I tempted fate when I crossed my fingers and hoped and prayed that the builders installing the new driveway would not break my phone cable. Well, they bloody well DID! Not entirely their fault, as it needed replacing anyway. Virgin Media then sent the wrong engineer to replace it and I was without a landline, had very little internet access and the television picture was very temperamental for ten days. Not much fun watching Eastenders like that. Mind you, EastEnders isn’t much fun is it? It’s all fixed now and the children are back to school and college so I can carry on with my blog.
With my Brother, Michael, returning from living in Cambodia and having insisted we hold a surprise welcome home party for him in a newly-built Boogie Knights, we had a mad rush on to decorate the room. As I have said before, when talking about the bathroom, dark paint in a room with no natural light was the way to go. I chose Farrow and Ball’s Black Blue – a sludgy, inky, velvety and very cool colour (I think so, anyway) – and it took Marcus, My Step Dad and me roughly five weeks of prepping, sanding, filling and painting using large spot lights and lamps, along with a huge helping of determination. Well worth it, though.
When using such dark hues, it’s very important to get the lighting right. Because this was to be a multi-functional room, we also had to consider all its other uses – cinema room, kids’ den, entertainment room, spare bedroom for guests. We had the builders make a box around the perimeter of the room to house the main lighting. No down lights allowed here – we were too restricted with head room. We went through every shade and wattage of lighting we could lay our hands on. Warm white, bright white, multi-coloured (an absolute no-no for me), flashing, twinkling, you name it – we tried it. We settled on something between warm and fairly bright – no idea how describe that! – and the effect is perfect. It creates really beautiful shadows on the walls and ceilings. Very atmospheric, I must say!
I decided on mirror for the back of the bar behind the shelves. A few of my friends requested a mirror somewhere in the room. The sole reason was not to touch up their lipstick or to check their hair but to watch themselves singing or wearing one of my many ridiculous wigs. I kid you not! (I must admit, I thought it was a good idea!). Rather than use glass mirror, I ordered some shatterproof Perspex acrylic mirror. I had decided everything in Boogie Knights had to be made of non-breakable material where possible. If you knew how accident prone some of our friends are, you would know where I’m coming from!
With this in mind, I opted for a faux snakeskin print black leather material. It was a bargain on EBay and really good quality – perfect for low maintenance. You can’t actually see the snake skin print because the room is so dark but I know it’s there and I love it. It’s looks great against the hard surface of the concrete bar top (think contrasting textures in a room) and wipes down very easily. It also helps my Ikea hack bar stools to stand out, with their brass painted legs (More on Ikea hacks and homemade stuff another time – including the leopard print chairs in the 2nd photo. These are my favourite pieces of furniture in the whole house).
The floor was very tricky and time consuming. We could have used ordinary floor paint but I was convinced it would chip or scratch under the heels of drunken guests and rowdy children. It would have to be an industrial paint finish and one that could be used on a very thin layer of screed over underfloor heating. We bought a black epoxy resin paint that is industrial strength and used for heavy traffic in warehouses and factories. It was a bugger to use, being very sticky and Marcus could just about see what he was doing and we only managed one coat just before the surprise party that weekend. At some point we are going to have to clear the room out and do the second coat but for now, it does the trick.
The carpet on the stairs is charcoal grey, keeping with the dark, moody (seedy?) look I was going for. It shows every single piece of dirt and fluff but it looks the part once it is vacuumed so who cares? It’s also anti-slip which is a good thing! Next, Marcus installed the projector and 100 inch screen. I must admit, I don’t care for gadgets and I detest large TV’s with a passion (SO ugly). However, our screen goes up behind a boxed in panel (part of the lighting boxing) when not in use and when it is, the picture is amazing. I’ll let Marcus have that good idea (wink, wink!).
The final instalment was the ventilation system and air-conditioning unit which Marcus also installed. It can get really stuffy in Boogie Knights, especially when it is full of people. It can also be a bit chilly in the Winter. Also, because of a lack of windows, Building Control requested the ventilation. So much for their requests – they haven’t even been to sign off the room yet. Must get onto them about that!
Last but not least, my absolute favourite part of having a brand new room – dressing the space. I had collected posters, prints, chairs, chairs and more chairs, glasses, barware, lamps, rugs, you name it, since we moved into this house. I had various birthday presents still in wrapping and boxed up – my wonderful Boogie Knights and ‘Dancing’ signs, the disco ball, decanters, prints – and I couldn’t wait to finally unwrap them all and put them in their place. As long as we had lived in this house, I had a clear picture in my mind of the colour and style I wanted this room to be. More importantly, I knew the room wasn’t being used to its full potential. In fact, I always felt it was a separate part of the house. Somehow, we had to blend it in with everything else and make it a multi-purpose room, not just the disco room it was to start with.
With the pictures up, furniture, lights and rugs in, we were ready for the surprise party – just in the nick of time.
A few weeks later, we had another party and the ultimate compliment was given to Marcus by two of our builder friends; they told him they had seen and built basements in their work but none compared to Boogie Knights in terms of finish and style. Marcus and I DO make a good team on the design front, even though most of the ideas were mine (wink, wink!).