Yes that’s right. We are moving house in 2.5 weeks and at this stage we aren’t particularly confident that the house will be liveable, so it’s likely we’ll be staying with Sarah’s parents for a short spell.
That being said, this weekend things have moved on leaps and bounds.
We managed to find time to travel up for the weekend and on arrival we were excited to find the bifold windows in place!
Landing to balcony
Plus the first fix electrics and plumbing have been taken care of. Now we can see where the shower head & controls are going to be.
It’s all rather exciting!
But that’s not why we were there. It was time to actually get stuck in and do some work for ourselves because the kitchen walls and ceiling were plastered and the floor was tiled, so it was timed to get the first paint on the walls before the kitchen fitting begins!
We’ve visited the house twice since the last post, in fact I’m writing this one having just spent the day working there, but you’ll hear about that in the next post. Today I’ll share the updates from our last visit.
The framework making up the ‘landing’ has been completed and the remainder of the old gable has been removed. On the other side of the tarp is the beginnings of our balcony!
Not only have they finished the landing structure, but they’ve also got the bedroom up as well.
Including the partition wall creating our walk-in wardrobe
Space for a few hangers…
The next surprise was that the wall and door under the main staircase have gone, opening up the hallway space and making the room feel so much bigger! Eventually we’ll have a glass balustrade instead.
Finally, we decided during our last visit that the empty doorway between the dining room and the sun-lounge wasn’t really how we wanted it to stay, so the pillars have now been removed leaving a much larger double-doorway.
In the summer the sun-lounge becomes like an oven and the lack of door means that the heat is passed straight into the dining room and raises the temperature of the house considerably. So we’re going to have some doors added in to regulate this somewhat. We just need to decide if they’ll be sliding doors, bifolds, or just regular doors!
Part of the importance of removing the chimney stack has been to allow us to turn the big room upstairs into a usable double bedroom, but the extension plans don’t stop there.
We wanted to be able to make the most of the fabulous views from the back of the house, so we (Rob, mostly, with Sarah making encouraging noises) designed a full width extension to the back of the house. Rob’s proficiency on Sketch Up meant that it was easy to show our architect what we wanted when it came to him drawing up the plans.
Almost inevitably, we had to make some compromises in order to secure planning permission – this felt frustrating at the time, especially given the reasons the planning officer gave for the initial rejection – but we have essentially come out with what we wanted.
The biggest differences between the first and second planning drafts was that the extension now looks (from the outside) like a big dormer extension, rather than the initial asymmetrical roof we had planned. The planning officer also asked that we changed our originally-planned timber cladding for a tiled finish. What difference this makes, we don’t know, but she requested it, so we did it!
The other change to upstairs is that the bathroom is moving up there from downstairs, into one quarter of the upstairs space. The other available quarter will be a “landing” (so called so it doesn’t have to have a door to meet building regulations), leading on to a small balcony.
All this is yet to come – it looks very much like a building site up there at the moment. The lining of the ceiling is gone, as have the previous walls that gave storage in the eaves, so the next big step is for the roof to be taken off, but that requires scaffolding, so the builders are doing all the interior prep work in advance.
Our builders have been hard at work for the last few days, and the fruits of their labours are evident. Where there once was a chimney, there’s now half a pile of rubble (which has now been moved – some to save, but a lot for the skip).
The change in the room is already pronounced, and we can see the huge change that this will have to the available space, particularly when the doorway is blocked up and so the room isn’t doubling up as a corridor.
When we were clearing out the cellar, we found a box of spare parquet bricks, so when the chimney is gone completely we will be able to fill in the gap with matching bricks. We will be sanding back the floor (when all the brick dust is gone!) and bringing back the natural wood colours, but that job seems far off when we are looking at a pile of bricks!
My grandparents had a gas fire in their living room. This always caused great distress at Christmas – how would Father Christmas get in? Would he get stuck? Grandma solved this problem by showing us that the front door was left unlocked before we went to bed and the stockings we left by the hearth (presumably because that’s where Father Christmas was expecting them to be) were filled when we woke up in the morning.
The problem with the chimney, however, is the structure – which is fine downstairs, but runs from the cellar, up through the living room and then right through the centre of the bedroom upstairs. The result of this is that you can’t fit a double bed in the bigger bedroom upstairs, though you can (and we did) fit a single bed in each corner of the room.
My grandparents had their bedroom downstairs, so this was never a problem for them, but we plan to use the upstairs room as our bedroom, so removing the chimney has been one of the first priorities of the build. The removal has been done this week, which is quite exciting, so we’ll share some pictures when we visit next week.