Project House - Two weeks in and our plans for it all..

April 04, 2016

I think these past two weeks have been the quickest of my life. Renovating and project managing is a whole other world. I can't even remember how I used to spend my days before this house came along. It's like we've had a baby or something, absolutely everything else has gone out the window! At this stage it doesn't actually look like we've made loads of progress, you can see all the before photos here. Be warned it's a bit of a long post but I wanted to get down all that we've done so far and all that we're planning to do.
For the first few days after getting the keys we were exploring all of our options before starting anything drastic, taking measurements, working out what to do in each room etc.
We had a good idea of what we wanted to do before we moved in but until you can actually get the keys yourself, start lifting up the carpets etc you really can't make a solid plan. Then of course it was the Easter weekend and my Birthday which we spent most of giving friends and family the grand tour and details of our plans.

So last week we finally got to work properly on it all, we had a team of 4-6 of us most days, we quickly realised we had no hope on our own! I remember reading in the Sunday Times Home Magazine a few months back that building work is a trilogy of time, money and quality. You can only ever have 2 out of the three. If you want a fast turnaround, expect to throw a lot of money at it etc. So manpower is the way forward, while of course we still want good quality and to do it all properly as we're going to be here long term. 

Even just a simple job of painting the walls for example wasn't as simple as that, every single room had three layers of wallpaper coating them. We could have painted over it but in a couple of years it could start to peel so we figured that it's better to take a bit longer now but do a proper job of it. And wow what a job it was. We started in the bedroom which lulled us into a false sense of security, it came off so quickly with a steamer and was just one layer thick. The minute we started in the hallway and landing we realised it was a different story. It took thick scraping with a blade before steam would even touch it and it's not a small area to remove, it took foreverrrr. But now there is no wallpaper anywhere woop! And we're ready for plastering to begin. I've chosen colours for the lounge, bedroom and hallway so far so I'm excited to get decorating once the plastering is finished and dry. Flooring wise we were thrilled to discover original old wooden boards under the carpet which we're sanding back upstairs ourselves and then getting a man to paint them for us. Downstairs is a little trickier so we're paying a wood specialist to sand and stain it for us. 

The garden is kind of ongoing alongside the house renovations, doing bits here and there. The bulk of it can be done now but we need permission to remove trees and build any kind of summerhouse plus the patio will be getting built over so we're not doing anything with it until our extension is finished. Likewise for the garage and shed that will be turned into a greenhouse. I think I need a whole post devoted to the garden.

I've quickly discovered my favourite role of project manager. It means I don't have to get messy and just stand around looking pretty ordering tradesmen {and sometimes Ben..} around for most of the day. Meeting suppliers has also taken up a lot of my time, last week I had people round to quote for shutters, curtains, floor sanding and decorating. It takes forever to research it all. We're lucky that Ben does property development for a living so already knows great plumbers, electricians, plasterers and the like. It takes the pressure off slightly as it's so hard to know who is trustworthy and will do a good job for a fair price. Despite this there are still so many decisions to make. Doing up one room I've decided is fun, you can devote hours to planning it. Doing up a whole house plus a garden really is something else, and at times it can feel a little overwhelming. In a good way though but we just really want to get it all so right.

This all forms stage 1 of the renovations, before we move in we're going to completely finish the lounge, first bathroom, hallway and master bedroom. Everything else in stage 2 will follow once we've unpacked some boxes {the dining room and third bedroom are floor to ceiling in boxes right now so we can't make any progress on those rooms for a while} and the kitchen and back of the house is going to be extended and opened up so we're waiting for planning permission before we can start anything like that. Hopefully this summer we'll get started on the building works and very very optimistically I'm hoping everything will be finished by Christmas?! Or this time next year at least?? Although I've watched too many Grand Designs to realise how quickly projects can spiral over deadlines and budgets. But as I said as impatient as I am, we're here for the long stay so we'll get there eventually.

Some current photos, two weeks in:

Bathroom - 
Everything is ripped out and tiles stripped off the walls. We're going to install a rolltop bath, wooden panelling, a sink unit similar to our old one made from a chest of drawers, whitewashed wooden floorboards, a cupboard for the boiler, shower cubicle {yet to choose tiles} and a toilet by the window. Thinking of shutters for the window.

Landing/office - Taken out the fitted office and doors dividing it from the hallway to make it feel bigger. It will be a study area as part of the landing with a new double column old looking radiator.

Bedroom -
Stipped the wallpaper and fitted wardrobes out plus the old sink, who has a sink in a bedroom these days? We've started sanding the floor. Thinking of a light grey paint in here with white floor boards and new fitted wardrobes that Ben will make out of adapted doors. We'll put a fireplace in and dress the windows with grey long curtains. We've moved some pipes to replace radiators and need a few more electric sockets in here.

Lounge -
Ready for plastering and then painting before the Wood floor guys come to restore this floor. Until we get planning permission {it's a listed building} we can't change the fireplace. But we will add another fireplace in to the right hand side of the room. Ordered sofas but need some more furniture for this room, a big console table or something. We'll build some new shelves in the alcove next to the chimney breast and turn the other window into a window seat. Thinking of dress curtains in here and keep the blinds, anything else like shutters or roman blinds would cover too much of the beautiful windows up. Want to keep it as light as possible in here.

Hallway -
All the wallpaper {including from the ceiling} is gone hooray! We'll keep these diving doors for now until we replace the glass but I think they keep the cold out. Planning a large console hallway table in here with a big gallery wall above the staircase. Think we've decided on Cornforth White on the walls with a dark floor, the original boards. The stairs will have a stair runner going up them.

Dining room currently - 

Garden -
It was a blank canvas beforehand with a large lawn and big shrubs but no flower beds! We decided to do something creative with it so have dug out a slightly formal structure. I'll explain more in a big garden post on it soon.This has been the most controversial bit so far, half of our family love the idea and when it's finished with lavender, roses and box hedging in the middle with the gravel paths and neat lawns lined with deep cottage garden beds it would look amazing. The other half can't believe we've dug up the big lawn oops! Eventually there will be a summer house at the end of the garden and a mini orchard in the top left hand corner, a wild part of the garden I'm planning for teepes and bunting etc. 

Back soon when we've finished a little more!

R <3 xx 

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  1. Wow, it is going to be beautiful. Such wonderful architectural detail- those stairs, windows and that fireplace... Keep up the good work... sounds like it will be amazing...

    All things nice...

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  3. Wow! What a stunning house! It is going to be beautiful when you're done, and I love the garden idea. We're also renovating at the moment, on a more modest scale since we're living in it and doing it bit by bit as we save up, and it's also much smaller, but it is so thrilling when you get rid of all the woodchip and end up with smooth walls in beautiful colours and reveal lovely wood floors under manky old carpet. Another couple of years and we will be done with the whole house, can't wait, but for now I am (kind of!) enjoying the process! :-) x

  4. Wow the garden looks amazing and the house has so many gorgeous features x

  5. Oh my! This is exactly like my house! We bought a Victorian manse 4 and a half years ago and are just finishing the last room. Probably need to start again now! Had to replaster every wall too. Worth it though, for a house with character and space! Good luck and have fun!

  6. Thanks for sharing progress. Lovely house so much potential. Looking forward to watching your progress b

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