Table of Contents
Now that I've decided to remove the lower ceiling I've also committed to removing the wall lining as well and deal with whatever work needs to be done to fix the room after that.
The main concern for me is that the timber wall plates may be glued to the plaster. There were a few nails into the plaster but the wall plates were mostly supported by the furring strips on the walls.
I have no choice but to break up the gyproc sheets (drywall) but the timber is salvagable for other projects.
1. The lower ceiling in a nice neat pile.
2. Light meets the original ceiling again after 36 years.
3. Wall sheets and ceiling joists removed.
There's going to be some work to do once the furring strips and the ceiling timber wall plates have been removed.
The dark green looks like the original colour underneath and below what I believe was a picture rail. It originally covered the whole wall to the ceiling. It is quite thin so I assume it's a lime wash rather than a skim coat. (I'm now almost certain it's milk paint.)
There are lots of holes around the nailing wedges.
The whole room up to the rail was wallpapered and half had been scraped off prior to lining the room, at which time I assume the decision was made to line the room instead.
Fortunately the wall plates are not glued to the wall but are nailed to the plaster and together at the corners and to the furring rails at the top. The furring stiles are all glued using what looks like a contact adhesive and nailed to the plaster.
To remove them I tried running up behind with a hacksaw blade, cutting through the glue spots and the nails. This was not very successful because the skim layer of plaster at the glue spots had mostly weakened and detached already. I decided to simply pry them gently off the wall and then patch.
The furring strips will go to the woodshed while the joists and plates will be used in future projects.
I'll have to remove the remaining wallpaper (half the room) and then see what treatment to apply to the walls after that. This carbide bladed tool is making quick work of removing the single layer of paper. It's also getting the bulk of the remaining contact adhesive off.
Wall pattern mystery
Images 4 and 5 show the wall with and without wallpaper respectively and exhibit the same ghosted design pattern (my attempted reproduction is in images 6 and 7). The pattern scales perfectly with the edges of the wallpaper so the pattern must be from it. I assume the wallpaper was not primed before an acrylic paint was put over it, allowing the acrylic paint to soak through the paper to the porous plaster and milk paint beneath, in turn causing the milk paint to mobilise back through the paper to the top paint layer.
The patterns look like a minimalist art deco so could date from 1910's to 1940's. The pattern could represent only an outline or partial detail of the complete wallpaper pattern and so far attempting to remove the chartreus green paint with methylated spirit reveals only the underlying paper itself.
The paper has been painted over and the pattern is visible through the paint. Scraping some of the paper off it has the texture of blotting paper.
There's also a strip with a raised texture and jagged outline that doesn't align longitudinally with the pattern but it does with the angles, seen in image 7. It goes around the room under the picture rail and may simply be a separate but complimentary design.
None of this affects how the room will ultimately be finished except to document clues to the history and lives of those who have inhabited the home. Who chose the colours and designs and what influenced their choices? It's part of the enjoyment of working on the building now.
4. The chartreus green appears to have been painted over the top of some wallpaper. There's a design under it.
5. Could be the original milk paint wall colour, where the wall paper has been scraped off. It shows the same pattern.
6. Wall pattern - repeatable.
The pattern scale is one drop width.
7. Texture change and edge shape below the picture rail.
8. Pattern repeated 3 x 3
Not necessarily the original colours.
There are three double GP outlets in the room all at lower wall level just above the skirting. Wiring came down through the original ceiling and down behind the gyproc lining to the first GPO beside the closed-off external door. Wiring then daisy-chained horizontally along the wall to the second GPO the other side of the window, and then ran vertically up the wall, simply draped over the top of the lower ceiling joists and then down the adjacent wall to the third GPO. All of this wiring will need to be rerouted with GPOs in new locations in the skirting itself and most likely wiring run under the floor in conduit from bedroom two which is in the same circuit.
Central room light
There is a central ceiling light with pull cord switch next to the internal door. The wiring coming down through the original ceiling will be replaced because rodents have partially eaten away the outer white insulation, leaving the coloured insulation visible, just above where it goes through the original metal vent down to the light.
There is a light fitting under the original verandah and it has been a question, where is this light's switch? From the wiring seen in the ceiling the light was disconnected at some time at a junction box in the roof space. Was there a fault somewhere that necessitated this?
As far as I can tell from visual inspection in the roofspace the light was in the same circuit as the central ceiling light which is switched via a pull cord near the internal door (wiring seen at 0:08 in the "Ceiling" video). Looking around the inter-ceiling space there were no other pull cord switches in this room. As I have just discovered, the switch wiring was chased down the wall and plastered over and goes to where an architrave switch would have been beside the exterior door. This light and switch would have been disconnected when the external door was closed off in 1983.
9. Verandah light switch wire.
It was hidden behind a furring strip.
In one respect the major repair task has been completed already with the ceiling reinforcement in the roofspace.
The green coating was applied after the fireplace mantle, window and door trim were all in place. I can see several places where it has run down behind those fixtures. The wall has been painted over three times in the past above the level of the picture rail.
After all the major patching is complete it will probably need reskimming to provide a consistent surface for painting/lime washing. In that case the paint systems around the top of the wall will first need to be removed.
There is some drummy plaster just above the fireplace. I suspect the heating and cooling from the fire has caused this.
10. Stitched panoramic view of the room stripped back to the original plaster walls and ceiling.
It looks pretty ugly now but will be much better when finished with the original proportions restored.
The major cracks are over the interior doorway to the sitting room (image 11), and also over the exterior doorway. Much of the plaster above the doors will likely be removed and redone.
The plaster over the exterior door has bulged (image 12) by half a centimetre between the picture rail and top of the door, so I'll be looking at what has caused this. There's a solid limestone lintel on the outside with some minor hairline cracks down each side but I'll be able to get a better idea when the plaster inside is gone.
11. Cracks over the internal doorway.
Cracks also run along where the ceiling and longer walls meet. This part of the ceiling is quite robust due to the lath ends running through and resting on top of the stone wall. Crown cornice will cover those cracks and it may be better to leave them open.
12. Bulge in the plaster over the external doorway.