhouse.

South Gable Attic Interior

2. The inside of the gable.

The A/C wall unit that was above the bed is gone and pipework holes patched. Looking bland all in wood.

3. Wall painted in Porter's "Squid Ink".

This is so much better. Even the plain lacquered pine quad trim looks like gold in contrast.

Kitchen to dining room passage

This passage leads from the kitchen to the dining room and also the laundry, breakfast (morning sun) room and stairs to the upper level. Originally, all of the beaded panelling and trim was varnished pine as seen in image 4. All in all, a very "woody" look and a bit too much for me, so out came the paints.

As always I prefer to remove fixtures rather than paint around them. It's usually quicker than using masking tape and the finished look is always far superior, especially if the paint is brushed. These are not the only reasons though.

Painting around fixtures invariably "glues" them to the surface they're on, making it harder and even impossible to remove them later without damaging that surface, which will then need to be fixed (filled and repainted etc). I've heard of "paying it forward" but this is "costing it forward".

When it came to putting the coat rail back up I also replaced the common slotted steel wood screws securing it to the wall with nice stainless steel countersunk hex socket head screws.

WARNING: When detaching power and light fittings even if leaving them hanging etc., make sure to remove power from all affected circuits at the breakers from start to finish because all power switches will have an active "hot" wire and it is also possible and legal to run an active "hot" wire to a light fitting, i.e. even though the light may be off there is still power at the fitting just waiting for someone to complete the circuit.

Firstly to explain the layout that can't be seen in the images.

4. Before - lots of varnished pine.

In image 5 the blue (Porter's "Squid Ink") walls at right-angles on the left are actually lined stone walls that were originally the corner of the circa 1905 kitchen add-on. I don't know if there was an opening originally but the walls are 450mm thick. The idea was to give this panelling a dark colour to have visual weight as did the stone walls it hides, and to have a feature monolith feel. The colour on the walls opposite at this stage is Porter's "Icelandic Stone" egg shell sheen acrylic. The

5. First colour scheme.

ceiling is Porter's "Old Church White" egg shell sheen acrylic. The architraves and skirting are Dulux "White Duck" gloss oil enamel.

Living with it for a few days I decided I didn't like the dark monolith feature idea, so I tried a patch of the green that you see top left. It didn't work for me either.

So it was time for a reversal and to try something much more subtle. The walls would be "Icelandic Stone" all round with "Old Church White" on the ceiling.

6. Revised paint job nearing completion.

7. Finished this section except for the laundry door at right.

It was fiddly work filling and smoothing every individual gap where a V-groove goes behind an architrave or trim piece (approximately 500 in all), but absolutely necessary with light coloured finishes otherwise they leave small dark point shadows along every join that make the job look unfinished. I'm very happy with how the panelling looks after about four coats of paint and knot-hole filling.

I'll be doing more of this elsewhere in the house before I'm finished.

The opening at the end of the passage to the left in image 7 is the kitchen, which is a major renovation task at the planning stage.

The side entrance is at extreme left of image 7 (also image 4) and the opening also leads to the breakfast room, which it is proposed to turn into a mudroom. A folding door will be fitted in the opening at left to create a vestibule.

Dining room

Woodstove and flue

Now that the new geo exchange HVAC is installed, it's time to remove the woodstove and it's flue. I could hear it sigh when the wind was up outside. Eery.

After removing the woodstove from inside and cleaning up, I placed an arm chair on the old hearth and discovered that, for several decades or so, the woodstove had had the best outside views in the room.

8. Wood stove gone


A vent above the woodstove was either used to warm the ensuite or to provide air for the woodstove, by opening the window in the ensuite, thereby reducing cold air drafts traversing the room. But it also allows humid air and odours to enter the dining room, which I'd prefer didn't happen. So it's been closed off and patched.

There was another vent just below the beams at the far left of image 9. That vent housed a fan and solid steel duct to push warm air into the main bathroom (see image 12). The fan and duct were removed and the 300mm diameter hole at this end was patched as part of a previous work spree.

9. Closing off the vent into the ensuite shower cubical.

10. Patched and ready to paint.

11. Vent patch after the wall has been painted.


Now that the walls have been patched it's time to repaint. I'm going to try the colour I used in the annex loft above the garage, "Stowe White".

The crown cornicing is just "quad", the least elegant profile possible. It is currently plain varnished as can be seen in image 8 centre top but will be painted with Porter's "Old Church White" egg shell sheen acrylic only because that is what is on the quad in the passage already.

The varnished pine skirting will be painted Dulux "White Duck" gloss oil enamel.

The window trims will stay as they are until I change the window coverings.

Further down the line I want to board and batten the walls and add a plate rail around the room at top of door/window height.

Removing the power outlets off the walls for painting I see that the walls are insulated with glass fibre batts. That's good to know.

12. Dining room walls repainted - skirting boards still to finish.

Window coverings

I'm looking at cellular blinds to replace the cedar venetian blinds to gain the thermal efficiency. They will run in vertical guides to maximise the gain. It will add slightly to the depth of the trim but should not be intrusive especially once the board and batten is completed.


Having the ensuite accessed directly off the dinning/family room is a bad idea. The door to it can be seen in image 8. I have in mind some major alterations of the internal floorplan that could make this situation tolerable.

Bathroom and wash basin nook

A heating system in the bathroom consisted of a fan-assisted duct in the ceiling space over the laundry used to push warm air from the dining room with its woodstove heater into the bathroom. An oil-filled electric convection heater was also used by the previous owner I suspect in place of. There was a grill above the bath but also two above the door into the wash basin nook (one on each side of the partition wall) to allow the necessary flow-through. The dining room end of the duct housed the fan behind a grill located above the ensuite door beside the stairs (above the cupboard at left of the door in image 9).

13. Old 300mm warm air inlet.

A duct and a standard exhaust fan was intended to push warm air from the dining room through to the bathroom.

By the time I took ownership of the property the fan was no longer working, so to see how well the system worked I fixed it but found it was extremely noisy and the system as a whole not very effective. In addition, the bare uninsulated galvanized steel duct acted as a sound pipe, transmitting sound from one end to the other. The fan switch was also in the dining room some distance from the bathroom and the air flow generated would have pushed moisture laden air out of the bathroom into the main entrance hallway back around through the kitchen to the dining room.

With the installation of the geoexchange heating and cooling system and a hydronic convection heater installed in the bathroom the duct was no longer required. The new heater was vastly more effective and the woodstove was gone so it was time to remove the unwanted duct and grills, then patch the holes and paint the walls.

After removing the fan and grills the rigid round steel duct was withdrawn through the bathroom opening. The duct was slightly longer than the bathroom is wide but nevertheless came out with some sideways and downwards maneuvering. The holes in the walls were easily patched using matching material then the joins filled and sanded. The previous light green paint colour was replaced by Porter's "Icelandic Stone" "egg shell" sheen acrylic paint. I brushed rather than rolled it on because I specifically want that texture, as with the main entrance hall repaint.

The same treatment was given the wash basin nook just outside the bathroom.

14. 300mm warm air duct hole patched and undercoated.

15. 300mm warm air duct hole patch vanishes under a second undercoat and two top coats.

16. New colour - Porter's "Icelandic Stone"

17. The hydronic convection heater that replaced the old warm air duct is much more effective.

Side entrance door

It was time to install seals around the door, particularly the bottom where the gap was large enough to admit large spiders, mice or small snakes. The mesh screen door usually keeps the wildlife out but not the cold air and dust.

On the bottom I installed an integrated automatic lowering seal. Along the top and sides of the door jamb I fixed self adhesive bristle type seals.

18. The seal unit and routed slot.

19. Routed slot.

20. Seal unit in place, not trimmed to width yet.

Still To Do

  • New kitchen
  • Update main bath and shower
  • Replace floor overlay in dinning and breakfast rooms
  • Relocate ensuite access with new laundry+ensuite layout
  • Repaint throughout
  • Create vestibule/mudroom with internal door at side entrance