The last unfinished area in the living space of the house was the dining room. I’ve taken to calling it “the pub,” and its full name (courtesy of its five sponsors) is the “Mighty Worriers Mead Hall.” I really like its position at the rear south corner of the house, out of the normal traffic flow between the front and rear doors. It has very heavy wood trim and crown molding (including wood beams across the ceiling) that immediately made me want to style it on a classic British pub.
Originally, we planned to paint it a strong blue, but stole that color for the upstairs hall when it became apparent we’d already painted plenty of the house orange and needed a different, complimentary color. I think that turned out for the better, because instead we chose a deep green, like a very dark pool table felt. No crazy different colored walls in this room – just solid, dark, and calm. The heavy, gold office curtains from the Warren house were waiting, neatly folded in the foyer.
When we were deciding the order to paint things in during our long summer o’ paint, I chose to leave the pub entirely off the list. It wasn’t critical, would be easy to finish later, and provided a “final dirty/construction room” as we finished off the rest of the living spaces. It was where we left the floor covered in tarps, dumped our tools at the end of the day, and stacked our paint cans everywhere. We stored the stove and countertops there until the kitchen was done, and on moving day nothing was moved into it.
It was also one of the spaces that needed the most work. Its walls and ceiling were heavily cracked and peeling, by far the most of any space in the house. The biggest wall was covered in some sort of horrible stucco, extremely rough and impossible to paint. I really wasn’t sure how to approach it.
In the fall, after we’d moved in, Andy sent Phil to patch the ceiling and walls. I scraped loose paint and stucco off the walls. At the start of Oktoberfest, we scraped the nubs off stucco wall. We mopped the floor and put furniture into it for the first time, and it became the prime “chill out” spot for the rest of the event. Everyone loved the room, and it wasn’t even done yet.
Weeks later, I started spreading a light coat of mud over the wall to smooth it out the rest of the way. More scraping, more sanding, more patching. We did it many times over to get the walls into decent condition.
Then, just before the new year, it was time for a tea party.
As our guests started to arrive for the weekend and I returned from a week with my family in Pennsylvania, I decided a spackled-wall backdrop was just not going to fly for another event. It was time to get this room in order, so we dug in. I spent two days in that room with a good amount of help from Brian and a rotating group of volunteers. We wiped down the trim and taped it all off, then lathered oil primer on all the walls Saturday. On Sunday, we did three complete coats of paint (the only room in the house that needed three coats, due to the dark color). As it dried, I pulled down all the tape, moved the furniture back in, and by the wee hours of the night we had curtains and a dartboard hung. My pub was complete.
Immediately, rounds of darts began. Pints were drank. Stories shared. The tea party was a smashing success.
My favorite moment of the first night in the pub came when Benson commented on the very bright ceiling light fixture with hanging sconces. “The only thing I don’t like about this room is the lights. We need some pub lighting in here.” With a smug look on my face, I walked over to the antique push-button light switch and rotated the bottom button. The lights faded down to after-hours pub levels. “Pub lights? We got pub lights,” I declared victoriously. Everyone chuckled and conceded the point.
Something very interesting has happened since the pub came alive last week: we started eating at the dining table in it. Just two nights ago, Norm came over for dinner and the four of us ate there. I believe that’s the most people that have eaten together, seated, at ICHQ in the last six years outside of Icrontic events. Brian and Nicole went in there with their dinner last night, and I joined them with my beer to chat a while. Brian finished and played some darts. It really is like having a private pub in our house.
The only thing left unfinished is the ceiling, for which I have special plans: patterned brass tiles between the wood beams to complete the pub effect. That project, however, awaits another day.