Sunday, 30 June 2013

Time and money

Five and a half weeks into the top floor renovation and things I have learned:
  • The build always takes much longer than whatever you've estimated
  • The build ALWAYS costs way more than you've budgeted
  • My sofa is quite comfortable
  • I'm so happy we put a second shower downstairs last year, or we'd have spent (so far) over £5k on renting nearby
  • I should have taken out my summer holiday essentials before packing everything away to save having to buy replacement aqua socks, beachwear, playsuits etc

I'm off for a week in the sun with some friends on Wednesday - Rob's holding the fort with the kids (yay!). When I get back we should be on the home straight - the bathroom should be finished and the carpet will have been laid... It will all be worth it (I have to keep telling myself that).

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Bedside reading lamp

Bedside lighting: pretty boring topic. Unless, like me, you have mismatching bedside lamps due to various previous accidents involving clumsy cleaners. Also there's something irritating about the snakes of cables getting caught up around the bed.

So when the above lamps popped up as a featured design buy on I sent the link to Rob and suggested they might be great for our refurbished bedroom. He agreed but we didn't buy them immediately. They sold out and the Spanish manufacturer Dalainor didn't return my emails. I trawled t'internet looking for something similar, to no avail. Yesterday, I decided to phone the manufacturer and was delighted to find they cost €40 each, plus €40 for delivery to the UK: this is £104 all up - which is about £40 cheaper than we'd have got them from - result!


They arrived yesterday - 3 working days after I did the bank transfer! Thank you Dalainor!

Friday, 21 June 2013

Let the sun shine in

Today is the longest day of the year - happy Summer Solstice - and how timely that the Velux is in so we can see just how much light it lets in. These photos were taken at 6.20pm just after a cloud burst, so not exactly the brightest conditions, but as you can see there's a tonne of light:

The Velux uses an electronic system via a remote control to open and close, and has rain sensors which means it will close automatically.

It's as if we have a megawatt bulb on but it's just daylight.... and late afternoon daylight at that. I wonder how much electricity we'll save by not having to turn the lights on every time we go in there now...

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Plastering has been done

What a difference a weekend makes, at least I think most of this happened over the weekend. I've been off on a bit of a jaunt chasing Depeche Mode around (well, only 4 shows so far) but this meant I had a trip to Germany followed by a trip to Paris less than 48 hours later.  The good news was that most of the horrible stucco effect had been removed and the surfaces of our walls and ceiling were now super smooth. The bad news was that the power points were in odd places for the new room layout, and there was no provision for reading lights over the bed.

The builders are going to chase the cabling into the walls for the reading lights and reposition some of the power points, but it means smashing up the plaster work.  In a way, it's been super useful that I've been off work so I can answer questions quickly and make decisions on the spot, but those few days when I was off travelling meant that no-one was here to sort the plugs out. Ho hum.

The top two photos show our bedroom, and the bottom four show the girls room (check out the mess on the floor - there are footprints all over the house all day, every day...)

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Loft access

Another conundrum solved with the initiative of our clever builders: where to store our suitcases? I suggested a high shelf but Rob said that'd look ugly. The builders suggested putting them into the loft space and I pointed out that getting them out might be problematic as I travel a lot and climbing up a ladder was a recipe for disaster. But for £80 you can buy a loft ladder, problem solved!

There's quite a bit of flat space in the roof, so the builders are going to line it with plasterboard (to reduce dust from insulation etc) so we can not only store suitcases, but out of season clothes and the camping gear - yippee!

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Plasterboard paradise

The bathroom is starting to take shape. The walls are more or less in, so we can stand in the space and pretend it's a busy workday morning when both of us want to be brushing our teeth at the same time and see if there's enough elbow room. Will be easier to assess once the basin is here. 

Great news - we can get a large Velux window into the roof and not compromise on the safety as there are so many support beams. This view is of the beginnings of a vaulted ceiling.

The wall in the kids room has already been patched up and filled in and Marlo's getting used to the idea of having a built in bed instead of her original plan of having a new Ikea bed...

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Pocket doors are in

This photo was taken in the bedroom looking out towards the bathroom. The two silver 'ladders' are the internal gubbins of the sliding door mechanisms. This is why there's currently no walls - in order to insert pocket doors they need the wall build around them. 

This is the size of the new wardrobe - about 2.5m long and as high as the ceiling - just thinking about this makes me feel extremely centred.

You can see how much space we've intruded into the new bathroom by the breeze blocks - the bathroom will be narrower than the original one, but longer.

And here's the builders genius solution to having to endure a plinth in the girls room: The plinth houses the head clearance space for the stairs, so can't be moved. Instead of building a wardrobe around it they suggested building a bed over it - they can make storage boxes to slide underneath and we can put a wardrobe in the opposite end of the room. This will allow maximum storage and allow the room to have more usable floor space.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

And the walls came tumbling down

The breeze blocks are where my old ensuite used to be. And the (fugly) doors are where my old wardrobe was.

This is the view from the hallway looking into our bedroom - one of the builders said 'You could even put your bathroom in the corner so you'd have natural light and have a long bedroom instead'. Apparently he wasn't serious but we still knocked up some drawings as it was a very good idea. Moving the waste pipe would have been very expensive and would have meant boxing some of it into the living room. Back to the original plan!

The stairs come out to no walls at all...

We're going for pocket doors in our bedroom and also the bathroom, so this means having to rebuild the walls to accommodate the internal sliding mechanism. 

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Demolition underway

After one day with a sledgehammer this is what our old bathroom looks like.  We're onto the second skip already.

This shows the view from the bedroom looking at the ensuite and bathroom spaces. 

A parquet floor? Who knew!

And this is why the floor was so squeaky - they'd used different kinds of wood, which were nailed down instead of screwed, so the floor wasn't exactly flat.

There are two thick walls of polythene to protect us from the dust for the next few weeks.