Bar wall moved
When we bought this house, it had a bar (not even a wet bar, just a 1970~1980’s “here’s where we keep our liquor, do you want anything” bar). That’s no good to us, we don’t really drink, and even if you do drink bars are for people who have friends over and don’t mind them drinking all your liquor.
So this has been just a massive waste of space for us since we moved in, and with Sabriena wanting to change the layout of our living room “this year” and me being on sabbatical now and the Spa project being mostly-done way earlier than expected… no time like the present.
We had a look, just to confirm what the building inspector said when I asked about it as we bought the house - no, none of this is structural, the “wall” behind the bar isn’t really a wall at all, just plastered the back of the shelves. So it seemed fairly trivial (hah!) to just undo the anchors top and bottom, slide the whole wall back and we’re all set. Because it’s not structural, that uncomplicates the permitting process too.
When we got stuck into it, no, it wasn’t that simple at all. The anchors top and bottom were easy enough to get out, but it was anchored on the bricks on each side too! It was quite an ordeal to get the shelves out without destroying them, and then at the end Sabriena and Duncan both decided that they don’t really like those shelves anyway so they won’t be going back.
So put the remnants of the “wall” back in place where we want them, drag the trailer out to Hammer Barn to pick up some plasterboard (“sheetrock” in the USA) and other supplies, and another couple of days later we have a wall! Due to the fact that we can’t adequately hide the cables for the TV on the brick wall (which I absolutely adored otherwise, it turned out exactly how I wanted it) we figured we’d put the TV over there. Since the shelves aren’t going back, I’ll build my own shelves (“with blackjack, and hookers!”) to put game consoles and possibly an AV receiver on, and pass all the cables through the wall so that the only thing on the wall is the TV, some knick-knacks, and maybe some artwork or a clock.
Sabriena picked A Color (and it’s certainly a color) for the wall - I was skeptical at first, figuring we could re-use they unoffensive battleship grey leftover from Duncan’s room if we hated it, but I actually like it a lot. It’s Dulux Wash & Wear in “Lagoon Teal”, which came up really nice. In a stroke of genius, because of the way I laid the plasterboard out, all the joins (so basically all of my sins) are hidden behind the TV and I think it’s probably the nicest drywall job I’ve done. The ceiling, not so much - I had to cut a portion out in order to find somewhere to hang the wall from, and replacing it the job is entirely unconvincing if you inspect it closely… and Bunning’s first attempt at matching the ceiling paint is wildly inaccurate so we’ll have to just bring home a shitload of swatches and have multiple goes I think.
Finally, for the cable pass-through, I bought two Deta brushplates (#6519B), and two Deta wall boxes (#6057B). I knocked out the two back panels, cut out the space between them to maximize the hole opening, put them back to back and screwed them to the studs. The the brushplates go on either side and we have a nice little opening to pass cables through, where creepy-crawlies can’t get in from the wall void, you can’t lose cables, etc. It should make the sparky happy - I’m not sure I actually need it as they’re on opposite sides of the stud but I’ll have at least 300mm separation from them too.
What’s left as of today? The cornice (“crown molding” in the USA) needs doing, but I didn’t buy that at the time I bought the plasterboard, and when we went back to see if I could buy just a few feet of it, they only sell it in 3M lengths. That can wait. I still need to have a crack at cleaning up the ceiling a bit better before the cornice goes up, and of course another attempt at matching the ceiling paint. Close enough will be close enough for that - the entire ceiling will need painting at some point but if we can avoid doing that now that’d be swell.
Our sparky will have to come out and run power into the wall for us, so for the next month or two (he’s quite busy) we’ll run the TV off an extension cord from elsewhere. While we’re at it he’ll replace the ceiling fan in the living room as well.
The entire back side is naked right now, with all the tiles tore up. Our plan is to turn that into a “mud nook”, we’ll have a little bench next to the AV shelves to sit on and put shoes on, and a drawer or shelf under that for the shoes to live in. Get someone in to tile the rest of it, put some hooks up for dog leashes, coats, etc and it will be a space we can use.
I also learned peeking in the ceiling that the platform for the HVAC runs all along here once you navigate past the ductwork, so I’m thinking about shifting the network rack over here to centralize it in the house better - this gives the added advantage of any time I need another network cable for a game console, AV device, or whatever, it’s a very short and easy run. I’ll run a trunk over to the server cabinet in the garage still, but all the internet related stuff will be in the house. It’ll also let me shorten up the VDSL cabling even further, and probably simplify the installation when we eventually get fiber internet installed too.
Anyway, the TV is moved to the beautiful blue wall, and the couches are moved away from the bar and the result is that the living room is massive, even when filled with construction materials as it currently is!