Painting the attic

We have a large cupboard in a gable at the front of the house, accessible through the loft conversion bedroom. Originally we thought it would be a ‘walk in cupboard’ but the reality turned out to be a ‘crouch in cupboard’. As soon as it came into existence, in 2004, shelves were built and Patrick started using it as an archive storage space. That was the theory. In addition to his substantial volume of papers, it became a bit of dumping ground for anything that needed hiding away. The speed with which the cupboard filled up meant that painting never happened – we got used to the bare plaster and unpainted wood round the door.

First we had to dig out all the boxes that held things we could ‘move on’. This started a while ago, long before the corona lockdown, and several tea sets, unwanted glasses, old suitcases etc went to charity shops. There were also quantities of notes, exercise books, drawings and school projects that Will and Jim checked through, and toys and magazines too, most of which Jim was happy to take away. Although this sounds as though the bulk of the contents of the cupboard had found new homes by March that was far from the case. It was still choc-a-bloc!

This lockdown spring Patrick decided it was a good idea to catch up with painting it. But that meant moving everything out. There is so much that he had to work in stages, clearing a third of the cupboard at a time, stacking everything in the adjoining attic bedroom, painting then moving the first lot back and clearing the next lot – and so on.  

This photo is of some of the non-archive stuff that was stored there – it looks like a 1990s car boot sale. We tend to hoard – note the cot and fireguard in the distance that have been around since 1981 (and are still in good, or maybe ‘reasonable’, condition). Most people would definitely have moved them on by now.

And here is a view from inside the cupboard, showing unpainted woodwork.

The sharp angles in the cupboard would be a contortionist’s delight – but not such fun for Patrick. He has found painting the sloping walls in such a confined space a far cry from his preferred place of work which is in front of the computer in our bedroom. His muscles are still complaining – maybe aggravated by digging and weeding our bone dry allotment on a weekly basis.

And at the end of each day there have been brushes to wash and dry. At least this one is a decent size and covers plenty of wall space with each stroke and good quality so the hairs don’t slip out as the paint goes on the wall.

These photos show how Patrick gets to the next bit of bare wall.

On the way into painting position…..

Moving closer…

Ready to paint..

A slightly more comfortable position

And these are the clothes that went in the wash. If you know what Patrick normally wears you’d be justified in thinking he wore his ordinary everyday clothes for painting. The guernsey had its day as ‘best’ then ‘everyday’ and now ‘gardening’, ditto the trousers.

The main storage space – double depth shelves.

And the half-painted adjoining wall with shelves already re-stacked.

The last stretch – and the most inaccessible! The builders clearly realised this as they included a removable side panel that opens into another small space under a velux window that is set in the slope of the front roof.

And after the ‘stuff’ was put back.

Patrick (still dressed in painting gear and raising a J cloth to his brow!) sitting in front of the computer – looking forward to returning to normal after his two weeks of work in the attic!

Brilliant by-products were

1. A map showing what’s where in the cupboard;

2. ‘Re-homing’ of many of the items – so fewer of them to store;

3. A catalogue of all Patrick’s papers; 

And of course

4. Painted walls.

But hopefully never again.

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