Our New Project | The House Before The Home
April 6, 2017
And, we have a house! I’ve made no secret of my frustrations over the last few months: finding a home is no mean feat, buying one is another kettle of fish completely, but low and behold we’ve made it through the process, and came out the other side, albeit missing a very large chunk of our savings. Now that I’m in a position where nothing can fall through, I felt it was time to update on our new home, and what we plan on doing in it. I’ve been slightly overwhelmed by it all. The first home I owned was supposed to be a flat. I’d always had it planned it out. A one bedroom, small flat, just for me and nobody else. A small space to decorate and to call my own. I never did quite manage that, but Jordan was a happy addition to my living situation. Add in a 6 month old baby though, and suddenly everyone needs that little bit more space. Consistent with everything else in the last year of my life, my one bed flat didn’t go to plan. Last week we got the keys to our new family home. A 3 bedroom, do-er upp-er. A renovation waiting to happen, and for us, right now, a building site.
We started looking for a house in January on a whim: we were always planning on getting a house, but the original plan was to start looking in March, have the keys by June, and be in by Summer. Low and behold, we started browsing online after Christmas, and once I get something in my head, it’s hard to kick, so after viewing a few houses, we settled on this one. Terraced, with a new kitchen, new bathroom, new flooring downstairs, but still whole lot of work to be done. We put an offer in the day after, and although it was accepted immediately, it took three more months before we could get our hands on the keys. In the week we were due to get them, three days before, we were told that a surveryor had noticed discrepancies in what was in the plans, compared to what he was seeing in front of him. Work had been done without planning permission, and we were in a bit of a pickle going forward. Long story short, we’ve taken the plunge regardless, and we’ve simply added sorting that mess out to the ever growing list of projects to be done.
We’ve now had the house for just over a week, and the changes have already been massive. I made the mistake of taking the pictures after letting my dad loose in the place for seven days, so the downstairs is already completely different. If it’s changed this much in the space of a week or so, I can only imagine the transformation in two months. Our dining area in staying the same, but that just happens to be the only place that is downstairs. The main change we wanted to make was to introduce a hallway, as previously our front door led pretty much straight into the living room. That was framed and plaster boarded in a matter of days, and various plug sockets and radiators shifted around. We’ve also built out a protruding wall, to give a hint of character, and also to allow our TV to sit into the wall, rather than on top of it. I know there is a big debate about whether or not we should allow a television to be the centre of a room, but I’m not that bothered about it. I like the television, we don’t have a fireplace and I won’t be spending money on one to then chase a toddler away from it, so our TV can be the centre of our room, and I’ll be happy with that.
One of the bigger projects, is moving our downstairs toilet. Originally, it could only be accessed through a door at the back of the kitchen, but with a huge cupboard just next to the backdoor and the living room, it would be so much more useful there. It makes absolutely no sense for it to be where it is right now – and it’s easier to move it now than for me to continue to be frustrated by it for years to come. (Plus having a handy plumber dad makes it all that bit easier to make happen). So far, all of the plumbing has been adjusted and our toilet is now in the new mini room, leaving a fairly derelict looking space where it was previously. The initial plan was to knock down the walls separating that original downstairs toilet and the two cupboards adjoining to make a utility room, but in true fashion, of course one of the walls would be supporting, so we are back to the drawing board and I’ll update as and when we decide what the hell we are doing with that space.
In terms of the kitchen, I was only supposed to be replacing the extractor fan. It was a new kitchen and it’s fine – but with everything going on elsewhere and having spent too much time looking on Pinterest, I can’t help but want to re-do that also. Unfortunately though, money does not grow on trees, and believe it or not, maternity allowance isn’t all that great, so I may need to compromise and deal with the brand new kitchen that’s already in.
What’s funny about all of this is we bought this house in the mindset that it was the most ready to move into of the houses we had viewed. It had a new kitchen, a new bathroom, all of the walls were in tact, no damp, nothing urgently needed done – yet, we’ve still managed to turn it into a building site? Upstairs is considerably less work than downstairs, with the exception of the bathroom. It’s pretty much ready to go. Harrison’s room is already painted, as is our office, and our room can be if I can ever settle on what I’m doing with it. Decorating was supposed to be fun, but decorating 10 rooms at once, no, not fun at all. My head is all over the place and I seem to be jumping from room to room, but once flooring is down and rooms are painted, I’m sure it will all start to fall into place and I’ll actually be able to make some decisions.
The upstairs bathroom is somewhere I’m determined to find the money to do. Now, we were told when we went to view that this was a new bathroom, and I was excited. From the pictures, I saw light brown tiles, a light brown floor and then a white toilet, sink and bath. Nice, right? Wrong. We viewed the property in the dark – big mistake – three times over we failed to see it in natural light, and only after we got the keys did I realize what this new bathroom actually looked like. Pictures never seem to pick up the true shade of the walls and the floors, and your probably looking at the pictures and wondering why I have a bee in my bonnet. It is extremely dark brown, with khaki and cream specks through it. It is not nice, and I know if I manage to do up everything else the way I want, that bathroom will always stand out to me. Another one to the list.
On top of those, we also need windows, a new front door, and some sort of porch for said front door, and a garden, as right now, we have stones and patio and not much else. So not much to do. We are on a pretty strict (as in absolutely no movement) budget with this, and I know I am either going to have to make compromises, or make smart decisions to ensure we can actually complete all of the renovations we want to do. We are also hoping to move in in around 6-8 weeks time, so this should be a very quick project if we can keep to the time-frame, but we all know that is probably unlikely, keep your fingers crossed for us… Updates to follow.