Welcome to this blog of my current home restoration project. Katie and I have owned this property for 10 years now and this room is one of the last to be completed, and had been put in the “Too Hard and Too Expensive” bracket until recently. The house itself had been converted to a Rest Home in the 1950’s and all of the character features had been ripped out, and this lovely big ballroom had been divided up into 4 small rooms to get more residents in. Soon after we moved in we realised that the original pressed-tin ceiling was still behind the lowered ceiling and knew that one day we would restore it. We just needed the impetus of our daughters wedding and the need for extra space to accommodate visitors from overseas.
Below is a series of photos from the project. My intention was to create a Drawing Room that embodied the age of the property (1910) but also had modern amenities. The Hallway that leads into the Drawing Room is heavily paneled with Rimu and Kauri and I wanted that to flow through into this room but also to be light and airy. I decided to panel the room about a third of the height with Malaysian Kauri that is grown in sustainable forests and has a grain structure similar to our own NZ variety. I used a traditional water-based stain made from the husks of walnuts and finished with good old-fashioned Shellac and Wax polish.
We removed the old gib, and saw that the timber was riddled with borer, so gave that a good soaking of borer killer. Whilst the gib was off, we ran cable for the sound system (which we can’t afford at the moment) and home automation. All the light fittings will be operable from our iPhones and a small screen fixed to the wall. The original chimney had been removed long ago, probably in the earthquake of the late 1940’s, and was off-centre to the room. We created a new chimney in the centre, which now accommodates a new Escea Gas Fire, connected to our WiFi of course where we can operate it via an app and put it on before we get home.
With carpets and some furniture, it is almost complete, however we have yet to install new windows (except for one I smashed!) and Bi-Fold Doors, again these will be in Kauri and naturally finished interiors.
I hope you enjoy scrolling through the images below…..
BEFORE: The original Ballroom had been made into 4 small rooms, this one barely big enough for our craps table!!
AFTER: The room is habitable and comfortable, but we still need to put doors in onto the garden, and new windows with double glazing of course!
AFTER: The windows shown here will be replaced with French Doors or Bi-Folds, whoever wins that argument