Thursday, 11 November 2010

Grand Designs (episode 3)

Right, back to business.

Up at 6am (couldn't sleep) to make my way over the water and greet the laminate floor fitters and check how things in general are getting on.

The rear chimney stack has been taken down and is waiting to be 'capped off' and the front chimney stack has been shortened. 550 'blown' bricks have nearly all been replaced at the upper gable end with matching Cheshire pre war common bricks (73mm).

The repointing to the rear exterior is almost finished too. 

We've now had our second cement mixer on site and the second skip is half full. It's this kind of detail which I will cherish forever!?
The flooring is also down and she's starting to feel more like a home.

8 days until moving day!

Sunday, 7 November 2010


Light relief now from the recent house posts to show our trip to Scarborough.

We (Deb, I, Christina, Tom, Gemma, Olive, Paul, Sarah, Andrew, Michelle, Scarlett, Steve, Helen and Euan) spent 25.5 hours in Scarborough this weekend for Michelle's Birthday. Dean, Rachel, Nathaniel and Isabella met up with us all on Sunday.

I've never been to Scarborough before and I can confirm there is definitely a fair there. We will most certainly be re-visiting Scarborough at a later date.

I would've liked to include a photo of our cell, I mean hotel room, but the dim prison lighting prevented this. The warden/receptionist was very accommodating though.

Absolutely brilliant excursion. We had a fantastic time. Thank you Scarborough and happy birthday Michelle.

Some photos in no particular order.

Killer Queens!



Beach bums - Gemma, Helen, Steve, Andrew & Paul.

Olive, Scarlett & Tom.

Deb, Christina, Michelle & Scarlett.


Me, Deb & the bump.

Funny face.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Grand Designs (episode 2)

A quick post just to show the latest progress.  

The plaster is on the walls and is slowly drying. The air vents are unblocked, joists treated, and half of the new sub-floor is down.

Poor light + dark walls + dust = poor quality pics

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Grand Designs (episode 1)

This post's a bit of an epic!

We both knew the house needed a lot of remedial work which we wanted done before moving in. We also wanted some cosmetic work carried out too.

This is what she looked like when we moved in. I've copied the first two pictures from the estate agent's sale brochure so the quality has somewhat deteriorated.

Living room.
Dining room.

Dining room (back to the window) looking towards living room wall.
If you look closely you can see rising damp on the walls.
To see what might be causing the damp we needed to get under the floor.
Here you can see black mould on the chipboard -
flooring and green/yellow mould on the laminate underlay.

We wanted to knock the living and dining room through.

Deb, in the company of rising damp.
Living room - on the right, 1 meter of plaster removed in
prep for the DPC (damp-proof course)
Knock through (take 1) .

We wanted the living room fireplace returned to its former glory too.

To our frustration the knock through was too narrow. So we had it extended by another foot or so which has made all the difference.

Knock through (take 2).
We also wanted to open up the dining room further, so decided to replace the rear window with French doors.

Before doors...
...and after

It was now time for the DPC to go in. If you're not familiar with the process, lots of holes drilled at mainly floor level, internally and externally, then injected with 'something' to form a water resistant barrier which should, prevent moister rising up from the foundations. 

The most recent update is that the knock through and fireplace have been 'boxed off' and the cement has gone down before the plaster skim coat.

Oh yeah, there's a cement mixer in our living room! We thought it would make a lovely feature and a great toy for the baby to play with.

I'll keep you posted with further updates in due course, that's more than enough for now. Thanks for your patience.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

"Underlay! Underlay! Ariba! Ariba!"

Several loose floorboards nailed down securely and the carpet fitter arrives on time. He sounded just like Bryan Jones (not to be mistaken for the Brian Jonestown Massacre). 

I'm asked, "how do you want the carpet fitted around the banister spindles?" (on the landing). My reponse, "fitted to the floor please". It didn't go down too well with the bloke. What kind of answer was he expecting from me though?! He's the professional! 

After much discussion with Deb, Helen, and input from Steve, the decision was made and advice from the expert followed. The carpet will stop at the spindles folded under itself instead of being cut and nailed around them. I was afraid it would look rubbish, but it's ok thankfully. 

2 1/2 hours and a tea and coffee later, the fitter left Strathcona. I could now carry on with the job in hand, covering the stairs and landing with plastic dust sheets to protect the carpet from builders' boots, plaster and varnish scrapings. Job's a good'un! 

Baby's room

Dust sheets and carpet/underlay in place.

If you look to the far right in the living room, you can see newly applied cement.
More on that in my next post.

By the way, new addition to the ever increasing tool family I'm acquiring...a stanley knife!

Friday, 22 October 2010

To strip or not to strip...

I foolishly decided to strip/sand the entire banister in the house and naively thought - time scale, "one weekend tops, easy!".

Approx 26 hours in, with the aid of some manly men folk (Ste B, Steve and John K), I'm about half way through. 

So far I've borrowed a paint stripper heat gun and a heavy duty extension cable from my Dad's private tool hire company. I've already blown the extension cable, in fact, set it on fire from over heating! Sorry Dad. 

I've also bought:
another heat gun for double the effectiveness
various scrapers
Black and Decker Mouse sander (more to follow on this tiny beauty)
a new extension cable

Some before and afters pics for your perusal.

Carpets going down this weekend!