Sunday, 29 May 2016

Breaking down walls and a nudge to patriarchy too!

The past two weeks saw the biggest part of the job take place (certainly the part that causes most stress to the builders because it's so serious if anything goes wrong): the load-bearing walls coming down.

We took out 2 major walls in the kitchen to make it as large and open-plan a space as possible.  I love this part!  Even with all the dust and noise, there's no way they could get me off site, despite their pleading!  There's just something so transformative about walls coming down!  

Heavy beams arriving on site and heading into the house
...while old wall comes down
New support wall built...
Another wall ready to go - this time it's double brick so needs a lot of steel
Strong-boys in place but open to the hallway!

Elsewhere, more subtle transformations were also taking place...

Smooth new plaster over textured ceilings

...and I was gearing up for a little work of my own!

Ready to try and find the perfect grey
Does this count as a triptych?!

In other news this week, my builder felt the need to twice commend me by saying "Good girl!".

The first time, I pointed out it was a bit patronising and asked him to please not say it again, which he dismissed telling me that calling me a girl is a compliment, meaning I'm young and I've still got it!

The second time, after a trying day, I really saw red and so, in what may have been overly forceful terms, I made my point rather more clearly, including pointing out that I pay his (insert choice word here) bills and patting him on the head with a "Well done!  Good boy!"!

Too much?  Either way, I don't think he'll be saying it to me again any time soon!

Monday, 9 May 2016

Ripping out - aka floors up, walls down

So, it's been a busy time with lots happening on site.  The big changes are mostly happening on one side of the building.  The best way to share the progress is with some photos, don't you think?  (Please don't forget before you look at these, things often have to get worse in order to get better, right?!)

Let's start with the huge guest bedroom en suite and the tiny family bathroom with no space for a bath, which are next to each other on the top floor.  Clearly not a great layout! 

With the wall down between them it was a long process deciding the position of the new dividing wall and layouts of the two new rooms, but it won't be a surprise that we are pinching most of the old guest en suite, (previously home to a shower cubicle and roll top bath!) for the family bathroom.  Sorry guests!

Another plasterboard wall comes down as it's too shaky to leave, let alone put floor to ceiling tiles on.

Pretend bath to try and help plan layout!
Boxing in the boiler as it's staying put
Tiny new en suite - it will look bigger finished!
And what happened to the old roll top bath?  She went to a new home at the end of last week.

We have ebayed a lot of BH's old fixtures and fittings.  Doors, granite worktops, kitchen cabinets, shower screens, 20 radiators!  Even if we didn't get much money for some of them it saves us paying to get a skip to take them away.  What's left goes on freecycle!

The kitchen looked passable before we started but in reality it was grimy after years of tenants' use and the floor tiles were coming up where they had been laid badly.  So it all had to come out!

This is the master bedroom complete with boudoir bath!  Lovely but not quite us!

So all that came out, and it clicked that the kitchen is the same size as the master bedroom and the kitchen has lovely old original boards that would be wasted sitting under all the tiles we'll be putting in while we will be leaving the bedroom with exposed floorboards, so (you can guess what's coming!) we decided to pinch the lovely original floorboards for the master bedroom and move the bedroom's modern ones down to the kitchen!

(Thankfully my builder did this extra work for a great price.  He is still at the very understanding and eager-to-please stage seeing as he's just been working on this and with me for 2 weeks!)

Spot the difference?!
(Ofcourse our Eastern European builders think we're nuts!  Why would you take up floorboards in good condition to put down old ones that are full of splits and holes?!)

And a mini make-over on the other side of the house where the old damp stained plaster has come off the chimney breast to reveal the beautiful exposed brick, complete with characterful offset fireplace opening!  Love it!

This coming week should see the load-bearing walls in the kitchen coming down so you can bet I'll be there to capture the moment!  Hope you'll be back to see it too!