HOUSE PROJECT: MARCH UPDATE

HOUSE PROJECT: MARCH UPDATE

I completely understand why my really sensible and clear-headed friends went to live with their parents for six months before they moved into their {finished} house. Sure, they were doing some more serious building work than us, but WOW I am so fed up of DIY mess now and please can I go and live in a hotel.

It's been a few months since I blogged about what we've been up to around the house – lots of it has gone on my Stories, so you may have seen that Mr L and I have literally not stopped and it's all we really do apart from IKEA trips and taking care of the doggo. I'm faaaairly sure the prospect of having a baby arriving in a few months has put a massive rocket up our bottoms too.

So, here's the latest...

THE BIG HEATING UPGRADE

When we viewed the house way back when, we figured that the original 70's boiler was going to have to go, not only because it took up a stupid amount of space in the kitchen but also because it was {obvs} very inefficient. Its neighbouring hot water cylinder was housed inside an airing cupboard, so effectively the whole of one end of the kitchen was just heating-related gubbins. We had almost all of the original radiators too, which were fine, however nothing had been flushed or serviced for a long time so we also had few ridiculously Baltic rooms, including the main event of the house – the sitting room!

We lived with the crappy old heating through our first winter. The house never really got very warm, even with the thermostat cranked up to the max and Mr L and I constantly bickering about the fact 18 degrees was in fact more like 12 degrees so could he stop switching it back down again because I'm cold AF. We vowed to get on with it the following summer so set about trying to source a good local plumber. It ended up taking us much longer to get our act together around other decorating and garden jobs and we didn't find a good one until OCTOBER...by which point things were getting a bit desperate as we were also newly 'with child'.

Our chosen plumber, Jay, didn't have a next available slot until the week before Christmas. Yeah WOW. It was totally bonkers timing but we decided to push on and brave the cold. We begged, borrowed and stole various electric heaters to see us through the work, and luckily with the in-laws just around the corner we could nip to theirs for a shower. I also got more into dry shampoo, something I never really bother with, and did a lot of Victorian washes - which are OK if you don't mind standing naked in a freezing bathroom for a bit, but no, not fun at all.

So the agreed plan with Jay was to replace the old beast of a boiler for a new combi as well as flushing and cleaning the whole system. He didn't think we would need to replace the existing radiators which was a relief, instead recommending thermostatic valves for them all, and swapping out the one in the main bathroom for a towel ladder. 

The first stage of the work was to switch off the old boiler and disconnect the gas, ready to have this fully removed from its existing location. We wanted to relocate the new boiler somewhere else and Jay recommend fitting it in the attic. We decided on a Baxi combi boiler which was a reasonable price and more than ample for dealing with heating in a house of our size.

I actually know nothing about boilers at all so I am lol just repeating what Mr L said. 

Finally, the decision to go for instant hot water meant we could remove the cylinder in the kitchen, again buying us more space.

Hello my lovely new laundry and pantry! {more on that in a mo}.

The work took about five days in total and we didn't have any hot water or heating for most of those. In mid-December this was pretty horrendous, but we blistered through it. Having tradespeople in is a pain, let's face it – they tried to be tidy but they were all over the house pulling up floorboards, drilling, shoving things in walls and putting dirty hand prints all over the doors. You just have to surrender to it. And feed them lots of coffee and cake, and beg the help of your retired parents-in-law to come and let them in on the days you can't be in.

The magical day I came home from work to a warm house and running hot water was like stepping into paradise. It's such a cliche but you really don't miss something until it's gone, and boy did I miss being warm and 'heated'. It really made me think about how much we take all of our modern comforts for granted and how hot, running water is THE ONE. Jay also fitted us a new tap in the kitchen as the old one dripped constantly and was so ugly. We went for a Villeroy and Boch brushed stainless mixer which helps with adding a bit of style to an otherwise average kitchen space.

The old boiler was also completely removed and the flue sealed up internally and bricked up externally. We also had an electrician in to sort all the related wiring to the old and new boiler. 

As is always the way however, some of the work presented a few complications. Unfortunately the pipes to some of the radiators was both old and blocked, so despite fitting all the new valves and power flushing the system, basically half the house was still not heating up properly. Some of the radiators were still completely cold and others warm-ish but not working how they should. 

In the New Year Jay returned to re-fit new connecting pipes to the cold radiators which meant adding some {actually kind of trendy} copper connection pipes up the walls in the sitting and dining room.  It's all working like a pro now, although we had to spend more cash that planned on getting it right. Needless to say the house is now so toasty and comfortable throughout and I'm finally learning to love it again after a few bleak months. This all coincided with my morning sickness as well so it feels like a  nasty phase we are happy to be out of!

LAUNDRY

At the same time as all the plumbing work we set about revamping the space where the boiler had been. We're not quite ready to replace the whole kitchen so are having to make the best of the oak cupboards, cream tiles, some really awful lighting and those weird peachy floor tiles...it is a long way from my ideal cuisine of dreams but I guess it could be much worse.

Pre-heating upgrade there was no space for a dishwasher or dryer, so it made sense to look at using the newly liberated space to house extra appliances and make everything a bit more helpful for modern living. 

We started by ripping out the old cupboards and units {which housed the boiler, a tiny fridge and all of the dog's gubbins} and taking the tiles off the wall, as well as running in a new socket from the hallway.

 How we found the place.

How we found the place.

 Cupboards and boiler casing removed...

Cupboards and boiler casing removed...

 See ya byeeee.

See ya byeeee.

 New electrics for appliances, dug into the wall {more bloody filling!}

New electrics for appliances, dug into the wall {more bloody filling!}

As you can see it was such a manky little corner with all sorts of pipes and holes and uneven walls, it took ages to prep and felt like a never ending job for somewhere so small and pointless. We also discovered a couple of floor tiles missing underneath the old fridge so sourced some neutral replacements courtesy of my FIL, and Mr L laid those to create an even surface. 

 Filling, filling, filling

Filling, filling, filling

 First coat of paint!

First coat of paint!

 Here is another photo of something really dull but exciting - a waste pipe!

Here is another photo of something really dull but exciting - a waste pipe!

 HELLO MY LAUNDRY.

HELLO MY LAUNDRY.

Plumber Jay came back one weekend and sorted us out with a waste for the washing machine and dryer, then it was time to move them in for good!

You'll notice we have stacked them to save space, Mr L sourced some kind of shelf which stops them from upsetting each other, and has a handy pull out section for resting your washing {not a baby apparently says the instructions, although seems like a fine place to change one if you're A TOTAL IDIOT}. 

We also bought the white gloss cupboard/shelf {this one was in the Homebase sale for about £25} in lieu of any new fixed or fitted storage which sits nicely next door and houses the washing and drying supplies. Hmm, might put some cute plants and recipe books on those shelves perhaps? Mr L is going to LOVE that ha.

PANTRY

During the Christmas holidays Mr L also spent a lot of time inside the old airing cupboard to get this ready to become a pantry. After a quick sand and paint {in white, err what else have we not met} it was ready for fresh shelving to be put up.

He has since built the shelves either side of the door using adjustable brackets and window boards, and we've bought some peg boards from IKEA to put on the back wall. As I am a total pantry nerd I will be taking over management of this area in a few weeks and putting together a proper transformation blog post and everything.

In the meantime, here is a sneak peek of the early transformation:

 Before airing cupboard

Before airing cupboard

 After pantry in waiting!

After pantry in waiting!

Don't say I don't spoil you with ALL the boring corners of my home.

MULTI-PURPOSE BEDROOM

I'm trying to wrack my brains as to what else we've been doing as there has been so much going on. The only real way to know is to go back through my photos, so it appears that at some point over Christmas and New Year we also managed to paint what was called 'The Pink Room', which we will be using as a bit of a study/guest room going forward. 

This is the largest bedroom and is at the front of the house so it is sunny and gorgeous, I love it. I think one day it will also make a really lovely children's room.

 Oh, we love scraping off shit old paint in this house.

Oh, we love scraping off shit old paint in this house.

 Yes – another white room!

Yes – another white room!

Unfortunately this room has quickly become The Designated Junk Room – so that we could move everything out of the nursery to furnish and finish that...and now, everything out of the guest bedroom is in there too. 

Look pals, you've gotta take some steps backward, sideways and frankly upside down before you win at this game. But still. GROAN TO NOT QUITE FINISHING THINGS YET.

GUEST BEDROOM

As I write I can hear all kinds of rattling, scraping and squirrelling from upstairs as the family decorating gang beaver away like soldiers on the next project, our guest bedroom. 

BTW just want to give a huge shout out to my husband and my in laws, because whilst I write these accounts in very much 'We' terms it's mostly 'Them' actually grafting away. I just make the tea, cut the sandwiches and occasionally gatecrash to do some scraping or painting. Whilst I'm pinning my ideas to death, they make them actually happen. Legends.

This is the final bedroom to be decorated. We've sped through this one in the past three weekends, helped by a mammoth family decorating day with the grandparents, grown up children and their husbands/wives and grandchildren all helping out. Everyone has been volunteering ahead of the baby coming which is really lovely, it's a real team effort.

The room is north facing so is a bit dark and dingy so surprise, surprise Iwannapaintitwhite. We will be re-carpeting and getting new furniture for in here except for the bed {although new headboard desperately required}, I actually have a chest of drawers which I've had since I was a little girl that I'm going to paint and put in here too and a little pink Lloyd Loom style chair that I bought in Stamford last summer. We've just taken delivery of some bedside tables from Swoon Editions and obvs I am going to buy some kind of huge leafy plant to go in here. You can check out my guest bedroom board on Pinterest to see the vibe I want – fresh, relaxed, a bit boho, nothing too formal or fancy pants.

Here is the room last autumn in all its peach and floral glory.

 Wanna come and sleep in my peach nest?

Wanna come and sleep in my peach nest?

We left it all as it was and just moved in some temporary furniture from the old house, it was liveable and functional but still a bit bloody hideous. We did have some odd damp issues around the lintels and in the corner by the ceiling, still haven't quite figured out what's going on there but hoping replacing the windows soon will make a difference. No actual fusty smells from the damp so WTF the wallpaper is just a bit thirsty now and then?!

The wallpaper is now off and we've been working our way through a tonne of peely paint fun AGAIN which seems to be a theme in this house. Top tip: the boys have discovered through a lot of trial and error that the best thing to remove paint from bare plaster is actually a proper blade – Wilko do a glass scraper which is ace. 

Today we {they} are sanding and getting the first coat of paint on, my lovely mum is coming to stay next weekend so I'd quite like her to not have to sleep in what looks like a crack den. 

Here are a few progress pictures, obviously I will do a full before and after reveal when it is finally done!

 Strippin'

Strippin'

 Yummy flowery wardrobe

Yummy flowery wardrobe

 In the 1970's paint did not attach itself to plaster, apparently

In the 1970's paint did not attach itself to plaster, apparently

 In the thick of scraping away.

In the thick of scraping away.

We are now really on countdown to baby and there isn't an awful lot of time left – something like 14 weeks until due date but realistically we want to be finished in 10-12. There's a bunch of other things that need to happen around the house before then, including:

  • Carpeting and furnishing the guest bedroom
  • Replacing all windows and doors
  • Replacing the en-suite {which sounds so simple but will be a pig of a job}
  • Painting the dining room 
  • Re-decorating and carpeting/flooring the hallway

Not much to do at all.

GAHHHHH.

Thanks for reading this epic post and hopefully next time I can show you the house looking a bit 'done' rather than a series of ugly corners?

~ ceels

PREGNANCY: THE SECOND TRIMESTER

PREGNANCY: THE SECOND TRIMESTER

CONFESSIONS OF A LIST ADDICT

CONFESSIONS OF A LIST ADDICT