The house has been worked on non-stop since September and we’re only just getting to the fun bit – interiors! So just for posterity we thought we should note all those things that we’ve done to the house. Plus there’s only so many ways we can be bothered to spin a building site for insta.
Well as you likely know, our gable end had a rather ridiculous lean. So all of this end had to be taken down and rebuilt. It was much worse than originally thought and we discovered that the actual brick work was only one brick deep, the rafters were like dominos and the leading between our big roof and little roof non-existent. So we’ve had a lot of reconstruction, extra supports and new bits added to firm this all up. Along with replacing supporting batons and slipped tiles the back of the house is now standing tall and proud.
Our chimneys also needed desperate repair. A leak in our master bedroom had been attributed to some loose leading around the chimney that we’d been assured had been fixed by our sellers. However, further bad weather lead us to undertake a proper inspection. The chimney had lots of cracked brickwork and lose mortar and a very rudimentary fix for the leading meant they needed a lot of TLC. We replaced our chimney pots, had the stacks repaired and repointed and because we’re not certain if we’ll be using the fireplaces (not even for a stove at this stage) we added some matching cowls.
Finally on the roof we have the soffits, fascias, bargeboards and guttering to be replaced. These wooden guys have bowed, warped and bent in every direction. They were even home to some fledglings over spring, hence the delay in undertaking replacement to them. We’ve opted for low maintenance UPVC so they should stand the test of time and although they won’t be home to any new birds, we hope we can make our garden a welcome home for them instead.
With lots of windows added willy nilly to the property we decided to reconsider if all were essential and needed, after all replacing and bricking in cost about the same. If you read our floorplans & plans post you’ll know we planned to move our boiler to our current upstairs loo cupboard. In order to do this the window needed to be filled in so the boiler meets regulations. In our bathroom, the window was enormous and we need to move the loo to this room, but with such a large window, it wasn’t possible to find spare wall space, so this has been halved to accommodate a three piece suite comfortably.
Downstairs our kitchen was the biggest problem area with doors and windows all over the shop. We decided to simplify this by bricking in all the existing windows and converting one of the back doors to a picture window and the other to new double doors leading to the patio. We needed a steel and lots of helibars to sure up the brickwork in the kitchen. our builder even suggested making a decorative lintel from our old, removed lintels, giving them a new lease of life. And as delightfully retro as the serving hatch was, it’s going to be blocked by kitchen units anyway, so it had to go too.
The final change is in the dining room. Our Crittall door was removed and sold on to be repurposed as a bathroom door. So we decided to remove the little bit of brickwork that was the side window ledge to add in matching double doors that lead out to the same patio as our kitchen. We can’t wait to seem them finished and in situ together.
There were some remedial repairs required to some additional brickwork on the staircase where a big crack had appears from our hallway window. We don’t even want to think about how many helibars were used to repair this!
The original windows to the front of property have been restored. And look and function better than we hoped! They’ve been primed so we can paint them any colour we like and we’re thinking if going dark to mimic the new anthracite grey windows we’ve ordered for the back of the house. We have to wait until spring to paint the exterior wood because of the weather so we have plenty of time to find the perfect colour although that hasn’t stopped us mocking this up! We so happy we chose to restore instead of replace these beauties.
Because of the process in restoring our windows, the sashes were removed and casing repaired we have sustained some damage to our exterior brickwork and existing plaster internally, so whilst the brickwork around the windows needed repointing anyway, we decided to get the whole front of the house done – which will give us some kerb appeal we were definitely lacking before.
As mentioned we’ve ordered anthracite UPVC casement windows to the rear, we know it’s not the most complimentary choice for old buildings but they’re practical, warm and very secure. Our windows to the rear had all been replaced at different times through the years, and all in varying condition so seemed sensible to get a sense of union on the back. Not long until these are installed and what a difference they will make!
Internal essential works
Internally we have had a lot of odd jobs. We’ll save the kitchen saga for its own dedicated post, however you may have seen Dan’s story about the floor anyway!
With all the works happening in the roof, we needed to take down our ceilings upstairs. Lath and plaster is just a nasty and messy job to remove. We also has a redundant asbestos water tank in the loft which we were able to hoist out too.
After those ceiling came down we decided it was worthwhile bringing the rest down so we can insulate every nook. So we really have stripped the house back! Luckily though some of our existing lime plaster is still in great condition. We’ll need to repair some to prepare for an eventual reskim but we’re actually quite lucky we don’t need to strip every wall back to brick.
We have a few floorboards that need to be replaced too and thankfully found them in stock at a local reclamation yard – which we know from experience never happens! We’ll be sanding these back when we get on to interiors and look forward to seeing how these come up
Our existing studwork caused our isolation builder no end of pain at the start of the project – they’d been built in solid tongue and groove wood! SOLID studwork!! So took much longer than anticipated to move a wall a few centimetres here or there. And to this day stud walls that had been erected like in our upstairs-loo-soon-to-be-airing-cupboard are still totally naff! So these needed an overhaul desperately to ensure they were strong and safe enough to house boilers and showers and everything literally in-between the walls.
Let’s skip to the good bits
Well that’s most of the boring stuff updated apart from some cellotex here and a noggin there and shaving some lintels over there (yes, really). But with all this stuff done and dusted we can start thinking about all the good stuff like PLASTERBOARD! PLASTER! MIST COATS! SANDING & TREATING ALL THE WOOD! SECOND FIX OF ELECTRICS! AND NOT FORGETTING CENTRAL HEATING. So yes, not quite on to interiors but getting so close, close enough that we need need to order our kitchen very, very soon.
And as we do move ever closer to our interiors we might need some help on deciding what to finish the place like so keep an eye on our stories for some THIS or THAT polls!
Until next time… (which will be the kitchen saga!!)
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