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I bought my 1933 traditional three-bedroom semi-detached house in October 1995. The previous owners bred cats, which meant that the first thing I had to do once the sale had been completed was to dispose of all the carpets and scrub the floorboards with neat bleach (I got through three bottles of Domestos!) to get rid of the smell. That done, I held a housewarming "strip party" - where I had about 30 people stripping wallpaper for me! Between us that night we stripped the two biggest rooms and the hall/stairs/landing. Not bad for a couple of hours' work!

Once the stripping was over, I allowed my guests to leave their mark on the bare plaster in the downstairs back room. One person wrote, "Strip and the world strips with you; decorate and you decorate alone." For the following two and a half years this proved to be absolutely true!

Since then I've redecorated every room, including the bathroom and kitchen (though I didn't fit the units myself) so here are some of my "before and after" photos...

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My house
This photo was taken in July 2002. The windows, door, driveway, car, and garage roof have all been replaced since I bought the house.

The pebble mosaic
This is in the middle of the driveway - all my own work. It's not immediately obvious, but it's supposed to be a Lake District scene, with Great Gable top centre and Wastwater at the bottom. The house number (269) is also shown in the water. (It's a little clearer if you click on the thumbnail to look at the full-size picture.)

Entrance hall - before and after
Hall - before Hall - after
That pink paint just had to go!

The kitchen - before and after
Kitchen - before Kitchen - after
Had to get a new floor put in early on due to woodworm, but it was six years before the whole room got done.

The back bedroom - before and after
Back bedroom - before Back bedroom - after
The intention was to eventually paint a mural on the curtain, but to be honest I doubt whether I'll ever get round to it. (That's Transformers wallpaper on the "before" picture, by the way.)

The front bedroom - before and after
Front bedroom - before Front bedroom - after
I can't take the credit for this one, as Kevin, my ex-lodger, did most of it. (I was tiling the bathroom at the time.) He wasn't keen on the idea of moving into a room with a pink ceiling and pink & white floral wallpaper. Can't say I blame him.

The bathroom and loo - before and after
Bathroom - before Bathroom - after
Loo - before Loo - after
The suite was professionally fitted, I got a carpenter to re-hang the loo door (so that it opened outwards, to make room for the hand-basin) and build the bath panel, and a plasterer friend re-did the ceilings for me. The rest - including tiling, flooring, and bath panel mural - is all my own work.

The study / third bedroom - before and after
Study - before Study - after
Take note of the fairy tale princesses in the "before" version - and even more pink paint!
The setup that I now have in there makes pretty efficient use of a very small space; the room is only about 7' x 6'.

The back room downstairs - before and after
Back room - before Back room - before
Back room - after Back room - after
A dramatic transformation! This is my favourite room at the moment, although it may not be to everyone's taste.

The front room downstairs - before and after
Front room - before Front room - after
This one's a bit less radical. (It's apricot, not pink!)

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© Lynne Donaldson
This page last edited 18th October 2002