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Saturday 13th August, 2016
Category: 2016/08
Tags: decorating community centre

It started with me looking at the dusty beams in the living room and thinking I really must get a cloth and bucket and give them all a good wipe down. Now, a month later, those beams have all been revarnished, the walls repainted, window ledges tiled and the floor completely transformed, and I just love it!

I think I probably said before about how it always looks dark in my living room, especially since having the porch extension outside which really cuts out the light. One option was to have the ceiling plaster boarded in between the big beams, but I just love all the wood so much I couldn't bring myself to do that. So my other option was to lighten the floor which is made of the big old irregular stone slabs.

I guess some might look upon the idea of painting a traditional stone floor with the same distaste as someone boarding up a Victorian fireplace, but I say a home is a home, not a museum piece, and should be entirely to the comfort and taste of the current occupier.

Had I been in the UK I would have headed off to B & Q, or some similar DIY place, and bought some cement paint and concrete sealer to do the job, but unfortunately over here such things are not so easy to come by.  After lots of pondering, asking opinions and of course consulting Mr Google, I decided to first put down some sort of primer to make a smooth, non-dusty surface, then slap on tons of emulsion, and then top it all off with some protective clear varnish.  Having made the decisions it was then time for action.

I guess it was a little bit scary because there'd be no undoing it once I started, but I consolled myself with the thought that if it was awful I'd just hide it all with rugs and then save up to have the place tiled.

Naturally I couldn't do the entire floor in one go because of all the furniture, so I began along the southern side of the room.

As soon as the first layer of paint went down I knew I was going to love it. I used up some old cans of exterior and interior paint for two layers and then did a bit of research for the top layer. I wanted something hard wearing but preferably with a bit of sheen to it, and, having told Boris my language tutor all about vinyl silk paint during my lesson, he came across some vinyl paint on the Baumarket website (a DIY store in Sofia). It sounded ideal and even had anti-mould properties, the only problem was the delivery charge would double the cost of the tin of paint. On the off chance, I went to the paint shop in Gabrovo and asked if they did vinyl paint and lo and behold they sold the very one I'd been looking at! Well, not the anti-mould variety, but still the same brand of vinyl paint. It was only when I used it that I realised it was actually vinyl matt and not silk, but at least it would be hard wearing for the final layer.

What a difference from the old dark stone!

In the same paint shop they also had varnish for stone which claimed not to yellow with age, so I bought a tin to use as a final layer which would give the floor a sheen and hopefully make it easy to mop over.

Some of you may already be thinking, what about the wood burner and all that lovely white paint? Well I've sort of planned for that. I've marked out an area around the burner and I'm going to paint the floor black there but do a little fringe border all around it to make it look like a rug, just for fanciness.

Hopefully that will contain the mucky bits and still keep the white areas clean. No doubt I'll be a bit more careful when cleaning out the stove and have some old towels down around too.

As I neared the end it became hard to tell which bits were finished and which had just been varnished, so I grabbed the nearest thing to mark out the safe pathway.

Yep, the nearest thing happened to be spoons!

A bit of touching up of the odd patch which wasn't coated well enough in paint or had missed out on the varnish and then it was all done, and what a difference. It just looks so much brighter and cosier.

I'd like to get some nice bright yellow material for new curtains, and invest in a bigger rug in red or deep orange, and of course now there's the kitchen to start on...

The other major transformation that's been going on has been the community centre hall. Last year they got some funding for materials for a new floor and Angie and Andrea from the village volunteered their time to do the tiling.

Snezhana's hubby got on with putting down the laminate flooring on the stage.

And Raicho, Natasha's hubby, has started putting up the new curtain poles.

Then over the space of about 5 days, Angie and Andrea put down all the tiles including cutting all the bits to fit neatly round the edge. I went in a couple of times as unskilled labour to help mix up the tile glue for them! (And to have fun playing with the big boy tools)

Once all the tiles were down we had a bunch of volunteers to do the grouting, and we managed to get it all done in a day. Even Nadia the mayor came along and did her bit.

A lot more tile glue was needed than previously anticipated, but so many people dug deep and contributed money that within days we'd collected over 500 levs which not only paid for the glue and grout but will also be enough to do a nice stone border all around the edge of the walls too.

It's hoped that everything will be all cleaned up and finished in time for the gourd festival on 26th/27th August when the new floor will be properly Christened. Can't wait to use it if we have our winter dance lessons again too!

 

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