So, lets take about our passageway. First off, so that you know what space I am talking about: You know the huge barn door/gate in front of the house that I´ve painted and repainted in the past months? If you open that gate, you are standing in the passageway that leads into the walled garden. Above is what used to be a hayloft and is now our attic room. This space was a huge mess when we bought the house. The photo was taken in 2012 when we threw a garden party in here. I know it all looks very picturesque but trust me, things were bad. The old gate was falling apart. There was a dirt floor that looked terrible, plus our cats had taken to use it as a toilet. The walls had old plaster on them that was crumbling off. It was a shame and I mostly avoided thinking about it because we didn´t have the budget to do anything about it.
Fast forward to early spring 2015. I know, I know, this is the kind of "before" picture that usually makes me roll my eyes. *Everything* looks bad in a blurry picture taken with flash. Anyway it´s all I got so bear with me.
We got a new gate in 2013 which was such a relief. Otherwise, things were pretty much the same.
The plaster situation was really bad. This is the kind of cheap plaster that got used a lot in Eastern Germany. It´s the reason why people associate Eastern Germany with grey villages (although that has changed a lot). Originally I wanted to have the walls in here re-plastered so that I could paint everything white. It would have brightened the space up quite a bit. However the estimates for repairing the plaster came in at about 5,000 Euro which was way more than we wanted to spend on the space. Doing it ourselves was not an option because we aren´t completely crazy. What we could do ourselves though was to get rid of the old plaster altogether. So that´s what we did. I mean, it was mostly my husband who scraped and hammered and scrubbed for weeks while I cheered him on and provided snacks and coffee.
Side note: See that walled-up window? One of the secrets of this old house. It´s in the room that is now our library/my home office. The previous owners had it closed up but sort of forget to take care of the outside. Charming.
These pictures are from Easter this year. The brick walls are bare (such an improvement!) and we started on a new cobble stone floor. That project was intense. We borrowed a tractor from a neighbor which helped a lot with digging out the foundation. The cobble stones were provided for free by another neighbor which helped to keep the costs down.
After!! Yay! So much better. Double exclamation marks are usually one of my pet peeves but I feel they are appropriate here. !!
(Also, in case you wonder why there´s a chainsaw in almost all of these pictures, I cannot provide an answer except that my husband is very much into chainsawing things. Men!)
I love the bare brick walls. I was hesitant at first because with the new cobble stone floor, there are a lot of old stones now in one place. However, I think the combination works just fine.
As for the window, we came up with this solution. We had that old metal frame window lying around so voila, a window without a view! Love it.
All in all, this whole project came in at about 1,000 Euro. Not so bad for such a transformation! One more thing crossed of the list.