Been a bit busy… renovating a new house Part 1

Decorating, DIY, House Renovation, Renovation

So it seems forever since I last posted.  In fact it is 2 months, which seems shocking….  However, I have had good reason and am in the middle of doing up a new house, working as usual, decluttering, downsizing, my daughters are both in the middle of exams so need chivvying… and generally life is hectic!

The current house we live in was photographed for a magazine coming out towards Christmas, and it is only as I was having to check copy etc that I realised how behind I have become with blogging.  So I am now going to concentrate and lead you through the (stressful) world of renovating a house while living a good hour away and with all of the above going on at the same time.

I finally got the house I am renovating vacated by the tenants (who were model renters by the way and if they are reading this, thank you to them!).   So it is only this week that I could charge in with various helpers and trades and start the work.  I have a 6-8 week window, and this is the current list that needs doing in that time.  It might not seem long, but believe me organising the trades to sit seamlessly and in the right order is not always a smooth task…

  • Replace all Windows with new sash ones
  • Move all radiators and replace with nicer ones in better places
  • Run new cabling, replace the electrical consumer unit and install downlighters and extra plugs in several rooms
  • Strip off hideous lumpy embossed wallpapers
  • Strip off badly applied lining paper
  • Strip off the nightmare that is the dreaded wood chip, and is probably holding up 100 year old plasterwork that will blow the minute I remove it and mean that I probably have to re-plaster acres of walls.
  • Remove garden facing and replace.
  • Remove decrepit shed and replace with a new, dry, insulated one.
  • Clear garden.
  • Remove kitchen roof interior entirely, and replace with a new one with 2 roof lights to bring much needed light into the room.  Include new insulation and plaster.
  • Strip and plaster skim ceilings which have revolting swirly artex patterns
  • Redecorate entirely
  • Stain wooden floors, new carpets to bedroom, and new bathroom floor.

This list was planned to the last detail so that as floorboards went up, each trade could do their bit.  But things always go a bit pear-shaped, and an electrician blew me out at the last minute.  I had planned to get all of that work done when the floorboards were up for the radiator man’s work, killing two birds with one stone.  I even had an excel spreadsheet ready.  But that has all gone to pot a bit now…

Even sadder of me, I made up templates of all my furniture in newspaper, correct to the last millimetre!  This meant I could play with where things would/could fit.  This actually has been really useful, although I got strange looks from the family as I made up the templates.

Week 1:

This week we got the keys and straight away I started to strip the walls.   I have painted the bathroom walls a great Charcoal colour, this is the only room which was fit to leave as it is.

My fantastic mother has been toiling in the garden, and cleared a huge Phormium amongst other overgrown flora. We found this beautiful beetle as a nice diversion from the wallpaper steamer….


So the house started like this on Monday:

And now looks like this.


Was a bit gutted to see the state of the upstairs floors once carpet was removed, but hey ho…

My plasterer has been skimming away, so the ceilings now have changed from this stylish artex dimpled cellulite hell…

Too smooth like silk babies…

The old sash windows were sadly beyond repair, and were more wood filler than wood.  So a decision was made to replace them all with new sash windows with new architrave internally (yet more for me to paint that I was not expecting!).  They only took a day and half to fit from start to finish.  But they are really nice, not draughty and the curtains won’t blow with the wind anymore when the windows are closed!

So this has all happened in 5 days so far.  The downer is that the walls which are now stripped of lumpy and patterned wallpapers in the reception rooms are not good enough to keep bare, so I will need to use heavy duty lining paper to rectify.  I cannot justify the expense of re-plastering the whole house as the existing plaster is sound enough in those rooms.

Week 2

I have started the painful process of lining the walls in the dining room.  The walls are so shot to pieces that I ended up buying a product I have not used before; Diall Smooth wall covering, which is way heavier than normal lining paper and covers a very uneven walls.  So far it seems ok.

diall paper

The kitchen roof was due its vellum window roof light installation today.  The fitters appeared, and in records time stripped the whole interior of the kitchen and the outer roof area where the roof lights were to be inserted.  The crew was incredibly efficient and also really tidy.  It was all going so well, but then we noticed that the original ceiling beams were made of incredibly thin wood, 2 x 3 no less, which would in no way support a new ceiling of vellum roof lights, insulation, slate roof tiles and plaster.  As they had been concealed within the rood it was a horrible surprise.

Cue an anguished moan from myself, and the decision was made to remove the whole rood and starts again from scratch.  Bang goes my anticipated Lacanche kitchen range in one fell swoop!

So fare we have one vellux in, spanking new rafters and are awaiting the electrician for the first fix next week

My boiler man Tom has also turned up this week and has ripped out all of the old radiators.  He has diverted all of the pipes so new ones can go into better positions.  I have gone for the column style ones as they look great.



Finally, to cheer myself up as I was getting bored with stripping walls around the house,  I started painting the sitting room.  It is the darkest green imaginable called ‘The Space Beyond’ by Valspar.  Intense, but I love it and art will work well against it (plus a bling light fitting).



It has been very hectic, and I have spent hours and hours every day working; painting, stripping, filling and so on.  My hands look hideous, but slowly it is coming along.  Next week sees first fix electrics and the roof worked on more in the kitchen.

Here is a teaser of the bedroom design, but I can’t start yet as I need the carpenter to do his stuff first:(

Tomorrow I have a nice day off meeting my carpenter to finalise all of the wardrobe built-in designs, and then am off to get my daughter her first Prom dress, all very exciting!




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