Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Wetroom progress


The black floor tiles have been laid and the wall tiles are on their way. The pipework has been installed, including a nifty thing that allows us to heat the back of the cabinet mirror - leading to a fog-free experience. The silver thing on the floor is the base of the shower drainer, and shows the line where the doors will open to. Did I mention this was a teeny tiny room?


I was having trouble with the idea of a regular shelf in the shower to hold shampoo and shower gel, but the builders are going to create an alcove in the wall instead. The power shower unit will sit next to the alcove, but can't be boxed in or it invalidates the warranty, boo. The sink arrived really quickly but must've been dropped as the entire corner was smashed. A replacement duly arrived the next day, but on closer inspection was designed to sit on a pedestal rather than being wall mounted. All sorted now, though I have to somehow get the wrong sink back to the Post Office.


Today the loo has been plumbed in and the heated towel rail has arrived. At this rate the whole job might be finished before Easter!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Laundry room taking shape


This will post will feel as dull as dishwater, unless you're about to make a laundry room (aka utility room) too? If not, then I'd have to agree. Probably the least exciting room your home will ever have. If like me you're from New Zealand this will seem like a totally normal thing to have in your home. London flat dwellers don't usually have the space to put in a laundry room and the British are fond of sticking the washing machine in the kitchen (why not the bathroom?! Who gets undressed in the kitchen?)

These photos show the former end of the garage, well, middle really as the end was used to make our kitchen. The space was gutted, a wall put up and behold - insulated. Amazingly the wall between the garage and kitchen was never insulated, which goes a long way to explaining the glacial blast which came out of our cupboards in winter. On the upside, our cupboard items remained fresh for ages. At least with an insulated wall our gas bill should be less of a fright next winter.


The room now has it's own (eco) light bulb and a separate switch to run an extractor fan. This means we can shut the door and leave the dryer on and the humidity won't get too crazy in there. Guests will be pleased they no longer have to climb over an airing rack in order to sleep in the spare bedroom.


A trip to Ikea is on the cards so we can buy one of their wall-mounted drying racks. The selection of such items online is pretty bad, and the so-called specialist websites that deal with such things are overwhelmingly awful. Definitely a gap in the market for anyone who can be bothered. The flooring is en route and then we need to think about how to house the mountain of stuff that used to be in the garage into this little space.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Cloakroom: before photos


For FOUR YEARS I have endured our 2.5 ghastly bathrooms after writing this naive post back in February 2008. If I'd known I'd be putting up with the status quo for so long I wouldn't have believed it. Turns out you can smile through aesthetic compromises when your circumstances are wobbled (refer redundancy, recession, unemployment then eventually catching up on many, many holidays...) Anyway. Here we are. And this is the first of the three bathroom spaces to get an overhaul. (The other two will be knocked through into one space at a later date, probably another four years at this rate).

I mentioned the space was quite tiny in my last post, but here you can see it with your own eyes. And yes, I am still keen on black tiles.


Here is the garage, with the washing maching and dryer hidden under an avalanche of goodness knows what. Probably the best news about having the builders in is the skip, which means we can have a proper chuck out of misc items. Especially the items left by the previous owners.


This is the view with the door to the cloakroom on the left and the door to the garage on the right.


This is the same view once the builders got stuck in.


And here is our old cloakroom space - one day of demolition means there's no going back now!


Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Phase 2 has lift off!


Right now there are two builders moving stuff from our garage into our dining room, prepping the spaces and organising the delivery of a skip. I can only compare the excitement to the feeling of anticipation one gets when pregnant: the unknown but ultimately thrilling possibility of something amazing is around the corner. But before then, will come a lot of mess, pain and money.

Last night I took some 'before' photos of the current spaces which I'll post here soon. It was difficult to get a good angle as the cloakroom is so small. Like, really really small. When we were imagining putting a shower in there we were originally going to steal back some space from either the outside storage cupboard, or from the under stairs storage. Neither of these options is happening now due to the cost.

The shower door will have to be made bespoke for the space so that it can fully open, that way when you're on the loo your knees won't be knocking against it.

At the weekend Rob and I went to Topps Tiles and chose the tiles which will end up on the walls and floor. I chose a 20cm square satin black tile for the wall and Rob chose the same tile in white for the floor. Me black, him white, it's kind of fitting. On reflection though, worrying about making the room look small when it IS small seemed silly - so we've ditched the white in favour of a dark grey. I'm guessing the size and colour will end up similar to the photo at top (via

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Phase 2 is imminent


Stardate: March 2012 - and I finally have some actual renovation to write about! This is in relation to the downstairs bathroom update and the implementation of a utility room. The builders came back with a quote, which was quite high, so we revised the plans to make it as simple as possible.

The quote was still too high but after some to-ing and fro-ing it looks like the building work, building materials and a separate water heating unit will cost £6,500 + VAT. We have to buy all the sanitary ware, tiles and extras (heated towel rail, laundry shelving etc) but it looks like the builders can start work next week.


I'm quite liking black tiles - not sure how they'll feel in a small wetroom, but after years of looking at white tiles I feel like a change.

In other news: there was a weird sound coming from our Samsung side-by-side fridge freezer. Turns out it was the fan hitting ice. It took less than 24 hours for the fan to grind to a halt and start overheating. Luckily (?) this happened while we were hosting a lunch at ours rather than say, the middle of the night or while we were away for the weekend. Rob quickly defrosted the fridge with our handheld steamer, and viola, the fridge is working fine again. The fridge is less than four years old and I had no idea it got icy - and we know a few people with the same fridge. Let this be a warning to ensure you defrost yours from time to time...