Sunday, 15 December 2013

Lighting the way

Bit of first fixing has gone on. Which means a trip to buy lights for the bedrooms and en suite. If we have them, the electrician will fit them, rather than basic fittings. Saves me a job later.

Bathroom light

Dropped them off and realised there's two landings to be lit as well. So back out we went to buy more.

The upper landing has been plaster boarded out. Which has hidden the brickwork. And is now really bright, we were concerned that even with a fairly large velux, it'd be a bit dark. It wont :)

Monday, 9 December 2013

Going on up - We have stairs

So far Jay has only managed to stick her head into the loft once. She doesn't do ladders. But today she stood in the loft.

The stairs were fitted over the weekend. John the carpenter is in hospital today, for an op, we wish him a rapid recovery. Think he fitted it in to keep his mind off it.

Walls have gone and gotten themselves plastered, not drunk, but finished.

So moving along. Need to pick spindles, architraves and skirting boards. We're having the same throughout, so will have to pick very carefully.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

I'm Going Up In The World!

Well, hopefully! It's been really frustrating for me because most of the decisions have been made for the top floor - what will be our bedroom and en suite - without me being very involved as I can't get up there. Today though, hopefully, the bespoke staircase is going in. I'm using bespoke in the loosest sense of the word - it's nothing fancy, just a normal staircase, but it has been made to measure as we need a couple of turns on it to make it fit, so couldn't buy a simpler (and cheaper) one off the shelf.

I've bought all the stuff for the en-suite - shower, loo, vanity unit, demisty cabinet and radiators/towel rails, and although the layout that's been described to me has changed a couple of times, I kept being assured that everything would fit easily, and it was a decent sized room - almost as big as a family baththroom. My only stipulation was that there was room above the sink for the bathroom cabinet that I'd bought, and I was told there was - until yesterday, when suddenly the slopey roof means that things don't fit!

Luckily the plumber hasn't started the first fix yet, so once the stairs are in and I can finally get up there, we can try and play around with the layout to see if we can make it work. Watch this space!


Sunday, 17 November 2013

All change

The superfluous door has gone. Or should I say moved. We now have the frame of a large cupboard on the landing. Plenty of storage. You can never have too much storage.

Yesterday we went to mark out sockets, ready for the first fix. Jay climbed the ladder, not all the way, just high enough to look into the loft. After a bit of discussion and a lot of measuring, we decided yet again the architects are idiots.

The en suite will no longer be en suite. Door on the landing. Landing to be shortened by about two feet. Which will give us roughly 6 square feet of extra space. Lee came around especially to discuss it.

It really feels as if things are happening. First fix is soon to be happening and we're looking to be ordering bathrooms. The shower is massive 1.4m by 0.8m. Looking at a double shower unit. 1 on a hose and 1 overhead. An ideal situation for those that have hair that sometimes doesn't need to be washed.

 So tomorrow afternoon we're hitting bathroom showrooms. 

Thursday, 14 November 2013

We have walls & a superfluous door

We have walls after about 25 years, a little skeletal at the moment, but at least it's building.

We also appear to have a extra door.

Apparently John the joiner and Lee the builder had decided there was spare space on the landing. Why not build a cupboard. John decided to put a door in ready for it. We do agree, but think the space should be accessed from the landing, rather than, what is going to be, the study.

And this weekend  I get to go mad with a marker pen. Sockets and light switch placements. Don't worry, I will be supervised by a responsible adult.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Frightening First Fix

The chimney has gone, dust and soot everywhere.

The floor is down for the new loft room. Stairs have been designed. Had it explained to me. Still don't really understand.

Off to see Lee the builder tomorrow. Going to start working out where things will be going in the loft room How big the en suite will be. Radiator position, plug sockets everything really. But it's all got to fit around the bed position. This isn't going to be easy.

Friday the roofers are back to strip the front, felt it, fit a couple of velux windows and put the tiles back. Which means the scaffolding will be gone. Hurrah.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

I got thrown out!

Lee, the builder, started properly yesterday. Didn't get to pop up, as I was on a 12 hour shift.

Went up this morning and basically got told to leave. Might have been allowed to stay if I had a hard hat. Can I have a hard hat?

It was all go. The door between the front room and the soon to be massive kitchen, was being filled. The rest of the ceiling upstairs was falling down. Or should that be kicked down, cause that's what they do. I'd be scared I'd slip off the joist as I kicked. Would be embarrassing.

Meanwhile the chippies were an a break. They've started putting the new joists in, but can't carry on, while the rest of the ceiling comes out.

No sign of the other half of the roof being redone. But the roofers bin a bit tom and dick. So probably a little behind.

Still think the look on Lee's face was priceless, when I asked if we'd be in for Christmas. I was joking. Be quite nice to be in for my birthday. Fingers crossed.

PS more pictures at the weekend.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Dog Walking Got Exciting!

We walk Buffy-dog a couple of times a day on common ground which is separated from the new house by allotments. The most exciting part of the dogwalk used to be poop-scooping or fending off giddy puppies who 14 year old Buffy really has no patience for any more.

There's a new excitement on the daily walks now though, which we never anticipated - now the builders have started, we get the first glimpse of what's happening up there - especially as most of the work is taking place at the back. It was on a dogwalk that we first saw the scaffolding was up, and where this afternoon I saw that although we currently have no roof, we have two of the velux windows in place. I have to say though, looking at that slate-less roof, I hope we don't get too much rain tonight!

I think Al and I will be fighting over who takes Buffy for the next couple of weeks until all the work moves inside - or it gets even colder, in which case he can do it ;-)


Let There Be Light!

 Ok, so we did say we wanted lots of light in the loft conversion, but this may be a step too far!

As you can probably guess, from the picture - looking up from the current master bedroom - things have definitely started moving.

We had a few days away last week, and had a call from the builder asking if the door between the house and conservatory was locked. We told him it was, which was just as well, as they were in the process of breaking into the conservatory to put scaffolding legs straight through the roof!

The chimney and chimney breast has been removed all the way through the house, all the upstairs ceilings have been removed so they can be lowered to create more head height in what will become the master suite in the loft, and they're currently removing the roof so it can be felted and replaced. We seem to be steaming ahead.

I've said all along that I was glad we didn't have to live in the house while it was being renovated, but I've never been as glad as today when Lee - our builder -  told us that without doubt the two messiest jobs you could have done were to remove a chimney breast and lower a ceiling - and we've done both!

There's no mevement on the extensions yet as he's still working on another job, but the joiners are going full steam ahead with the loft, and as soon as Lee finishes up, he'll move to ours full time. In the meantime he has some of his workers moving between the two projects to try and keep ours going.

We finally feel like we're getting somewhere!


Saturday, 14 September 2013


A couple of things have happened this week - first of all we've had the big sycamore tree cut down from the bottom of the garden. Unfortunately we weren't able to get the stump ground down as planned. Apparently the stump grinder weighs about 800lbs, and is self propelled, but wasn't able to make it down the rather narrow steps in our garden! Luckily with it being right at the bottom of the garden, it shouldn't be too much of a problem. The tree people took all the branches and wood away, but they did leave a LOT of sawdust! We collected 11 bags of it, and there's still lots there!

 The main news this week though, is that we've picked a builder, and he's hoping to start in about four weeks. He'll be doing the downstairs pretty much, so the two extensions, removing the chimney breast, the walls, and adding the new steel supports. A joiner he works with regularly will be doing the loft conversion, and he will hopefully be starting even sooner - maybe just a couple of weeks. It finally feels as though things are moving forward after weeks and weeks of ripping things out and going backwards!

We do have some wallpaper left to strip off in the hall, landing and stairs, so will hopefully get that done before anyone starts. We also have a man coming round to check whether we need a new damp proof course. We're not sure whether the couple of damp areas are 'real' damp, or just because they're rooms that mum didn't really use, and so rarely got properly heated. If we do need the new damp proofing, then that will mean hacking a lot of the plaster off downstairs, which of course it's better to do now rather than later.

So, although we've just about done everything we can do in the house, and will be handing it over to the professionals, this is where it starts to get really busy and hectic (not to mention expensive!)

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Winter is Coming

Ok, I know not everyone will get that reference, but I like it!

It was a tough anniversary last week - six months since losing mum. In many ways it's flown - it's hard to believe I haven't seen her for so long, but at the same time, it seems to have been a really long summer. I think we've achieved a lot with the house. We've almost finished stripping everything out inside, settled on final plans, had builder, plumber and joiner quotes, and are about to offer the job to our first choice of building firm.

We've just about finished clearing the garden. The massive sycamore tree at the bottom gets felled today, which should make a lot of difference to the light, but now it's turning cooler and wetter, we're going to be limited with what we can do in the garden over the next few months. There are a ot of paths and small walls for raised beds to be removed, so we might get some of that done, but really it depends on how wet the autumn is, and when the builder can start - our access will be a bit more limited once things start moving on the build.

In many ways it feels like it's been a bit of a lost summer. Usually we'd have been on holiday last week - Al was off work, but we cracked on with work at the house instead, and put the cash saved towards the build. We'd also normally have spent the summer having lots of days out - either to the seaside or out for picnics at Brimham Rocks & Fountains Abbey, but again, all our free time seems to have been spent working.

I know it will all be worth it in the end, of course it will, but I can't help feeling a little sad that the summer's just about over and we missed most of it!


Thursday, 5 September 2013

Adele has nothing on Jay

So yesterday we had a bit of a fire. Well Jay did.

Took a trip up the road this afternoon. 24 hours after we left the fire dying down. Arrived and we could smell smoke. Wandered down the garden. Fire had burnt right down, nothing but ash.

However the ground around it was charred and smoking!!

Watering can was filled and emptied. The slabs used for the fire pit lining hissed and created steam!! Hot stuff!

So Adele set fire to the rain. Jay went one better, she set fire to the Earth.

PS Sycamore is coming down on Tuesday!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Hello my name is Jay and I'm a pyromaniac

The other day Jay told you about the garden incinerator we bought. She wasn't going to use it, it was all mine. That lasted less than a day. I've hardly had a look in!

As it could only be used for non woody waste, wood burns too hot and would warp the metal, we would still have to take the wood to the tip. I suggested a fire pit. So a raised bed, got converted and some of the many, many flags from the garden were used to line it.

This morning we wandered up the road to do a little bit, ok a lot, wheelie bin + 3 trugs + 2 ikea bags & stuff just lying around.

As the pit was to be my baby, I started a little fire.

Within a minute I'd been relegated to the incinerator!

Yes Jay was in charge of the fire. She was building it bit by bit, so that it could cope with bigger and bigger bits of wood.

Then horror of horrors garden waste was running out!

Thinking that was that I was expecting the fire to be left to burn itself out. But no. Could I start breaking up the trellis we'd taken down? That ran out. Could I dismantle the trellis that was still up?

Thankfully easily accessible wood ran out and lunchtime arrived. Home we went, yet again stinking of smoke. Another successful day.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Two is better than one

John, a local school caretaker, is a good man to know. If you want a job doing with wood, he's your man. He can build it. He can also destroy it. He has a chainsaw. I'm a little jealous.

Anyway, decided to ask him to lower our hedge by a foot. Basically haven't kept it under strict control.

Don't panic. We had a change of plan. For maintenance purposes, when it's rented, a fence on the wall would be easier. Also makes the garden 3 foot wider.

And for similar reasons, the hawthorn at the bottom of mum's had to go. No one likes to maintain a hawthorn, unless of course their a bit of a masochist. And we can both say OUCH! After an afternoon of chopping.

So what do you do with two hedges? As you can see, some logs in the background, from ours, for when we get the log burner. Three trips to the tip, with a fully laden truck. It was the nice pair. No ticket required, it's down to their discretion. They helped me unload and they tidied up afterwards. Really must find out their shift pattern.

It's garden wheelie bin day, tomorrow.

That's ours. And 3 neighbours, they've kindly let us fill. Also mum's up the road. Across the road, Keith has put his out, probably fairly empty, so later I'll be out sneaking the last three bags into that or any other bin I can find.

About two thirds of the hawthorn to go, expecting a lot more scratches.

Next major change is the sycamore, it's going to go. Not me! Or John! It's 70 foot tall! Quotes have been asked for. This will make a massive change to the light in our garden and 5 or 6 other houses. I'm tempted to ask if they wish to donate, after all, we're doing it for them.

Watch this space.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Estimates, Guesstimates & Really Hard Sums!

We got the first quote through from one of the builders we've contacted this week. Which is great, because we now have some idea of the cost involved. Except we don't really, because he's just quoted for the building work, not fixtures and fittings, and some of the extra stuff, so we need to work out roughly what the kitchen will cost, and floor tiles for the massive back room, oh, and the suites, taps and showers etc for two bathrooms and a cloakroom, not forgetting a new boiler, and .... well, you get the idea. Basically we have a lot of work to do still before we decide whether to go ahead with both of the extensions and the loft conversion, or whether to do everything to a really good standard we need to let one of them go.

It's tricky, because obviously we'd ideally love to do everything, but we have a definite budget, and don't want to go into debt to finish things - or be left with a half finished house - but equally, we don't want to decide not to do the loft, and then get to the end and find we could have afforded it after all. Which is where the sums come in. Not only is it hard to guess the cost of some things, but even to think of everything we need to guess the costs of! We have to include carpets, furniture, kitchen appliances, everything.

We have another builder quoting for the job, which we'll hopefully get soon, but we also need to do some running round and pricing up of all the other things. A lot can be done in the interweb, luckily, but we're also planning to go through one or two kitchen planning appointments. Not to settle a final design, but just to get a good idea of how many units we'll need and a guesstimate of the cost of that. I suppose things are moving on - it just sometimes feels like we're not really getting anywhere!


Monday, 19 August 2013

Disco Inferno

.... burn baby burn!

Since we  more or less made the decision to start from scratch with the garden, and get rid of at least 90% of the shrubs and plants, we've struggled with getting rid of the waste. We're lucky in that we do have a recycling bin purely for garden rubbish in our area, but it only gets emptied fortnightly, and only during the summer months, and at the moment we could refill it twenty times over on a weekly basis! Last week we had a very full bin at mum's, the same with the one at our house, and two of the neighbours were nice enough to let us put lots of stuff in their bin too!

We do take some of the waste to the local tip for recycling/composting, but if we use the truck, it's classed as a commercial vehicle, and we're only allowed twelve visits in total over the year, which we're trying to eke out as there's loads of large stuff from the house to go too. That only leaves my little Toyota Yaris, which can hold a lot if we drop the rear seats, but it's not ideal for carrying garden waste in - we end up sitting in a pile of leaves, needles, and bits of twig!

Which was why we made the decision last week to buy a garden incinerator from B&Q. Not massively expensive, but as there are no bonfire restrictions in this area, it should help us get rid of more of the rubbish from the garden. We put it right at the bottom, on the concrete base where the shed used to be, with the plan that any smoke would just drift over the hedge onto the allotments which back on to the garden. Lovely!

We bought it on Wednesday morning, and as Al was working in the afternoon, I went up to tackle some more shrubs in the garden. The incinerator was going to be Al's thing - I think he may be a closet pyromaniac, as we always rent holiday cottages with log fires, which he loves, and at the first sign of sun he can never wait to light the barbecue! I'm not so good with fires, but thought I'd have a go at lighting it just to show willing. My plan was to try - and fail - to light it, so I could then hand it over to Al with a clear conscience as I was clearly unable to work it. What could possibly go wrong?

How about the fact that it lit with one match, and went up as though it was doused in petrol?

Eek!! I slammed the lid on in a rather panicked fashion, and backed off. Which was when the smoke started. Not just a bit of smoke, a LOT of smoke. In fact my eyes were streaming almost immediately, so I headed back up to the house, and closed the door behind me. I went into the kitchen, looked out, and the world had disappeared! The incinerator was over 20 metres away, but the whole garden was white. You literally could not have seen your hand in front of your face. I apologise unreservedly to any neighbours who may have had washing hung outside - although it had seemed like a windless day where any smoke would gently drift away over the hedge, apparently there was enough of a breeze blowing the wrong way to drive all the smoke into everyone's back garden! I'd texted Al earlier to say I was going to try and light the incinerator, but didn't expect I'd manage it, so I'm not sure how surprised he was to answer the phone at work to me shouting 'can I put water on it??'

He told me I could, although it probably wouldn't do the metal any good for the fire to be quenched so quickly. Who cares? I just wanted the smoke to stop! I filled a big bucket and lugged it down the garden, but thankfully, by the time I got there, it had calmed down considerably, so I left it burning. I was in too much of a state of shock to take a picture of the smoke-filled garden, but I do have one of the calmer scene when I went back!

My plan was not to have to use the incinerator again after failing to light it. I can safely say I'll never use it again, because I can light it all too well, and it terrifies me!

One more thing added to the long list of things that I'm not going anywhere near - along with plumbing, electrics and spiders!


Sunday, 11 August 2013

Groovy Baby

Tongue and groove to be precise. We're still working hard to get all the prep done at mum's house. The way we look at it, every hour we spend ripping up carpets or removing tiles is time we won't be paying builders for, once things start moving.

There's lots of stuff that I can't do, so I've been mostly stripping wallpaper and lifting carpets while Al's been doing some of the heavier stuff. We discovered some vaguely remembered seventies style tongue and groove cladding in the bathroom - neatly hidden under glued on hardboard which had been papered over, so Al had a happy few hours ripping that out - it was certainly built to last! I've stripped the wallpaper and carpet from the bathroom, so that's looking nice and grotty now!

Tiles next!

One of the biggest things that Al did this week was when we were having an outside day - there was a big carport joining thegarage to the conservatory which needed dismantling. Dad used to park the car under there many years ago, and mum used it to hang washing outside on drizzly days. As we won't be doing either of those, and are hoping for a really big seating area at the top, the carport needed to go.

It was a nightmare to get out - to put it politely, it was very very well built! Al was scratched and cut from battling the hard plastic, and some of the big supporting posts seemed to have been anchored in Australia! It's nice to see how sunny and bright that area's going to be though - as you can see from the before and after pics.

In other news this week, we - or rather, I - discovered that we seem to have a healthy population of frogs living in the garden. I think one of them is a specially trained attack frog, as it took an almighty leap towards me, making me squeal like a girl! Al was very concerned. Several minutes later, after he's finished what he was doing, he finally asked if I was ok! Thanks for that Al!

I'm hoping I'll have some news about the builder this next week, and whether we can actually afford to do everything we're hoping to - we had a meeting with a local builder on Wednesday. He was recommended by my hairdresser after building her extension, so we're waiting for a quote from him, and take it from there.

A fairly productive week all in all.


Thursday, 8 August 2013

Double Trouble

Well, maybe not trouble, but how about double jeopardy, or even double cheeseburger? Definitely double something anyway - you see as well as tackling mum's house, we're also doing a lot of work to ours.  We're not sure whether it will be sold or rented at this point, but we definitely won't be living in it, and there are quite a few jobs that need doing.

It does unfortunately mean even more chaos - so far this year, we've had the loft boarded out for storage, with a new hatch and velux window, a completely new bathroom, including having the ceiling lowered, and every inch of it tiled, and just this week we had the stairs and landing skimmed. This means coming back from mum's house, either filthy from the garden, or covered with bits of sticky wallpaper, and having to start clearing up plaster dust instead of having a nice long soak in the bath!

It also means getting even more quotes and organising more workmen - next step a decorator for our house, while still looking for a builder to work on mum's.

I keep telling myself it will be worth it in the end, but there have definitely been days this last week where I haven't believed me!


Monday, 5 August 2013

Operation garden (destruction)

August 1st, probably going to be one of the hottest days of the year. So sensibly we decided to have a rest and relaxation day. Sit in the shade, eat well, avoid dehydration with a good liquid intake.

If only, the reality was a little different. It was a dry day, so outside jobs had to be done. So garden it was and off we went.

A lot of heavy pruning of plants by Jay. She's fairly Samurai like when she wields the pruning saw.

A lot of digging, helped by Buffy.

A lot of root fighting, helped by Buffy.

And a couple of trips to the tip, it can hold a lot. Not helped by Buffy.

On the second trip to the tip. The temporary, indoor and hardly used one. We were approached by the council operative. Apparently it had taken him 20 minutes to tidy up after us. Would we mind tidying up after ourselves this time. We did. At the non temporary tip, they wouldn't have cared. And to be fair, other operatives have helped us to empty the car. Think we probably found the only one who liked doing nothing all day.

The garden is heading in the right direction. Old plants past their sell by date and plants we don't want are going. Plants we wish to keep may be moved to a holding area, for later placement.

At the end of the day. And no sign of Buffy. Think she needed a rest.

Decking is being removed by John, a neighbour who put it in. We hope he's coming back to remove the rest. He's not been around for a few days.

Both tired, sore and very dehydrated. It was a day well spent. And very productive.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Watching TV Can Seriously Damage Your Health

.... or at least your nerves! I blame my friend Nicky. After we'd been having a chat about everything we were wanting to do to mum's house - two separate extensions, a loft conversion and lots of internal reconfiguring, Nicky introduced me to her guilty pleasure. It was something I'd never tried before, and neither had Al, but we quickly became addicted to the daily BBC1 show 'Homes Under the Hammer'

In case you've never come across it, the premise is fairly simple - and repetitive - the two presenters follow three homes (or properties as I believe it's compulsory to call them these days) as they're bought at auction, valued, renovated and revalued to see if a profit has been made. The show is weirdly addictive, partly because it gives me design ideas for mum's house, but also because I'm addicted to checking out how much everything costs.

While we're not interested in the profit element as we're obviously going to be living in mum's house (which I point blank refuse to call a property,) what does interest us is the designs, and especially the renovation costs. This is where the nerve shredding bad-for-your-health thing comes in - I have violent mood swings from despair to ecstasy depending on how the renovation unfolds. We usually watch the show together, so Al's there to laugh at me when I start shouting at the screen - sometimes at the annoying presenters - but more often at how much it costs to do a similar sized extension to the one we'd like. If it's more than our budget I'll be sitting with my head in my hands, and if it's way under our budget then I have a massive grin on my face. Whenever the developers go over budget - which happens a lot - I worry that the same thing will happen to us as we don't have much of a contingency fund.

I know watching this show isn't doing me any good, and I really should cancel the Tivo series link and give it up, and I will ... just a few more episodes, then I'll go cold turkey, I promise!


Sunday, 28 July 2013

Blood, Sweat, Tears & Takeaways

One of the big advantages of moving to mum's house is the garden. It's a lot bigger than ours, and very private as it backs onto allotments and fields, so it's not overlooked.

The garden was mum's pride and joy. She was a very keen gardener, and until she became ill, she spent almost all her free time out there - weeding and maintaining of course, but also tweaking and changing. Moving plants, buying new ones, and relegating some to behind the shed, although she rarely got rid of anything! Even after she became too ill to garden herself, she was happy to issue requests and suggestions to Al and I, so the garden was always kept tidy at least.

This is how the garden looked in early summer, but I'm ashamed to say that since we lost mum, we've completely neglected the garden. Mum would hate the state it's got into! I know we can't keep it exactly as it was - and we wouldn't want to. What worked for mum won't work for us, so hopefully once the house is done, we can also landscape the garden. We'll definitely want something that's lower maintenance, with a much larger seating and decking area than mum had, and probably a larger lawn for Buffy dog.

So, the question is, what do we do between now and then? Well, although there's no point landscaping it when there's going to be so much building work going on, we decided we ought to do something, so yesterday we made a start on tidying it up. Stupid idea on such a hot day! We spent hours up there trimming shrubs that we might want to keep, and digging up some that we definitely didn't. We cut the lawns (2 of them) and the beech hedge at the front, and collected bags and bags of garden waste to take to the tip after completely filling the garden recycling bin.

And the result, after all this hard work? We were hot, sweaty, exhausted, scratched to bits and the garden barely looks any different! We've hardly touched the surface of what needs doing - there are LOADS more shrubs to be trimmed and removed, not to mention lots of paths and raised beds to be dug out - oh, and we haven't even started weeding yet, and most of them have gone to seed, which will be even more of a nightmare next year!

Which is why the title of this post is blood, sweat, tears and takeaways - I wasn't in any fit state to cook after all our labours yesterday, so after a planned lunch of fish and chips, we skipped the low fat homemade prawn curry, and had a Chinese takeaway for dinner. Eek! Don't want to be doing that every time we tackle the garden! Although, on the other hand, just how many calories does gardening burn anyway.....


Saturday, 27 July 2013

Moving Forward ..... Slowly!

We were on holiday last week, which was lovely, but had an email while we were away from the architects. They wanted to set up a meeting with the structural engineer we'd hired on their recommendation. A little strange, as we'd originally been told that there should be no need for a site visit - he would just work from their measurements. However, as we basically have no clue what we're doing, all we can do is agree and go along with it!

The meeting took place on Tuesday. The engineer seemed friendly and very very knowledgeable. Everything we want to do seems do-able, although I'm really worried about the costs. We can't put the project out to tender and get quotes from builders until we have the more detailed drawings needed for building regulations, which means at the moment we have no idea whether or not we'll be able to afford everything that's in the plans. Catch 22 really - we can't get a quote without the plans, and yet it seems silly to do the plans if we may not be able to afford the work.

We've stressed (again) to the architects that we're keen to press on and get things moving, so hopefully we'll have the final plans soon and can get some quotes.


Thursday, 4 July 2013


This blog is mostly Al's baby, so this is my first post. I have to admit I wasn't entirely sure about the whole project at first. I was still very raw about losing mum, and couldn't quite imagine the house without her in it. She'd really wanted us to have it though as it's much bigger than our current house, and in a nicer location, so after much thought and discussion, we decided to go ahead.

It feels much less like mum's house already - all her furniture's gone, mostly to charity and Freecycle, and now the wallpaper and carpets are going, I can finally start to imagine how it will look by the end of the project.

I grew up in this house - although I moved out in my early twenties - and I'm getting quite excited about bringing it up to date and back to life. Mum only used a couple of rooms after losing my dad 10 years ago, so it will be nice to see everything refurbished and used!



Downstairs now emptied, as much as we can for the moment.

All built in furniture has been removed.

Jay spent a day stripping the main bedroom. A lot of work.

Whilst visiting Wakefield tip, the nice man told me that no one was using the other tip. A little confused, we took a look at the council website. Normanton tip is being refurbished & the temporary tip is in Wakefield. So off we went. Went once, went twice and on the third visit we saw another car!! The gent who helped unload the car said that they'd had 4 cars all day. Going to keep that little gem a secret :)

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Taking it back to basics (slowly)

Spent the day stripping out kitchen and various built in wardrobes. About halfway through. There is an awful lot of wood piling up.

Happily the plans are back, so ready to move on. However we have no idea what is next. Need to talk to the architects.

Monday, 10 June 2013


Not particularly fast. Got the first draft through about 2 weeks ago. We couldn't give feedback as we were away in Whitby.

Today we got the second draft. Big thumbs up all around. Just about perfect.

So I think now, we will be putting the plans out to tender. Hoping to find a builder that can take it from planning regs to infinity and beyond.

In the beginning

Sadly in early March, Jay's mum Ruth passed away. She will be very much missed.

Ruth wanted us to have her house and was adamant that we should make it our own. What do you expect, she's from Yorkshire.

After some soul searching and quite a few discussions. We decided to go for it. The alternative was to sell up and move out of the area, as we couldn't stand the thought of Jay's childhood home, being changed in front of us.

The house a 2, originally 3, bed semi. Approximately a hundred years old. Overlooking allotments and fields, to the rear. Decent sized garden and a great deal of potential.

Our plans

1) To knock through the kitchen and back room, along with a rear, fill in the gap extension. To make a large kitchen room with comfy seating at one end. Essentially a day room. And a room Jay can cook in. She likes to cook and is looking forward to a decent amount of space.
2) Turn the front room into a proper comfy room, hopefully with a log burner, for those cold winter nights.
3) Split the front bedroom back into two rooms. The easiest part of the whole plane.
4) Convert the loft to a master bedroom, with a bathroom. No idea how big it's going to be, but it should be plenty large enough.

Architects have been. Thoughts have been had and measurements taken. So waiting for architects to come back. Then onwards and upwards.