So, in the new house we've established there's a large, concrete floored room with three walls (2 sides brick, one side fibrous cement) and panelled ceiling under the house. What's the first thing that should be done in such an area?

Fill it with stuff, naturally.

Yes, I started doing the laboratory almost completely backwards, getting very excited and buying lots of steam-punk looking items and furniture. When I brought some friends over they were quite impressed with the space, but then asked what I was going to do about the floor, walls and ceiling. Whoops. Thankfully I wasn't too ridiculous — time to rethink the plans. Obviously step one had to be tackling the basic structure of the room to make it look more Victorian era. Time to hit the internet and design books.

Resources

  • Hardware stores (1): Floor. Lots of it, and it was concrete. Enthusiastic I may be, but carpet is expensive and — in an area that was until recently susceptible to flood waters — not practical. Especially for a laboratory look. Timber flooring them is out due to expense. So we went the logical step, seal the concrete to prevent overly dust and leave it like that. Rugs were acquired later to lend a bit of a warmth to the area.
  • Hardware stores (2): They have the paint, and they have the books. Rummaging through books enough and we found colour swatches specifically targeting the Victorian era. Funnily enough, they mentioned colours that were actually for sale at the shop we were at! How's that for convenience with a complete lack of ulterior motivation? Three colours were selected, cottage cream, some sort of green, and an indian red.
  • Hardware stores (3): Given that most of the room was brick, I was looking at a fair amount of trouble turning those into paintable walls. Or so I thought; first experiment - grab some MDF, paint them white, paint them the wall colours and liquid nail them to the brickwork. Surprise surprise, it actually works really well.
  • The Internet: There was some verification about the colours, but then there was looking into ratios and scientific principles, there needed to be method in my paint. The Indian red was for the ceiling, so I had green and yellow for the walls. The split between the two colours was quickly determined to be the golden ratio. Very science, and very appealing for splitting. Looks good.
  • Good friends: Dame Virago and Baron Cyrus von Borg (Amy and Scott) were above-and-beyond helpful with painting the MDF, affixing the MDF, sealing the floors, painting the roof. Much gratitude towards them

NOW that the area is completed, we can start looking into the furniture and accoutrements. You will note in the right picture part of the ceiling that's exposed beams? Yeah, a few months into living in the house that part of the ceiling collapsed. We fixed that up in the emergency pressure stage of building (covered in a later entry).

First coat of red ceiling paint First coat of red ceiling paint Second coat on the ceiling, looks a richer red Second coat on the ceiling, looks a richer red