Insulation eco-style

November 28, 2006 at 12:42 pm (DIY, House renovation) ()

We made our first major purchase for the house renovation — 80 bags of Warmcel insulation for our roof/loft. We’ve decided that we want to use as many sustainable, toxin-free and eco-friendly products. We chose Warmcel because it wasn’t much more expensive than other types of insulation, is extremely easy to install (simply open the bag and spread the loose filling out between and over the ceiling joists in the loft space) and it comes from a sustainable source — old newspapers!

As it turns out, it received high accolades from Which? magazine, and combined with it being winter, we were warned that they might be struggling to keep up with demand.

There is currently minimal insulation in the loft – only 1 inch thick (25mm). It was recommended that we top it up to 250mm but we’ll shoot for something like 225mm. I’m planning to keep 5-6 bags aside to insulate the roof void over the bathroom (currently insulated with ancient styrofoam tiles) during the bathroom renovation.

As I’ve been typing this, I just remembered that forgot to order the kit that helps insulate/draughtproof the loft opening. Better go do that.


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Hiring tradesmen

November 28, 2006 at 12:33 pm (House renovation) ()

Is it always such a headache? Some don’t want to do small jobs, but rather than say that, they’ll rudely say things like “I don’t want to do half a job.” Others forget their wedding anniversary and rather than cancel the appointment, allow the customer (me) to find out they’re not coming, calling them up to amend some details. 🙂

This is so not the right time year to start house renovations!! It’s on the run-up to Christmas and the tradesmen have loads of jobs booked. A busy trademen is probably a decent tradesmen, so we’re bearing that in mind. We’ve resigned ourself to the fact that things won’t really kick off until January, but that’s probably a good thing because we’ve invited people over on Boxing Day and for New Year’s, and this way, the house will be intact.

Unfortunately the dishwasher won’t fit into the gap left by the previous occupants fridge. So it’s handwashing for us! Booo!!!

On a positive note, we’re done now with our rental house. We had the inspection yesterday and handed over our keys. Hopefully we’ll get a majority of our security deposit back.

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Woodchip – first attempt

November 25, 2006 at 8:45 pm (DIY) ()

There’s a new health plan in town, called the Woodchip Regime. I had grand plans of exercising in the morning or lunch, but I don’t think it’s gonna be necessary; the house has woodchip everywhere, even on the ceilings. We’ve just stripped our first wall, and what a pain. If I do that everyday, I won’t need to go to the gym! Pretty satisfying having finished one wall though. (Well it still needs the second layer stripping off, but I’m hoping a steamer will make easy work of that.)

We also ripped out the carpet in the bathroom; it was nasty, and not particularly hygienic. After sorting out the heating and electrics, we might sort the bathroom out first. We even stopped by the tile shop on the way back from town today 🙂

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Moving Day(s)

November 25, 2006 at 2:57 pm (Moving to the US)

The 100-mile move went pretty well. We hired a local moving firm to do the loading and unloading on their vans, while we did the packing. The moving firm were excellent, unlike the large national moving firm we had last time*….

As the house will be a bit of a work in progress aka disaster area, we decided that most of the large furniture, all decorative bits, some clothes etc should be put into self storage. Therefore, we’re sleeping on a mattress on the floor and living out of a suitcase, that is, a suitcase and cardboard hanging wardrobe provided by the movers. Our one luxury is our loveseat, to go with the TV and DVD player.

Day One

9am – Movers arrived and loaded a giant lorry with our goods going into the self-storage in our new town. Funny thing is, our things occupied only a fifth of the capacity!

11am – Movers departed. They were quick!!

We spend the rest of the day doing some packing and some friends met us for dinner at a local restaurant.

Day Two i.e. The Big Day

8:30am – Movers arrived but eat their breakfast in the transit van.

8:50am – Movers begin moving stuff out while we frantically did last minute packing (i.e. this computer).

10:00am – Movers departed for destination

10:15am – We went to a local cafe for a full English breakfast

12:15pm – Departed for destination after doing a cursory tidy up and safety check on the car

1:45pm – Collected keys from the estate agent

2:20pm – Movers arrived

2:25pm – Locked ourselves out of the house (yes, we’re idiots; we were both out front and the wind blew the door shut.)

2:30pm – Nice next-door neighbour let me use her phonebook and telephone. The two locksmiths I reached weren’t available for at least two hours.

2:45pm – J creatively opened the front door without a key (using his plastic pass from a recent technology conference — a victory to geeks everywhere. Whew! Note to worrying mothers: locks are being changed on Tuesday and door security will be upgraded!

3:15pm – Van unloaded, movers tipped on their way out.

And then we unpacked.

*They sent out subcontractors without telling us. These subcontractors were idiots, complete with inappropriate comments towards us! The men did quite a bit of damage (broken table legs, scratches, crushed lampshades, that sort of thing) and when we made a claim on the
insurance they sold us, they paid us back an amount just under what we paid for the insurance! Grr! I should have fought them on it.

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The house is ours.

November 20, 2006 at 11:06 pm (Decluttering, DIY, House renovation)

Today we completed the purchase on an 1894 terrace house. It only took 4 months to get to this point.

We’ve been busy sorting, Freecycling, packing, recycling, and carrying stuff the the charity shops. I’ve donated stuff to all four charity shops in town — equal opportunity I say.

Over the coming months we’ll be posting (the slow) progress of our house renovation and re-decorating, complete with photos. This will also give us the opportunity to share our happenings with friends and family, many who live awfully far away.

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