The ups and downs of renovating a house

…or two

Archive for the month “November, 2015”

Week 8: more walls & paint

The walls to the small bedroom on the first floor (2nd floor for you Americans) and the walls/ceilings around the staircase are all plaster-boarded.  We decided to go with an open staircase with spindles and a handrail.  It’s going to add so much more light to the whole area.

Not sure about my paint choice in the bedroom, as it’s very, very bold, but it’s a custom colour so I’m going to continue on with it.  If it looks horrible, then we can always lighten it ourselves before we put in carpet.  I tend toward the bold (hence the orange front room) but renters might not like it.  I probably should have gone with white or pale grey. Oh, well.


Now you can see the small bedroom and how the staircase will look being more open.  They’ll use the end post to start the handrail.  The handrail will look like the one on this landing.


Looking down the stairs (it’s not really as dark as it seems – darn phone camera)


Once the walls get painted, they’ll be ready to put in the switches.


Plastering and priming on its way


The very bold teal colour.  It came up more green than reality, but you can see how bright it is going to be.  We’ll see.  I love the colour but it might be better as an accent versus a whole bedroom.  The area where the Velux windows are located plus the ceiling will be white, so it might work out.  We can always paint over it!

Couldn’t get a good pic, but the bathroom is looking ready for all its stuff – and we can see where it’ll go (they drew lines all over).  Exciting!


Week 7-1/2: walls & stairs

The new staircase is in!  And insulation and walls are up (mostly).  They have cut the holes for the loft space doors.  And are ready to begin painting (should be done by this weekend).

I still have to order a toilet (as the one I originally ordered won’t work), get a thermostatic mixer shower kit, find an extractor fan that fits the hole, buy all the paint, buy grout & beading for the tiles, find a handrail for the stairs and a new tap for the bathroom on the first floor (second floor for all you US peeps) as it was leaking.  Eventually, we’ll have to get new carpet for all the stairs, the hallway and the bedroom.  I’m checking that out tomorrow.

We’ll be doing a light teal colour in the bedroom, white above the teal tiles in the bathroom, a very light blue-ish grey in the stairwell & new 1st floor bedroom.  I think we’ll have to repaint the entire hallway on the ground and first floor – probably just use magnolia (a basic white) as it’s cheap & cheerful.

Here are my phone photos taken as I was answering & asking questions of our contractor/builder:


This is the view toward the new single room and the new staircase.  You can see that the wall is being built for the single room and the staircase is in.


We need to decide if we’re going to put a wall coming down to the left of the staircase or put in the handles and leave it open.  Any thoughts?

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Back of house – insulation in and plasterboard up.


Front of house – holes are where the doors to the storage space will be located.


Bathroom walls all waterproofed.  Waiting for shower tray & waste unit before doing floors.

Looking forward to seeing what this weekend brings.  Shopping ho!

Decisions Made!

It’s so very scary to make decisions.  Are you going to get them right?  Will they work?  Will they look horrible?  I’m hoping that the decisions I made (with some input from the husband) will end up looking fabulous.  While we aren’t going to be living in the Cumbrian house for long (it’ll be a rental eventually), I still want it to look lovely.

As the bathroom is small, I went for a corner sink (with matching corner cabinet above) and a smaller toilet.


We decided on a colour scheme for the tiles – grey and teal.  

These are the teal tiles.  The grey ones are a bit smoother but similar in colour.  You get the gist. We’ll have it entirely tiled around the shower area and then half-way up the wall around the rest of the room.  Above that will be white painted walls.

We went for a unique idea for the bedroom lighting that our contractor suggested – a pendant light made out of independent bulbs which can be hung in a variety of configurations and lengths – we’ll have to work on how exactly it will be hung but here’s an example of the fixture being used a bit more ‘traditionally’.

We don’t have the ceiling height to have them hanging down like this, so the cables will be shortened but it will add light all over the room.  Very different but hopefully very cool.

The other lighting fixtures are more ‘normal’:

For the small single bedroom that we are constructing from the old area where the original staircase was located (not too dissimilar to other lights we have).

On the landing – hoping to tie in the other lighting in our house and the bedroom lighting – I think it will work.

I’ve also purchased the sockets and switches, but they are so boring, I won’t post pics of those.

Next decision – the radiators for the bedroom and bathroom.

Week 6 – insulation and choices

Holy cow, folks.  It’s already week 6.  Our structural engineer finally talked to our contractor who got in touch with the council’s building services.  So, we were able to move forward a bunch more.  The roof is fully tiled and waterproofed and all.  The insulation has begun to be added to the ceiling.  And now decisions need to be made.  We have to select our shower room equipment, lighting, tiles, flooring, carpets, etc.  As we make those decisions, I’ll post them on here.

We are going to have much smaller doors to the crawl space – the openings here are far too small.

Week 5 – the roof and window

It’s very exciting when you can actually SEE big differences.  In this week’s episode (I’ve always wanted to say that), you’ll get to see that the windows have all but put in and that they’ve begun to lay tiles on the roof.

We’re still waiting on our structural engineer to get moving and call the council about his calculations and I’ve enlisted our contractor to also follow up.  I’ve told our architect, who hired him, that we will never want to work with him again as he’s so very unresponsive in every way (she’s doing the drawings for our Vale house too).  The problem with him not talking to the council is that it means some work can’t be done.  My contractor is very good and will try to figure out things with the council if we can’t get the engineer talk to them.  He’s hoping we’ll be done with all of the major work in about 4 weeks (before Christmas!).

Week 4: taking shape

Things are starting to take shape up in the loft.  We can now see where the landing will be, the outline of our very small shower room and where we might want to put a wardrobe (special space they’ve made to work with the chimney).  Bricks are also going up on the outside.  I think it’s going to look lovely.  We can now imagine where a bed would work, and the spacing for other items.  It’s going to be a unique space in terms of shape, so we’ll see…

The space on the right side is where we can put a wardrobe or dresser.

“View” from the landing area

The outer wall going up.

The small shower area.  I think we’ll be able to fit a small sink, toilet and the shower will probably be wet room style.

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