It includes

  • Process
  • Result and transformation
  • List of products

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With zero travelling on the foreseeable horizon, a small DIY project seemed like a good idea to keep me entertained on weekends. As we’re still waiting for planning permission, having something nice and finished will keep me excited (instead of stressed) about renovating again.

As the title already hints, I’m not a DIYer. The project I chose to tackle was renovating an Edinburgh press.

About the press

The press in question is located in my office. When we viewed the flat, this used to be a twin bedroom and the press served as a wardrobe, judging by the two IKEA furniture legs drilled into the wood lining.

I decided that this was going to be my first DIY project mainly because of the low risk of screwing up and being able to hide a potential not-so-good job behind a door. Had the press being in the living room, I wouldn’t have dared to touch it. But it’s in my office and its purpose as a stationery cupboard is a practical one, not a decorative one.

Edinburgh press renovation: the process

As a non-experienced DIYer ordering everything online, renovating the press has taken a long time (I started stripping off paint about six weeks ago). I wasn’t in a rush, some deliveries were delayed quite a lot and I also wanted it to last, like a good book. I did it in stages:

1. Stripping off paint

This was by far the least satisfying task of all. I got myself a cheap heat gun as a Christmas present for the occasion and I think I won’t be using it again. I found the process quite slow. It also made the heat detector constantly go off, even opening the window, so I had to disconnect it while I stripped off the paint.

The press had all quite a few layers of paint on it. The top part had two layers of beige and chocolate brown paint which were reasonably easy to strip off. However, the rest of the press had what looked like four different layers of white, beige and brown paint. That was a tough job for a cheap heat gun.

Stripping off paint
Stripping paint off the press

2. Sanding

Once I had stripped off all the paint I could, I sanded any bulky bits of remaining paint I found. Basically, I tried to make the surface as smooth as I could. I used sanding blocks with different angles.

3. Wood filling

Next was filling any gaps. There were many gaps between the wood lining boards, which were a bit wonky, and several nail holes. I used about half of the 250 ml wood filler pot I had bought.

4. Sanding

After the wood filler dried, I sanded all the bulky bits again to smooth the surface before putting up the shelves.

5. Putting up supporting wood strips and shelves

We had some old bits of wood which came in handy as supporting strips. The shelves were new chunky (25 mm thick) pine wood stair treads I ordered online and cut to measure. They have a nice bullnose edge and look sturdy enough for books. I wouldn’t go for shelves any thinner, as they tend to sag.

Deciding where each shelf would go was tricky. Three equally-separated shelves didn’t work, as the second one would be right on the door lock. I also wanted at least one shelf to be high enough to fit lever arch files.

What I did was to put a supporting strip at a height above the door lock for a shelf, and then divide the spaces above and below that shelf into two. The result is two equal-height shelves at the top (below the old shelf) and two higher spaces at the bottom.

Edinburgh press renovation_wood stripes
Edinburgh press renovation_putting up supports
Edinburgh press renovation_wooden shelves

6. Priming and Painting

I applied a first coat of Farrow & Ball Interior Wood Primer & U/C Dark Tones, followed by three coats of Farrow & Ball Modern Eggshell Calke Green No.34. According to the paint instructions, two coats of paint on top of the primer should suffice. In my case, I still noticed brush strokes after two coats and it seemed I hadn’t applied the second coat evenly, as some areas were slightly lighter than others.

That said, I used less than half the amount of paint I expected, even after applying three coats of paint. I absolutely love the colour and I’m keeping the remaining paint to use it again on the wall-to-wall bookcase I’m planning to have after renovations.

Edinburgh press renovation_priming
Edinburgh press renovation_painting

Edinburgh press renovation: the result

Edinburgh press renovation_result

Edinburgh press renovation: the transformation

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Irene Corchado Resmella

Irene Corchado Resmella

I'm a Spanish freelance translator living in the UK since 2011. After fully renovating and selling a Victorian end of terrace house in Oxford, I recently relocated to Edinburgh with my Scottish husband.

In The Home Reporter I share everything home and lifestyle – from renovation stories and interiors inspiration to tips and anecdotes about buying a house, working from home and relocation. Lover of bright spaces, wooden floors and matte finishes.

Find me on Instagram.

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