Welcome to the cave.


The bookcase did get to be fully assembled. Briefly. As a proof of concept. I was given the honour of inserting four screws and then called back again to provide ‘ballast’. Weight was needed to keep each section pinned to the ground as the various bits were fitted together and, apparently, I was the best to hand. Bloomin’ cheek. I know I took on a few extra pounds over Christmas and true, they have yet to depart. Even so.

Then came the task of clearing the room. Everything that could be moved is now distributed evenly over the rest of the house. I think only the bathroom has escaped unscathed. The previous bookcase in the sitting room is made of solid oak. Such things are not lightweight. We’d scoured the house trying to find a place where it would go and finally decided on my study. First floor.

Mike took out the books, obviously, and also the shelves. And then we tried to lift it. It hovered ½ inch off the floor for almost a second then crashed back down. “Let’s just try to get it into the centre of the room..”

It took a monumental effort, but we did actually do it and without further words uttered between us we just kept on going. Through the dining room and hall and onwards to the bottom of the stairs. The stairs describe a tight arc of 180 degrees. They get narrower in the middle. The only way to get round would be to tip the bookcase up on its side. According to Mike’s tape measure we would have just one inch clearance from the ceiling. With another supreme effort the bookcase is lifted on to the first tread. I put my shoulder behind it and what feels like the entire weight now rests on my 5’ 1” frame. Mike pulls, I shove. Miraculously, step by step, we make it.


Bookshelves spray booth Wm


With the bookcase out of the way we are all but ready to start spraying. A curtain of clear plastic will be pinned to the ceiling roughly where the camera now sits and the spray booth will be complete.


NB: Mike has watermarked the photo for consistency.

Not because I fear it will reappear in a National Geographic photo competition anytime soon.


2017-11-09T18:20:44+00:00January 27th, 2013|Tags: |


  1. Simone January 27, 2013 at 1:39 pm - Reply

    I must say that Mike is very organised! I hope all the spraying goes well. It looks like a very professional set up there in your living room.. Jessica you must write a book about the rennovations or even do a documentary!!!

    • Jessica January 27, 2013 at 6:06 pm - Reply

      It doesn’t look much like a living room anymore does it??

  2. Sue January 27, 2013 at 3:30 pm - Reply

    Looks like a brilliant spray booth, now only time will tell 🙂

    It’s amazing what weights we can suddenly lift when we have to!!

    Sue xx

    • Jessica January 27, 2013 at 6:10 pm - Reply

      Mike has worked hard to contain it, but time will indeed tell. Starting tomorrow. We both just want the job over and done with now.

  3. 1gus1 January 27, 2013 at 4:33 pm - Reply

    You did very well! I’m constantly surprised at what determination can achieve.

    • Jessica January 27, 2013 at 6:15 pm - Reply

      Yes me too. And when you are wedged half way up the stairs there is nothing else for it!

  4. CherryPie January 27, 2013 at 4:46 pm - Reply

    I am impressed that you managed to get that upstairs. I am sure I would have ended up with it on top of me.

    • Jessica January 27, 2013 at 6:18 pm - Reply

      I had my doubts. When we moved in, it started off upstairs and the removal men struggled. When we changed our minds they were unimpressed at having to bring it back down again.

  5. BadPenny January 27, 2013 at 4:50 pm - Reply

    I’m gradually getting the notion that Mike is a perfectionist ?! This looks so professional.

    I am oftem asked to move from one side of our boat to the other & accepted that as I don’t have an actual crewing job to do, I am BALLAST !!!

    • Jessica January 27, 2013 at 6:24 pm - Reply

      We both are I think. But also learning everything as we go along. And I suppose that’s why it’s taking so long!
      You really ARE ballast!

  6. haggiz January 27, 2013 at 5:20 pm - Reply

    Looking at that photo I am in awe! How long did it take to put all that plastic up? Julie x

    • Jessica January 27, 2013 at 6:26 pm - Reply

      Two days Julie! There’s quite a bit of it out of shot too.

  7. Vera January 27, 2013 at 5:39 pm - Reply

    Crikey but you are both organised. When I painted the sloping ceiling of the Half Barn I just went ahead and did it, mopping up the sploshes as I went, which of course took me far longer to do the job than if I had bothered to cover everything with plastic! Hope the spraying goes well, and furniture shifting? Am well experienced with that task! Hope you didn’t strain or sprain anything. It will all be worth it in the end.

    • Jessica January 27, 2013 at 6:30 pm - Reply

      I remember the photo of you after you’d done it!!

  8. Jill Chandler. January 27, 2013 at 6:01 pm - Reply

    Just make sure you are well out of the way when spraying commences. Good Luck.

    • Jessica January 27, 2013 at 6:32 pm - Reply

      Don’t you worry… ! Thanks Jill.

  9. Anne January 27, 2013 at 7:13 pm - Reply

    Good luck with the spray painting – but knowing how these things go, I bet you find a film of paint in strange places! When we bought a summer house for our last garden, we erected it ouselves ……. Malcolm couldn’t grasp that I just wasn’t strong enough to hold the whole front in place while he screwed the bits together! When we bought one for this garden, we had it erected by the garden centre we bought it from!!

    • Jessica January 27, 2013 at 11:05 pm - Reply

      These situations can become fraught, I’ve learnt only too well! Jx

  10. Em January 27, 2013 at 7:15 pm - Reply

    You never know……someone may try to use that photo for something. The world is a very strange place these days. Perhaps I should start water marking mine but I’m not sure how! Ballast…..that is VERY cheeky.

    • Jessica January 27, 2013 at 11:11 pm - Reply

      I will find out how and email you Em.

  11. Josephine January 27, 2013 at 9:43 pm - Reply

    Yes, indeed he really IS a perfectionist, the preparation is beyond your average DIY scope.
    Well done, now get those masks on !

    • Jessica January 27, 2013 at 11:17 pm - Reply

      I just hope the preparation works Jo, otherwise we will be doing a whole lot more decorating than we bargained for!

  12. Viv January 27, 2013 at 11:10 pm - Reply

    When you mentioned spray booth in your previous post I was thinking a booth in the middle of the room not the room in the middle of a booth. It all looks quite bizarre and I do have to ask the question – ‘have they run out of paint brushes where you live’?
    In a strange way your set up does remind me of Santa’s Grotto – I think a string of fairy lights would go quite well – what a shame we have past the Festive season. Be sure to collect up anything else in the house that might want a quick spray whilst you are all prepared. Best of Luck and as it says on all the best fireworks ‘stand well back’ x

    • Jessica January 27, 2013 at 11:27 pm - Reply

      Now that we’ve got it all set up, spraying should be a lot quicker than using a brush. And the finish should be smoother. That’s the theory!
      We may need the luck though. Thanks!

  13. Natalie January 28, 2013 at 12:22 am - Reply

    Okay, I won’t complain about my own renos…. what a job!

    Maybe you could offer spray-on tans as well? Recoup a little cash? 😉

    • Jessica January 28, 2013 at 9:37 am - Reply

      If I put all those bare bodies in front of Mike, when would I ever get any renos done??!! 😉

  14. Heda January 28, 2013 at 8:20 am - Reply

    Most impressive. Well done!

    • Jessica January 28, 2013 at 9:37 am - Reply

      Thanks Heda!

  15. Anny January 28, 2013 at 11:04 am - Reply

    I’m with Viv – took one look and thought what an amazing grotto. (I did have experience of room dressing in a previous life, so if you decide to keep it – let me know – I’m thinking fairy lights, glitter and swathes of laciness). Good luck, stock up on gin before you start.

    • Jessica January 28, 2013 at 12:11 pm - Reply

      When I’ve got the room back I’ll have some twiggy bits with fairy lights, how’s that?

  16. Rosie January 28, 2013 at 3:28 pm - Reply

    I think I too had imagined a small booth built in the middle of the room into which would go each separate piece to be sprayed before putting it all together. I can only say, ‘wow!’ at the enormity of the whole painting process and of getting a bookcase up stairs with 1in to spare, too:)

    • Jessica January 28, 2013 at 4:17 pm - Reply

      It did start off that way Rosie. Or at least, in my mind it did…

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