Thursday, 22 May 2008

House update...

This photo is from the ICFF from a company called Miss Print - excellent retro wallpapers, textiles and lampshades - and I must say I don't even mind the design idea of hanging wallpaper inside these fetching frames. Oh, they're even based in London! How funny seeing them in NYC when they're actually based in the East End, too trippy. I think they were even at Grand Designs Live because I'm sure I recognise their work.

Anyway, a long over due house update: The first quote came in while I was at the airport. It was in a PDF so I couldn't open it on my Blackberry and Amy (the architect's assistant) kindly emailed me the bottom line. It was eye watering. It was three times more than our budget. When I got back from New York I went straight to a meeting with Anthony (the architect) and another building company to discuss the project in more detail. Anthony is of the opinion that the quote was unrealistic because they hadn't seen the property or had a full quantity survey to work from. This second option building company had stuck a flyer through my letterbox some time ago (since when do builders have to scout for work? They're impossible to pin down they're so busy!), and I like their ethos which is along the lines of sticking to a budget and doing the job on time.

The building manager came round to our house and was surprised it was sitting empty ("Yes, that's why we're so panicked. Paying two mortgages out when the rate on one of them is about to jump skyward isn't fun"). He insisted on doing a detailed quote using a proper bill of works, so that's costing around £400 but means we'll have an accurate quote in by the end of next week (the end of May! We foolishly thought we might even be living there by the end of May…) I'm pretty sure the quote will be beyond our budget, so we'll give them a month or six weeks to see how much work is completed, and then make a decision about whether to move in and let the work be completed in phases.

I'm loathe to do this because camping in a building site with two small children for months on end while we fund the rest of the work is so not my idea of a good time. I can't believe I was so smug watching episodes of Property Ladder/Grand Designs because our work was meant to be budgeted for realistically, oh, the irony...

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