Hitting the wall…and other areas of the house.

So, this weekends checklist:

1. Kitchen delivery – Check, what better to be doing at 7.02 on a Saturday morning.
2. Kitchen fitting quotation – Check (under budget!)
3. Ebay kitchen bar stool purchase – Fail (‘sniper’ app failed to snipe!)
4. Holly tree felling – Fail (gardener didn’t turn up, currently 37hrs late)
5. First plaster coat – Check
6. Kitchen wall renovation – Almost check (ran out of brick acid…and patience)
7. Ebay window purchase – What? It wasn’t on the list?! Erm… Check!
8. Ebay mirror purchase – Check (I’m a better Ebayer than the app!)
9. Scrap metal collection – Fail, apparently our local scrap dealers only work weekdays!
10. Coffee trunk listed on Ebay – Check (to pay for the window, obvs)
11. Ebay corner cupboard purchase – Check
12. Collect light bulbs from Post Office – Fail

Kitchen delivery: Ikea turned up on time to deliver the kitchen, slightly concerned by the minimal volume of the boxes – currently all stacked in the downstairs loo! Seems Ikea really are the masters of compact packing, or half the order is missing, we’ll find out soon enough.

Kitchen fitting: Looks like Miles will be our kitchen fitter of choice, likely to start a week on Saturday as we have another weekends snagging to do before they start.

Kitchen stools: I smugly trotted off shopping safe in the knowledge my super-duper new app would get my stools for the best possible price. Seems I should have stuck to the old method as someone else got these beauties for £15 each, raged!

20140223-220759.jpg Tree felling: The tree surgeon failed to show, maybe he fell out of a tree?! He did arrive earlier in the week to clear the garden though, not quite sure how he did it, but looks like there’s been some sort of apocalypse!

Plaster: Ronnie filled all the holes the electricians made, ready to be skimmed by the proper plasterer.

Kitchen wall: This is to be exposed brick, but was covered in a huge amount of mortar and plaster. I used brick acid to break down the mortar, washed it off and scrubbed with a wire brush for HOURS! Needs a few more hours work and then a coat of sealant, really pleased so far though.


(Accidental) window purchase: I accidentally bought this for the wall between the kitchen and alcove.


(Intended) mirror purchase: I’ve been after one of these mirrors for a while, usually about £195, I’ve picked up this one for £80, kerching!

20140223-223819.jpg Scrap metal: What sort of a scrap dealer does not work weekends?! They don’t make them like they used to. The scrap pile has grown further over the weekend and now includes the old fridge freezer. The lot should have gone when we get back from work.


Coffee trunk listing: I’m sad to let this one go, but although this house is twice the size of the cottage I bought the trunk for, it just won’t fit anywhere.


Corner cupboard purchase: Ikea strangely, only make wall corner cupboards in white, so I’ve been on the lookout for something I can paint to tie in. This is what I’ve bought…

20140223-222311.jpg This has already been ‘up-cycled’ (as the cool kids say) and I was intending to get something I could renovate myself, but this was a bargain and just needs painting in a slightly darker colour.

Light bulb collection: Getting dimable bulbs has been a nightmare, and an expensive one at that! Delivery was attempted while we were out, so I went to collect them from the Post Office, which, apparently closes at 11.53am, not 12.00. Oh well, we’ll wait until next week then, light is over-rated anyway.

Turning Point?

The sun is shining today, just a little bit, but plaster dust is slightly more bearable when the doors and windows can be flung open without fear of freezing to death. I’ve spent the day stripping paint and paper from the hallway, I thought this job had been checked off, but alas, Ronnie today declared the job a fail and I was sent back to do it again. Humph. We’ve taken the skirting off in the hall to allow the D.P.C. guys access, it also meant I could finally check over the whole of the original floor, it’s all looking good with the exception of a couple of missing tiles by the doorway and a few gloopy, gluey patches where carpet has been stuck down in the past, it seems a million years since we got rumbled by the Estate Agent ripping up the carpet to see what was lay beneath the horrid carpet and found our fabulous floor.

20140216-171305.jpg The kitchen arrives on Saturday, so next week will be a flurry of last minute quotations for fitting. The remnants of the room divisions have been taken down at last, which really seems to have opened up the room. We’ve got a few little jobs left to do before the fitters arrive, such as ordering door furniture, cleaning up the exposed brick wall and trying to find a stained glass window we can use in the panel between the arch and the dining table, sourcing worktop, oh and a corner unit…quite a lot then really! Eek! I also want to improve the cupboard doors, I’m planning on adding beading and painting them to match the Ikea units.

I mentioned last week that the structural repair guys had managed to put the Helifix bars into the gable end without leaving a trace, it’s stopped raining long enough for me to take a picture today – Ta da!

20140216-200630.jpg Lastly, our other house is finally set to exchange, so we should actually have a budget very soon. Hurrah!

Let there be light… And no plaster dust.

And on the hundredth day (approximately, give or take a dozen) there was light. Yes, the electricians have left the building, woo hoooo! I am not missing the mess they created, or the odd things that were happening before completion of the new circuits, like switches controlling lights in other rooms, or the epic failure of the new remote control bedroom lights to work… Oh, except when any of the neighbours locked their cars or we turned over the tv, then the lights came on full beam! Pleased with our bedroom wall lights, a step closer to the coveted hotel-feel, though currently not the standard of hotel room one would actually choose to occupy.

20140209-204902.jpg It’s also great to have proper lighting in the kitchen (though we’re about 10 bulbs short – Who knew it was so difficult to get a bulb these days?!) and at last get rid of the old electrics clinging onto beams meaning we can fully open the room now.

20140209-205128.jpg The lights outside look good too, it’s great to be able to light the courtyard at last.

20140209-205232.jpg The clutter you see in the foreground is what 7 (yes 7) Economy Heaters look like once they’ve been opened up, stripped of their refractory bricks and strewn into the yard. That was a fun afternoon.

20140209-205847.jpg Also this week our poor little house got stitched together, but on the plus side, it shouldn’t crack anymore. I thought I’d be putting up photos of this process, but the guys got through the work so quickly and efficiently, there was actually nothing to see. I seriously need to find out what vacuum cleaner they have…not a trace of plaster dust! The electricians could learn a lot from these dudes! This is the hallway with the addition of the Helifix bars.

The bars are fitted neatly between the bricks then covered over again.

These will solve our higgeldy-piggeldy bricks. We’ve had the same process on the gable end of the house as it was bowing outward. There’s hardly a trace of the work which is great as the brickwork is so intricate I was worried it would be spoiled. Most exciting news of the week is that my radio’s extreme-makeover is complete… Ta-da!


Where did January go?

This week has mainly been about the rewire, and it’s been a little grim! I’d failed to anticipate quite how messy it would be… There’s been MORE plaster chipped off, holes appearing here, there and everywhere, random power cuts and as the Economy 7 system has now been decommissioned, plummeting temperatures. Other than that it’s been ok though. Oh except when the oven blew up. And when the cat pulled down the lounge curtains. And when the cat pulled down the shower curtain.

20140202-113732.jpg We’ve not seen too much of the sparkies (check me out, with my builders lingo!) as we’ve been mega busy at work, communication has been mainly through scrawls on walls, so while I aspire to Cole & Son wallpapers, in actual fact most of the house now looks like this…

20140202-104957.jpg Or this, complete with Dottie drawing, she’s obviously made an impression, god knows what she’s been up to…

20140202-105028.jpg My job this morning has been sorting out the endless boxes of switches and sockets and labelling them to make sure they go to their correct homes.

20140202-114332.jpg The electricians seem to be doing a good job (according to Ronnie, I don’t have a scooby-do!) however tomorrow I’ll be asking them what the @?!% they have done to my stool to break it and why they think it’s acceptable to leave the remnants of their McDonalds lunch strewn throughout the house. Stand by your beds! Tomorrow will also see the start of the structural work to sure up the old cracks and stop the bowing of the side wall. I’m told it basically involves giant staples and glue – Simple, right?!

In other news, the local green grocers expressed approval of our new front door while I was buying apples today, the letter box they noted, was in keeping with the period of the house – phew! Our kitchen is now ordered, and due for delivery in three short weeks, which is ace, as I’ve had about enough of this…there’s nowhere to put the apples!

20140202-112417.jpg After we’d had a coffee and some Dime cake to recover from the shock of spending so much, we had a mooch around the store and wandered into ‘bargain corner’ and you know what? We actually found a bargain! As Ikea are changing over kitchen systems, there was a bunch of ex-display bits and bobs and we picked up the microwave we wanted up for half price, which we quickly scuttled off with.

20140202-113046.jpg As I turned my nose up at Ikea handles, I really need to get my act together on hardwear sourcing, but now I have a kitchen panel I think I’ve changed my mind which handles I want, decisions decisions.

20140202-200512.jpg Cue more nights on Ebay… I’ve also been (secretly) buying kitchen accessories from Etsy and have packed off my beloved Roberts radio for a much-needed extreme makeover.