It's been a few weeks since I've written a blog post about the house...life has been pretty stressful recently, leaving me with no time to write any blog posts. For most of November work was crazy and I was lucky if I was working less than 14 hours a day and that left B to pick up all the work at the house, with me helping out one day at the weekend as I needed to sleep the whole of the other day! So much has been happening lately that I need to fill you in on.
This is how our bedroom looks now...
We are stripping back the wall in the photo above, as when we started to create the opening for the walk in wardrobe the rest of the plaster started to crack. Trying to fix traditional lath and plaster with modern plaster over the top is notoriously tricky, the old stuff sucks up all the moisture from the new plaster and you end up with cracks. I wanted some nice smooth walls to be able to paint our bedroom rather than being forced to go with wallpaper, so we sucked up the extra work and decided to strip the two main walls back. We will leave the existing vertical wooden supports and attach new plaster board and plaster over these to create our new bedroom walls.
In this photo you can see through the ensuite space to the bedroom at the back of the house
Just writing up this post and looking at these photos makes me wonder if we really appreciated just how much work was needed in every single room of the house. We had most of it written down and knew it would be a lot of work, but I don't think you can ever really understand just how time consuming it all is until you are in the middle of it, sweating through the effort!
Here's another snap of B hard at work, you can see that the dust mask is being worn! You honestly can't breath without one. I am standing in what will become our shower in the ensuite, the diagonal beam you can see in the photo is actually supporting the ceiling, so we need to position the door to the shower to the right of this beam. I think we've managed to get lucky as it looks like the door will pretty much end up in line with the door to enter the ensuite.
I honestly don't think any of the rooms have escaped the mess, the kitchen currently looks like this....
Again all the work that has been done in the kitchen so far has been completed by us. We needed to strip back the lath and plaster on the wall where our kitchen units will go, as the step out due to the old chimney stack was creating a issue with space for the dishwasher. Stripping this stuff back is both time consuming and messy work. The plaster dust is so thick and gets everywhere. We wear masks when we are doing the work and collecting up the rubble, but the air stays full of dust for days afterwards. We hope to get the room to the stage where the electrician and plumber can first fit the required wiring etc. for the new kitchen appliances and then we'll get the kitchen fitted in the new year. Once we finally decide what we want!
We have also created the new openings in both the ground floor living room and first floor L-shaped room for our fireplaces. This also created quite a bit of mess! Thankfully this time the chimney company were the ones doing the work and bagging up the resulting rubble, but sadly they left 12 bags of it on the first floor that poor B had to carry downstairs by himself.
We are going with wood burning stoves in both of the rooms, mostly so we have an alternative heat source in our main living areas, and the chimneys have been cleared and lined ready to install our chosen stoves. The actual opening for the stove and surround can be made bigger to suit whatever style we choose, another two decisions that need to be made at some point!
The two remaining messy jobs are the knock throughs on the ground floor and the installation of the sprinkler system, B has been comparing quotes for both pieces of work and hopefully work will start on these before Christmas. It would be nice to think that in the new year there will be no more rubble or messy jobs remaining.
The basement level has also changed quite dramatically over the last few weeks. We treated a number of the walls with a damp proof course, however neither of us realised that this would involve stripping the walls back to the brick to enable the treatment to be injected directly. We try not to think about the hours we spent stripping wallpaper in these rooms!!
Damp proofing also creates a lot of mess....are you guys sensing a theme?! The photo below is the room that will become B's pool room currently filled with bags of rubble. Just last week these were all passed out the basement window and taken up the stairs to a waiting skip that was filled to the brim in about half an hour!
Up in the attic rooms, there's also a lot going on. We are repairing the roof, which had both a history of leaks (which were simply patch repaired by the previous owners) and was also leaking when we got the keys. There is bad water damage to the corners of a lot of the rooms, as you can see in the picture below, and here are all our slates stacked up to be resized and reused where possible. The roofers were pretty happy when we said they could store and resize them in our attic rooms rather than take them five floors down to the back garden to do the job!
With so many renovation projects there were also hidden costs. The roofers soon realised that the wall plates, which support the weight of the roof, were badly rotten and could be crumbled away by hand. Again you can see the water damaged wood in the picture below. Replacing these added a chunk to the cost of the roof works, but at least now we know we have repaired or replaced everything and the roof should last us well.
I hope you've enjoyed seeing some of the evidence of our hard work! It's genuinely at the stage for us where we can't see the end of hours upon hours of hard graft, I can't wait to look back on this post once the house looks more like a habitable dwelling to remind us of how much we achieved ourselves.