No turning back!

April 27, 2007 at 10:18 pm (DIY, House renovation) (, )

Loads happening soon! On Monday, the Big Scary Projects start, namely replacing the kitchen and bathroom entirely. From a money point of view, things are costing more than we’d like. A combination of unplanned work and also, we’re not quite so quick to compromise quality. I need to earn more money! All I can say is that it’s a darn good thing we found so many tiles for sale on eBay. 🙂

Other projects recently completed include

  • garden shed (base done by builder, assembly, painting and filling up by us)
  • conversion of airing cupboard to a proper space to hang clothes (following the work done by builder to create new loft hatch)
  • shopping for oven, gas hob, tiles etc 😉
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Busy weekend

April 17, 2007 at 5:56 pm (DIY)

This weekend just past has seen a flurry of activity; We’ve painted the back wall in the garden (unsightly breeze blocks), started patching up the pointing of the brick wall, primed and painted one side of our new back door, and I finally started the wiring!

I’m colour coding the wires, so I don’t have to number them; the order is Red Green Blue Yellow (can you tell I’m a geek? It’s not quite base-4 numbering, but close. I’ve doubled up to give 16 possibilities. My patch panel has 24 ports – for the rest I’ll either use another band of colour, or buy 2 more colours! 🙂 The keen-eyed among you will notice I’m running satellite cable as well as ethernet.

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"No real progress"… now really, come on.

April 17, 2007 at 5:06 pm (House renovation) (, )

A couple of posts ago LMR said “Bought a kitchen … but no real progress”. I have to take issue with that 🙂

I spent three days, three mind-numbing, throat-choking, back-breaking days, in the loft that Easter weekend. Including Easter Sunday when I should have rightly been chowing down on chocolate. And it was unusually sunny too! Grrr.

We’d been thinking that the plasterer was due in the next week to sort out our bedroom ceiling (oh silly us for thinking that). We’d just had a structural engineer in to talk walls – but whilst he was with us, I took the opportunity to talk about the loft. He recommended that we strengthen the support for the ceiling, as the “binder” for the span was a little small. Eeek!

So I popped to the shops and got some bits of wood, to tie the “purlin” to the “binder”. I needed to use some additional wedge shaped blocks to pack the space between my new tie and purlin, as it comes out at an angle. In the picture above you can see two ties either side, sandwiching the supports. There are another two on the other side, slightly staggered because of the chimney breast.

I also bought some hardboard and screwed this to the eaves (allow plenty of room for ventilation – it’s the law!)- which took a lot longer than I’d anticipated, because it meant crawling into spaces that really weren’t designed for my 6’2″ frame :S

This allowed us, sorry me (don’t forget it was me that was in the loft for 3 days. Did I mention that?! 😉 ) to fill the loft space above the bedroom with the extra 10-15cm of Warmcel that it needed. I still have to do the other side though. But at least we have a loft-hatch now. See a forthcoming episode!

(DIY Tip: I used some Fasten Master TimberLok screws, which were amazing. They come with the hex bit for your drill, and no pilot hole needed. Expensive, but they save so much time! BTW I’m not some kind of salesman, just thought these were ace. Don’t know what the pros think of them…)

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Tradesmen – can’t live with em, can’t live without em

April 13, 2007 at 5:15 pm (House renovation)

Bad news:
Our plasterer postponed us twice, and we should have heard from him by now, but haven’t. We really need our bedroom ceiling sorted (along with the electrical chases throughout the house but there’s less of a rush on those). The goal is to get our bedroom decorated and the floors finished ASAP so we can start moving our furniture out of self-storage.

Good news:
Our new builder Jeremy so far is everything we could want and more. What’s painfully ironic is his name was given to us by a trusted source from the very beginning. We didn’t pursue him then because he was described as a “project manager” and we didn’t feel we could afford a project manager + labourers + materials. It wasn’t til MUCH later we learned that he was highly skilled in the various building trades and does the labour himself.

So – he begins work next week. First up: new loft opening, base for the garden shed a and fitting our new back door. Unless the plasterer doesn’t show up, then Jeremy’s task list may shift!!

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Bought a Kitchen

April 11, 2007 at 11:41 am (DIY, House renovation) (, )

Just checking in! We have found a new builder and a plasterer, and are just waiting for them to start. This is a huge relief!

Now, kitchen talk. Yesterday we bought kitchen units (white painted solid wood frames/drawer fronts) from one of the major UK retailers while everything was 50% + additional 20% off. I am particularly proud of knocking the price down by £750.

You see, the kitchen salesman told us we’d need 3 of these large end panels to fill in here and there. Noticing they were £249 each, I quickly got J to agree that we could have our builder create end panels, possibly from our old kitchen floor boards, or from tongue-and-groove.

We can either match the paint to the units (no, BORING and potentially expensive) or paint the end panels and cornicing (2 @ £110 each – also a rip off but J said we should let it slide but I still disagree!!) to match in a coordinating colour (probably same tone as our chosen tiles which were scored off eBay).

Furthermore, tip to anyone buying a kitchen from a big retailer, pay attention to what the appliances and accessories actually cost. Their markup is huge! I am going to be buying the hob, oven, sink, taps etc from various other retailers.

In fact, we’ve already chosen our sink — a black composite granite 1.5 bowls from Germany.

Furthermore, this particular retailer only sells it’s solid wood worktops in 3 meter lengths. Well, in our kitchen, we’ll need a longer piece or be stuck with an ugly joint. I can already see from other online retailers that 4 meter length of worktop is not only feasible, but cheaper than their worktop.

I may not earn much, so I’ll darn well save as much as I can!

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