It’s been a while since I wrote about my house project but now, the 31st December, it seems as good a time as any to give an update. I moved in on the 25th of May so this is seven months down the road.
To say that the house occupies my every waking hour would be a gross exaggeration but it’s a big part of my life. It feels a bit of a millstone round my neck, to be honest. I have so much to do, organise or decide upon that it sometimes gets me down. Often I have to force myself to make an effort to get going and distraction comes really easily.
It’s cold now but thankfully the winter here in middle-England has been mild to date. Very wet, cold, windy, but not often below zero. Fingers-crossed it continues. I still have no central heating but cope by taking a couple of portable heaters from room to room, depending on where I’m working. It takes time to warm things up and some forethought, and the cold air between rooms is uninviting. I can think of plenty of excuses!
So, what progress? The biggest thing is that I’ve had all the rooms, bar the kitchen and dining room (my room), re-plastered. The two guys, Viktor and Claudiu (from Romania), did a very good and careful job. They embedded a fibreglass mesh everywhere so any future cracking should be minimal. The finish is very smooth and straight. They completed late November after being here three months on-and-off. I will admit, though, that I was relieved to have the place back to myself again after so much upheaval and dust.
The electrical wiring, which I’m installing myself, is coming along. I’ll get it checked and certified by a professional – have no fear! I’ve painted the ceilings of the first two bedrooms and have put in lighting fittings. Like the heating, the electrics can only really be finished once the decorating has been done and that’s a long way off.
I’ve been fitting skirting boards – there was a stack of over 100 metres of them in my lounge at one point! I’ve only done two rooms so far so the pile is still big. They have to stay in that room because, until I cut them to length, at five-and-a-half metres they’re way too long to get up the stairs!
In one of my better decisions I got the guys to halve the depth of the airing cupboard. A lot of hammering and rubble, but there’s now more room in the bathroom for a radiator and perhaps the heating boiler. The tiles have been hacked off and the walls re-plastered, but the old bath, basin and toilet are yet to be removed.
Painting – I’ve finally chosen a colour for the bedroom walls – “Snowdrop White” by Crown, which is a very pale gold-white shade. Now that I’ve painted the first bedroom with one coat I’m not sure that pure white is right for the woodwork – another dilemma!
There are three big jobs coming up – redoing the bathroom, refitting the kitchen and installing the heating. They all involve plumbing and a lot of disruption. The jobs are all inter-related in some way and need design choices to be made. I won’t do the work myself – I have more than enough work with the electrics and especially the redecorating – I’ll have to get tradespeople in. It all needs careful organising and, without a car, it’s not easy getting to places to choose fittings. But, I suppose, I’m making steady progress. Onwards and upwards!