Room Makeover – French Friday

Vaux le Vicomte Le Notre
I had in mind this understated little room in Vaux le Vicomte when redesigning the dining room. Well….at least I have panels now.

In the 1980’s many houses in Perth were built with what was then known as “Feature Brick Walls”

It was basically a clever ploy by the builders to have large expanses of brick wall left unplastered, and then claim it gave some sort of “country” feel to the plan. It didn’t.

Dining 1 (Large)
Our dining room. Note the exquisite “feature brick”

We are particularly earthquake free in Perth…I will have to tell of the terrible “tremor” of 1979 another time. Hence Perth is peculiar, as most houses are fully brick inside and out.

Our home is no exception. We bought it to house a large family and had to live with the “exposed brick”. It was a boon when the kids were little. They could throw food up and down the walls, bash the chairs against them and sometimes their heads, and leave no mark. The downside is that we always hated exposed brick.

Dining 2 (Large)
The Panels – actually internal feature doors, as all I got was looks of blank incomprehension when I asked for “wall panels” at any shop. “Yer mean plasterboard mate?” was the closest I got as a reply.

So at last, now that I have a few spare days, I determined to change our brick wall into French paneling. This sequence of photos shows you how I got there in the end. I am still just deciding whether to fill the top panels in fabric inserts, a la the French style, or hand paint some matching Renaissance designs to complete the effect. Apologies for the blurry photos. Actually doing physical labor brought on an attack of the palsy.

Wall paneling
The panels propped against the wall. Already I feel the joy of not seeing the brick we have lived with for 15 years.
Wall paneling
One wall attached! It only took me two days to get to this point. (I did have to paint everything first though!)
Wall paneling
Getting closer! Just one upper panel to complete.
Wall paneling
Where we are now. Panels are finished but I still need to complete the upper inserts. My nearest and dearest suggests a discrete fabric insert. I am for a Florentine arabesque. What do you think?
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21 Comments

    1. We only spent half a day there but it was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. I loved the fact that it felt small enough to be a private residence but lavish enough to delight. The gardens too were just spectacular.

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  1. Oh TJ, I feel like Pavlov’s dog–I start chuckling as soon as I see you’ve got a post in the Reader, before I’ve even clicked to read it! That’s terrible, I know!! I can see why you’d tire of the “feature brick”–my goodness, it looks like the dining table is set up outside against the exterior of your home…not very attractive. But My O My! Your refurbishing/redecorating is Gorgeous!!

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    1. Thanks so much. Not to have to look at that brick is a great relief after all these years. I have been working myself up to this for a year now. Much better feeling than being in “Cell Block A”

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        1. Thankfully we always ate family meals (and still do for those around about) every day around the big table so there was plenty of fun despite the dispiriting bricks and mortar. They came into their own when we had a brussel sprout fight once. 🙂

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          1. Hilarious–I dare say Brussel sprouts make better ammo against a brick wall, than a green vegetable “yes you have to eat it” item… And I had no doubt that your family meals made more than sufficient gold memories to supplant the brick and mortar backdrop 🙂

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  2. I’m terrible at interior decoration… or exterior. Or flower arrangement. Et cetera. So I’m not going to offer advice on how you should proceed. 🙂 But it already looks much better than the brick did so you can’t go wrong even if you stop. 🙂

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