It’s all gone quiet over here! Where have Mr and Mrs C been all this time? We’ve been thinking ‘ Project House ‘.
After our whirlwind world tour last year we hit the ground not so much running, but with a thud! Getting back into a routine after a year away takes some doing, believe me.
However, here we are, fully rejuvenated, horizons broadened and ready for another challenge.
This time, it’s a completely different beast. None of that swanning around, flitting from one continent to another. This time we’re moving house.
There were a few options open to us:
- Stay where we were and keep paying our mortgage,
- Move to a new, cheaper house, all ready to go and pay off our mortgage, or
- Move to a bigger, old house and take on a renovation project – ultimately leaving us in a much better house than option 2, yet still mortgage-free.
You guessed it. We chose option 3. “We must be completely mad, taking on a project like this at our age”, Mrs C keeps repeating in my ear. “This’ll cost a fortune”… I just nod indiscriminately, as I know from experience what’s involved. (Eighteen years ago I took on Project House 1 – a COMPLETE renovation of an 1840s farmhouse from bare stone to finished product.)
I like to think I’m a competent and experienced DIYer and I’m happy to take on most skills; carpentry, masonry, plumbing, decorating, even the electrical bits I’m allowed to do. I’m not fazed by the thought of fitting a new kitchen or bathroom and I like to think I have a realistic grasp of budgets involved in various parts of a renovation.
It is with all the above taken into account we decided to take on our project. We’ll just call it ‘ Project House ’.
So, what led us there? Well, Mrs C and I each had our own tick-lists.
Mrs C had:
- Near the sea
- Near coffee shops and cafés
- Not at the top of a hill
- On a bus route
- Close to a station
- A home with character
- Not too far from family
So between us we managed to find something with just about every box ticked.
We now have to get our teeth into a fairly major upgrade of our 1896 3-storey Victorian terraced house by the sea. Therefore I’ve done a rudimentary costing of the work involved, both by subcontracting and by doing most of it myself. The difference is staggering, thus cementing our decision to make it our own project in pretty much every sense. However, I have one challenge to master this time. I’ve decided to improve and hopefully master my plastering skills. I tried to do some plastering years ago on the aforementioned farmhouse project, but with mediocre results at best. I’ve since found out the reasons for my failure and I’m determined to make a better job of it this time.
So here’s the plan, in approximate order:
- Shower room 1st floor. Currently no walls, ceiling, floor fixture or fittings. It needs a Shower, Loo and Basin.
- ALL windows to be replaced. Current softwood window frames can be punctured at any position by a human finger!
- Downstairs cloakroom. Currently a risk to health. No ceiling, no heating, rotten window.
- Chimney and roof. Currently needs new lead flashing around chimney and the bricks need repointing following removal of vegetation.
- Fascias and Soffits. All frontage fascias and soffits need replacement.
- Main Bathroom. Currently no shower, weirdly-positioned bath, awful vinyl floor, non-square corners.
- Kitchen diner. Formerly a sitting-room living room. To be converted into a large kitchen/diner.
- Hallway Stairs. Currently covered in peeling painted anaglypta wallpaper. Condition of walls behind unknown. Huge vertical drops involved over 3 storeys. No floor coverings on stairs or hallways.
- Bedroom 2. Currently has poorly-laid laminate flooring on top of carpet, on top of underlay on top of floorboards. WTF???
There, that gives you a rough idea of the scope, so wish us luck! We’ll try and keep you posted with our progress (or lack of) as we go along and we very much look forward to a comprehensive before-and-after album at the end. Wish us luck!