The next room on our list was the library. This is a room off the living room with an adjoining guest bathroom. The first major demolition in this room was the floor. For my birthday that year, my son-in-law Adrian gave me a gift of helping me with any project in the house so, unfortunately for Adrian, I chose to have him help me pull up the old flooring in this room. It turned out to be a much bigger job than both of us thought. It was asbestos floor tiles and we had to pull them up with crow bars and, since they were so old, they pretty much broke into tiny pieces as soon as we started prying them up. This was just the beginning because once we got all the flooring tiles removed, the old adhesive had to be cleaned off the floor. This was when I thanked Adrian for all his help with the tiles and told him I would take it from there. Silly me, I should have kept him around for this next stage. The adhesive was SO hard to get off the floors and had to be removed with a very strong chemical and scrapers, all while wearing a protective mask that could have made me an extra in Star Wars. This took several days to accomplish, but once it was cleaned up, our floors looked wonderfully salvageable, so we chose to refinish them which would have to wait until all the other renovations were done to the room.
This room had one of the home’s beautiful tall double-hung windows on the back wall. However, we really needed access to our backyard for us and our dog, so we took the window out and put a door in its place, surrounded by molding we found that was similar to the original door moldings.
Next came the walls. I chose to do a faux paint treatment on the walls called Frottage. It is a lengthy process because of several steps, but the final result is beautiful and looks somewhat like leather. I have always wanted to do a room in a deep burgundy and since the colors in the adjoining living room were green and burgundy, I felt this would be the perfect room for that rich color. I did leave about 2′ at the top of all the walls to allow for a different treatment after the lower part of the walls was painted in the burgundy.
Per the suggestion from the paint department in Home Depot, I used a gray primer paint as this would help darken the walls and eliminate so many coats of the burgundy paint to arrive at the right shade. I then painted 2 coats of the burgundy and then mixed a tiny bit of black into the burgundy along with glaze. I then cut up 2′-3′ squares out of lightweight drop cloths. The new blended paint was rolled on in 2′ square areas and then immediately I laid one of the drop cloth squares onto the paint I just put on, using my hands to smooth the cloth over the paint and then gently pulled the cloth off the wall. This created a very subtle pattern and gave depth to the walls.
After the burgundy walls were completed, I painted the top 2′ of the walls in a soft beige color that was close to the background color of a Victorian wallpaper trim that I was going to apply in the center of the 2′ area. Once the paint was done and the wallpaper trim installed, my husband and I put in crown molding at the ceiling and then another smaller molding at the bottom of the 2′ area.
We sanded and oiled the floor and it turned out a beautiful rich hue. It was so wonderful to be able to keep the original floor. My husband custom-built the bookshelves (similar to ones I fell in love with at the home of one of our neighbors) with a curved shelf corner unit. We found a beautiful reproduction roll-top desk and on one of the walls I created a sort of memory wall with photos of some of the early families who lived in our home.
Our next project was going to be “my” room which would become my studio, sewing room, filing, storage and my closet.