Sunday, 30 June 2013

Homebase bathroom

We have thought about the bathroom a lot lately, mainly because we don't have a bathroom and the sooner we think about what we want, the sooner we can buy it and the sooner we get a working bathroom back in the house.

We book an appointment at our local homebase, which is Free! to have a consultation with one of their bathroom designers. After a short walk around the bathroom showroom, with already firm ideas in our heads about what we want. We sit down with a designer armed with catalogs full of their bathroom suites and plan what we wanted for our bathroom.

This is where after being with James for 5 years I realize that we don't actually have that similar tastes and I certainly didn't agree with his bathroom choices.

I wanted our 1920's house to keep with a 1920's theme and have a luxurious roll top bath. James on the other hand wanted an ultra modern wet room, walk in shower. Although we agreed on a separate bath and shower we both had such different ideas of what we wanted, and this was just the bathroom suite and hadn't even vaguely decided on flooring or the walls.

Once the designer had crafted together both our ideas and shown us the 3D diagram I hated it! James at first was excited to see his thoughts materialize but once I had explained why I hated it and why I thought it didn't work he soon agreed with me and we were back to square one.

After several hours and a completely different bathroom design and the Homebase store wishing to shut for the evening, we left with our design in our hands to mull over for a few days before placing the order. We ended up with a design that incorporated a shower over bath, a walnut bath panel and white gloss cupboards! Seriously if you had suggested this all to me I would have turned my nose up with disgust. It's not every day that you get to plan your very own dream bathroom and given the opportunity to create your bathroom exactly as you want it. However the reality of space and money and being sensible soon come into play and your left with whats practical and affordable and not whats in your crazy wonderful dreams.

Now we just need to wait for the bathroom suite to be delivered and we can get it all fitted, Finally things are coming together and we are rebuilding the house how we want it rather than demolishing it and making it look worse and worse. Now the exciting stuff happens :@)

Saturday, 29 June 2013

DIY: Laying a new bathroom floor

With the beams in place it's now time to start laying the new floor boards. With a specially treated wood designed to be water resistant specially for wet areas James gets to work on getting the first board in place and making the room usable to walk in once again. 
Laying a new bathroom floor
Board by board slowly the floor is made and the two rooms are separated once again with the bathroom returning up stairs and the kitchen forming downstairs. 
How to lay a new floor yourself
The floor now fully in place and we start to plan were to put the bathroom suite in the newly created room. Partly I want to imaging that the room is actually complete and dream of having a hot bubble bath in a clean brand new bathroom, the reality is that we need to plan where the bathroom goes for James to run all the plumbing and pipework first. I think we will have to stay with the in-laws a little bit longer until the bathroom is slightly more back up and running!
Bathroom layout idea

Friday, 28 June 2013

How to replace rotten bathroom flooring

From my last post you would have seen the complete removal of the bathroom floor upstairs leaving us with a double height area in our house without both a bathroom and a kitchen meaning it highly important to get a floor back in as soon as possible.
Fitting the supports ready for the new floor.
Here, the first of the supporting beams are inserted around the edges of the walls. Next it's the job to insert equally spaced joist hangers around the edge to take the beams horizontally across the room. 
Fitting new beams for the new floor
With the beams in place and the joist hangers all fastened up, James shows me how strong they are by walking around the 'new' bathroom floor. Next to fit a solid floor and we can start thinking about getting a bathroom suite back in. 
New beams now in place

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

How to remove a bathroom suite

To move the ceiling height up downstairs, we have had to take everything out of the bathroom and move the floor up upstairs. First to be disconnected and removed is the toilet. Notice that the shower doors are already gone and the bath is next to go!
How to remove the bathroom toilet
More wasted space behind the toilet where the wall was built across the corner, this is removed opening our bathroom back out into a rectangle bathroom.
removing an old bathroom suite
A hole is then cut in the bathroom floor enabling us to pass items straight from the bathroom down to the kitchen where us ladies were frantically collecting debris and getting it out to the skip. 
Rotten floor boards in bathroom
Eventually whole walls were removed and passed down to us and the room was beginning to empty. 
Bathroom demolition
Shockingly when we removed the mirror it was glued straight onto the plasterboard and the tiles behind it were missing. I'm really pleased to say that we won't be cutting any corners and the whole room will be tiled first and then a mirror added. This way if we do decide to change the mirror at a later date we won't be forced to keep it because we didn't tile the room correctly. 
Bad DIY photos

It doesn't take long before all the bathroom suite is removed, now for the job of removing the floor. This will certainly be for another day and we are off to stay with friends whilst there is no bathroom in our house!

Monday, 24 June 2013

How to rip out the kitchen!!!

This is what the kitchen looked like when we first moved in, the ceiling in this corner of the house is lower than the ceiling everywhere else in the house so to combat this we need to strip the whole lot out and move the ceiling up. 
kitchen design
The kitchen to our surprise was actually double the thickness it needed to be and at some point the kitchen was updated and it was build straight over the top of the old skirting and therefore about 6 inches deep of ply wood in some places. 
Kitchen demolition
James worked hard removing the walls and chunks of wood and I worked hard carrying all the debris out into the skip.
Disgusting kitchen
Once the old kitchen was removed I was mortified we had successfully managed to turn the bottom end of our house into what looks like a torture dungeon. Now the next step is to remove the bathroom upstairs and then eventually move this ceiling/floor up! 

This is a massive job just to make something look aesthetically pleasing but If you are going to do the job you might as well do it properly and this house has been bodged together and poorly built in the past it deserves to be done right this time around. 

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Building a custom office desk.

The great thing about building a custom work area is the ability to grow your idea as you go. We always knew that we needed to create an under stair office area as it was the only space suitable in the house for an office, either that or we loose one of the bedrooms to an office upstairs and neither of us wanted that.

We purposely extended the wall out ever so slightly to create a natural divide between the living room area and the office space, this also means that when sitting on the sofa in the living room the desk is hidden around the corner and the thoughts of working and paperwork hidden away.
building a custom office desk
The desk space started with just an idea for a curved desk spanner the whole area but soon realized that storage would potentially be an issue and so the small cupboard under the stairs and draw unit were added. Next we decided it would be nice to continue the desk down in the corner and create some small shelves. Next on the list is to create another shelf underneath the desk to sit the printer on and drill a hole at the back to run the cables down from the computer to the sockets. But for our first attempt at building a custom desk i think it worked out quite well.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Worrying times for our Little Cornish Home.

When James and myself decided that we were tired of renting accommodation and effectively paying other people's mortgages for them we thought long and hard about buying our own place.

Being a first time buyer the process wasn't easy and it certainly wasn't cheap. But when we found our perfect little home, in a perfect location within our budget we were ecstatic.

There was nothing that could possible stop us now, with all our life savings put into the house, some rather hefty loans from both sets of parents and both of us selling our pride and joy classic cars we were the proud new owners of our very own home. From here on we thought that we had the security that we really wanted. We could paint the walls the colours we wanted, we could put shelves up without upsetting the landlord and we could build a home to eventually start a family in. Our lives were falling into place and although it's been hard work it has all been very much worth it.

The Journey has been far from easy we've had roofs off, leaks everywhere floors collapsing no bathroom for weeks and all this work completed mainly by just us two with a little help from an electrician, plasterer and plumber. We've put every last bit of time, energy and emotion into building our home.

We have worked solidly most evening and most weekends on the house for the past 9 months. It has put a strain on our relationship, a massive strain on our finances not to mention the sheer exhaustion of us both holding down full time jobs at the same time as doing up the house, but it is all worth it, building the house of our dreams and we love it.

Then we get the shattering news that Treliver minerals want to dig up the area to mine for tin. Now I know there are mixed views about Tin mining in Cornwall as it's a massive part of the Cornish heritage and it should be respected for shaping the county that we now live in. However iconic stone Cornish tin mines are a big difference to open cast tin mines right on your door step.
Is this really the future of the dream village we moved to?
Image courtesy of
Attending the consultation event for the locals on Wednesday didn't really help us either, Treliver minerals were as good as politicians at keeping the truth from us and avoiding all questions by answering with an unrelated long winded answer completely avoiding the question asked. There were no maps of the proposed works, no planning application to view and therefore we left completely confused.

I want to thank Treliver Minerals for holding the consultation evening which they said they wanted to do to help the locals by explaining what 'might' be going on. But now we are left even more confused, we don't know the size of the project, we don't know how it will effect the environment, how it will effect the quality of life or even if the village will even have a life once they have finished. When they started talking compensation it became quite apparent to read between the lines that this was not a small project and would effect all of us.

We are now left with every feeling under the sun from anger, upset, confusion, fear and worry we've had several conversations and sleepless nights that our perfect little Cornish home in it's perfect village location might be ruined by the greed for profits from Treliver Minerals.

Until we know more about what will happen we feel quite empty and that the security of our future has potentially been ripped away from us. Until we know more there is not a lot to say but let's just say Ruthvoes might be a small village but we are a force to recon with.

If you want to keep up to date and help the villagers to save their village from the mine there is a Facebook group here that you can join and share information and discussions regarding the new mining plans.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

How many sockets to put under a desk?

In our last house we were really limited by plug sockets and had extension leads and adapters running all over the place. When you think about a modern office space you need to plug in your computer, printer, scanner, hard drive, telephone and mobile phone not to mention, like me, camera batteries on charge normal batteries on charge and it becomes a plug socket nightmare.

The really good thing about having a house with electrics from the dinosaur years is that you can plan it exactly how you want it, Here we have had four double socket boxes wired in and hope this will be more than enough sockets for the modern home office field with gadgets and tech.

Fitting electrical plug under a desk

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Bathroom floor no more! Shocking pictures!

After several hours of removing pipework and completely clearing the bathroom it's time to start removing the old floor. Fortunately or unfortunately for us the floor was completely rotten and several of the beams were barely touching the wall let alone securely and safely fastened into the wall. This was great for getting the old floor out but did get me thinking and slightly worried that the floor was not at all safe an I had been having big bath tubs full of heavy water up there and could have been quite the accident.

Floor repair
With the floor slipping away from us it highlights the reasons why we are doing the job fully and glad we didn't put a brand new bathroom into a room that potentially would have come crashing to the ground.

How to fix a floor
with the floor removed it's quite a weird feeling standing in what used to be a kitchen looking up at what used to be a bathroom. Suddenly these feels like an epic task and had no idea this would be involved when we bought the house. I guess buying my first home I was extremely naive but luckily James isn't scared of hard work and has promised me that this is an 'easy fix'
Double height living
Standing in the doorway of the old bathroom looking down into the old kitchen and suddenly we see the severity of the project. Seeing the house like this is quite shocking and probably the worst state the house has been in. On-wards and upwards I guess lets hope the worst of the demolition is over and from here on in we start putting our house back together rather than pulling it apart.
DIY floor removal

Saturday, 15 June 2013

The list of jobs to do just keep's getting longer!

With the weather outside pretty wet and windy it's time to crack on with some jobs inside the house.... Where to begin, I'm sure the list is always getting longer rather than shorter.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Can girls do DIY?

When a close friend found out that myself and my boyfriend had bought a house that needed a full on renovation and all hands on deck he decided to buy me a new book -

DIY for girls

Suddenly I realized that painting my nails would be at the bottom of the list of things to paint and that there were definitely a lot of jobs that I myself could do in the house and it wouldn't all be up to my partner. Not that I want to portray myself as being lazy but my other half has always worked either as a carpenter or somewhere within the industry whereas myself as a serial renter had never even put up a shelf or painted a room so I had a lot to learn.

Todays task had me armed with a crowbar and hammer and removing the old shingles from the side of the house. Where we had built the new porch the extension covered the original external wall, so the wooden shingles and wooden joints needed removing. 

Girls can do DIY
Using a hammer i was shown how to lever out the old screws and one by one remove the shingles and old battens. Now the wall can be treated and plastered and made to form a new internal wall of the new porch. 
Removing old shingles on the outside of the building
I'm actually quite proud i managed to do all this myself especially as the wall behind each shingle was covered in dead critters and spiders eggs EEK
Exterior wall in teh new porch

Monday, 10 June 2013

Working into the night... with no bathroom roof.

Planning to completely remove the bathroom roof and replace it in one weekend is a tall order for anyone. Yet asking my boyfriend and his dad alone to do this job is an even bigger ask, which meant starting work early and finishing late to try and get as much done in one weekend before going back to their day jobs.

Trying to renovate a complete house in evening and weekends is certainly hard work and very hard on relationships and family to but luckily we have a very strong relationship and a brilliant family of support making the build a lot easier.

Although using the bathroom tonight with just a tarpaulin and felt roof was a little chilly and not the highlight of my day! BRRRR
creating a temporary water proof roof

The boys working into the night to get the room at least a little watertight!

Monday, 3 June 2013

Concreting the new floor.

Once the old tiles in the kitchen had been removed we soon noticed that the floor was more than a little uneven. The back of the house is an extension and clearly hadn't been built to the same standard as the rest of the house. We found wooden beams laying in the floor under the kitchen units which has subsequently rotten through leaving an empty gully in the floor filled with wooden mulch.

With a little help yet again from James's wonderful dad we now have some fresh concrete down and this is level with the rest of the floor in the house.

Now to get the rest of the house finished so that we can get the finishing touches of real wood flooring down. It's a long way off but nice to have a level floor at last.

concrete leveled floor

fresh concrete on the kitchen floor

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Custom window sill from scaffold boards.

Sometimes it's nice to add some finishing touches rather than constantly attacking the big jobs that need doing in the house so today James made the window sill for the front of the house. Using a scaffold board and a lot of sanding he has created this rustic window sill and upcyled a piece of unwanted wood into something that looks wonderful and much better than the old rotten white painted sill that was previously in it's place.
Custom wooden window sil