One of our biggest projects this year is renovating our den, a small room to the left of our living room and front door. My dad and I demo’d this room last year, removing wooden wall panels, a built-in desk and a tiled drop ceiling to reveal original plaster walls, original trim and an original 10′ plaster ceiling.


The ceiling was in very good shape as was much of the trim, but the walls couldn’t be saved. The most efficient and cost-effective thing to do was drywall directly overtop of the old plaster and that’s what we elected to do. Sort of a hard decision, but nothing about this renovation has been “pure” and I’m as much a fan of smooth walls and safe electrical as I am of preserving historic charm. We were able to keep the plaster ceiling and the carpenters were able to preserve about 75% of the original trim; it will go back up once we’ve refinished the original fir floors.


The windows and door will stay in place even though we’ve added ½″ drywall, so the boys will add a reveal to make the end result look A+. I just love this stained glass window that opens awning-style over the front porch. I’ve mentioned this before, but this room used to be a “piano room” in the original floor plan for the house. I have been operating under the assumption that our house was built in 1913 (that’s the date on the deed to our property), but Evan (one of our carpenters) informed me that the City of Victoria Archives building burned down in 1912 and so many homes in the city that are dated as 1913 are actually much older than that! I so enjoyed researching the history of our Toronto house and am really looking forward to seeing what I can find out about our current place when I have the time.


It looked so much better/cleaner in here just with the drywall up (no more giant holes for little hands or cat paws), but looks even better since Jeremy the drywall taper has been through. I had the dehumidifier, two fans and a small space heater pumping in this space for an entire week so that Jeremy was able to return five days in a row, a rigorous regimen of mudding and sanding, mudding and sanding.


We still have quite a bit to do in here — priming, painting and refinishing the floors are all on our to-do list over the next couple of weeks — but it is looking so much better in here than when we toured our house for the first time (nearly!) one year ago. I have a thrifted rug I’m just itching to unroll in this space, a light fixture I’m dying to unbox and a giant restored map of Vancouver Island that I’m desperate to get out of our dining room and hang on the back wall… so looking forward to that stage of the renovation.


7 thoughts on “DRYWALL IN THE DEN

  1. What that’s exciting to think your home could have been built in the late 1800s! Will be fascinating if you can find some pictures. I know this room is going to look fantastic when you’re done. You possess that amazing ability to ‘see’ a room finished even before you begin.

    1. The big building boom in Victoria was between 1907 and 1913 so 1913 could definitely be correct, give or take a few years. It’s definitely early 1900s just based on materials and style! But could be 1910 instead of 1913. I’ll see what I can find out!

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