Normally Boxing Day is spent eating leftovers, visiting relatives and watching cricket on the TV.

Not this Boxing Day!

This Boxing Day was the start of “The Renovation Project.” This project had been 10 years in the dreaming, but had always been pushed aside for other more pressing repairs needed on the house. However, this year it had nudged itself to the top of the list and was finally going to be done.

And what was “The Renovation Project?”

Emptying out the kids’ rumpus room of 15 years of accumulated “stuff,” and then repairing and repainting it.

This room is massive as rooms go. It takes up a whole one third of the ground floor space of our house, and the kids had taken advantage of this space to fill it to exploding with toys, games, memories and treasures.

Furniture that didn’t fit anywhere else in the house always made their way to the rumpus room, as did every DVD, CD and book the kids had ever read, watched or listened to.

There were walls filled with family photos and cupboards stacked high with special glasses and nice crockery for special occasions that happened all too rarely.

It was a living museum of my kid’s childhoods … and it was time to finally sift, sort, clear and donate.

The Renovation Project was a team project with my two girls and myself, and we started by going through every shelf, every cupboard and every drawer.

Do we still love this? Does it still reflect who we are? Is this still useful?

A mountain started to appear for things to be donated to charity, matched by an even bigger mountain of things that needed to be dumped.

And still we sorted.

We sorted long into the night until finally the room only held the furniture and nothing else.

In the morning, we analysed each piece of furniture.

Do we still love this? Does it still reflect who we are? Is this still useful?

More things joined the charity and dump piles and we started the first of many visits to the local dump and charities.

I am not saying that we went to the dump too many times, but by about the sixth visit in one day, the guys on the gate no longer asked for our ID and just waved us through.

We were finally left with just the pieces of furniture we loved, and the boxes with our retained treasures, so we then we moved them out of the room in readiness for painting.

The cracks (and mould) appear

The walls that had been hidden behind our beloved furniture had seen better days. They had been perfect and new once. Now they resembled moon craters.

There were dings and cracks, and more worrying, there was more than a little bit of mould on the walls that had been hidden behind the furniture.

As we looked around, we spotted more mould in other rooms not part of the Renovation Project. It had been there in plain sight, but we had managed to overlook it before. We had not been expecting it, so we did not see it.

Going backwards

This prompted a rapid change of plans. How should we tackle the mould? How would we stop it reappearing?

We raided the net for advice, and gathered our supplies.

Cleaning the ceiling and the walls (and all the other rooms affected) took on a whole new strategy and meaning.

We also had to go back and clean every piece of furniture and every item that would be returning into the room to ensure all potential mould spores had been eliminated.

We had to go back before we could move forward.

Here’s some information we used about how to get rid of mould. Our house smelt like an old fashioned fish and chip shop! 

Preparation takes time … a lot of time

Finally, after two full days of preparation, the room was ready for painting. The mould had been treated. The dings repaired. The surfaces prepared and the gloss trim undercoated ready for water based acrylic paint. It was time to finally get started.

Is it just me, but does preparation always take longer and is a heck of a lot more tedious than actually doing? I hate the preparation phase … of anything. But I also know that unless you do the prep work, you end up with a shoddy result.

Once the paint rollers were finally flowing it was dawn on New Year’s Eve.

False economy

Of course, there were hiccups while we were painting. The paint for the ceiling was aged (and not in a fabulous vintage wine way), which meant we had to keep going back to repair problems.

Trying to take a short cut and save money ended up costing time, aggravation and quality of finish. In hindsight, spending an extra $80 on new ceiling paint would have been a brilliant investment.

Down to the wire

We added a special anti-mould treatment to the wall paint to stop mould from reappearing and things moved along swiftly.

The first coat went on brilliantly, until we realised there was not enough paint left for a second coat. Sheesh!

A mad dash back to Bunnings just before it closed on New Year’s Eve saw our paint stocks replenished and the rollers kicked into high gear.

While New Year’s Eve parties were being held in neighbours homes all around us, and the scent of BBQs filled the air, all we could hear in our house was the swoosh of rollers and smell the scent of wet paint.

The end is in sight

At 11.45pm on New Year’s Eve we finally finished painting.

We had just enough energy to pop the bottle of champagne and cheer in the New Year.

The next day we put everything into their new places and admired our handiwork.

The Renovation Project is finally complete (… almost)

The room looked fabulous and The Renovation Project was finally complete … except now we wanted to add in a new lounge and tweak a few ornaments here and there.

And that’s what they never tell you about renovations. No renovation is ever 100% fully done. There is always more that can be done in phase 2, 3 or 4.