Sunday, 8 December 2013

There once was an ugly duckling!

We are finally settled into our new home! Phew. Sighs of relief all round.

The whole move day was quite comical...though I probably didn't find it so at the time! We were packed up, house cleaned and ready to vacate by 12pm.....generally with most people, the unwritten, unspoken rule when moving house. Our 3 vans (where does all that extra stuff come from?) set off as I deposited the children on grandparents and made my way over to the new house. We had a little time as the solicitors were on lunch. As a profession, and having worked for a local firm, I was aware that no solicitor will forego his or her lunch in order to make a quick 'completion' phone call. Lunch is 1pm until 2pm and nothing or no one will change that!
What we weren't expecting was that our sellers would not actually start the process of moving out until they had received the call from the solicitor to say that the transaction was complete. Thus, we arrived, and our vendor was happily (actually...she looked anything but happy when she saw our convoy pull up the drive!) pottering around popping things into boxes. They had one small van, helper, son (who I'm sure had just crawled out of bed) and dad who avoided us for most of the time they were there!
Now my husband is generally a polite and very patient man but even he was slightly annoyed when, at 4pm, we were still passing the vendors in the hall clearing their stuff! By this stage, I had stormed the local newsagent, bought a paper and a packet of bourbons and locked myself in my car in a huff!
I think they finally vacated at 5pm, evidently having not factored in any time to have a quick whizz around with a duster, j-cloth or, dare I say it, hoover. 2 weeks on and I have finally rid the house of unwanted toe nails! "Eeeeeuuuuchhh" I hear you cry! Well, cry I nearly did!
2 weeks on and we love our new house. It needs a lot of love and attention. The front door handle came off in my hand as we entered and of the 4 toilets in the house (excessive, to say the least!) not one works properly. The kitchen cupboards are hazardous and there is plenty of odd wiring around the place!  It needed a damn good clean too...but the space has great potential, the village is lovely and the children appear to have lived here for years already, being on first name terms with the barmaid in the local!
Our builders start tomorrow, with the task of helping us to turn this seemingly previously unloved house into a great family home. The list of jobs is long and with a limited budget we are prioritising kitchen, bathrooms x 2 and living room plus some additional general work as a start. The rest will have to wait.
Our current kitchen is dated and needs a complete overhaul. It is a good space. I've added a picture below...complete with a charred lasagne on the hob! I was so busy stripping walls and singing along to '80's classics that I totally forgot dinner. There is a family room and dining room adjacent to the kitchen...also both decent sizes. The plan is to knock the wall behind the dresser into the next door dining room, moving an internal dining room wall back, creating a large kitchen/dining/family room opening out on to the garden with a small playroom come tv room off the back.
Ideally we would have liked to have opened up the kitchen right back from the kitchen door however, this room has been extended and has a large steel across (visible next to the fridge on there picture below and the cost of re-configuring all of the supports and taking out chimney breasts etc. etc. made it just out of the question. The result of working to a fairly tight budget is that we have looked at the space and decided what we need and what we can do given what we have to spend. There's always a compromise and ours is the support beam and pillar that have to remain and we can't afford to knock through all the way which unfortunately means that the kitchen will be L shaped. On the plus side, it is already a large room and retaining a small playroom/dumping ground perhaps suits us as a family better than one football pitch sized kitchen! We're also keeping the utility room pictured at the end of the kitchen. Again. I'd rather retain a utility even if it means the space we create isn't perfectly square.
The point is, the structural work we are starting with is going to cost us a couple of thousand rather than double that, if not more, to start tampering with already supported load bearing walls, supporting chimney stacks and adding more steels. We'll also be keeping costs down by keeping the functioning part of the kitchen where it all new sinks, ovens etc. will go where the existing ones are, there or thereabouts. What we will end up with is the 'mechanics' part of the kitchen at the far end, a large dining area in the middle and a seating area with doors (existing...not swanky....but perfectly ok for now...) on to the garden. The dining/seating area will also benefit from having wrap around views of the garden.
When we have the space we are working with, the kitchen maker/fitter is visiting to talk kitchen design! Can't wait for that. Keep tuning in for progress!


  1. Phew - good luck now that you're finally in your new home - I'm sure you'll have it sorted in no time!x

  2. I'm sure you will have it looking beautiful in no time Lottie. We actually moved house once like that, we were still in the process of loading up our van when the people who had bought our house were outside waiting to come in. I had cleaned before hand though, definitely no toenails-yeuch!