Making a space a home: The Palace Courters room revamp

This week Martina, a current guardian, talks about being part of the Dot Dot Dot guardian community in West London. Together they put an empty room to use as a communal space; all chipping in with painting and various DIY skills.

About a year ago, just before the summer kicked off, I was one of the latest guardians to move in to Palace Court and join the community.

By that time there were only 4 rooms left out of the 18 that the whole building has, one of those was Room 10. You had to climb up three floors to reach this small space. I clearly remember the light and the big old window facing the back of the street. I thought: I’m sure that you can make this a nice place.

After the third floor came the fourth, right at the top of the building. By the time I reached it, I couldn’t breathe properly! This still happens everyday, as I took a room on the top floor – but, it’s a little flat I love and have been calling home for a year now.

It was September and Room 10 still was not taken by anyone… It seemed Dot Dot Dot was no longer advertising the room, so we asked if it was possible to open Room 10 for us to use as another ‘communal area’, to which they agreed.

It was the beginning of the year when I was chatting with two other Palace Court guardians, Kausikan and Mette, over a chai tea: What should we do with Room 10? Shall we make it like an office space? Would it be good for meetings?

Kausikan mentioned the colour Magnolia for the walls, and I was very lucky to find a guy in North London who was selling 10 litres of Magnolia paint for just £10! I went to collect the paint bucket on a Sunday afternoon and came back home not only with the heavy bucket but also with sand paper, brushes and a tray – gifted from the Gumtree guy.

Piers, another lovely guardian, aka ‘the facilities angel’ (he knows everything about Leyland, nails, lights and is always the god that brings light to our DIY ignorance!) very kindly bought a liquid to kill mould and applied it to the wall.

We had to wait 2 weeks for the product to work, then we got going redecorating the room! We plugged the speakers in, turned the volume up really high and spent maybe an hour painting the whole room… Sanya came to offer us some food after our painting session.

It’s now nearly 6 months after the ‘Room 10 revamp’. The mould never came back and we’ve added a sofa, plants, a dancing lamp and Dan drew a beautiful scene of a park with clouds on the wall.

We have made a great bunch of memories from this half of the year: we’ve hung out in there, had really long conversations, danced, sang and arranged group meetings. We’ve even read the English Dictionary and learnt some new words. We’ve cooked in there, talked on the phone, moved Mette’s plants there… The list goes on.

What will this summer bring to room 10?