The ups and downs of renovating a house

…or two

Archive for the month “November, 2008”

Why we don’t like rain…

Normally rain does not bother either Roy or me.  It’s part of life.  It sounds kinda nice.  And as long as I don’t have to play field hockey in it, then it’s fine.  But right now it’s effecting our move-in date and we’re just not happy!

Rain is wrecking havoc on the drying time of the plaster and the paint.  It’s making it more difficult for the guy putting in the tiling.  So what ought to have taken just one week is now taking two or three.  We ought to have been moving in next week or so…now it might not be until mid-December.  Wah!!!

At least they are starting to configure the kitchen cabinets.   There’s a few things that aren’t great or won’t work out perfectly due to the size and layout of the kitchen, but a lot of it will work out perfectly (I hope!).


You can kinda see the ‘holes’ where everything is going to go…dishwasher to left of window, cooker (oven/stove) to the right, washing maching in the back on left with the fridge-freezer next to the tall larder. I’m hoping it all fits!


Some changes…

This is similar to the table & chairs which we recently purchased for our home.  We bought six chairs with a similar backing and the table is similar but with a bit less chunky legs.

Here are a few updated pics of the house…with more to come on Sunday:


As you can see, the tile is going into the bathrooom.  It’s so much warmer and nicer than in the pics, but you get the gist.  It’s going to be LOVELY.


As you can see, painting in the kitchen as begun as has the putting together of the cabinet carcasses.  The green is a bit darker than in the pics (the flash is the problem) but it’s still lovely.  I’m really excited about the larder in the second picture – can you see how big it is?  Woo hoo!  Lots of food storage there!


I’d hate to be a contractor.  Well, maybe my contractor.  Cause every single day I seem to send him at least one or two emails (or more), and I make him meet us on Sundays as I’m always busy during the week and on Saturdays.

A few examples of the emails:

“Just a reminder about the window.  When are you going to replace it?”

“How do you open up the second door in the French doors?  We couldn’t get them to work last night.”

“We don’t like the tile we see in the living room.  Is that for the bathroom?  If it is, we need to talk about this on Sunday and pick out something else.”

Etc, etc, etc.  And we’re only one of his clients.  I can imagine that with a few more, half your day is taken up just answering emails.

This Sunday, we spent some time with the contractor looking at potential built in wardrobes (closets).  But we’ve decided that £5,500 is way too much for this right now, so we’re IKEA bound for our wardrobe selection…we figured out last night that we’d spend about £1,250 instead…though it’d be our own labour and so more of a pain…but so worth it!  We also talked about carpet.  We went with a chocolate brown in the study which will go nicely with the wood & yellow-orange paint on the walls.  We went with a cream in the bedrooms.  And a colour called ‘cereal’ in the hallway & on the stairs, which is kinda like this:

 Though maybe a bit darker.

We saw that our kitchen cabinets are in, as is the cooker & hood for over it.  And all our bathroom fittings and fixtures are ready to be put in.  Yay!  Can’t wait to see how it looks in one week…

Not too many visual changes

Basically not a lot that we can see has gotten done in the past few days – but realistically a lot has been done.  All the pipework & wiring is done in the bathrooms & kitchen.  Almost all of the base painting has been done, with a few exceptions.  The insulation & base flooring is down in preparation for the underfloor heating.

The next two weeks will bring about striking changes – the bathroom will be fully tiled, the underfloor heating done, that painting will be finished, the kitchen & bathrooms will be put in and the final flooring (maybe not the carpeting but all the other stuff) will be done.  Basically – by Dec 7, the contractor will hand over the keys.  Scary!

Here’s the only two pics I’ve taken recently…hope there will be more over the next week or so…


It’s beginning to look ‘real’

We can now see how a lot of things are going to look later on once they are completely finished…we have a bathtub installed, the walls are all done & our new french window is completely in.  It’s gonna be great!

Here are a few of my latest pictures:


The boiler which is will be in the downstairs cloakroom…you won’t see it because it will be boxed in.

This used to be a door and will now be the window to the back garden.  Our sink will be there.  Of course, it’s the wrong window as the glass is not clear, so it’s going to be changed…but still look similar (but with clear versus security glass).  I like that it looks a lot like our new French doors.

Our tub has been partially installed…yay!  And tiling is meant to begin near the end of next week.

Isn’t it lovely?

Here are a couple of views of the kitchen (the new wall is now in place)…

This is the view from the back of the kitchen…you can see the French doors & the new kitchen window.  The cabinets on the bottom will go almost to the doors (but not quite)…they will continue along the right side wall.

This is the side and back of the kitchen…the cabinets go to the end of the kitchen & at the back is the fridge.

And here is our master bedroom beginning to look ‘normal’.


A little update in words:  3 weeks until it is done according to our contractor.  Yes, you heard me…3 weeks!  Woo hoo…we might be able to move in before we head to the States!

I was finally able to get in and take some photos…plus bought a new USB cable for the phone so I could download them.  I’m going to try to put some before and after images in so you can really see some of the big changes that have taken place…

Plastering is what’s going on a lot right now.  Basically EVERY single room is having its walls re-plastered.


This is the upstairs where the old chimney was located…now ripped out, concreted and plastered:

From this:   To this:    

They are reworking some of the wiring and put in a new box for us:


And this will make me feel much safer!  At least I’ll know how to move a switch with this box if I trip it!

Another before and after is in regards to the kitchen & downstair bathroom areas…


This is the old kitchen, with a doorway looking into the extension (which had a downstairs bathroom within it)…and here’s what the area looks like now:


A wall is being put in place for the downstairs 1/2 bath and the doorway has been totally taken out.  The extension is completely opened up:

  <—-there used to be a doorway here extending into this space and now it is no more!

Due to the idiocy of the original builders of the extension, two metal beams have been put in place where the old doorway was located:

And you can see in the background the new doors to the back garden, which will be put in place, as well as the other building materials. 

So that’s it as of Monday, 10th November.  I’ll be back at the house taking more pics this weekend…and hopefully the lights will be back on…there’s been no electricity/lights as they continue to work on this system.

No pics, but still some changes

Roy and I went to visit our contractor today.  We discussed the tile that he had brought in for our bathroom which we had not chosen.  And so we chose our tile.  Instead of the plain cream tile, we now have a lovely rich light brown tile that looks more like real stone.  It’s hard to describe, but it will look fantastic!  And we reviewed what we wanted in the kitchen for the floor – he had that tile right.  A plain tile that is sandy coloured with some texture to it….yummy!

I got to see our new gas oven (cooker) – it’s so nice.  I can’t wait.  So much larger than any other cooker I’ve used – six burners (one that will be a rapid burner & one that will be great for Indian/Chinese cooking as it has a wok stand) and two oven compartments.  Stainless steel with black.  I’m in love!

We put together the layout for the kitchen and it’s going to be perfect – so much more storage and counter-space than I’ve had in a long time.  We’ll have a quite wide pull-out larder (500mm) unit which will be right next to the fridge-freezer, which will put most of the food we need in the same area.  I’d say it’s a short U-shape, with the middle of the ‘u’ being quite long and the sides being short…but it will work.  We’ll have two big pan/pot drawer units, a few good sized cabinets, a set of drawers…yeah, it’s exciting as that work will begin probably in 1-1/2 weeks.

At the house itself there has been quite a bit of work (left camera today so I didn’t get pics).  Most of the upstairs has been totally replastered.  That will have to take a week or so to dry in the lovely London wet weather.  Downstairs, they’ve put in the studs that will make up the wall between the kitchen and the half-bath, and they’ve moved the boiler into that half-bath.  The boiler will end up being surrounded by a cupboard/cabinet so it’s not just hanging out looking ugly…and it will give us some extra storage downstairs.

That’s it for now.  I’m sure that as the days pass, there will be bigger and bigger changes…but, of course, one extra week has been added to the work time…so now it’s at least a six week job.  Let’s hope that it’s at least done before Christmas so we can get all moved in right afterwards!

Changing your mind…

So we went in to talk to the builder and showed him what we wanted…

We decided against the Baumatic cooker with a single cavity, and are now going with a Caple gas cooker with two cavities – two gas ovens and a gas grill (in the top of the larger oven):

With two cavities, we’ll be able to cook two things at the same time at different temps, which will be VERY handy (especially if we want to do desert and dinner at the same time).  Thanks to all the UK-Yankee ladies for pointing this out!

We decided on this shower, but also added a fixed shower head above it.  We’ll have an adjustable one (like above) to use for cleaning the bath and also for help if we have dogs or kids.  I’m just used to having a fixed shower head…and it’ll be a nice one:

I’ve always wanted a lovely rainshower type of shower head!

We also made a final decision on our kitchen and went with the Keswick Kitchen.  While it looks less warm in this picture, it actually was a much better colour than the Shaker Winchester.  The door was nicer looking in terms of pattern and the type of oak used.  So we’re quite happy!  The handles that are suggested with it are the pitted pewter curved handle, which we’ve decided to go with…it looks a bit like this (though I think a touch more elegant):

It’ll be perfect with the traditional look of the kitchen as well as the black granite worktops.  The granite worktops are black with a touch of brownish bits in it.  I think it will all work out very well.

We’ve also chosen our colours for all the rooms and I’ll try to show you kinda what they will look like.  The entrance & hallways will have the colour of the wall on the left:

The study/library will be a golden yellow colour which will be lovely with the dark browns in the room:

The living room and eating area will be a lovely light green sort of colour with the kitchen being a slightly darker version:

And our bedroom is going to be a brighter green (though probably a bit lighter than this example):

We’re not yet certain about the second bedroom, though we’re leaning toward a clean light yellow or a pale sky blue.  Upstairs in the loft will remain a basic white.

So that’s it for now…more a few days later!

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