The hallway? The stairs? The landing? The corridor between the front door and the upstairs rooms in the house? Let’s just call this “The Passage”.
The passage has been next stage of decorating in the house and, of course, the theme of bad workmanship continued. I might be exaggerating slightly when I say it looks as if the previous decorators used a sweeping brush to paint the walls in the passage, but I honestly can’t ever see myself thinking such a result was acceptable, let alone satisfying. The walls look as if they were in a pretty bad state to start with, but if I really had to say how they had come by such a decorating disaster I would say they had stripped off some old wallpaper and then just painted over the wallpaper paste residue left behind. If this sounds a little familiar, then that’s because it is… I assumed the same reason for the same bad workmanship while using so much “Pollyfiller” on the walls of the lounge too.
Well, needless to say, my first action was to set about the walls with a scraper, scratching and scraping at lumps and bumps everywhere, filling in holes and cracks with pollyfiller and scratching and scraping again until I was at least “not offended” by the result.
We had removed the hallway and living room doors when we moved in, partly because the passage and doorways were too small to get the furniture in, and partly because they get in the way, and with the double glazed front “Door” there’s no need for so many airlocks throughout the house to keep the cold out.
When the outside doors and windows were fitted, I acquired matching glass to install in the windows above two of the inside doorways. The glass above the hallway door matches the front door, and above the bathroom door it matches the bathroom window. You can’t see both windows at the same time so it doesn’t matter that they don’t match each other.
When the “Sunshine Room” was decorated, I filled and sculpted the doorway back to an acceptable state and by the time I’d played with the pollyfiller and got as far as the first undercoat, the hallway door frame almost made me smile as well.
The upstairs doors were another matter completely. You would think that after seeing how the bathroom door had been hung on cabinet hinges, not a lot more would surprise me, wouldn’t you ? … You’d be wrong.
I knew the guestroom door was also hung on cabinet hinges, but had decided not to examine it too closely until the time was right. With all the preparation happening before painting the passage, the right time presented itself… And I was speechless…
It would appear that at sometime in the past the door had been physically ripped away from the frame. I would guess at the top hinge coming away still attached to the door, and the bottom hinge splitting the door as it was ripped out. With an educated guess I then assumed that the door had been leaned on its side and someone had attempted a repair by smothering it in glue and hammering in small nails to hold it in place. OK, credit where credit is due, someone actually made the effort to fix it, and even if the mend was done just before we bought the house, it has held together for over three years, but honestly, I am all astonishment at what must have followed next. The glue must have dribbled out, leaving a lumpy trail, and dried where it dribbled… And then someone just painted over it!
I like the fact that the doors are real wood and are not moulded replicas of each other so replacing this one with a new moulded one would spoil the effect. On reflection, I could hardly make it look worse than it did, so I set about making the repair better, I hammered the little nails in further to just below the surface, then set about removing the excess glue and carving the splintered wood back into some shape roughly resembling the bottom of a door. I scratched and filled and undercoated until I was happier, then I took the door back off to give the doorframe some much needed TLC.
In the meantime, the hallway door, the daedo rails on the stairs, and the bathroom door got a shiny new coat of gloss paint… The number of happy thoughts caused by the gloss paint and the black fittings being re-attached to the door surprised even me, the extra preparation I had put in had paid off and the “Bathroom” was almost finished.
However, this is where I discovered “hinge bind”. Apparently I had come across this problem before and not realised it. I’ve hung many a kitchen cupboard or wardrobe door on fancy sprung adjustable hinges where little screws have needed tweaking this way and that until the doors hung in just the position needed, I had a spot of bother when I replaced the hinges on the door for the “Littlest room“, but didn’t give too much thought as to how I fixed it at the time.
Mr Google came to my rescue this time though and as I watched a video tutorial on how to fix a hinge bound door I saw symptoms of my door’s earlier illness… The slight symptoms had been exaggerated by the thickness of the paint on the frame and door. After a little puzzling, I figured out that chisseling out the new paint and a tiny slither of wood from behind one of the hinges wouldnt quite solve the problem, but would return the symptoms to the lower level which I had accepted before. Next time I’ll know to take notice of the small symptoms before I paint the door instead of after.
After I’d pampered the guestroom doorframe with pollyfiller and paintbrush, I set about re-hanging the door on my nice new black cast iron hinges… No small feat with the mess I had been left with but eventually managed with a few de-headed matchsticks to poke in old holes, and a few extra long scews to put into new holes. The hinges went up wrapped in clingfilm and I continued to work on the door… After the final gloss coat I left it in peace to dry hard… Suitably protected from the risk of me leaning on it by the strategically placed stepladder.
And the worst corner… The previous attempt at a repair? It’s not at all perfect by any stretch of even my imagination, but I’ve seen worse. .
More hinges arrived in the post, these were for the airing cupboard on the landing so I removed the cupboard doors along with our bedroom door and set about the two last door frames with the paintbrush.
Propping the cupboard doors up against the wall at the top of the stairs meant I could fill in the holes left by removing the original catches and add a couple of layers of paint while the frames were still dryjng. The new black catches being lost in transit somewhere with the Post Office didn’t cause as much concern as if it had been the hinges delayed. I was able to put the landing pretty much back together while I waited for them to arrive.
Mum-in-law came for Christmas and all painting stopped in favour of some more seasonal decorating this year. She keeps a dressing gown and slippers here to enable her to travel light on a visit. The slippers etc go into her own little cupboard, but the dressing gown usually lives on the coat stand behind the door. Another big smile arrived when I noticed Mum-in-law had left it hanging on the new hook on the back of the door this time.
Our bedroom was the final door to get a coat of shiny white gloss paint, and during the few days of waiting for the gloss on that door to harden, the catches arrived for the airing cupboards. With the doors and frames all painted, I could finally move on to the next stage of my plan.
More from before : “Finishing and fixing“.