The ups and downs of renovating a house

…or two

Archive for the tag “bathroom”

Week 32: not yet…but the small things I love

We’re not quite done.  I know, it seems so long.  It has been.  But we have had some good stuff happen.  We now have a working fridge.  Yay!  No more “not working so well” mini-fridge.  We have curtains on two of the rooms and at least privacy sheers on the front of the house.  Barney is adapting to living here (even if the people coming to work on the house freak him out a lot). The bathroom we use is amazing, the living room comfortable, we just got our alarm system put in (feeling safer already) and I’m almost completely unpacked.  Unfortunately, the dishwasher has been found to be blown and our washing machine decided to take a walk the first time I used it, so I still wash dishes by hand (not a big deal) and have been going to the old house to do laundry (boo), though I get to bring it back to a dryer which is amazing (soft towels for the first time in 12-1/2 years).  Luckily, after writing this draft, they fixed the washing machine so I’ll be able to do it all here.  They are still working on the exterior.  And the front and back gardens are a mess.

I decided to take pics of my favourite things for now.  I’ll post, finally, when I take the video of everything done (probably before the back garden is finished but that’s okay).  And I’ll post where we purchased everything in case something strikes your fancy.

So, here they are…my favourite things:

You can't really get a good feel of it from this photo but it's gorgeous. Such a lovely mix of blacks, blues and greys with little flecks of light (mica?).

You can’t really get a good feel of it from this photo but it’s gorgeous granite on the kitchen counters.  Such a lovely mix of blacks, blues and greys with little flecks of light (mica?).

 

We have some lovely fireplaces but this is my favourite. It's so different from anything else I've ever seen.

We have some lovely fireplaces but this is my favourite. It’s so different from anything else I’ve ever seen.

 

Our bathroom makes me so happy. The light coming in from the windows brings me joy. The whole thing has come together really nicely.

Our bathroom makes me so happy. The light coming in from the windows brings me joy. The whole thing has come together really nicely.

 

The door handles are so different from what was here before. They are soft on the hand and look elegant. A perfect fit for the age of the home (1920s/30s).

The door handles are so different from what was here before. They are soft on the hand and look elegant. A perfect fit for the age of the home (1920s/30s).

 

The rug under our dining table. It's a great mix of colours from navy blue to teal to pink to green, etc. Brings a shot of colour to a room that is very light, white and pale grey.

The rug under our dining table. It’s a great mix of colours from navy blue to teal to pink to green, etc. Brings a shot of colour to a room that is very light, white and pale grey.

 

Another bit of colour in our kitchen. And SO COMFY!

Another bit of colour in our kitchen. And SO COMFY!

 

The herringbone pattern of our white subway tiles in the kitchen is classic but a bit different. Perfect for the shaker kitchen.

The herringbone pattern of our white subway tiles in the kitchen is classic but a bit different. Perfect for the shaker kitchen.

 

It's not perfect or gorgeous but it works perfectly for us. Our front entry has enough hooks for all our coats, places to put our sneaker/trainers and any winter items, as well as Barney's leads and collars. It works.

It’s not perfect or gorgeous but it works perfectly for us. Our front entry has enough hooks for all our coats, places to put our sneaker/trainers and any winter items, as well as Barney’s leads and collars. It works.

 

Being organised. Having the space to be organised. It's tough to bring together two households worth of items (my mother-in-law had a LOT that we got rid of and I had a LOT that I got rid of), so it's nice that we could get it all put together. You should see the cabinet with the five types of dal - all organised in labelled jars as I'd have no clue).

Being organised. Having the space to be organised. It’s tough to bring together two households worth of items (my mother-in-law had a LOT that we got rid of and I had a LOT that I got rid of), so it’s nice that we could get it all put together. You should see the cabinet with the five types of dal – all organised in labelled jars as I’d have no clue).

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Week 27: almost, but not quite

We’re so close.  So very close.  And yet, not quite there.

We planned to move on Monday, 19 December.  The flooring was meant to be done at least 8 days beforehand, so would have been “cured” perfectly well.  Even if everything wasn’t completed, we’d probably have electricity as well.  Now…who knows.

We arrived on Sunday morning to check out the floors on the ground floor.  While the colour is gorgeous, there were definitely some mistakes that have to be corrected.  I will not live with brush marks that are so distinct.

 

The week prior, I also noticed that the towel rack was placed, not over the toilet, but in the bathtub area.  So that had to be moved.  Luckily, it was and it’s fine.

       

On the positive side, the kitchen is looking good overall (still need to finish with tiling, move the extractor fan up and install the dryer), painting is pretty much done and we got our carpets in.  We’ll wait to see how the floors turn out, whether or not we get electricity turned back on and, we can hope that the weather gets nicer (it’s been rainy) so the outside of the house begins to dry so we can get the final coating of the render.

 

 

Edit: Just wanted to say that we have a move date – Dec 23rd.  So cross your fingers that the electricity turns on!

 

Week 21 – ups and downs this week

So much going on.  So much.  Which, I guess, is the norm as you get to the end of a renovation project.  Some of it was planned, some of it was not so planned and we had one emergency.  I apologise ahead of time because this will probably be a very long post full of lots of words as well as pictures.

First, the “emergency”. We no longer have a fence between ourselves and our neighbours.  They needed to bring a digger in to make a hole for their concrete base (side extension).  The digger did two things – knocked over our concrete posts (which they’ll have to replace) and cut through the electrical wire which comes to both of our houses.  So, we got an emergency call at 9pm about this.  The electrical company found a problem with our electricity while fixing this cut and so, took away our electricity.  Yup, our renovation is without electricity until our contractor can produce an electrical certificate.  Now – the electricity was only connected to an extension cord at the time, so any fault is not in the wires in our house (they are not connected).  We’re not sure where a fault might be coming from unless it’s from the base unit or from the wiring coming into the house.  Yikes.  Expensive.  In addition, the contractor is not in a position to provide an electrical certificate for at least 2-3 weeks (as he’d have to install all the outlets/lights, etc and test them before he could get a certificate).  So, my contractor is going to have to bring a generator to supply the guys with electricity.  Boo.

Another thing that has made life a bit difficult is that it seems as if the guys have lost some stuff – they couldn’t find the legs to our range cooker, the specialist bathroom recessed lights and some screws necessary to put the kitchen together (as well as instructions in how to put it all together).  I know our contractor is a bit pissed off at them for not being more organised (he stops by but he’s not there all the time).  I’m not paying for anything they can’t find.

On the positive side, our flooring is in.  They will still have to sand and wax it, but it looks good.  I like the pattern they used (from what I can see so far).  A lot of the painting has happened.  And they have begun to put our kitchen together.  It will happen.  It will all come together.

And now, the pics (with a few words):

 

Our current house is being over-run with boxes.  We have ordered lights, switches and plugs for the first and second floors (ground floor will be another time).

Finishing work on the plastering.

Our sliding doors have been installed – the bottom roller still needs to be applied and it needs handles (which we’ve purchased) but I like them.  They will provide light straight through as well as a sound/smell barrier between the living room and kitchen.

The kitchen furniture and appliances are finally being put in place.  It really allows us to see how much space as well as storage in the new kitchen.  It’s going to be amazing.

As you can see, the kitchen furniture is on its way to being placed and fixed.  Guess they figured out how to do it and found screws. They didn’t seem to find the legs for the oven though…boo!

One of the guest bedrooms after one coat of paint – the fireplace will be repainted.

The other guest bedroom – this fireplace will also be painted.  Neither fireplace will work – only decorative.

First coat on the master bedroom.

We’re looking forward to seeing continued work on the kitchen, more painting, etc.  It’s so exciting to see if all coming together despite the various setbacks.

Week 13: new entry, under-flooring & bathroom stuff

Just back from scuba diving in Cornwall and went to take some pics of the house with my husband and mother-in-law.  There are some changes that have happened and it’s great.

The big one you notice when you first come in is the change to the entry and staircase.  Here’s the original stairs:

As you can see, you enter in the side and have a small entryway.  There was a closet against the wall and a door to the hallway/staircase.  We have removed everything in the hallway, the wall, doorway and we’re bringing the stairs straight down.  Here’s what it looks like right now:

It’s hard to see in the pic, but it really opens everything up.  My mother-in-law is so happy with it and my husband and I are thrilled.  It’s amazing.  Once it’s done, we’ll have to figure out where to put shoes and coats and all.  I’m doing all sorts of Pinterest searches on possibilities.

The bathroom furniture is going in slowly (the blue you’ll see is protective covering) in both the top and first floor.  We need to order a few things, but it’s starting to come together.

This is the main bathroom.  For us, it’ll be huge as we’ve had a tiny square of a bathroom to use.  It’ll only have a single sink in the middle, but it’ll still have so much more space to use.  The counter is laminate but looks pretty good.  It needs to be fitted to the sink area.  We still need to finalise the tiles, put in the mirror (it’s HUGE and has lights), put in the awesome heated towel rack/radiator and the toilet roll.  And then paint it, clean it, finish with all the grouting.

As you can see below, the base flooring for the underfloor heating on the ground floor is going in.  They have also insulated the area and left space for air to travel under it all.

I can’t wait to see what the next week will bring!

 

Week Seven – small changes

This week brings with it a few small changes and a few concerns and possibilities.

Possibility: to be able to lower the floor so that we have higher ceilings.  Most of the 1920s houses in London seem to have very high ceilings.  Our house doesn’t really.  But there is a LOT of space under the house so we can move the floors down (which is good, especially as we’re doing underfloor heating in the entire ground floor).  This will be a great thing.  You can see below all the space under the kitchen that exists:

Concerns:

Can we fit in the bi-folding doors that we want?  Can we fit the kitchen furniture that we ordered? TBD.

The little changes – they have begun to plaster a bit and rip things off the walls.  The master bedroom has been pretty much stripped.  Lighting and electrics are being laid.

Main bathroom – ready for lights & plastering.

No more pine cladding or ceilings or plastered walls in the master bedroom

Plastering has begun in the office and in the loft bedroom.

We can see that things are coming together a bit more but it also means there are more questions.  We shall see what comes over the next few weeks.  I’ll post again in two weeks.

The Vale House – now and future

Great news!  We got planning permission to do our work.  Wahoo!  We can now tear down the, not really used for anything but storage, conservatory and build the open plan kitchen of our dreams.  Plus, we’ll finally have at least a “normal” number of bathrooms for the number of bedrooms (going from 1-1/2 to 2-1/2).  This means the husband and I won’t have to share with my mother-in-law, which is good for all involved.

So, here are the plans.  This is a drawing of the original downstairs:

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Here are the plans for what we want to do (please ignore the drawings of the island, etc…the architect was injecting her own view of what we could do, versus what we’ll probably do).  You’ll get a vision of how huge a space this is going to be:

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We will have an island but not yet certain as to size.  We’ll probably put a small sink on it and incorporate seating there. I am very excited about the room lantern, which will add a huge amount of light into the space, as will the double doors and side windows heading into the back garden.  We already have a huge window (you can see it on the bottom left area), so we’ll get any light that enters through the back.

Here is a rendering of what we’ll have for all the bathrooms (for the bigger bathroom, we’re actually tearing down a wall between the existing toilet and the area where the bath and sink are located – somehow this original separation is a normal setup in England, which I find a bit skeevy.  I have not enjoyed having to leave the toilet area to wash my hands):

 

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As you can see, I’ve put my own notes there as well.  We’ve already selected our bathroom furniture.  Below are a few pics I took at the store of some of the items.

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This is the main unit in the master bathroom. We’ll have the four drawer unit on both sides of this sink.  I think the actual sink is slightly different, but it’ll look quite similar.  I’m just excited to have my own storage area in a bathroom.  A first in England!

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This is what we’re using as the countertop.  It is mainly black with grey/white flecks in it.  Love it.

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This is the sink and toilet for the half-bath, though the sink will be entirely white instead of the fake wood.  Again, happy to have the storage for down there.

For the kitchen, we’re going to go with a Shaker style and most likely the units will be a light grey.  Here’s an inspiration picture:

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(Pic by Heidi Lerkenfeldt)

We’ll be using the same oven range that we have in the Cumbrian house, an American Fridge-Freezer, a dishwasher, nice big washing machine and I’ll have my first dryer owned while living in England (we’re going with a heat pump dryer so we don’t have to drill a vent into the walls – plus they are meant to be quite good).

Our move into the Cumbrian house will happen toward the beginning of April and work is meant to begin the beginning of May.  We still have to get things moving for building regulations.  It’s coming!

 

 

 

Week 9: paint and tile

The plaster has gone on and the primer has gone on as has the first layer of paint in the loft bedroom.  We’re still not sure about the bedroom colour but I think with the white ceiling it kinda works.  The grey floor tile and the blue wall tiles are going to look fabulous.  Very excited about this.

They’ve also started to take down the scaffolding so we can see what the house will look like in the end.

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Our loft conversion…original house & plans for current house

I think we’re going to have to talk about current versus original houses.  There’s so much going on right now around both houses.

Current house: we have invited an architect to design our ground floor as we decided to actually pull down all the walls between the kitchen and dining area/conservatory…and build into the conservatory.  We’re also going to add a shower room to the top floor where my mother-in-law has her bedroom.  So excited.  It means we are cancelling our bathroom order from Wickes and we’ll probably change the bathroom order as well.  We’ll pretty much put in all new flooring, paint most of the rooms, etc.  It will look like a different house!

Original house (aka the one that features in this blog originally): we are starting the work on 16 September (well, that’s when they’ll put up the scaffolding).  Yay!  I took a video of what the space currently looks like and what I hope it will look like. It’s here on Youtube.  Enjoy!

A few small moves

A few small things have changed in our London palace.  The upstairs bathroom is very much close to completion; the bedrooms have just a coat or so much more to paint & carpeting to arrive; the kitchen is beginning to come together with the delivery of our cooker (oven); and our flooring in the downstairs is taking shape.

Our hallway light upstairs.  Elegent and yet modern.  We spent a few hours searching for just the right light to compliment the bedroom lights and yet be a bit different.

The old doors were quite beaten up as it was a rental.  So we’ve gotten new doors that have been given a lovely stain – will go well with the colours & flooring.

Our frustratingly compact bathroom is almost ready.  This unit will provide some needed storage and surface area for all my beauty products!  Now where to put the toilet roll?

Below are a few kitchen photos – the interior of the pull-out larder (so excited), the fridge (which has a blue protective covering, though it’s actually stainless steel…here come the magnets) and our new cooker (oven) which is not yet in place.  For those of you who have lived in London, you will appreciate my utter excitement at the size of our fridge freezer, which is why I took an interior fridge pic.

   

 

 

Walls are still being painted downstairs and the flooring is looking good!

 

Some finishing touches…

It’s been confirmed today by the builder – they will be done at the weekend.  And so the carpet will be laid on a week from Monday.  Which means our move in date on the 17th is final.  Our contractor is going to lend his van and his guys to move all our stuff that day (as well as a few days prior if we want…I’d rather be around).  So there will be massive numbers of changes over the next week…all of which will be shown in pictures!

The downstairs’ lights haven’t really been put in as the painting hasn’t really completed.  The only exception is the hallway light.  As you can see here, we’re going with a more modern feel throughout the ground floor & using a ‘spotlight’ theme.

I like the fact that you can move the lights around to focus on different areas/items in the hallways.

Staying on the ground floor…the tiling in the half-bath is almost done.  They’ve also put down the base for the floor tiles.  I expect that those will be laid tomorrow & grouting will begin soon thereafter.

The kitchen is almost entirely laid to tile.  We were asked which floor board we want for the adjacent living room & so we put down the boards next to the tile & next to the kitchen cabinets.  We decided to go with the darker wood as it’s a bit warmer and will go well with the hallway wood flooring.  Note in the first pic that the flooring is not as red as it shows (nor are the cabinets).  I just didn’t bother to try to fix it.

 

Upstairs in the bathroom, they’ve put in the cabinet that will host our sink and our toilet.  It currently has a black top but we’re changing it over to something that is tan which will go so much better with the brown/tan tiles.  I think in the future we may get a wood version of this as it would work well with the tiles, but we just didn’t have the budget for it.

 

You can see from this how small the bathroom is, but that’s London living at times.  Someday I’d love to have a place with a large bathroom but it’s not happening any time soon!

A final little pic…of our new shower head and the water coming out of it…how awesome is this?

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