EIGHT YEARS TO GO

Well it’s been a while….

The last time I posted was around 11(!!!) months ago. Life got away from us a little bit for a number of reasons:

  1. I went back to work in May and suddenly trying to fit in DIY projects, an eight month old, family time and a full time job got a little bit hectic
  2.  Although we were making major progress with the house, it didn’t really look that different and so blogging about it seemed like I was doing it for the sake of it.
  3. We then suddenly got to the decorating stage of doing the extension, and suddenly we had lots that I could blog about, but we also had lots that I could do too! Time and effort went on getting the extension finished as quickly as possible so that we could use it.
  4. This happened…  

Back in July we discovered that I was pregnant with #2 and around four weeks ago Harris joined the clan. The morning sickness/fatigue of pregnancy just made blogging that bit harder, it also gave us a nine month deadline for finishing the extension before I had two under two to deal with and so every spare second went on DIY!

Now that we’re trying to slow the pace down a bit, and that I’m on maternity leave again, I’m hoping I’ll be able to catch back up on the mountain of posts that are waiting to be written.

To start with, and to mark the two year anniversary of moving into our house last week I thought I’d start with a post recapping what we’ve done, and what we’re hoping to get done next year. We always said this house would be a ten year project so in theory we’ve now got eight years left.

I don’t want to share too many ‘finished’ photos as I’d like to do the room reveals properly so unfortunately this post just has teasers.

I did one of these posts a year ago (here) and also another post to discuss our plans for the year (here) which with hindsight were a little bit ambitious. Things we wanted to and didn’t start were:

  • Create a hallway at the front of the house
  • Move the stairs to this hallway
  • Create an upstairs office where our stairs used to be
  • Knock down and move the existing chimney breast
  • Move some windows
  • Add a front door
  • The garage extension

As always happens, some jobs just took longer than we thought, and our priorities changed, we wanted to spend more of our free time with Ewan and less knocking walls down. In addition to this some of our overall plans changed (the more we lived in the house the more we realised what would be the ‘right’ way to make changes) which meant the order we’d need to do certain bits (plumbing, moving walls etc) also changed.

You’ll notice that the above list includes some massive structural changes, and will create a lot of mess. They needed a bit more planning as we actually have to live in this house with two young children and so we wanted to think more carefully about the order in which we did them.

The garage extension is just low down on the time/money priority list unfortunately.

We did however manage to start (not complete) some other jobs from the list including:

  • Rewire – the extension is completely on the new electrics and we’ve made provisions for the rest of the house
  • Fix the plumbing – again central heating is done in the extension and we have a short term solution for the water for the en-suite until we can move the water tank.
  • Create a playroom – we realised quite early on that this was a little unrealistic as we spend our time playing downstairs or outside. In addition, with the arrival of a new baby we decided that the spare we’d marked out for this would be better used as bedroom space so priorities ended up being to clear out the ‘playroom’ to use as a changing area/wardrobe for Harris, and incorporating more play spaces into the new living room and Ewan’s existing bedroom.

And we managed to finish:

  • The extension insulation
  • The extension wiring
  • The extension plastering (batoning, boarding and skimming)
  • Knocking through to upstairs in the extension
  • The upstairs floor in the extension
  • The Master Bedroom

In addition we also got done:

  • The living room (the plan was just to use up left over paint, furniture and soft furnishings in here, but in the end we decided to treat ourselves and do a full on makeover)
  • The en-suite (this suddenly became a priority once I realised I was pregnant as I desperately wanted a bath!)
  • A (tiny) walk in wardrobe in our bedroom.

We’re really happy with what we’ve actually managed to do. That’s a third of the house finished now, (and probably the hardest third since we had to build everything from scratch) and we absolutely love the rooms we have. They’ve made a huge difference to moral as not only can we see what we’ll have when we finish the house, we also have clean and tidy rooms to relax in when we’ve finished doing work for the day.

We’re in the process of taking a couple of well earned months off to just enjoy time as a new family of four, but looking forward we already have plans in place for the next twelve months and the main focus is to get the middle third of the house correct from a structural and layout point of view. This will involve:

  • Putting in the front door and porch
  • Moving the landing window to allow for this porch
  • Creating a hallway downstairs
  • Moving the stair into this hallway
  • Moving the door to the kitchen and creating a door into the newly formed ‘snug’
  • Taking the chimney breast down in the ‘snug’ and supporting this in the attic
  • Creating a new chimney breast in the snug
  • 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.
  • Creating an office space where the stairs used to be
  • Putting a stud wall up to create a fourth bedroom in the wasted corridor space we currently have.

It’s unlikely that we’ll have any more ‘finished’ rooms, that’ll probably be the following year. The priority is to get the messy work done so that we’re ready to decorate the following year.

In addition to this we’d also like to:

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

So it should be another full on year (especially with two kids in tow this time!) but getting to where we are means we’re motivated and ready to get going again with it. Watch this space!

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