Seven Years to go…

Today is seven years since we moved in to our house. Each year I’ve done a round up post (here are ten, nine and eight) as it seems a nice point to be at to mark where we have got to, and all of the work we still have to do.

This year saw the arrival of Harris and so it’s not been the most productive year. Work massively slowed down as I struggled balancing two children under two full time and taking yet another career break. Time away from ‘using my brain’ wasn’t great for me and I struggled lots. This blog was a saving grace as I poured any spare time and thinking space into it. The summer saw a redesign and a move to a theme I love too.

Being a full time mum meant I was desperate for Lee to take over whenever he got home, which really limited the amount of time we’ve been able to spend on the house. I went back to work in January and the work/life balance has meant that I’ve got my sh*t together more, and enjoy spending weekends and evenings with the boys which means Lee can finally get on with things. He’s also started taking a day a week off to cover childcare which means he doesn’t miss out on time with the boys either. Life finally feels a bit more balanced. It’s also meant that we’ve been able to get so much more done these last three months.

Last years post had the following goals. Here’s how we got on:

  • Putting in the front door and porch

The door is in, and the front garden is starting to take and look good. The porch has been made and is due to be delivered this week. It will be fitted asap.

  • Moving the landing window to allow for this porch

This is one of these jobs that took forever. We’ve removed the window and bricked up the space. We still need to put the new window in, but this will be with some building work that will happen late spring hopefully.

  • Creating a hallway downstairs

This last month saw the creation of our hallway (I haven’t blogged about it yet!). We have a stud wall up that has no plasterboard, and two of the three doors are just doorways, but the difference it makes just having the layout right is amazing.

  • Moving the stair into this hallway

We can tick this one off too! Again, another one that needs blogging, but the stairs are now in a completely different part of the house. They’re not finished yet (we need to pull them out to fit plasterboard) and we’ve not got nice banisters on yet as we don’t want to damage them when we’re doing more work. The landing area finally feels like it’s got a purpose, and upstairs just makes more sense. These two things have been the biggest boost to morale in the last twelve months.

  • Moving the door to the kitchen and creating a door into the newly formed ‘snug’

Done and done! The kitchen doorway was moved as part of the building work. Neither rooms have actual doors, but we’ll mop this up as part of the work over the next few months.

  • Taking the chimney breast down in the ‘snug’ and supporting this in the attic

My super clever husband designed some lovely supports in the attic to hold the chimney breast in place before we got some builders to pull it down and bricked the scar back up. Another one that I’ll be blogging in the next couple of weeks.

  • Creating a new chimney breast in the snug

This one hasn’t been done – yet. We have the new beams in place for this and a plan – it’s just waiting for us to arrange the flue for the new fire and the installation of this and then we can get on with it.

  • To do this we’ll need to remove the floor and ceiling in what was our bedroom, so these will need putting back in place when that’s done.

We managed this with a minimal amount of mess. We have plywood boards down to make sure the kids down fall down holes and we’ll be patching this up when we get round to decorating.

  • Creating an office space where the stairs used to be

The old stairs are still in place but this will be one of the late spring/early summer jobs we’ll be hoping to tackle.

  • Putting a stud wall up to create a fourth bedroom in the wasted corridor space we currently have.

Another job we haven’t done yet – mostly because all of our stuff has moved out of the rooms we’ve ripped to pieces, and ended up in this room. We need to try and get our house back in working order before we wreck more of it so this one will be later in the year.

  • Make a start to the front and back garden (more about this in another post)

This one we did last summer. We did some major work to a bit of the garden that was unusable post 2016 extension build and we were worried it wasn’t safe for the kids. We now have the hardcore down where the patio will be, and a fence up which means the kids should be able to use it this summer. We’ll be ignoring work in the garden for the rest of next year but hoping to get lots done in 2020.

All in all it was a productive year and we got most of the things done that we wanted to and I’m proud of us for that. If we hadn’t called in help we would have done very little. So I’m so glad we were sensible and decided to get some support.

At the moment we have the next 12 months of work planned out with a very general plan for the following 12 months. Here’s what we’re aiming to do:

2019-2020

  • All of the stud walls moved.

We’ve got the upstairs landing wall to finish (it’s down, we just need to build one back up!), the office walls to do and the space outside the bedroom, as well as open up the landing walls properly. Once all of the walls are in the right place we’ll need to start fitting some doors including: the snug, the kitchen, the office and two bedrooms.

  • Flooring joists

We’ve moved some beams around in the snug which means we need to check that all of the flooring joists are properly supported (or replace them if not) as well as filling the hole left where the old stairs are

  • Remove the stairs and beams

The old stairs and beams need to come out and we need to make good the holes they leave.

  • Move more windows

We need to put a landing window back in, change the bedroom window in Ewan’s new room, move the office window and move the downstairs hall window. There’s also a tiny window at the back of the snug that needs bricking up.

  • Build the porch

This will involve making a decision about how we’re rendering the front of the house as we’ll need to remove the existing render around where the porch will go to prep this area before we fit it.

  • Rewire the house

A fairly major job. The extension is on new wiring but the rest of the house is on the old distribution board which we’re desperate to remove. Rewiring whilst living in the house is easier said than done and our plan is to tackle this once the walls have been moved. The kitchen will be the only room that isn’t picked up in this decorating phase, so the plan is to run a temporary circuit and surface mount the sockets and switches so that the wiring is safe. We’ll have to live with that for a few years until we get round to doing the kitchen.

  • Move the plumbing

As we’ve moved the walls around we’ll need to rework the plumbing. The sooner the better as we currently have no central heating (always fun!)

  • Fit the fire

We’re having issues sourcing a fireplace that’s right for us which is what’s slowing this down. Once we’ve chosen a fire we’ll be fitting the flue and boxing this in up to the chimney in the attic.

  • Build the chimney breast

Again, we’re not building this until the flu is in so these are fairly imminent jobs.

  • Plaster

It’ll then be the usual plaster-boarding and plastering once all the walls and wires are in the right place.

  • Finish the stairs

Once we’ve finished knocking everything around we’ll get the finished banisters etc for the stairs.

  • Decorate.

That makes it sound simple! Essentially we’ll have the following rooms we’ll be able to decorate:

  1. The office
  2. Ewan’s new room
  3. The spare bedroom
  4. The Snug
  5. The hall & landing

Which is a fair amount of rooms! If funds allow (they probably wont!) it would be great to get them all done in the next twelve months, but there’s a chance we’ll still have some to do the following year.

2020-2021

And the provisional plans for the following year are currently:

  • Finish any decorating
  • Finish the build of Lee’s workshop (we started this back in 2016 and he’s itching to do it)
  • Pull the old garage down
  • Garden renovation project (including outdoor kitchen).

Again, it’s a fair amount of work, but we’re hoping that swapping to ‘outside’ for a year will help us feel like we don’t like in a building site (ahead of the work required for the kitchen/family bathroom that’s still ahead of us!).

So far, we’ve been realistic about how long work should take, and it feels like we’re making real progress now. Hopefully in another year we’ll have made major headway and we’ll be almost half way through our 10 year time frame.

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