Monthly Archives: April 2013

Serving hatch?

Stripping the wallpaper in the dining room we made a discovery:

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Hello!

The wall in this spot is hollow and, as it backs onto the existing kitchen, we reckon it used to be a serving hatch. We considered reinstating it but His suggestion that She also wore a tabard and a hairnet was quickly rejected.

The plaster mouldings then took a beating.

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Ooooo, isn’t he macho?

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The story so far

We’re a little late to this blog – so this post serves as a whistle-stop catch-up. The story so far, if you like……

We finally moved in (after lots of legal wranglings) in December. The household bear (BooBoo) featured in the day’s pictures texted to family. He refused to go in the removal van and was the first to explore.

The bears weren’t the only ones perturbed by the move:

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Surveying the scene

However we managed to unpack and get straight enough to host family Christmas. Not quite sure how we managed Christmas Dinner with the rubbish oven – but we did and it was a triumph (She says modestly).

Next came our Mexican Fiesta house warming party which, is fair to say, was pretty legendary.

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Fiesta!

We dressed the house in true Fiesta style, complete with inflatable cactus and a comprehensive cocktail list.

This list was responsible for many a sore head

Chaos ensued but it was a perfect party and even included a graffiti wall – read about on the Disco Loo page.

And then reality kicked in. The boiler had broken before Christmas so we got it serviced and repaired at the same time – at this stage we were offered commiseration by several plumbers as it was an Ideal boiler. Not actually ideal at all.

The heating was, to put it mildly, pretty ineffective which surprised us given the boiler was just 3 years old. In fact, when buying the house we were fairly smug about the fact it wouldn’t need sorting as it was only 3 years old. That’ll teach us.

To cut a very long, tedious story short – it was knackered and apparently far too small to do the job needed for the size of the house; it wasn’t even pushing the hot water upstairs with enough pressure for us to be able to have showers! The radiators were all on 1970s microbore and all needed replacing as well as new radiators adding in.

So, after 4 hideous weeks of no heating (but, thankfully, an immersion so we had hot water) we had a full central heating system put in along with new radiators – the house is also now zoned so we can control upstairs and downstairs separately. Ooooo, fancy! However, this came to the pretty total of £5.5k which was not in The Budget but it’s simply not something we could ignore. Plus, if we’re stripping back and starting again, now was the time to do it.

We also took the opportunity to move the boiler from the current utility room into the current kitchen – as these rooms will be trading places. The poor bugger doing the job discovered we not only had only about 12inches of floor space but also that much of our ground floor is concrete. He said our house actually kept him awake at night because it was so tricky to do. Ooops.

Damp came next – we knew about this as it had been flagged in the survey that the 30 year old damp proof course had failed.

Cue lots of different tradesman, conflicting advice, sucking through teeth, extortionate estimates and a lot of googling. We finally were recommended a trustworthy builder who gave sound advice and did a great, and fairly reasonably priced, job that is now guaranteed for the next 30 years.

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Damp course replaced and rotten skirting removed

However, the stench when we came home one night was unbearable – like sulphur – so we called him to ask what it was. “That’s your damp coming out the walls” was the reply. Nice. Turned out our skirting was also rotten and full of weevils.

And finally in the ‘big list’ was getting the roofing/chimney/guttering sorted. Usefully, our builder’s brother-in-law is a roofer. Amazing how quickly you can build up a network of tradesmen!

We’ve been a bit grumpy about all this work as you don’t really see the benefits – if anything you just make the house look even worse. But hey, they’re all (expensive) essentials. The only thing that could seriously catch us out now is the electrics so we have a full electrical inspection booked.

Whilst all this work was ongoing we  poured over paint charts….keeping the dream alive whilst the vision was hazy.

Ah, Farrow and Ball we love you so

Ah, Farrow and Ball we love you so

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