House Renovation Chronicles Ep 6 (Nothing Left)

This process is starting to get tricky. With each stage of discovery, another problem gets uncovered.

Oooh those tiles are cracked and the floor isn’t straight lets take up the tiles. Ooooh now we’ve taken up those tiles we can see the floorboards have woodworm, lets take up the floorboards.
Ooooh now we’ve taken up the floorboards we can see the joists are rotten, lets take out the joists.
Ooooh now we’ve taken out the joists we can see the supporting brick columns are damp and there are puddles of water sitting on top of the foundation.
There’s nothing left to take up is there?

We’ll find out this morning whether the supporting brick columns can be saved in any way and I’ve also asked about installing under floor heating.

Here are the stages of stripping back the floor in the two receptions rooms.







House Renovation Chronicles Ep 5 (A New Outlook…Kinda)

I haven’t been to visit the house in 4 whole days. Shock horror! I’m taking a new approach to dealing with the renovation in an attempt to better manage my stress. I call this new approach The Don’t Visit The House Multiple Times A Day And Obsesses Over Every Minute Detail. Catchy, I know…I’m very proud. So is this new approach working?

Nope! Well it might be but work has been pretty manic so the time I would normally spend visiting and obsessing (i.e. every spare waking and sleeping moment), has been spent on work. In essence the stress hasn’t disappeared its just transferred. My boyfriend has been so good at keeping me updated in just the right doses and taking lots of pictures although not the angles I would have taken but hey. He works in IT so his pictures mainly focus on wiring and (the holes for) speakers, lighting, network cables and TV points. See what I did there? I said it’s because he works in IT, not because he’s a man….and now I’ve said it anyway so that cancels out my attempt not to make sexist remarks. Moving on…

Look what they found under the floor of the first reception room!


A friggin car battery! How on earth? Why on earth?

They’ve filled in the former fireplace (they had to take it out and redo it because it was filled with rubble which was causing damp).They were a little over-zealous with the removal phase of that task as they went right through to the neighbour’s house and we could see the back of their wallpaper.


See? Pictures of holes for spotlights and speakers in the kitchen ceiling.


New wiring laid in the floor.


Oh and before I forget, subsequent to further investigation it wasn’t just the area of floor the builder fell through that was affected by woodworm, it’s 80% of the entire ground floor. Yay for woodworms they’re pretty efficient little buggers aren’t they?

House Renovation Chronicles Ep 4 (Working Document)

So you know in the last post I showed you a picture of the ceiling in the master bathroom and had “a bit worrying” in brackets? Well…EEEEEKKK! I’ll explain the girly screech in a moment but let’s go back in time a couple of minutes to the beginning of the conversation that led to the aforementioned “eeeek”.

I got a call from my other half yesterday afternoon and he told me, that the Project Manager told him, that one of his workers had fallen through the fall. Erm…What?!?

The poor guy was ok (phew) but him falling through the floor was inevitably a sign of (yet another) problem with my darling house. To clarify, he fell through the floor of the front reception room (ground floor) so fell into the sub floor cavity which is just a couple of feet deep….nevertheless…Phew! Turns out the floorboards are good and rotten as they’ve been feasted on by wood worm. Geez! It’s ok it’s ok only PART of the floor in the front reception is bad…I’m guessing that would be the part that the guy fell through?

The Project Manager has agreed to fix the floor at no extra cost and treat all the surrounding floor for good measure. Cool. Doesn’t seem quite that bad…but wait there’s more…

Then my other half goes on to tell me, that the Project Manager told him that he kind of removed the floor in the kitchen. Erm…What?!?! That wasn’t in the spec! The kitchen was only renovated a couple of years ago. The kitchen is fine it was not to be touched. At this point I’m going into “Semi Diva Strop” at my desk much to the amusement of my colleagues… Then he tells me the reason he took the executive decision to remove the floor was because he decided the tiles in the kitchen wouldn’t look right with the wooden floor we planned to put down in the two reception rooms? Say WHAT?!? Needless to say I went into “Full Diva Strop” mode left the office and drove straight to the house in order to unleash my wrath! On arrival the project manager took one look at my face and knew exactly why I was there.

After a lot of pointing and hands on hips and shouting, the project manager finally managed to explain that the floors weren’t level and thus where the kitchen / diner floor meets the back reception room floor there would be a step on one side but it would be flush on the other side. Ok so fine BUT, I explained you can’t just go ripping things out at will, especially if you’re not going to fully explain why. We won’t have to pay for the floor to be laid but we will have to pay for the materials! We’ll see about that but moving on…

The joists in the ceiling are soaking wet (and have been for a while) and will likely collapse without warning at any moment. Good times. I thought the project manager was being a bit dramatic until he took me up to inspect them and they do indeed look and feel very very weak. This was not in the plan!!!! I know the plan is a bit of a working document but this was out of scope! More expense, more time, more hassle. I was told the first two weeks are the worst and all the gruesome discoveries happen in that time but its only day four!

My new hole in the floor…ah well we could always stick a jacuzzi in there…


House Renovation Chronicles Ep 1 (Refund?)

We finally settled on some builders and paid up the eye watering deposit on Friday. To our surprise they started on Saturday (we had agreed a Monday start). They clearly weren’t able to get hold of a skip and thus the contents of the master bathroom is sitting on the driveway and porch but I don’t mind at all I’m just really happy and impressed that the process has started already…

Pre completion on the house we had been watching a lot of property related TV shows like Homes Under the Hammer and Grand Designs etc, and had made the conscious decision not to live in the house whilst major works were being carried out. After visiting the house last night and seeing the THICK layer of dust EVERYWHERE I’m thanking my lucky stars that we stuck by that decision (and that we’re in a position where we can rent close by). Thank you and thank you again stars. Phew!

Now onto the somewhat gruesome discoveries that are inevitable in any house of a certain age (where the previous owners haven’t taken care of it as they should have).

The builders reported that they found a sizeable nest of mice who have decided to take up residence under the bath tub in the master bathroom. Nice! They said that the “residents” in combination with the damp was causing THAT smell which I had mentioned in a previous post. They haven’t actually taken the floor up yet so there could be many more residents/pests/colonies/inhabitants/locals (delete as appropriate) to be discovered. I’m not afraid to admit that I have a phobia of mice so this has caused me some minor anxiety which I’m hoping will be eased once the builders report the residents have been… evicted? I’m not entirely sure how that will play out but I think it’s best if I don’t dwell on it too long. I think I may just dig out the number for an exterminator to do a once over on the whole house….and may employ a killer cat for good measure.

Ok now that’s out the way I can move onto the comparably minor (in my head) issues of the ceilings being in such a bad state they’re about to cave in, and the extensive damp caused by the shoddy work done of removing and filling the original fireplace….the bricks are literally wet to touch…I mean how does that happen? I’m dreading to think what’s behind there!

The specification of work outlines the removal of Artex from the ceilings on the ground floor and the subsequent replacement with smooth finished ceilings. If you don’t know what Artex is, its a swirly patterned textured finish applied to ceilings to give a erm “arty” feel to the room – I personally can’t stand it. In theory they weren’t going to remove the whole lot, only the protruding framed edges and cover the rest in plasterboard and /or create a false ceiling. Why? Because in their experience chipping away at the Artex can cause the whole ceiling to cave in and then all of a sudden you have to pay for construction of new ceilings rather than a different finish on existing ceilings.

Soooo….guess what? They tried the whole, oh yeah we’re just going to take a little bit off…and then BANG… whole ceilings fell off (well mostly). Good times!

I really do hope that at some point in the near future I’m desperately in love with this house because for now I don’t want to go near it. Is it too late to get a refund?

See the various pictures below for your viewing pleasure.

Master Bathroom (original and mid-gutting)



Artex ceiling


Falling apart ceiling (as you can see they’ve already started repairing it with sheets of plasterboard)


See the lovely dark red bricks? That’s damp. The bricks are that colour because they’re wet to touch. This is where the original fireplace was…