Sunday, 31 March 2013

Detailing the stairs

We are planning to have a stair runner on the stairs so to save on paint i'm only going to paint the edges. Masking the edges of the stairs with masking tape ready for painting.

Prepping the stairs with masking tape
With a first coat of undercoat I realize i'm going to spend a lot of time going up and down the stairs with a paintbrush!
Painting the new staircase

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Painting the ceiling

Now for the job I've really not been looking forward to, painting the ceilings! and surprise surprise that's a job for me. Well I suppose there's only so many jobs I can actually do in the house unlike my partner who does all the big building jobs. So for me it's sanding and painting and any other little jobs to help out.
Preparing paint for fresh plaster
In true style I managed to get paint EVERYWHERE! on the floor, in my hair, on my face, my glasses even with a hood up I managed to get coated. 
Painting the ceiling
The house is really starting to take shape with a nice coat of paint, next is to sand down the beams and get those painted to, although I have no idea what colour they are going to go as i want them dark and James wants them light so will have to see what happens.
painted ceiling

Friday, 29 March 2013

Waterproofing the new porch

With the new porch built into the existing alley way we need to paint it to keep the water out and the heat in. Before concreting the floor and making it the same level as the rest of the house we paint the floor with a damp proof paint. Hopefully this will stop any damp rising into the porch and protect our home.

brush able damp proof paint
I might have had an ulterior motive for photographing James whilst he was painting, but you've got to enjoy that bum!
Damp proofing the floor
Now off to bed to let the paint dry and will hope that we don't get sticky feet leaving the house tomorrow morning,
Damp proof floor paint

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Painting the staircase

Things are moving forwards in the house, the plaster is slowly drying out and the new staircase is settling into it's new home so it's time to start giving it a few coats of paint. Not to sure what colour it will eventually go but for now it needs several coats of primer and undercoat so we've got plenty of time to decide.Fitting a new staircase

Painting a staircase
It's amazing the amount of difference a lick of paint makes.
Painting the staircase

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Another day another wall plastered

Back to the living room now and a visit from our plasterer, Who has actually been here all week working through the living and dining room. Here the radiator is removed for the plastering of the back wall. I just wish the temperature wasn't in single figures outside as it's freezing!

Internal walls being plastererd
Main fireplace in the front room with wooden beam fixed into place, really starting to take shape.
Freshly plastered fireplace
Beautiful smooth walls really do give me the vision of what our room will eventually look like. 
New plastered room
With so much going on in the house I find 5 minutes to catch up on some Eastenders... 
Plastered room
Both rooms now fully plastered, it's hard to believe the work that has gone into getting the house to this stage, both fireplaces have been completely changed, the whole house has been made open plan including new steels, new ceilings and new walls. After months of hard work the house is beginning to take shape.
Plastered front room

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Removing a tiled floor

Now you get to see some pictures of me doing the work rather than James! As we want to lay a wooden floor throughout the house it's my job to remove the old tiles in the kitchen.

Removing floor tiles
With blisters on my hands and aching arms from the heavy hammer i'm proudly working my way across the kitchen removing the ceramic tiles getting the floor ready for something prettier. Not sure what yet, whether we go for wood effect laminate or real wood I think depends on budget as with all the surprise jobs that need attention we are rapidly running out of funds.
Chipping out old floor tiles
Hours later the tiles are out, and more surprises found. Under the kitchen units there was some lengths of timber in between the tiled floor and the cupboards and this was pretty much powder. With that constant ingress of water the wood didn't have a chance down there. Although with this hole exposed we need to fill this with concrete and have the floor leveled ready for a shiny new floor. Although there's plenty of other jobs to complete first before we even think about finishing touches like flooring and carpets!
Removing old floor tiles

Kitchen floor without tiles

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Insulating a kitchen

With the lights and electrics now in place in the kitchen we can get the ceiling insulated and plaster boarded and hopefully make things not only a little warmer but also look a lot more complete and a lot less building site.

Here's the first strip of insulation going up under the ceiling beams.
Insulating the kitchen ceiling
With the ceiling fully insulated we can now plaster board and hide all that ugly yellow fluff, once again our house starts looking more and more like a real home.
Plaster boarding the kitchen ceiling
I know we need a pretty light fitting but with the ceiling now plaster boarded i can see the end of the project ahead.... ok so the breeze blocks in the background need some attention and we have no kitchen but we are getting there slowly. It's so good to be putting final bits in towards completing the house rather than more destruction and uncovering horrors that inevitably create us more work.
Plaster boarded ceiling

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Combating the damp in our house

Since moving in we have noticed that the kitchen area is always quite damp, the old kitchen cupboards stink with damp mold and the concrete floor that we put down when replacing the manhole was taking forever to dry.

We also know that the patio area outside likes to fill up like a swimming pool every time that it rains, Looking into this further we noticed that the outside patio area was actually sitting higher than the level of the floor in the kitchen. Meaning that every time it rains the water naturally falls to a lower level and thus into our house and down!

To combat this we decided to dig up the patio slabs to make the outside lower than the inside. We really didn't want to start destroying yet another area of the house but the more you start exposing the more jobs you create. Maybe now i'm thinking for our first house we should have bought something that we could just live in and taking on such a project was a bit adventurous for our first one. But James loves a challenge and we both love a bit of hard work so we continue with the project and don't think too much about it.

Having removed the patio slabs we were quite surprised to find several inches of concrete.
Removing patio slabs
Help from James's mum removing the concrete.
Removing the patio
Even more surprising was finding the sheet of plastic under the concrete!!!!! No wonder the rain water was draining into the house rather than draining away outside. I appreciate putting plastic membranes down to stop weeds coming up through a new patio but laying this amount of thick plastic meant that the water had no where to go but in our house :@(
How not to lay a patio
With help from James parents we soon had the patio lower than the house.
Smashing out a concrete patio
Unbelievably under the plastic was yet another layer of concrete. Clearly the previous owner had just built up the layers over the years rather than removing the old and replacing with new had just built up layer upon layer upon layer. By the end of the day we had removed about 7 inches deep of material. 
Removed patio

All we need now is some heavy rain and to see where it goes, hopefully not in the house.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Freshly plaster boarded ceiling

A massive thank you goes out to our plasterer for finishing the plastering of the ceiling in the living room, I know it's just a ceiling and doesn't look very exciting but after months of ripping the house apart, demolishing  and creating mess it's a very exciting day seeing the house finally starting to come together.
Plastering the ceiling

Sunday, 17 March 2013

The kitchen ceiling is going in.

Lately we seam to be doing one hundred jobs at once and not finishing the previous, to me this feels like we are just making more and more mess and nothing looks like it is getting finished but i'm assured by my other half that this is the way with renovating and we have to do a little bit of every job for it all to come together in the end. Whilst the plasterer cracks on in the front room we attack the kitchen, With the recent new roof everything was removed and so we are tasked with recreating a ceiling inside. Here you can see the new beams in place ready to receive their plaster board, however we can't get the plaster board up until the electrician runs the electrics for our lights so onto another job in the house. 
Replacing a kitchen ceiling
Our electrician has put a temporary light in place to tie us over, at least we can see now when it's dark!
How to repair and replace the kitchen ceiling
New network of beams making the ceiling under the new roof.
Ceiling joints in the kitchen

Saturday, 16 March 2013

The Range and the Emulsionator paintball gun.

Doing up a house on a budget we are always looking out for bargains to keep the cost of the renovation down. Seeing the Ranges' new TV advert for a deal on paint and wallpaper caught my attention but the video is hilarious to.

So that's where we are going wrong with the decorating we don't have an Emulsionator paint ball gun! Or Laurence Llewelyn Bowen....... Maybe that's what I need........ Mr. Bowen are you free???? Wishful thinking.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Preparing for plastering

This feels like an incredible day, the day we are ready for some plastering in the house. I know there is still a long way to go elsewhere but the downstairs is coming together really quickly now.

The first job was to get the two fireplaces straight. Being old and Cornish the chimney breast was all over the place, wanting a modern sleek house this needed to be flattened out. However this wasn't within out skill set and had to get professional help in.

Plastering a fireplace
Having two fireplaces is lovely but does mean twice the amount of work needed. We aren't planning to use this fireplace and have it as a funky feature area with lanterns and candles in the bottom. The fireplace in the front room will be the working fireplace.
Plastering the fireplace
Although there isn't a lot to show you today a lot of the time has been used as preparation time, all the corners in the house have been covered with edge beading ready to receive plaster. I can't wait for the plasterer to do his handy work and really see our home transform.
Edge beading for plaster

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Creating a modern fireplace

Another item we were desperate to change in the house was the fireplace. Although at first glance the fireplace doesn't look to offensive on closer inspection it has it's downsides. The bottom of the fireplace is made up from concrete slates, and these just look ugly. The tiles used inside the mantle look like bathroom tiles and the mantle itself is broken and ghastly!
Traditional fireplace
Our first job was to then remove the old mantle piece and tiles. Luckily we weren't wishing to retain any of the old features so no careful removal was required and we could literally demolish and smash the lot out.
Fireplace renovating
Next we removed the concrete slabs that were creating the hearth
Removing a fireplace hearth
For the new fireplace we wanted to create a rustic country cottage effect with a simple wooden mantle. During the demolition of the other internal walls in the house we actually found this massive chunk of wood making the corners of an internal wall so thought we could use this. (Yes we know this looks like an old skool scaffolding gauge, and it probably was knowing some of the half measures that have been used in the past on our home)
Make your own fireplace mantle
Sanding off the red and white paint we were left with a substantial chunky piece of wood for our mantle, cutting away the gnarly broken bits we were left with a fantastic piece of wood perfect for the mantle piece that we imagined in our heads. The best bit of all was that it was free and utilizing what we found in the house, Plus the wood was far to nice to turn into firewood!
Creating a wooden fireplace

Next job is to fix the wood in place and create some little supports to make the mantle look more complete and less like a floating lump of wood on the wall!

Monday, 11 March 2013

Moving the man hole.

Now for the big job, where the old porch was there was a manhole slap bang in the middle of it. However now that we are moving the porch forwards this area now becomes part of our kitchen and we certainly don't want a manhole in our kitchen.

Manhole cover in the house
This is the outside of our house in the back garden where we plan to move the manhole cover to rather than in the kitchen, It's only a few feet away from the old manhole but it's outside!
Moving the manhole
Exposing the existing pipe work to determine where the new manhole cover will sit. Why oh why is it always torrential rain when we have outside jobs to do! as if it's not bad enough working with poop, but working in a flood isn't great either.
How to move a manhole
Removing the old manhole area to expose the pipe work
Removing the manhole
Reconnecting the old pipes so that they now run straight through this area now, The last thing we wanted was a manhole in the house, again can't believe people actually rented the house in the state that it was in. We don't mind buying it as we can do the work and get it all straight but i would not rent a house that potentially could flood with raw sewerage. And being on a cesspit this is more likely than you think around these parts.
Reconnecting the waste pipes

Closing in the old manhole cover
One area of the house concreted over never to have raw sewerage floods ever again.
No more raw sewerage in the kitchen

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Building a new porch

With a new section of roof in place we can now build the new section of the porch. With a small Cornish cottage we wanted to maximize the space we had and that meant extending the kitchen into the original porch and building a new porch in the alleyway of the house. Moving the front door by a few feet will make such a big difference in the house and give us the big kitchen that we both really want.

Building a new porch
Looking at the new front porch, OK so it needs a lot of work, some rendering and painting but here's the rough template that we can work on.
New porch

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Removing and replacing a staircase

One of the first things I noticed when I moved into our new house was that the staircase was horrible! It was steep with narrow steps and I would regularly fall up the stairs. With a bit of thinking and working out we decided to the detriment of our second bedroom we would replace the staircase. 

Not only were we replacing the old staircase, but we were also changing the direction of the staircase and changing the width of the staircase. This makes a much safer staircase but makes a much thinner walkway up on the landing. The next plan is to make the landing wider again although the space has to come from the second bedroom but i'll sacrifice bedroom space for safe stairs.

Removing the old staircase

Replacing the old staircase
Cutting the floor upstairs ready to take the new wider staircase.
Cutting the space for a new staircase
With more help from fantastic friends the stairs slot into place
Fitting a new staircase

New stairs downstairs