PROJECT: FINISHING TOUCHES

The focus at the moment is finishing what we have started before we start with any other big projects.  I said that one of the goals of 2015 was to get a bathroom mirror and we can tick that off the to-do list already.  The Husband put it up this week:

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We are also well on the way to finishing the varnishing and the entrance looks so much better already:

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As I write this, The Husband is upstairs having some fun with the window catches on the big window on the top floor so hopefully they will be finished soon too.

 

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PROJECT: BASEMENT

When I first came to view the house I was not really sure what to think of the basement.  It seemed to be a lot of extra space to clean and I wasn’t really sure we needed it but it has since come to be a key part of the house.  It has also caused us quite a few ups and downs!

To reach the basement you turn back on yourself as you enter our kitchen.  As you walk down the stairs you are met with a hallway with four doors leading off of it:

  • The first leads to a small box cupboard/room underneath the stairs of the front steps.  It was really dirty when we moved in but it is one of the only built in cupboards we have in the house so eventually we will use it for storing the ironing board, laundry basket, DIY tools and things like that
  • There is then a room of similar size to our living room with three small windows at street level that run along the side of the house
  • Next is a slightly smaller room with a large window that looks into the back garden
  • Finally there is a small bathroom with a sink, toilet and bath as well as one of my other built in cupboards

We really like the fact that all of the rooms have natural light – I’ve never been a fan of rooms (particularly bathrooms) without windows.

When we first moved in this was our home, the smaller room had the bed and the larger room (which had a built in wardrobe) housed everything else from clothes to books to bits of furniture that had no where else to go.  It was fine, it needed a bit of TLC but was right at the bottom of our to-do list as nothing was really ‘wrong’ with it.  The only thing we needed to consider was how we could improve the fire exit plan of the larger rooms as building regulations weren’t happy with the three small windows being the only way out.

Then came the great flood of 2014…

I mentioned here the damage that was caused but it was a complete nightmare.  None of the other rooms were in a fit state for us to move into and the only rooms that were okay were full of every bit of furniture and possession we owned.  Initially we had to move out and stay with some family but we then returned and managed to move things around so we could squeeze into the living room  before making it upstairs.

Now, five months on I am able to look back (thanks to the fact I have a functioning bedroom) and see how this may have actually helped us in the long term.  The insurance has paid for:

  • new tanking and insulation
  • new plastering
  • new wood work and doors
  • new painting
  • new bathrooms

It’s not completely finished but the end is definitely in sight.  The intention has always been to make the small room (our old bedroom) The Husband’s office as he works from home and needs a space he can shut the door to at the weekend.  The other room has always been planned as a TV room/den or ‘man cave’ as The Husband likes to call it.  We’ve also been keen to ensure that both have the ability to be guest rooms if needed.

As with the whole house, my priority has been to make sure it is as warm as possible too!  We’ve gone for a bright white painted finish with the intention of keeping it simple and then adding colour via photos and pictures.  We’re planning on having a light coloured wooden floor but may also go for a brightly coloured carpet for the stairs.

The pictures below show where we have got to.  This is the hallway and the door to the room under the front steps:

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This is from the bigger room through to the new office.  We have taken the opportunity to install doors between the two to meet the request from the building regulations team:

IMG_5354This is looking back the other way (ignore the mess but we have no where else to store the office furniture!)

IMG_5355You can also see the windows here:

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This is the new bathroom which we have tried to style in a similar theme to the main one.  The tiles are the same and the rest are the same design but slightly smaller versions to fit the space.  We couldn’t match the floor as it would clash with the hallway so we gone for a slate one and we still need to redo the handles on the cupboard that is in there:

IMG_5348 IMG_5349 IMG_5357The builders are due to finish this week so in ideal world we may have the new floor down next month and then we can start utilising the space.

 

 

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PROJECT: STAIRCASE AND LANDINGS

I touched on it in the previous post but I think the staircase and landings needs some separate attention as The Husband has spent hours and hours on them in recent weeks.  I mentioned back in August that he was doing all the paneling himself (with some help from his dad) but the detail has been very impressive.

It took him weeks and weeks to measure out and install all the wood work but the end result has definitely been worth it.

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He also sanded back all the banisters and prepped all the new ones.  You can see in the picture below the original ones that run up to the top floor and the new ones we had to install on the middle floor when we took down the dividing wall that separated the two flats:

IMG_3975He then installed all the cornicing which was fine on the middle floor but quite scary to watch on the top floor given the five metre drop that there is:

IMG_5206 IMG_5214This is him on the top floor – it looks fine here but the ladder is at full reach…

IMG_5217He created some fancy gadget on his work bench to help measure out all the angles and do the corners/edges:

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Then came the painting.  This is on the very top floor and you’ll see we had to take off all the radiators in preparation for the carpets to be installed so it was a chilly few weeks!

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This is the view from the top floor and you can just see the bottom staircase:

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Just adding on each coat took a good few hours each time:

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We were getting so close to the carpet deadline that we had to call on some help!

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Once the white base coats were down it was time to start from the top again with the final colour and we have gone for Oxford Stone:

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At the same time we also painted all the balustrades and made a start on the varnishing:

IMG_5277This is the end result:

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This wall was the biggest challenge given its height!

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This is again taken from the very top floor looking down:

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A LOOK BACK AT 2014

This time last year I took a look back at what we had achieved over the last twelve months and so I thought I would do the same again now.  For the first time the house is definitely starting to feel like a home and I think I can confidently say the days of squatting in our house are over!  We got married back in June and so the house was not the focus for much of the year and then we had the flood which pushed us back even further but having spent the last few months camping in the living room some big steps were taken just before Christmas to push the project forward.

We spent the new year holiday away with some friends and in the past I have dreaded coming home (more than the normal end of holiday blues) due to the fact the hotel or holiday home was always so much more comfortable than what I was returning to.  This time however I returned to my carpeted house and treated myself to my first bath in my new bathroom.  Not only that but the heating was on and it was actually warm and cosy!

So, this year, we have done the following:

  • Installed new banisters where needed and fixed the old ones
  • Decorated the hallway from the front door all the way up to the top floor including the wood paneling, new cornicing and painting
  • Carpeted the stairs, the landings, the guest room, our bedroom and my study
  • Installed a new four pane window on the top floor landing
  • Replaced the ceiling on the top floor
  • Painted the guest room and put a fireplace back in there
  • Painted my study
  • Painted our bedroom as well as installing new blinds and a light
  • Finished off all the pluming and electrics on the top two floors
  • Replaced all of the old plug sockets and light switches with shiny new ones
  • Plastered, tiled and painted the bathroom as well as installing the underfloor heating, toilet, shower, sink and bath
  • Replaced the smoke alarms on all floors and installed a security alarm
  • Installed a door between the two rooms in the basement which was a request from the building regulations department
  • Finally, as a result of the flood we have replaced all of the damp proof membrane and tanking in the basement, replaced all of the doors and painted it all – the new bathroom is very close to being finished too

Since we moved in our bathroom has gone from this:

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to this:

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(We just need a mirror, some blinds to replace the bin bags we are currently using and a cupboard to install all The Husbands 101 products!)

Our bedroom has gone from:

Bedroom

to this:

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(We now just need to save for some bedroom furniture as we’re just using a mattress on the floor at the moment)

And the hall has gone from this:

Dividing wallto this:

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(We just need to retouch some of the paint work, varnish the banisters and finish the floor).

In an ideal world, this time next year we’ll have:

  • An office downstairs for The Husband
  • A staircase we’re 100% happy with
  • A dressing room on the first floor
  • Unpacked our wedding presents that are still neatly wrapped in boxes in our bedroom!

 

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PROJECT: FINISHING TOUCHES

Weeks and weeks ago we ordered our carpets which felt like we’d reached a major milestone.  However, we suddenly realised we had a huge list of jobs to do before they could arrive. Luckily, we had arranged for the hall carpets to come at a later date and so it was just the bedrooms that we needed to concentrate on.

The Husband deserves all the credit as he has been working his socks off to make it all happen. If the design was down to me it would probably just be white walls and standard light fittings but thankfully he is much braver! That said, we would probably have finished my designs weeks ago!!

We had finished the guest room a while ago and so the next focus was our bedroom. We went for Lamp Room Gray this time and The Husband spent several evenings painting all the walls, the ceiling and the woodwork.

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He’s a bit worried it is too dark but I think with all of our white linen it will look warm and cosy.

The next job was the light which was far bigger than I initially had in mind but now it is up I really like it.  Putting it up was not much fun though,  I was balancing the weight of it on my head while up the ladder as The Husband fixed it in place!

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The final prep for the room was to hang up our new Roman blinds and varnish the fire place.

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While it does seems a shame to cover up the lovely floorboards I really hate being cold and am hoping the carpet will make it really warm.

In the room that will be my study, we have gone for Cornforth White. It was the first room that I have been allowed to paint myself and despite it being the smallest room in the house it took me hours…and we had to go out and buy more paint.

IMG_5216Thankfully we were all done in time and the carpets are now in – Whoop Whoop.  Here is a quick glimpse of the bedroom.  The top one is just before the carpet went down but you can see the new blinds and the painted window:

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This is the end result:

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PROJECT: BATHROOM

The moment I get to take a hot bath in my own house is getting closer. We’re just waiting for the plumber to come and do one final job and then it needs a deep clean but this is where we are so far:

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IMG_5161I’ve never been so excited about cleaning the bathroom!

 

 

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PROJECT: BATHROOM

When I think things are moving slowly I like to look back at the photos of where we started.  The bathroom is finally taking shape but this is what it looked like when we picked up the keys:

Bathroom Bathroom

We have done lots to strip it all back and bring it into one room and have then spent time plastering it all and getting it ready to tile.  We bought the bathroom suite months ago and it has just been sat in boxes taking up space in our ‘bedroom’ and so it is exciting that things are finally underway.

The Husband painted the ceiling and walls and we have now handed the space over to the professionals to work their magic.  I hate being cold and despite the room being quite large, there is not actually that much space for a radiator so we are only going to have a heated towel rail.  Instead, we have decided to have underfloor heating and that was the first thing to go down:

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Next was the floor and we have gone for a dark wood design from Aqua-Step.  The floor is designed for wet rooms and spas so there is no danger of it getting too slippery or being damaged by all the water.

Currently the tiles are being installed.  At one point The Husband was going to do it but we have got a specialist in and I’m glad we made that decision.  As the house is so old, none of the walls are straight and so it has taken some skill to get it looking ‘straight’.  We’re having tiles half way up three of the walls and then floor to ceiling around the shower:

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If all goes to plan it should all be in this time next week.  We have also had a broken pane of glass replaced in the room and so the odd-jobs are starting to be ticked off.  My relaxing bath is finally in sight…

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