Project 2019: Home Office build Part 2

Having taken a hiatus from updating the blog (mainly due to being shed-busy), I decided a new page would be useful, especially for those people looking to add some of the interior detail to their own buildings.

I’m pleased to say I’m currently writing this blog post IN the shed (now it has wi-fi and electricity!) and I’m going to go through some of the steps that we’ve taken to get us into this position. I can already feel the benefits of working in here (though it’s far from finished), the early evening sun is reflecting off walls and the floor and I can hear the birds, too. What better place to do some work and get away from it all?

At the end of the last post, I spoke about the electrician coming in to do the electrics. I had drawn a little map of what I wanted in the room- I had read a post previously that recommended having more plug sockets than you think you might need which is advice I followed. I went for three double sockets (all with USB charging facility) and a single socket for the heater which will be installed later.

The electrician brought with him the CAT5 data cable (to enable internet) and the thick armoured cable and fed it through at the entry point
Then, the wiring for the spot lights and the plug sockets could be completed.

Once this stage was complete, the room was ready to be drywalled and plastered. I did this bit myself as I had gained more confidence after doing my Level 1 plastering course a couple of years ago and had tried smaller-scale projects around the house (boarding out and plastering a small bathroom and building a fireplace to house a TV and electric fire).

Boarding the ceiling was a real challenge (upper body strength was really put to the test!) Holes were cut out with a plasterboard saw for the wiring for the plugs. The skirting board was there just for aesthetic purposes!

The gaps in the plasterboard were then sealed using scrim tape (this is cheap from Screwfix/ Toolstation). As pictured below. This will help the plaster adhere to the seals in the plasterboard and will prevent the plaster from cracking.

After this, I beaded the edges of the windows and the door using angle beading.

Once I had finished boarding out (pretty sure that’s the building lingo…) the room was ready to be plastered. I used Thistle Mutifinish and gave the walls two coats. I’ve learnt that it’s best to be more generous on your first coat, wait for that to start to go off (just to a point where your fingerprints only just create a mark if you touch it) and then add a thin, more watery second coat so you can work through any imperfections more easily. My instructor on my course said to get the first coat to have the consistency of ‘just-melted ice cream’, which worked for me.

I plastered the ceiling first, best to get the messiest bits over first (!) and saves you getting plaster on newly plastered walls. I found the ceiling difficult, I’m not very tall and only have a small step but making a stand to put the plaster on was useful and saved too much bending down.

Once you’ve finished the walls, wet a paintbrush with cold, clean water and run across the edges.

I left the ceiling for a couple of days to dry out and then was ready to plaster the walls. This took quite some time, but it was important to get the walls looking as smooth and perfect as possible. I bought a plasterers darby (would have loved one of those flexi ‘SpeedSkim’ ones which look like great fun, but I was trying to keep costs to a minimum!)

The walls were really starting to come together now and were trying out nicely
A plant makes all the difference…!

Now that the room had been plastered, it was left for a few days or so to dry out and I worked on laying the armoured cable down the garden and through the garage. This was a difficult one as the cable was very heavy and difficult to manipulate. I have hidden the CAT5 and armoured cable alongside the path and then pinned the final bits to the wall before the cable went through the garage. I choose to run the cable through the ceiling joists in the ceiling, again, I had to call in reinforcements for this job as it wasn’t easy! Everything was then ready for the electrician to come back, install downlighters (£90+ well spent!)

Then, the walls and ceiling was whitewashed to get ready for the paint. It’s really important to treat new plaster in the right way (there are specific products you can buy that help you to seal the plaster, but you don’t need to spend a lot– a cheap white paint will suffice, just add water!)

Downlighters and switches in- we are live!

Now that the walls had been whitewashed, they were ready for cutting in and painting. In the garage, we had a spare tub of ‘soft coffee’ that had been used to paint our hall and kitchen and it made sense to use this neutral colour.

Cutting in completed
Room paint completed!

As you can see in this image, you’ve got a sneak preview of the floor (obviously not finished!) I had seen some excellent videos on YouTube on creating your own flooring on a budget and I thought this would be an appropriate flooring for an English teacher’s office. I sent my mom on an errand to the local charity shops to track down copies of my favourite texts and she came up with the goods. What’s nice is that the books are discolouring slightly, and when the sealant is added to the top, this will really emphasise the different colours here. Pages were ripped out (I know, the blasphemy!) and then glued onto the floor using PVA and water mixture. Once dried, a series of layers of polyetherene will be added to give the flooring a solid and gloss finish.

I’m really seeing the project start to take shape now and it has been very rewarding so far (not without its stresses!).

I’ll update soon with news of the flooring and the skirting boards. Once they’re done, I’ll hopefully have funds to purchase the thermowood cladding for the outside of the building.

I’d love to hear from anybody attempting/ having completed projects like this- feel free to comment or use the contact section to get in touch.

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