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.
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!
After the small trickle of construction in the last post, it feels like the flood gates have opened. There has been some further progress in the kitchen which I’m sure is not as major as it feels, but it feels huge.
The door between the dining room and lounge has been blocked up and the party wall has been constructed between the kitchen and the WC – also forming the new kitchen doorway. Now we can really see the shape and size the kitchen will be.
The holes left by the chimney in the dining room ceiling and floor have also been covered over. Now we will find out if we have enough spare wooden bricks to complete the parquet floor.
We’re off to Edinburgh this weekend for a friend’s wedding, so we’ll stop at the house for a couple of days on the way home next week and get to see the changes in person again.
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?
With the demolition started we’re beginning to get a feel of what the space in the kitchen will be like. This combined with a trip to a potential kitchen supplier has got us starting to think about the specifics of what it might look like. Any excuse for me to play with sketchup will do, so at the weekend we sat together in my office and got to work modelling it out.
We’ve got as far as choosing the colours and the placement of the tall units, but we don’t yet know how we’ll arrange the other units in-between.
The tall unit on the far right will house the fridge-freezer, the next one will house the oven and likely a microwave in the cupboard underneath (Sarah prefers it to not be visible) and the far left unit will be cupboard space, probably for things such as the vacuum and ironing board.
For the wall units in between we will most likely include some open shelves for glasses, but we are unsure whether we’ll split them all into two rows of vertical doors, or have standard cupboard doors.
There’ll be a dishwasher under the sink’s draining board, probably bins under the sink itself and then deep pan drawers below the hob.
The built in seating area and table were Sarah’s idea. She’d like us to eat together in the kitchen both for some evening meals (to get us off the sofa and away from the TV!) and for breakfasts at the weekends. It also gives me somewhere to sit and keep her company when she’s in the mood for baking. I suspect we’ll use the dining room occasionally too, but it will probably mostly be for when we are entertaining.
Work really feels like it has started now – the wall of the kitchen is gone (or, rather, is piled around the room waiting for the skip to be replaced) and as a result we’ve got a much clearer idea of the space.
The door that used to lead from the bathroom in to the hall is staying where it is, but will be enlarged slightly to meet modern door measurements. To fit a basin into the downstairs loo (you can just about see it the toilet in the “after” picture above), the width of the room is being increased slightly, but as the wall is load-bearing, our fabulous builder has suggested an alternative that means that they don’t need to replace the wall entirely. Instead, they are going to cut a notch in the brickwork (you can see the pencil line on the wall) and adjust the spacing of the partition wall to allow for a basin.
When the house was originally built, the toilet was in a room on its own (as was the done thing at the time, apparently), but as fashions changed, the bathroom was knocked into one and the original toilet doorway blocked up and a cupboard built in opposite the toilet. The parquet flooring was left in place, making an interesting base for the cupboard!
Having been up to the house during Sarah’s half term means that we have been able to take these photos, but also gave us the chance to think more seriously about kitchen planning, which is quite exciting. Here is a sketch of our current thoughts, which will probably evolve somewhat before we order the final kitchen!
We have now visited a few kitchen showrooms too, so have a good idea about the style of unit and worktop that we want, but are holding off ordering anything until we’ve got the final measurements when the new walls are up. Hopefully we’ll be able to put in our order at Easter – until then, the tea and kettle have been relegated to the cellar!
The kitchen was always the hub of my Grandparents’ home. From breakfast around the slightly-too-big table, with Grandma and Granddad and fruit salad on cornflakes, to everyone pitching in after Christmas Dinner to clean all the plates and sort out the leftovers before we opened presents.
I want it to play the same central role when we move in to the house, but with the opportunity to remodel, we are enlarging the space by knocking through into the downstairs bathroom (our main bathroom will be upstairs). This will create a separate space for a table without encroaching on the cooking area, lots of storage, and a fantastic long worktop for food preparation.
At the moment, the kitchen links onto the living room with an open doorway, but this will be blocked up and replaced with a door at the opposite end of the kitchen from the porch door, creating a through route to the main hallway.
The “front” door is a bit of an oddity – it’s very much at the side of the house, and you have to walk across the front of the house to get to it from the driveway. When Granddad first built the house, the front door was at the opposite side of the house to the kitchen and, as you might expect, opened on to a hallway. When he put the garage on the side of the house in the early 1960s, the natural main entrance moved to the kitchen, with a porch added in front of the kitchen door much more recently (it was one of those projects that kept being put back). To the eternal confusion of the postman, there appeared to be two front doors, complete with two letter boxes. We have simplified this slightly by replacing the front of the garage so removing the smaller garage door – hopefully this will mean we get half as much spam post!
We stayed in the house last summer and, as well as sorting through my Grandparents’ possessions, we started to take apart some of the kitchen units. It was both great and sad to remember lots of family stories, but exciting to look forward to making new memories (and jam and cakes) when we live there.