Friday, 23 May 2014

Can I interest anyone in a date?

Cos I have one! Or should I say we do. We finally have a moving in date - we're all set for 30th May. We're having the phone and t'internet installed then, and as they can't install there without uninstalling here, and as both Al and I are permanently glued to our iPads, where the wi-fi goes, we go!

I don't think for a second that we'll have everything moved by that date, but fortunately we're in a position to do it gradually. Every time one of us goes up there we take a box or two, and we're gradually packing up everything that isn't likely to be needed before we move. The 30th is also Al's last day at work for a week, so we can use his holiday to move the rest of our things

It's probably just as well that it's a May date. Back at the start of May in a fit of pique at what seemed like slow - or no - progress, I told Al that if we weren't in this month, he could forget the whole thing as I wasn't moving at all! I wasn't serious - or I don't think I was, but it's best not to take that chance!!


The kitchen is finished!! Woo hoo!! It's filthy and there's sawdust in every drawer and cupboard!! Boo!!

Al's working all weekend - again - so I will be spending my time cleaning. The downside of having a mahoosive kitchen, is that there a re a LOT of cupboards to be cleaned! I made a good start today - removing the blue plastic from the doors, and starting on the insides. The boiler isn't up and running yet, but I've finally been able to stop knocking on neighbours doors with a bucket, begging hot water (yes, I do think they've started hiding when they see me coming!) thanks to the Smeg hot tap. With a judicious mix of cold water, and 100° hot tap water, I can access as many buckets of hot water as I want to clean my cupboards. I say buckets, because there isn't a waste from the sink to the outside drain yet, so I can't use the sink unless I want to flood my lovely new kitchen!

I've cleaned a few of the insides, starting with the most important - the mug cupboard! As anyone who knows me will be aware, I have a slight problem with mugs - I can't resist buying them! I've already installed a few of my favourites in the new kitchen, and as we finally have a working fridge, I can take up a box of teabags, and a pint of milk tomorrow, and enjoy my first cuppa in the gorgeous new kitchen. The only problem is which mug to use? There'll only ever be one first cuppa - these things are important you know!

Feeling Flush

Not with cash, sadly - we're almost spent up, or we will be after we've had the garden landscaped, and bought some new furniture, but we do have what seems like the most luxurious thing ever. After many months without one, we have a flushing toilet! Del the plumber was in for two days this week, and although he still has quite a bit to do, he's finished the main house bathroom, and I love it!

As well as the aforementioned toilet, we also have a gorgeous dark wood vanity unit, with a beautiful basin, and my pride and joy, a double ended bath. No taps, which I admit looks a little odd at first! The bath fills through the overflow at the side, and the valves on the wall next to the shower operate the temperature as well as diverting the water flow between the shower and the bath. Although we've had it all tiled with a ledge to rest my cuppa on when I'm having a soak, we do have a clever removeable panel at the side should we ever have need to access the workings.

There's a folding shower screen still to be fitted, but the shower and towel rail are up, and the room's fully tiled. It's light and bright, with some fabulous wood effect tiles on the floor. They really do look like planks of wood, and I really love the effect they give.

Back in February I posted that I hoped we got as good a finish in the house bathroom as we'd achieved in the en suite, and honestly, I think we've exceeded that! Nothing in there cost a fortune - most of the fixtures and fittings were bought at a discount online, but by choosing carefully, and spending a bit more where it really shows, such as the floor tiles, I think we've managed a really luxurious feel.

Can't wait for the first soak in that bath - I feel I'm earning it at the moment!

When is a fence not a fence?

When it looks like this!

Ok, I admit as punchlines go, it's not that great, but that really is what our 'new' fence looks like!

Apparently, back in the mists of time when the house was built, there was no hedge or fence between us and the other half of the semi, which is probably why the deeds don't show it as being either houses responsibility. For at least the last 30 years or so, the neighbours have been planting hedges and putting fences in, but the current fence isn't very good, and the strong winds this winter blew out several of the panels. As we need the garden to be secure and dog friendly, we approached them about going halves on a good quality fence to replace the existing one. It was all agreed, and I volunteered to organise it.

A local sawmill was hired to supply and fit a good quality double sided fence, and booked in for three days this week. Bruce and his mate arrived nice and early on Monday, and after a bit of a moan at the heat, the weight of the panels, and the size of the 10 foot posts, they set to work. Most of the existing fence was removed, and after several hours, the first panel was installed. So far so good. Next came panel two, and suddenly there was a problem - because the house only had a small patio area before, when mum lived here, there was a sudden drop of around three feet where the next 10 foot post should go. We're planning to have the patio are extended and raised, so we still need a high fence in that area, and if the post was 3 feet lower, then after the garden's done, the fence would only be about 4 feet above the patio!

After much head scratching, Bruce decided that the best thing to do was to wait until after we'd had the landscaping done in July, and then come back, so he'd have a higher level to put his post into giving us a higher fence. Apparently they have to start at the highest point (next to the house) and work down from there in order, so it's not possible to do the bottom half of the garden where the level is staying the same.

I'm a little unclear as to why Bruce hadn't spotted the 3 foot drop while removing the old posts, or why his boss hadn't spotted it when surveying the site and pricing the job,but I was clear about one thing - we needed some sort of a fence there until July. We've recently adopted a very lively lurcher called Lola, and our next door neighbour often looks after a toddler for a relative, so we definitely needed a barrier!

Cue more head scratching from Bruce, but eventually a sort of fence was cobbled together from the discarded panels. As you can see from the photo, there are no longer any fence posts at the top, and some of the panels are just propped up with a single piece of wood, so goodness knows how long it will last, but for the moment at least, we're fenced off!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

A night on the tiles

We went up to do some cleaning. We couldn't get in, due to the hall tiles being down.

Hall tiles, giving it a bit of a period feel. Modern design and special order from our favourite tile showroom in Leeds - Ceramique Internationale Ltd but gives the look we wanted.

 Kitchen floor beginning to look the part. Tikes once again from Ceramique Internationale Ltd  - recommended by our tiling firm, and another great find during this project.
Not finished yet, skirting is being made from the same tile.

That corner is the sofa and beer drinking, whilst watching TV corner.

Corian and the kitchen

Corian is the modern hard wearing work top. If it gets damaged, it can just be repaired.

The sink, splash back and window ledge are in effect one piece.

The island, big enough for it's own survival documentary. That hob is a 6 burner and a meter long. Sort of puts the size into some perspective.

It's getting there.

Bye Bye Building Site, Hello Home!

Or almost, anyway! We really are in the home straight now. The tiled kitchen floor is being grouted as I type, just a few cupboard doors left to fit and that's the kitchen done. The hall is being tiled later today, and the bedroom carpets are all being fitted on Saturday.

The electrician is finished, and signed off, and the plumber is back on Monday & Tuesday to finish up - although he has a heck of a lot to do! There are still two radiators to go in, which is why the front room & stairs carpets can't be fitted this weekend. He has all three toilets/bathrooms to plumb in - we still don't have a single working loo! Not to mention filling the system and setting up the underfloor heating! He seems to think it can be done in two days though, so who are we to argue?

That really is the last thing though - after Tuesday, apart from occasional visitors such as blind fitters and the cable guy, (plus outside folks such as landscape gardeners, tree stump grinders and fence fitters) we'll have the place to ourselves and can start to move in. It's been a really long haul, but I know it will have been worth it!

Pics to follow this weekend.


Saturday, 10 May 2014

What a feck up

Never claimed to be good at DIY and never claimed to be decorator. In fact Dean the decorator has banned both me and Jay from cutting in the paint - we're allowed to roller the walls as long as we stay away from the edge!

Couple of months ago Lee suggested painting the en suite ceiling before it was tiled. Totally misunderstood the watering down for new plaster instructions. Read it as 10% water, should have been 10% paint.

If you do it wrong, it is well wrong and peels! Unfortunately it doesn't just all come off in one go, some sticks, for ages.

So basically we have to strip it all off so it can be repainted by an expert (Dean!)

Yesterday morning Jay started with sandpaper, yesterday afternoon we power tooled up. Today I spent a couple of hours after work.

I reckon it may take another half day between us.

If it was just a ceiling would probably have been done by now. But no, it's an attic ceiling, so 5 different surfaces and many, many angles.

So we both ache, I cough and we both have sore eyes.

Lesson learned. Please take note.

PS Corian blog will follow when we have the energy.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Deploy the Sentinels!

Quick post from me today as Al's working a 12 hour shift!

Still knee deep in paint up there this week, but hopefully will get finished after the weekend. I was up there today putting coat number three on the gazillions of shelves in the storage room (which seemed like a good idea when I thought of it, but hate with a passion after all the painting!)

Daniel was working in the kitchen - he fitted the dishwasher, and spent probably over half an hour lifting the microwave by about 3 millimetres so it was in perfect alignment with the warming drawer. You really don't get that kind of finish with a high street kitchen!

Wondering about the title of this post yet? Another thing Daniel did today was to fit the hot tap. This is the little gizmo that works as a normal hot and cold tap over the sink, but also provides instant boiling water doing away with the need for a kettle. The tap part reminded me of one of the sentinels from the Matrix - hopefully it'll be a bit less destructive!

Corian work tops are coming tomorrow, and the last few cupboard doors have been ordered. Apparently they can't be ordered before the appliances are in , because there's a chance they could be a millimetre or two out if the ovens aren't exactly the size the website says they are.

Have we mentioned what a perfectionist Daniel is? I'm not complaining though - I really can't wait to start using my perfect kitchen!

Monday, 5 May 2014

Plaster dust, painting and perfection

One of big annoyances at the moment is dust. It's everywhere. And part of the problem is the builders haven't taken away lots of rubbish. One vacuum has been destroyed. Someone appears to have used it to suck up water! No idea if it went bang, but it's gone to the scrappers. Currently have two bag less ones on the go. Have to clean the filter every few minutes, otherwise the suction dies.

Jay's been painting. To be fair we both have, but I had to work today, so Jay's been on double duty.

Apparently Dean the decorator turned up today. A fast worker compared to us. So glad of his return.
 Jay has discovered that paint is magic. If you use it enough, the paint brush will eventually stick to your fingers.
 Ovens are in. The doors open themselves and slide in underneath. According to Daniel one is a few mills out of line, so it's going to be adjusted.

Also the cupboards either side of the wine chiller, are slightly proud, so they've been whipped back to the workshop for adjustment.

Good to have someone that wants to do a proper job.
Six hob burner. I know someone who's looking forward to that.

Hopefully in this month. The garden has been planned and booked in, hopefully July. You never know, we could be having BBQ's in August. So progress is being made. Hurrah!

Friday, 25 April 2014

Kitchen is a coming

The kitchen fitter started yesterday.

He lost his phone, thought it was stolen by the bin men. Phoned his mother in law, the only number he knew. She would ring the granddaughter who in turn would ring his wife. He was not expecting a response as his mother in law wouldn't be clever enough to pass on my number.

She was. I got a call from an 0300 number, it was the fitters wife. Everything cancelled. Walked up the road to tell him. He was relieved.

Went up later to see them at then end of the day. He'd found his phone in his van. Made me laugh.

 Looking a little skeletal yesterday.
Beginning to take shape. The Corian work tops will be measured for next week. Only two required, one in front of the window. And the other for the island, which will extend out this end, for a breakfast bar. Corian has to be very carefully measured as it can't be altered.
A wall of all the appliances a cook could want. Ovens, microwave and warming drawers.

And a rack for the red wine.
Not to be outdone a wine fridge, built into the island.

The ends will not be open, they're going to have curved doors. Shelves tend to be dust gatherers and not suitable for storage.
Side by side large cutlery drawers, every utensil you could possible need all to hand.

2 Pan drawers below each.

Ovens, fridge and larder behind and hob to the right, everything you need is easy to access. Probably get Jay a spinny chair and she can do everything without standing up.

And the chippies handed back their key, after fitting the bannister. Just after we gave our last key to the kitchen fitter.

Fire! Fire!

Roll on winter.

We now have a fully fitted log burner with traditional oak beam. Feature wall and white internal to be painted.

Supposed to be have several small burns, about 20 minutes each, just to settle it in.

Apparently cleaning and painting comes first. Boo. I like fire.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Sometimes it's crap - a post by Al Mac

Today we virtually finished the doors. We virtually finished the architrave.

No we didn't. We've worked our socks off for several days. But to be brutally frank, the place looks shit. Sorry Jay, I know your laptop doesn't like naughty words.

It seems like however hard we try it doesn't move on very much. The builder has gone on his holiday. Fair enough. But there is so much "rubbish" left. Is it really rubbish or needed moving on, or should it have been binned already?

I feel tomorrow is another day and if I don't remember paying for it, it may be binned. But the bin is already full!

It is now wine o'clock. Cheers x

Thursday, 17 April 2014


Most homes homes don't have enough storage.

This is the cupboard off the front room. Currently housing carpenters stuff.

It's for CDs and DVDs. We currently have 11m of them. The new storage is about 20m. It's also going to store all the games console extras. Not forgetting the laptops. And of course the messless charger.

Basically the front room is going to be tidy. Very tidy.

Hi ho hi ho

It's off to varnish we go.

This is one of our new doors. There are 13 of them. Each door has two sides. Each side needs three coats of varnish. That works out at 78 sides.

That's Easter sorted.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

You can't beat a good strip.

The house had a painted house number on the front, as many houses of that era did. It also had part of the original kitchen wall painted red. We have no idea why. Another case of it had to go.

So toddled off to B&Q, other DIY stores are available, and purchased paint stripper.

This morning the stripper was applied, left for the relevant 2+ hours. Then we attacked it with scrapers. Funnily enough, it did what it said on the tin. But was going to need a another coat. We also realised scraping wasn't going to do it. Because bricks have gaps.

So off to B&Q again for wire wool. Instead a metal brush was spotted and subsequently purchased.

Second coat attacked with scraper and wire brush. The painted number has gone totally. And the painted wall is liveable with. Bit of effort, but well worth it.

This weekend, we hope, to start tidying with a vengeance. So many little things to do. And so much plumbing left to do. Come on Del!

But having watched hundreds of hours of house doing up problems, we still didn't realise it wouldn't go as well as we wished.

Getting there.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Meanwhile at the other house

Although not so full on, we have to live there after all, work is ongoing on at our current home. With every intention of renting it out, we're looking at low maintenance.

So six months ago, the left hand side was a bed of conifers, dark and full of rubbish. Then John a neighbour from the other house went mad with a chainsaw and down they come. Then he built the fence. He's a useful chappy.

Over the past few months we've dug out the roots, removed copious amounts of soil, dumped up the road, cause we'll need it.

Today a final roller and turf laying. We reckon the garden has grown by almost a third in useable, low maintenance, space.

Cheekily I did it pretending to be part of Lee Hudson Builders, with my blagged hoddie.

In other news, la-z-boy have been ordered for the kitchen. Electric recliners. So four seats of luxury.

Friday, 4 April 2014

AII I want to do is join the happy crowd

Behind the green door. Yes we have a new front door. Top panel has Rose Villas etched into it. That's the original name of the house.
Cornice renewed where the wall was insulated. Cost more for the mould than the actual cornice.

And the big fan has moved house. That's 2 things moved now. At this rate we'll have fully moved in about 5 years.
There's a man on the roof! Oh it's Simon the fireman's son.That's the end of the liner sticking out. Apparently when they built the house, they didn't do a nice straight chimney. Took a bit of work to get it down.
Is that a fire?
Is that a hole in the wall?
No it's a fireplace. 5 kilowatt fire. Almost had an 8, due to a mistake in the shop. Fortunately Simon decided that was wrong. We'd have need air bricks! Don't really want holes being knocked in the new plaster.

Looking forward to some cold nights.
Ben's moved on from plastering to painting. The whole ground floor is starting off white, so easy enough to do.

He's 3 peaking this weekend. Hopefully he'll be fit for work on Monday.

Nearly done is the electrics. We have lights and sockets. Just at the time it's less necessary,

What's coming up. This month, the kitchen and the family bathroom are being fitted. R&P tiling going to hit the house with a vengeance. Bathroom fully tiled, kitchen floor and hall to be tiled.

And we are starting a mass tidy up. A lot of rubbish to be removed. We may need a skip, or at least a number of trips to the tip. Not been there for a while.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Dream team

When we started, we didn't have a clue where or how to start. Bumbled around with architects, who appeared fresh and full of good ideas. In hindsight, they weren't brilliant on extensions, might have been better on a new build.

Chucked out the build to several builders, one was a recommendation. You know what, a recommendation is worth it's weight in gold.

Along comes a great team.

Lee Hudson Builders. This is Lee, his sons Charlie and Will, along with Ben the plasterer. Lee is a really nice and genuine bloke. They work hard and they work well. We wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone. In fact we have plans for them and phase II, the garden.

J&R Joinery. The J is for John. Although Jay didn't recognise the name to start with, turns out he'd worked on the house 20 years ago when her mum and dad were here. The wardrobes he put in then were a nightmare to rip out last year. He definitely builds things to last! Stephen is John's son and is very much a craftsman.

Del is the plumber, recommended by Lee. Comes in, does a bit of a fix, first or second, then is gone. We may have to pay him money one day.

Mark the electrician, is a bit a of shadow, hardly seen him, but things keep lighting up, so he must be there somewhere.

R&P tiling complete the team, We talk by text, think I've met them once, possibly twice. The tiling in the en-suite is top notch, They're doing the bathroom in a couple of weeks and quoting for the kitchen floor this Monday. Mention their name in a tiling shop, and a discount appears :)

Everybody knows each other and comes on the recommendation of each other. Couldn't be better.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Fire, fire

It's the weekend of fire!

Front room fire. Come the 4th April, this will be a log burner. The slate is down. Needs to be rendered. And then the chimney gets lined and the burner is in. Roll on winter :)

Thanks to Batley Barless,

And tomorrow, we are off to York. They have loads of old fireplaces. So we should get one to fit. Don't want a boring old wall. Do we?

In general, it's now a plastering whirl wind.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

The kitchen is coming in April

Sadly not a picture or a plan to share. But here's an old one.

As a rough guide.

The bloke on the left is the bin.The bloke on the floor is the sink with combination hot tap. Then the dishwasher. Turning the corner we have cupboards, including a 90cm wide mug (Jay likes a mug) cupboard, with a small amount of work top.

Then we go floor to ceiling.

Column 1, having drawers an oven and warming drawer and cupboards over.
Column 2, drawers another oven and microwave and cupboards over.
Column 3, wine rack which is floor to ceiling height.
Plumbed fridge freezer, with cupboard over.
And finally a pull out larder.

The 2.4m island has a 90cm, 6 burner, gas hob, drawers, cupboards, a wine cooler, yes we have 2 wine storages! And a breakfast bar end.

In the living end a slimline TV cabinet, we think 120cm.

All 8 drawers are deep and 90cm wide. Plus 2 90cm cutlery drawers.

Very exciting

Storage, everyone likes storage.

The fitted wardrobes have been, well fitted. What else. A little bit of an oops. There's supposed to be two mirrored doors. Now ordered by Dan, Dan the wardrobe man, of Yorkshire Wardrobes.

 The view east. Jay's dressing table. With electrified drawers. Keep those hair electrical appliances in the drawer, with no trailing wires.
The view west.

Plenty of cupboards. The right has 20cm shelves, but we have straight lines. 3 or 4 different levels on that wall.

The drawers in front of the loft access was planned. Everybody, me, Jay, Lee the builder and Dean the decorator, thought major boo boo. They were fixed! Nope, as requested they look fitted, they aren't. Very clever.

We can probably cook an egg on it.

We decided from day one, the kitchen was massive, so radiators just wouldn't do the job. Underfloor heating was the way ahead.

So first of all you need a plan! Who knew you actually had a plan. Just thought they ran pipes from side to side.

Never seen a floor being insulated, but you really don't want to heat the earth.

Sadly I missed the puzzle being put together. Think it may have been quite a laborious job. Seems to have been big sheets of pink foam, with groves.

I believe, or should I say guess, the metal conducts and spreads the heat.

And boarded out. Looking nice and easy.

Then a look in the cellar!! I was expecting the water goes in one end and out the other. Apparently not. Glad Del knows what he's doing. I think

The blue pipes the water main coming in. And I'm guessing the T is to next door. That had better not be just left hanging in the middle of the cellar!

Was that me? Probably.

So we discovered the water feed came up the drive, under the kitchen and branched under the floor in to the neighbours house. In lead! That isn't good in many ways. However Yorkshire water will sort it out for free. Yippee. Actually no. What they will do is replace it up to our boundary and we do the rest.

So after chats with them next door, the plumber, the builder, them next door again, it was agreed, we'd do it. To be honest it had to happen otherwise the build would come to a stop.

 So this our hole. Water and I'm assuming the gas. The water is now going through the cellar. Which is where the gas already goes.
Fairly unobtrusive. So what did Yorkshire Water do.

Day 1 : cone off both sides of the road.
Day 2 : Actual day 1 for them. Yorkshire Water cancelled! Stand down builder, stand down plumber, stand down neighbour. Nb I suspect if we'd cancelled we'd have to have paid a fee!
Day 3 : Woohoo all went smoothly, apart from us blocking the road. See photos.
Day 4 : Saturday they came and filled in the hole. I believe they were called the Hole Filling Crew (Brackets we don't do tarmac!)
Day 5 : It's Sunday. So the road is still half closed. Which takes out about 6 cars usual spaces. I feel we may be unpopular.
Day 6 : Tarmac laid.
Day 7 : We rested. Very biblical.

The warning
You have been warned
See, I told you.
I need a scratch.