How to make your house a home (part 2)
We had just moved into our dream house. Loved the new village we lived in, had more space than ever and our new garden was beautiful. Whilst our new house was liveable, everything needed updating. There were couple of unpleasant surprises too in the first few months, like massive cat flea infestation in the old carpets and a gigantic bumble bees nest outside our bedroom window. The heating boiler was a massive free-standing unit from the 70’s. It lived in a flimsy lean-to next to our kitchen and never quite managed to get the house warmer than +15C during the first winter. Do I even have to tell you about the cold, low water pressure showers? That lean-to shed stayed nice and warm though!
Luckily we were still very much in the honeymoon stage and it just felt like an adventure having to wear 3 layers of wool jumpers and a hat at the breakfast table. Not doing any work during the first 10-11 months (apart from removing all carpets and having the house sprayed for those cat fleas) gave us plenty of time to rethink all our initial plans. As our budget didn’t really allow us to move in a rental accommodation during the renovations, we decided to start with the upstairs first.
Bad, bad planning
I have to confess that our upstairs renovation project sort of got started and then spread out everywhere without much planning. Or any really. Although we had thought lots about the layout and design, shamefully not that much about the big picture at all. We didn’t get quotes from several builders, we had no real idea about the budget, no timeline, nothing. We had just thought about updating our ensuite bathroom, as the raised up floor, beige sunken bath (yes, really!), old green carpets and a overall tired look seemed like the best place to start.
Our plan was to divide the old ensuite bathroom in order to create a shower room and a compact dressing room. Buy a new bathroom suite, get build-in wardrobes for the dressing room and freshen up all the surfaces. Maybe update the master bedroom at the same time. But that’s it, we definitely weren’t ready or prepared to do more than that.
If only these things worked as planned… A few months later pretty much the whole house had been taken over by dust sheets and boxes. One thing had lead to another and instead of just renovating that one bathroom, it ‘made sense’ to do this job and that job at the same time. You get the picture. We camped in our spare room that was full of boxes for a long time.
What we did do during the first round of renovations
As badly planned this project was, it luckily had a happy ending. We have been pleased with the results. And still very much love our home! Could have easily been the complete opposite! As the plan was not to update all of the upstairs that time all the decisions had to be made in much quicker pace, often last minute. Luckily we had a builder who knew what he was doing too.
- We updated two bathrooms,
- Plastered most of the walls and ceilings (goodbye artex)
- Sanded the floors and had the floorboards stained
- Reinstalled missing covings and ceiling roses
- Replaced some of the sash windows (badly rotten) and repaired others
- Painted, painted, painted
- Repaired and painted our 116 year old front door. It still needs couple of stained glass panes replaced. Luckily I really like the door as it has costed us so much more than a new one would have.
- Updated the layout upstairs to make one the bedrooms double room with build in wardrobes
- Created space for another ensuite bathroom (which we have not finished yet as we don’t really need another bathroom at the moment)
- Had an cast iron fireplace installed in the living room. Bought two other Victorian cast iron fireplace from ebay- one for our bedroom and another for the playroom
- Had a new heating boiler installed in the boot room-to be.
- Removed old water tank
Downstairs renovation and extension story coming up next!