Monday, 22 July 2013

Our New House–Paul on the Team

The first of two posts again – the lion’s share of the work has been on the house in general, so my second post about progress with my ARTHaven will be brief in comparison.

Over to the new house again today, and my hubby stayed for the morning and worked on the garden fence panels. He left after lunch for a meeting in Exeter.

Today Paul was on the team full-time at last – he has been finishing off their previous job. Now he has come, things should progress even faster. He is taking responsibility for the en-suite bathroom for starters, and later his expertise as a highly skilled plasterer will come into its own.

More progress on the kitchen today.

First of all, my beautiful sink is now in – but no plumbing yet.

01 Sink

When I first saw the trim along the front of the worktop the other day, I was concerned that it wouldn’t be deep enough to conceal the underside of the sink bowl, but as you can see, it’s very effective! The sink is quite a shallow one. It’s not just accessible kitchens that have shallow sinks these days – they are becoming more popular as they tend to save water, and nowadays people don’t have such enormous amounts of washing up to do – families have dishwashers, and in our case, there are only two of us, and we’ve never considered it worth having a dishwasher.

I’ve got two posh taps to go in when they do the plumbing.

John has also installed the new ceramic hob, which is extremely posh, as it has no projecting control knobs which will make it extremely easy to keep clean. Again, wiring is not yet connected.

02 Ceramic Hob

We have plinths! In this picture John has almost finished installing them – there’s a small section still to go beyond the ventilator panel. You can see how lovely the floor is in this picture, too, and all the handles are now installed.

03 Plinth

In the excitement of seeing how lovely my new kitchen was looking, I had quite forgotten about the finishing touch – the cornices! Here, Andy is helping John to cut the lengths to size, using John’s amazing £700 power saw. John was a bit frustrated that one or two of the pieces didn’t have exactly the same profile, which made creating a perfect mitre difficult, but like the other team members, he was well able to overcome this minor difficulty – in his case by Germanising it!! He’s very keen on all things German, and if the British equivalent isn’t quite up to his standards, he Germanises it. Ha ha!

04 Andy Helping John with Cornices

Here is the first cornice installed, on the glass-fronted display cabinet on the far wall.

05 Cornice

The second glass-fronted cabinet has now been installed – a single one over the sink.

06 Second Glass Unit

Moving upstairs, I found stuff in the bedroom in preparation for work on the en-suite bathroom.

07 Preparing to Work on the Bathroom

Here is Paul working on the new bathroom, with Chris offering moral support through the window! He’s standing on the scaffolding outside.

08 Paul and Chris in the Bathroom

Here Paul is removing the bracing from the doorway from the bedroom. He will install a lintel over the doorway to support it. This is a lath-and-plaster stud wall (non-load bearing).

09 Paul Opening Up the Bathroom Doorways

After the braces had been removed, you can see right through – an interrupted view from the bedroom to the further wall of the loo.

10 Bathroom Doorways Opened Up

The second doorway will be converted into an arch.

On the other side of the bedroom, the skirting board pieces, and the glass-fronted door that was on the landing leading into the existing bathroom have been removed and propped up. This glass-fronted door will lead from the bedroom into the en-suite, and a spare panelled door from downstairs will replace it on the landing. The two landing doors will be boarded on the inside, and left as fake doors so as not to spoil the appearance of the landing.

11 Glass Door and Skirting Boards

Note the gorgeous genuine Art Deco door furniture from when the house was built in 1925. I love these features. You can just see the engraving on the glass panels of the door. This is a very pretty door and I wanted it in the bedroom; also, the glass panels would look odd boarded on the inside, so it is much better replaced by a solid door on the landing.

Now for the most important event of the day: The Crowning of King Paul, the Bathroom King!!

12 The Crowning of Paul

13 The Bathroom King

This is my new basin for the bathroom!! I’m not sure I shall ever look at it in the same way again!

We’ve got into the habit of having our lunch on the balcony at the front of the house. It’s lovely and cool on the north side, with a bit of a breeze, and Andy has rigged up a piece of ARTHaven worktop along the scaffolding for us to sit on. Not sure what’s going to happen when the scaffolding at the front is taken down tomorrow!

14 The Team Having Lunch

On the left, Andy. Then John, then Paul, and finally Chris (minus his knee pads).

Then Andy grabbed my camera and insisted on including me in the photos!

15 With John and Chris


16 On the Balcony

In the background is a very curious sight. On their last job, they got into the habit (goodness knows why!!) of throwing their banana skins onto a nearby tree, and this has now become their habit on our balcony on the two fake trees the previous owner left behind – as the days have gone by, these banana skins have matured to various shades of black – and woe betide anyone who dares to remove them! Andy has developed a graceful and dextrous flick of the wrist that launches the banana skin tree-wards and he’s not missed yet!!

Here I am, proudly (?) showing off our latest acquisition in the new house – a banana tree!!!

17 Banana Tree

(Told you we were having a lot of fun with the team…)

Back downstairs again, in the annexe bathroom, showing the bath panel having been removed.

18 Annexe Bath Panel Removed

Originally we weren’t going to do anything in here, because Mum has always preferred baths to showers, but a few months ago she bashed her leg and had a dressing on it for several months, and was unable to use the bath. My sister said that when she tried again after the final dressing had come off and her leg was healed, she was less confident about getting out, as she isn’t as steady on her feet as she was, so my sister suggested we had the bath taken out and a shower put in instead for her, which is what we are doing. We thought about having a full wet-room floor put in, but it was hugely expensive and we considered it not really worth it – we are having a shower tray the size of the bath footprint, with room for a carer should that become necessary in the future. There will be a shower seat and grab rails installed too.

Still in the annexe – now that most of the new kitchen units have been installed, it is possible to move around in the annexe sitting room again! Chris has made a start on the replacement of the window with a smaller window and a door giving direct access to the garden at the back. He couldn’t do as much as he wanted because contrary to expectations, the new door has not yet been delivered… There are always such delays on a project like this. Chris has removed the radiator, which will be relocated on the back wall between the two fitted cupboards.

19 Annexe Sitting Room Radiator Removed

Heating the garden? Radiators temporarily stacked against the outside wall of the house.

20 Heating the Garden

My hubby has been doing more work on replacing some of the fence panels – some were rotten, and also we want them all to be higher. The three he ordered the other day were delivered last week, and turned out to be just too big to slot between the concrete posts, so he’s been trimming them down.

21 Work on Fence Panels

22 Work on Fence Panels

The roofers have now begun work tiling the back of the house. They have finished at the front, and the scaffolding will be removed from the front tomorrow – there is a time limit on the council’s highways license as the scaffolding does cause a bit of an obstruction in the already narrow road, making it impossible to park in front of the house without blocking the road.

23 Beginning to Tile the Roof at the Back

One of our neighbours from opposite was kind enough to let us know that every time it rained, water was pouring down the front of the house, and suggested that while we had scaffolding up, it might be a good idea to put it right. This was done today.

The two chimneys have now been removed from the lean-to roof. The original brick-built one was redundant, having been replaced by a metal flue chimney for the boiler that was in the annexe kitchen until last week.

24 Chimneys Removed from Lean-To

The flue from the new combi-boiler will come out through the window above the back door, seen bottom-left in the above photo.

Here is the brick chimney!

25 Remains of Brick Chimney

Poor old thing.

Here’s the old metal flue:

26 Flue Chimney

There’s lots of mess and rubble out the back now. When it’s all gone, and the inside is all finished and cleaned up, we will look back on these photos and marvel at the mess!

The final picture from today shows the two cuts in the outside wall of the annexe sitting room, where the new door will go. Chris used a large and very powerful (and very noisy!) circular saw to do this. (Note the pink scaffolding pole!)

27 Annexe Wall Cut Through

My normal days for visiting the house have fallen into a pattern of Mondays and Thursdays, but we won’t be able to go this coming Thursday because we are going up to my sister’s to see them and Mum. I am hoping to go on Friday instead. Andy is arranging for the bath to be collected from our garage here and taken over to the new house tomorrow evening – much to my hubby’s relief as he’s started moaning about the space it’s taking up in the garage!! Hopefully during the coming week the plumber will return to install the new boiler, the new annexe door will arrive, and work can begin on the annexe kitchen. Tim, the electrician, is too busy to come this week unfortunately, but he should return next week to finish the wiring in the kitchens, my new ARThaven etc. etc.

Also during the coming week, we are hoping to arrange with our friend and his van and his two strapping sons to come and help move my office furniture over. Once it’s installed, Andy will be able to fit the final shelves.

Lots to do, and not too much time to do it!!

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