Climbing the walls

One of the things we were very excited about in this house is that some rooms had the original arched brick ceilings.  They have been plastered over so we had them pressure washed before we arrived with all our furniture, etc.  They warned us that it was a messy process and would likely take some of the plaster off the edges at the top of the walls as pressure washers are not meant for detail work.

The ceilings are AMAZING!  The brick is a lovely deep red and in great condition.  The walls took a slight beating in the process, particularly in the lounge.  This house is OLD.  It is made of stone with walls 18+ inches thick covered over in plaster.  As some of the plaster had come off the top of the walls in layers, you could see older plaster with designed painted on it, holes in the plaster that had previously been patched, and drywall(?).

We primed the walls on Sunday so proceeded to paint them on Monday.  The primer might have sealed away stains but old paint and discolored plaster showed right through!  In places where the new plaster and old plaster met, the plaster would peel away from the walls when painted.  Getting plaster and rocky bits stuck in the paint roller.  Leaving big patches of peeled away wall.  Irritated. To say the least.  I might as well admit right now that I have little patience – this will explain a lot going forward.

We weren’t really in a position to have the builders completely redo the lounge walls which we discussed in detail and really wanted to do as I was pretty much done screwing around with these walls.  This will never be a job that I am good at or like but needs must.  To calm my nerves (and since it was Monday when everything was closed) we decided to just paint the kitchen which turned out nice, clean and white.

On Tuesday morning, we went to the big hardware store and got a variety of supplies, including patching compound as I was going to have a go at fixing up the walls to get us through for now.  All I wanted was for them to white with no holes/stains.  We got two tubs which successfully covered ¼ of the area that needed help.  So, I (with very little Italian) went to the local hardware store.   I got three tubs (grande) of patching compound (stucco in pasta). Success!

I spent the next two hours teetering on top of a ladder trying to spread patching goop over the tops of the walls and in all the variety of holes and pressure washing scars.  It takes 24+ hours for this to dry so we went to the beach on Wednesday. It was a well-deserved break and Savona did the trick.  We had sun, a nice breeze, freezing cold water, gelato and fresh pasta at a beach front restaurant.

Thursday morning we were back to fighting strength and tackled the lounge.  I sanded down the lumpy bumps on the walls covering myself in a lovely, fine, white dust that got all up my nose – gross.

Once the paint went up, we realized that it worked!  All the old paint and plaster was nicely covered up.  We had to paint some areas very carefully but all in all, the lounge walls looked great.  We didn’t plan to spend the best part of 2-3 days on this but, in the end, it was worth it and cheaper than having someone else do it although I do realize that this will never be a second career for me – it only looks really good from a distance!

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