Purchase completed 9 December, removal guys booked for the 19 and 20th December. In that time we had to:
Completely clean the house, remove all old carpets and curtains, paint whole house – walls and ceilings plus all woodwork in the kitchen, see below! Wash all windows. Have Aga serviced and learn how to use it. Post to follow on trials and tribulations of using and Aga! Remove two walls – one which divided what should have been 1 large bedroom into 2 small ones – stud wall so easy. The other wall was a masonry wall sub-dividing the kitchen. Within 2 hours of out first day of ownership the wall was well on its way to being demolished. We then found a huge lintel – that went as well. We then removed 2 built-in units in our lounge – only to discover one sat on a solid concrete base – cue to jack hammer and missing my friends Christmas party.
We then sanded and oiled all the downstairs floors – except the kitchen which we replaced with a posh looking laminate one – see more on kitchen below! We put up new curtain rods and hung new curtains and blinds – many thanks to John Lewis and Next for prompt deliveries and good quality curtains and cushions. I discovered the joys of on-line ordering with next day delivery and easy return policies! We then laid new carpet on the top 2 floors and vinyl in the bathrooms.
We worked 14 hour days and were absolutely exhausted – a 40 minute drive each way to our temporary accommodation did not help. But we were completed motivated and were supported by an amazing team – especially Ian Bovingdon – master builder who had built our previous home and Terry his amazing assistant and also the guys at Harrod Joiners, Scott and Rick who went beyond the call of duty to sort out our kitchen.
So the kitchen. …..
It had not been touched since 1960 when the house was built. The original units were still in place along with the worktops. There was a large island which sat literally in the centre of the room – too far from the limited worktops to be of any use when preparing food and taking up half the kitchen. In addition there was a large structure which sat over the island which was made up of a desk unit and some shelving. The main material in the kitchen was pine – it adorned the walls and units and the shelving. So in order to make the kitchen feel like home, and after we had removed the masonry wall which divided part of the room we sanded all the pine and painted it using Neptune’s eggshell in Shell. Three coats. The walls also got a fresh coat in Shell emulsion. Scott Harrod came and took off the old doors and drawers and took them away to be painted. We painted the carcasses in Shell again. The doors and drawers were painted in Neptune’s eggshell in Shingle. We even started to paint the inside of the pantry units shingle in contrast to the shell on the outside but decided that was too fiddly and time-consuming. I then decided that the island had to go and so on the 19th, the day the removal guys were due to arrive out it went and Scott rose to the challenge of putting together a smaller island the could be positioned closer to the units. The island arrived on the 23rd complete with oak top and decor panels. The room was transformed!
When the removal guys arrived on the 19th they found us dead on our feet but the proud owners of a sort of renovated home. Two days of furniture shifting followed – it’s not easy fitting all the furniture from a very large house into a much smaller one – but with some re-positioning and endless patience from the boys at W Norton and Sons removals we managed it and on the 22nd December we slept in the house for the first time. Job done!