We finally managed to move in to our new house on Saturday morning, having decided that living on site was finally possible (working loo, tap & electric sockets in the kitchen working, if no where else, and two serviceable rooms to live in). We are still popping back to my parents’ house for showers though!
It feels like a lot has happened in the three days since we moved, so here’s a summary.
The dining room plaster dried, so we could paint it:
Our fabulous main builders spent Sunday on the roof fixing the ridge tiles in place (I don’t have a photo of that yet). They also fitted the wetroom boarding ready for tiling.
The plasterer came back and plastered the bathroom today (Monday), so hopefully in the next few days the plumber will be back to fit the bath so the tiling can be done.
The electricians (there were three of them here at a couple of points today) also came today and lit up the downstairs. This is fabulous as it means we don’t have to use a torch to find the loo after dark. They’ve also fitted the plug sockets in the other rooms downstairs, so we don’t have extension leads everywhere.
Kitchen (above the imaginary table)
Living room recessed spotlights
The electricians also switched the oven on, so I made scones. Happy days.
Yesterday we said goodbye to our house in Brighton for the last time. We’d had a “Friends” moment collecting all our keys from local friends and it was finally time to go.
The removals men arrived (after a slight ‘really, gas company, you are choosing this moment to park a huge truck directly over our driveway?’ moment) and made short work of packing our belongings into their van.
It still feels very odd that we aren’t going back to that house, particularly as we can’t unpack everything as the house is still a building site. Having been up and down to the new house so much over the last year is enhancing the feeling of ‘we are only up here for a week, we’ll be back in Brighton soon’. Hopefully we will be able to start living at the house soon, even if fully unpacking is a little way off.
Spot where our oil lamp was…
At least the guinea pigs seem to be settling in to their new home well!
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!
The major work upstairs has started in the last week – parts of the roof have been taken out and the wall that will split the bedroom and landing has been started. Our fabulous builders are reusing as much of the original material as they can, so this wall is mostly being built out of chimney.
Inside the gable end.
We were there briefly during the week this week, so were able to meet with the electrician and talk through the rewiring as well as seeing recent progress. The electrics are a bit of a mixed set at the moment (“Have you got an outside socket?” “Well, there’s a socket outside.” “Umm, that’s just an extension lead.” “Ah.”) so we are having the whole house rewired to modern standards. This also includes moving most of the light switches as we have moved some doorways and, because we’ve changed the use of rooms, will be changing which way doors open. Apparently we don’t need a shower pull in the middle of the kitchen either. It has been an interesting challenge trying to decide where we want plug sockets and lighting, especially with sockets in the kitchen, but we now have a plan to start with, even if it gets adjusted nearer the time.
May dad sent me a message today asking if there was any more progress on the house. “Nope” I said, only to be proved wrong when Sarah got home and declared “The chimney’s gone!”.
It’s extremely exciting to see and hear about progress happening, but also really frustrating that we are so far away from it that we don’t really know exactly what’s going on and where it’s at.
Sarah’s mum sent us photos of the progress. The last portion of the chimney has now been removed meaning there is a hole all the way from the roof to the floor of the cellar.
As well as the de-struction there has actually been a little con-struction happening. A lintel has been installed in place of the arch that used to separate the toilet from the rest of the bathroom. A partition wall will be installed set forward from and overlapping part of the existing one to allow space for a small basin to be installed. They have also added the brickwork and lintel which complete the new doorway from the kitchen into the hall.
We don’t know the order things will be done in at the moment, but I’m hoping that they’ll make good all the downstairs rooms before starting to work on the upper rooms and roof. That way we’d be able to think about some decorating during Easter or the May half-term. That would mean some rooms would be almost finished! Too much to hope for?
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.