Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Where did the time go?

4 Months! I must have blinked and not noticed! Sorry for the lack of updates but since the builders "finished" it seems like life got even more hectic. I cant believe we haven't even put a picture of the finished article, well the outside at least (just don't look at the paint) So here it is before and after! (The before isn't too great I'm afraid)

Of course it doesn't all end there, oh no, because we now have the interior to finish and decorate. We still have no handrail up on the stairs because I wanted to decorate the hall first but to do the hall I would need to do the woodwork. To do the woodwork meant lots of sanding, filling, priming, undercoating, glossing and.. I'm sure you get the picture. I started of quite well by mist coating (very watered down paint mix) all the walls and ceilings that had new plaster on them some needing two coats as it just drank the stuff.

Things were going a little too easy at this point so our one and only shower in the house decided it was going to leak on us, I found this one afternoon when a big wet patch had formed on the carpet outside the bathroom. Further investigation found a big wet patch in the living room ceiling below as well eek! Oddly the wall where the shower was mounted was dry so we thought it was leaking around the base of the shower. A bit of sealant and a couple of showers later the wet patch was getting worse. I pulled a bit of the wall off to see where the pipes were and ended up pulling the whole section of wall down where the shower was to find an isolation valve in the wall, drip drip dripping!! Sadly I thought I had some pictures of this but I can't find them so just imagine a stud wall with no plaster board on it!!!

After the wall was then plastered a new we decided to get a new chippy in to come and complete all the skirting and architrave around the doors (yay more wood for me to treat!) By the time all this was done we decided to concentrate on getting the front "guest" bedroom done, which will become our bedroom until we get our main room done one day (years away at this rate) after much deliberation we went for... magnolia in the room, the colour would come from the curtains and bedsheets. "Bedsheets can be changed, paint isn't as easy" or so I was told. So here are some pictures of the room and the new curtains and curtain poles etc.

(we know the bed covers don't quite match but its the closest we can find at the moment, it seems impossible to find a nice raspberry looking bed cover) Oh I almost forgot the bathroom door put us even further behind. We decided to try and get our pine doors to match the oak stair rail we would soon have up, we knew you wouldn't get an exact match but we thought it would be nice to have similar tones. So we bought some Fiddes hard wax oil, English Oak, I did exactly what it said on the tin, sanded it back with 150 grade paper and, well, lets just say it had less than perfect results!

As you can see it went on dark and very patchy! needless to say Jo was not very impressed when she came home from work (why oh why did I keep putting it on!!) So, my next 3 days were taken up sanding the door back down to its bare bones!

That was half way through the process, eventually I got it looking as new (almost) and we decided to go for the CLEAR hard wax oil in the end which looked a lot better. We finally moved into the bedroom last weekend (yay!) we wont even mention that the bathroom grout had cracked a bit in the shower unit so I had to seal that up.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Done But Not Yet Dusted

Well its finally the last day of the building (apart from a bit of minor plumbing). Tony came around and I was happy to shake his hand and hand over the last of the money. Andy came to do a bit of rendering around the bay window which felt nice because the job started with Andy and now its ended with him Ahhh... Anyway enough of sentimentals we now have to start the big clean up and get decorating.
So who do we remember
  • Dell - loves to Party in Prague
  • Andy our lovable Brickie
  • Buster - Hang on he's on the phone....
  • Ed the apprentice chippie - omg he's now qualified!
  • Nick - its an optical illusion honest
  • Starbuck Steve the coffee drinkin chippie
  • Ghost Loris - the lighting expert
  • Al - please don't box my pipes in they are so shiny
  • Richie the skim - he's like lightning when he gets going.....
  • Jimmy the Lone Ranger (hes a marvel with that gun)
  • Tonto Wayne - always rides with Jimmy
And finally
  • Tony who's not so good on Thursdays!

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Its Just An Illusion

Week 19
After the Builders left we decided we also needed some chillout time so on Monday we went to Lynmouth for a well deserved break. We chatted to the Building Inspector who was fab and letters and emails were sent. Things were pretty dire and the hope of achieving any form of resolution was dwindling rapidly.
Week 20 (89 - 90)
On Monday I started to organise new quotes to finish the work, one of the builders I contacted put the willies up me by pointing out serious "faults". I called the Building Inspector who again was brilliant and agreed to visit and bring Tony along so that he could comment, so on the big day (Wednesday) they both arrived. Tensions were running high and I really couldn't see us achieving much. After looking over the house with its "faults" we were all stood in the hallway and the Building Inspector was trying to urge us to talk things over, again the air was thick with tension but Tim saved the day with his suggestion for compromise and we all sat down and chatted. Eventually we came to an agreement and kissed and made up!
The builders returned on Saturday and Sunday and built the framework for the canopy and screed the floor in the hallway. The radiators in the hall and lounge we also fitted.

Week 21 (91 - 95)
Work continued in dribs and drabs with the canopy getting tiled and trimmed up. We finally got our new front door and garage door fitted on Thursday and the windows were fitted with the correct handles and glass. Buster worked over the weekend finishing off skirting and putting in some of the glass
in the hallway. Unfortunately the panels that were meant to go up the stairs had to returned because the pattern was on the wrongside!

Week 22 (96 - 102)
Buster had a weeks holiday!!!
This meant we got Nick who is a lovely bloke but sadly not a "finisher". Bits and bobs got done throughout the week, filling, plastering, painting, trimming up windows, brickying and rendering, culminating in Busters return at the weekend to fit the remaining glass panels and the coving going up which really made it feel like we were now done! Saturday night we opened the bubbly and gave a big sigh of relief!

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Swings and Roundabouts

Week 16 (Days 74 - 78)
Utility room got plastered and the screed floor was laid.
In the lounge the window was bricked up and plastered.
Buster built the framework to separate the hallway from the kitchen.
Everything was moving on in as plodding a way as always. Tony told us he could get the windows in next week so we rushed like mad over the weekend to move stuff out of the rooms on the front of the house so they would have space to fit the windows. As this included the lounge we were now confined to the kitchen!

Week 17 (Days 79 - 83)
Buster fitted the kitchen door and the fire door to the garage.
The new opening for the window was made in the lounge and luckily the mess wasn't as bad as I'd expected. Paul came and fit the windows (Bay and new lounge window and 2 new replacement windows in the bedroom and study).
The drive and soak away were finished off.
Garage was plasterboarded.
We got the final bill from Tony which included the front door and garage door as extras. We tried to discuss this with him but the discussion turned into a 3 minute silence. We decided to withold some of his payment until this had been settled and from there the trouble started! Tony had palpitations and I had the most stressful on call in history!
Week 18 (Days 84 - 88)
Buster finished off our window cills and finished off the utility room door.
They removed our front door and gave it away to some decorators who were working up the road!
Richie plastered the hallway.
The whole week was tense I expected Tony to come round to talk to me but he never did, instead he sent messages asking for the money via Buster! On Wednesday Buster said he wasn't allowed to buy any further materials for the job so we bought some MDF for a window cill. On Friday Richie was pulled off the job cause he needed to do an emergency plastering job elsewhere!
Buster and I decorated the new front door (a piece of plyboard) and made a letterbox for it!
Shortly after a van pulled up and Buster packed his bags and left. To be honest I felt relieved as the preceding week had been exhausting and stressful. We spent the rest of the day cleaning up and Tim made sure our front door was more secure than Fort Knox!
I phoned the Building Inspector (John) who was really helpful and Trading Standards. I wrote to Tony and drank lots of wine!

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Unleash The Dragon!

Week 14 (Days 64 - 68)
This week started well but once again ended in disappointment, we decided to go out for a day and I think the builders thought that they would also put their feet up and do nothing! I finally said exactly what I thought to our main contractor who initially said he didn't believe me ("they work their cotton socks off") then admitted that if he criticised their work they would all leave him (so is he just afraid of them?) Anyway I told them I wasn't prepared to allow weekend work until I could see week day work moving a bit faster, we will see.
A brief summary of the work...

Plastering -
  • En suite completed (wow that was a big job)
  • Walk-in wardrobe
  • Bedroom
  • Landing
Woodwork -
  • 2 doors
  • Some architrave and skirting upstairs
  • Shower enclosure fitted (this took all day apparently)
Front of house painted and scaffold from front taken down

(before) (After but not finished)

Week 15 (Days 69 - 73)
On the hope of weekend work Monday and Tuesday was a hive of activity but after consulting the runes I decided against weekend work (1 swallow doesn't make a summer). This went down like a lead balloon and as expected work slowed to a snail pace yet again.
Summary of work....

Kitchen plastered (not as big a job as it sounds)

(two beams and a small wall)
Woodwork -
  • 2 doors
  • Bit more architrave and skirting (still not finished)
  • Vanity unit completed
  • Back door and utility window fitted
  • Kitchen floor tidied up (thx Ed)

(Our replacement mirror after the Elecy scratched 1st)

Small en suite plumbed in

Painting completed, gutters fitted and rest of scaffold removed

Coving fitted

(Walk in wardrobe spots) (Upstairs hallway)

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Rosie goes to Brecon Beacons

It was a beautiful sunny day so we took a trip out to the waterfalls in the Brecon Beacons (near Neath). Its a very long walk - almost 4 hours taking it slowly but fantastic scenery, waterfalls weren't very spectacular because it hadn't rained for over a week. Rosie loved paddling in the stream and getting muddy!