Thursday, 8 August 2019

Mezzanine Tower Bedroom

One of the current tasks at the castle is smartening up the accommodation in the entrance tower. Permission has been formally obtained from Angus Council to make repairs with plasterboard in the castle as a whole, via the listed building consent mechanism. In fact, this permission was given over the phone 20 years ago in early discussions with the then conservation officer. However, before starting work I wanted the security of a bit of paper rather than verbal consent, due to the turn-around in Council staff. Having to line bare walls in the castle in lathe-and-plaster would have rendered (no pun intended) the restoration out of my budget, so I needed to establish the viability of plasterboard at a very early stage.

We decided to tackle what I call the "mezzanine bedroom" in the entrance tower first because it is a simple box i.e. the least complicated room in terms of shape. This room has a very low ceiling (for Balintore), because the levels in the entrance tower don't really tally with those in the rest of the castle except on the very top floor and this bedroom's compromised height allows the top level connection to work. In any normal house, the ceiling would be regarded as tall! :-) 

The back wall in the picture below was virtually intact so we just had to patch the lathe and plaster. In contrast the wall on the left hand side, has totally gone - the few remaining sections of lathe and plaster were totally rotten at the back. Greg plastered the whole left hand wall. The finish he obtained was mirror smooth. What is unbelievable is that this is the first plastering he has even done!!! Greg has discovered an innate talent, and has been a delight to observe this happening and see him take pride in each new plastering job. You can see a bit of plasterboard at 45 degrees, which mirrors the existing coving minus the fancy moulding, which is tomorrow's challenge.
repairing walls in mezzanine bedroom

As Greg was giving the wall a first coat of white paint (which is how plasterers gauge how smooth the first pass has been), he spotted a small fragment of existing wall-paper which I had never noticed. I came in with my camera to photograph for the historic record (see below) and Greg managed to get the fragment off the wall intact.

remaining fragment of original wallpaper

It is a rather dull piece of wallpaper. This pattern is seen in a more vibrant blue colour way in the room above, which makes me wonder if it is actually very badly faded or simply in drab browns. We have been discussing the replacement colour for this wall: white makes the moulding disappear, magnolia just looked insipid, so we are contemplating going bold with a rich teal or cerulean. The teal was inspired by a memory of an artistic friend's wall colour choice shown below.

inspirational teal wall