The first of two posts today. In the main part of the house, the pretty stuff is definitely beginning, heralding the end of all the mess and dust at last. Paul the Master Plasterer gets the chance to strut his stuff and things are definitely taking shape.
When we first arrived, we popped into the house so we could drop off a couple of cheap white bookcases of my hubby’s which he no longer wants, and which fit nicely in the understairs cupboard, and later I was able to complete the unpacking of the boxes that I started last time I was there.
After this, we went to the carpet shop and chose a carpet for Mum’s sitting room. Andy told me that the floorboards are not tongue-and-groove, and there’s a space underneath which will make the room very cold, and it should be carpeted with an underlay. We chose a nice oatmeal-coloured short pile carpet which will be neutral, hardwearing, not show every mark, and will allow her to put her rugs on top without them creeping. We also chose a nice non-slip vinyl floor covering for her bathroom, which is now finished apart from this. They are coming to measure up for both floor coverings tomorrow (I shan’t be there) and fitting them on Thursday 22nd August, the day before Mum’s furniture arrives. Andy says they will easily finish the annexe next week.
When we arrived, the first thing to catch my eye was that we have a working sink in the new kitchen! This is particularly exciting because it means we could move the coffee bar back in, and have a decent water supply indoors instead of having to fill the kettle from the outside tap.
On the right you can see the boiling water tap, now fully installed. All day everyone had fun with this – Paul said you could pour it into my hubby’s ears to get rid of the wax, and various other suggestions – and it’s unbelievable how quickly you can make a pot of tea! I also put a small amount in the sink and topped it up with cold water and was able to wash up the mugs in double quick time. I got this tap on Ebay.
It was funny about the mugs. They had all got into a simply terrible state because being builders, they never wash them, and just keep using them! When we had a working sink, I did try to keep on top of this, but Andy said, “We’re builders – we don’t do woman stuff! We are hunter-gatherers…” I agreed that he regularly set forth into the jungle of B&Q on hunter-gatherer trips, and usually the fruits were in the tall canopy of the rain forest where nobody could get at them – at least until there were no customers in the shop and they were allowed to use the fork lift! (A sore point with Andy as he regularly has to make multiple visits to the place because they won’t give him what he wants when he wants it!)
He didn’t think the mugs were too bad and thought I was making a fuss about nothing – he said that sometimes they end up with a nice fluffy layer to keep them warm lol! He was horrified at the idea of washing them, and said I was compromising their immune systems and they’d all succumb to any number of dreadful diseases if they had to drink out of clean mugs. I asked Paul whether Chris realised that the inside of his mug was actually white, not brown, and he said he’d probably refuse to drink out of it now!! I thought this was a bit like a child’s security blanket which you have to practically tear out of their hands to wash, and afterwards they don’t like it until they’ve covered it with snot and muck and made it smell right again!!
The fun and games actually began with my first sight of the sink. I said “Oooh, we’ve obviously got a working sink, because it’s wet!” Paul immediately replied, “Oh, that was Andy… I’m afraid he didn’t make it to the toilet in time.” I remarked on the bucket in front of the sink…
…and Paul said, “He’s got diarrhoea too!” (He then proceeded to smear this all over my lovely new kitchen walls.)
To more sensible matters… if that’s at all possible!!! Look at the wonderful shiny pipes under the sink! Andy said that he would use silvery ones where they would be exposed under the floating worktop so they would look better. You can see the lovely panel covering the rest – this is the rejected panel which was supposed to go along the back of the peninsula unit but had the grain going horizontally instead of vertically. On the right you can see the tank and pipework for the boiling water tap. This is like a large vacuum flask. I am going to ask Paul if it is going to be attached to the skirting board with a bracket, because at the moment it is free-standing, and I am concerned about it being knocked by the hoover or a mop. (Sorry about the lens flare in this photo – the sun was shining through the window very brightly and it was hard to get it right.)
This is the new plaster on the wall above the hob, where the extractor hood will be. It’s all starting to look really lovely.
Here is Paul the Master Plasterer at work.
When you start to see it looking like this, it’s hard to remember the mess that was there before. I am so glad I have got all the photos of what’s underneath – especially the beautiful pipe work that Jamie did, and which is now all hidden. We know what’s underneath, and the high standard of work, even if nobody else will ever see it.
Here is Paul, putting the first layer of plaster on the utility room wall, covering the pipes. That awful lampshade will be going. I have a selection to choose from, as I am retaining some that were left by the previous owner but moving them around, and also bringing some from our existing house.
Meanwhile, Andy was hard at work preparing the new worktops for the annexe kitchen. These arrived yesterday.
Cutting the worktop ready for installation.
Here are the worktops he’s already cut, laid out in place. The one under the window has yet to be cut for the sink. You can see how well the worktop goes with the brown units – a vast improvement on the ghastly green ones that were originally there – see here for a reminder!
Here’s a detail shot. Not permanently fixed yet, of course. That seam will be virtually invisible by the time Andy has finished with it.
Taking a wander upstairs, I found that the lights had been installed in the en-suite bathroom.
Also, Paul has put my beautiful new shower in what will be the wet room.
You can see how he has fixed everything to the inside of the now defunct door onto the landing. This has worked very well, as the walls are lath and plaster and it’s difficult to fix anything to that, but the doors are solid timber and that shower isn’t going anywhere! It will all be boarded in on the inside with plasterboard and it will not be obvious that there is a door there at all.
Outside, Peter the roofer returned today. Here he is, standing on the shed/summerhouse roof, completing his work of re-roofing it. Half of the original, very thin, felt had blown off and it was open to the elements. He has redone it with heavy duty stuff that is melted on with a butane torch. That’s not going anywhere, either! He said the shed would rot away under it, so I promised we’d save it to put on a new one!!
All the other activities aside, I spent the rest of the day measuring different parts of various rooms and trying to decide where our various pieces of furniture are going to go. This is harder than you might think. The rooms are a different shape and size from our present ones, and we’ve also got a few new things coming, such as Mum’s pine dresser and her china cabinet, which she will not have room for, but which we couldn’t bear to part with.
What I am trying to do is make a rough plan of each room so that the removal men will know where to put what. Most things are now labelled with which room they are to end up in, but we don’t want to have to move stuff around ourselves after the removal men have gone.
A very good day today, full of activity and progress. While I was busy at the new house, my hubby was off on the archaeological dig – he hasn’t had many opportunities to volunteer this year, but likes to go when he can. The day started off wet and he didn’t think he’d bother, but soon after we arrived, it improved no end, and it was hot and sunny most of the day.