Saturday, 21 November 2009

We moved in a year ago!

Happy anniversary gravy, got you on my mii-i-ind! (Musical reference, Little River Band FYI). Yup, a whole year has passed. And despite all the hiccups and dramas, when you compare how this house looked when we first exchanged contracts to how it looks now. I have to admit, I am pretty chuffed with how it's turned out. Here's a bunch of before and after shots for your perusal
(NB these house pics show the possessions/taste of the previous occupants)

At top shows how the entrance hall looked, and below is how it looked as of half an hour ago...

Here is the original stair case:

And here it is today:

This is the utility room that used to be at the bottom of the stairs:

And you can see how it looks now, with that pesky boiler turned 90 degrees, because the back wall was knocked out for the extension:

Here's the original TV room in the middle floor:

And here's how it looks now - note the boxes still yet to unpack, and the kids clutter (that yellow and blue thing is a puppet show theatre):

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Boiler progression

Img from

Unless you're about to replace your own boiler I can't imagine that this post will be very interesting, but here goes. Rob managed to negotiate the plumber down by £240 by sourcing the boiler off t'internet. This meant that we'd have a new boiler and water storage tank installed for around £2,260.

The date was agreed with the plumber for this Thursday as the boiler was meant to arrive "next working day if ordered by 4pm" . Only it turns out that the boiler can't actually be delivered until sometime on Thursday. Which won't really work as it needs to be here before the plumber kicks off.

Rob has cancelled the order, and postponed the installation date with the plumber.

Now that he's given it some thought, he's making noises about installing a Combi system. This is hugely appealing for several reasons:

1. It means no more boiler in our dining room! So long as the plumber can get access to a gas pipe, the boiler could live up in our spare room, probably above the desk where I'm writing this right now.
2. It means the hot water cupboard in the kids bedroom can go - hoorah! More space!
3. It means no more noisy water pump whenever you run a tap on the top floor
4. It's better for the environment
5. It's cheaper to run

On the downside:

1. If there's a gas outage, we have no hot water
2. Unless we have one bar minimum water pressure, it won't work
3. It'll cost an extra £500 or so
4. We'll have to "make good" the plaster and flooring that gets ripped up to reticulate the pipes

Someone is going to investigate the water pressure this week - unless we have that one bar then we're back to the original plan. I'm not optimistic that the water pressure will pass this test as my "ensuite" is effectively a shoe storage area owing to the dribble that comes out of the shower head...

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Great minds think alike

Img courtesy of Flickr

As soon as I have a weekend at home I will photograph all the things in the house that we've yet to sort out. The last three weekends have been spent in various parts of the English countryside - kicking autumnal leaves and drinking litres of delicious wine. Hopefully I can make some time this coming weekend.

Until then here's a lovely white kitchen which features a dash of high gloss on the counter top, and chartreuse green as an injection of colour. Oh and they've got moulded white retro chairs and wooden floors too. I used to cringe at my parents bold orange 1970s colour palette once the 1980s were underway, and I guess my kids will have the same reaction to our aesthetic choices before too long. "Eeoow, this house is so, 2008, urgh!"

The plumber came back with a quote - £2,500 to fit a new boiler and replace the water storage tank. Apparently all the necessary parts can be bought for around £1,000 which means the labour (ie one days work) is being costed at £1,500. No wonder so many people are re-training as plumbers! Rob's offered to buy the parts directly to see if we can negotiate a reduced day rate. Watch this space.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Good light for photos

So far we've had one plumber come round to quote for the new boiler. We used to live next door to his parents, and he did the boiler at our flat. Top bloke. It's been a week and a half so we're hoping the quote is imminent. The other plumber I contacted didn't show up and I'm having trouble getting a recommendation for anyone else (if you happen to have a reliable boiler oriented plumber's number, please leave it in a comment below). Would be good to have two quotes for comparison purposes.

The photo at the top was taken by a professional photographer who specialises in taking kids photos. Despite the rainy day there was plenty of light, she hardly used her light reflector. The new Verner Panton chairs were put to good use, though I wish I'd paid more attention to wrangling Gwen (the one in pink), of the hundreds of photos taken she's pulling silly faces in 90% of them.

If you have kids and you're based in London, I can recommend Francesca the photographer - very patient and produces better portraits than I can manage. Here's her website:

And some examples of her work below (Yup, these are my kids...)