One Room Challenge Spring 2020 – Week Three!

I am 100% publishing this blog post on fumes. I spent 12 hours yesterday ripping out the last of the lath and plaster on all four walls of our front room, one piece of wood at a time, so apologies if this post is barely sentence.

Should I wait until a bit more time has passed and I’m not so emotionally dead inside as I’m still too raw from yesterday’s demotion to publish this week’s One Room Challenge post? Most definitely. But this is real life and renovation is r.o.u.g.h. sometimes.

I accomplished a lot this past week and I cannot wait to show you the insanity I went through. I look at the photos from last week and laugh at my innocence. It’s all ahead of you, young Alex. Soon the 100-year-old mouse droppings will rain down on you like some sort of twisted renovation version of Flashdance. Except with mouse excrement.

I began this week’s work by removing what turned out to be four layers of ceiling. At the bottom [meaning, closest to me] there were ceiling tiles [which I removed the week previous], then drywall, 100+ year-old plaster, and finally wooden lath at the base. Each had to be removed one layer at a time. This was a total time-suck. But eventually, everything was removed and revealed beautiful beams and the underside of the original wooden floors upstairs.

Once that was cleared, I tackled the lath and plaster on the walls. I was up against the clock with getting this portion done so I spent 12 hours yesterday ripping everything out. It was chaos and more of a mental hurdle than anything, but I got it done.

Above you can see the holes for the original furnace, which came up from the basement, through to the bedrooms and ran down the center of the house. I’m going to patch up the hole on the wall, but I think I’ll keep the original chimney in the ceiling as it’s quite neat.

I was going into this project hoping to be able to restore and save as much of the original plaster as I could. But as soon as the ceiling tiles and wood panels were removed, it was clear they were put there to hide the horrible condition of the plaster. It was quite dangerous in places and fell just from me placing my hand on it. There was no saving it. Don’t @ me.

Once I finished ripping all the lath and plaster out came the arduous clean-up; I shoveled the mess into a recycling box [as seen on the right above], handed it out the window to Robert, who then brought it around and threw it into our Bin There Dump That dumpster. Seeing as plaster is deceptively heavy, we couldn’t fit much plaster in each box so it took approximately 12,000 trips to the dumpster.

I’m innocently hoping the worst of the project is behind me now. Next week I’m hoping to insulate the exterior walls, drywall the walls and ceiling and start on the built-in shelving. In case you haven’t noticed, I like to give myself unrealistic expectations and goals, so we’ll see how this goes.

As usual, you can see all the week three Guest Participants progress here!

Week One – Week Two – Week ThreeWeek FourWeek Five
Week SixWeek Seven – Week Eight


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  1. Mel
    May 21, 2020 / 19:28

    Slow clap. I hope the worst is behind you as well!

  2. Barbara Dominey
    May 22, 2020 / 15:49

    Freaking impressive. Raising a glass to you and your initiative!

    • May 22, 2020 / 16:51

      Thank you so much, Barb! I think I’ll have a glass (or two) this evening to celebrate. And cry.

    • May 25, 2020 / 14:50

      Thank you, Barb! I think I had two glasses after that was all ripped out. I think I legit have a form of PTSD from it.

  3. May 23, 2020 / 15:14

    I love that picture of you, with tool in hand, looking like that room doesn’t stand a chance! I am so impressed with the work you’ve done in that room – I feel daunted just looking at these photos! I can’t wait to see what happens next!

  4. May 25, 2020 / 04:53

    OH MY GOD ALEX!! You are a superwoman!!! I know how hard this work is and whilst we’ve never removed AN ENTIRE ROOM, we have done ceilings and walls in various places in our homes before and it’s just such hard, messy work. I loved the Flashdance metaphor!! LOL! This is it though, you are over the worst, messy part of it and I am really hoping the rest will go nice and smoothly for you. I’m so excited to see this room come together – you got this! xx

    • May 25, 2020 / 13:41

      Do you see why I was asking about Flashdance now? DO YOU SEE? It was not for glamourous reasons I assure you.

      Thank you so much! We picked up insulation and drywall yesterday and I’m excited to try and attempt to drywall and get the vapour barrier up tonight, if only partially! I don’t know if you need vapour barriers in the UK – maybe a silly question as it is permanently damp there. I think they’re required here because of the crazy fluctuation in temperature. Regardless, I’m so excited to get started making this look like a presentable room again!

  5. May 25, 2020 / 05:05

    I love that picture of you meaning business! That room had better watch it! I seriously find it so impressive what you’ve done here and I can’t wait to see the room progress. It’s going to be one hell of a makeover – and you should definitely use these pictures in your ‘before and after’ shots!!

    • May 25, 2020 / 13:37

      I was wondering that the other day if I should show these as the before photos or if that’s cheating because it’s not really what the room looked like 3 weeks ago. But I think you’re right. They make for a much more dramatic makeover.