HOUSE RENOVATIONS: WEEKS 1-4

Our house renovations have finally started!! We’re now 4 weeks into work starting, and our house is looking rather different already. Cue: building site!”

In my last post about our extension plans, I told you that our work had been pushed back due to COVID-19. What I didn’t tell you, was that our builder dropped out on us too. His reasons were totally fair, but it was definitely a blow. We were officially back to square one. To say I wasn’t expecting our building work to start anytime soon after this (we spoke to several builders who said they had no availability until next year), the fact we’re here now seems like a slight miracle!

We’ve managed to get around it by getting labourers in for each of the jobs we need doing, with a project manager organising it all. It means we don’t have a ‘main builder’ as such who would normally be organising all of the materials etc. This means Harry is much more hands on than we ever anticipated he’d be. In fact, he’s had to be on site pretty much every day since work started. But, it’s all systems GO! And I’m honestly over the moon. Our house renovations are finally becoming a reality!

Let’s get stuck in!

I wanted to share the process with you guys on here (alongside Instagram) – to be able to give you a bit more of an insight into what we’re doing and how it’s all going. Sometimes you just need that bit of extra detail, right?! But it’s also for my own enjoyment. To look back on how far we’ve come (one day when the mess, bricks and dust is all a distant memory…)

You can see the true ‘before’ snaps and a little house tour here. I’ll obviously be showing ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos when the work is done, but if I include everything in this post it’s just going to be overload.

So, let’s get stuck in!

Week 1

The first week of work was full of excitement on mine and Harry’s part. The work we’ve been dreaming about starting was ACTUALLY starting. YAY!! We have a team of 5 builders which means the work seems to be coming along nicely and week 1 was purely focused on clearing out the house.

The upstairs main bathroom was stripped out (we have to do the bathroom at the same time due to all of the drainage changing), along with the downstairs bathroom, kitchen and utility. The electric and water was cut off. The boiler and water tank were removed. Our fences in the garden were taken down, along with our back wall (for better access) and the garden had started to be cleared. We also had some stud walls taken out in the upstairs bathroom to make the space bigger (gimme those spa vibes please!), two chimneys removed (from the bathroom/utility and kitchen) and the stud wall separating the utility and downstairs bathroom was also taken out.

And our first week revealed the first thing that needed to be done that we couldn’t have planned for. The joists in the bathroom were rotting and need to be replaced. But let’s just skip over that for now…

The first week was a huge SUCCESS!

Week 2

Onto week 2 and our focus was all around digging the foundations! It was slightly less exciting and a little more stressful. The building inspector came out and said we had to keep digging until they found the very bottom of the house. Plus, a turn in the weather meant the foundations that had been dug out, all fell in. AH! The builders had to ditch the trenches for a few days and instead continue work inside – blocking up windows, removing plaster from the walls and finish bricking up some of the chimneys.

We also realised just how many extra decisions you make while the work is happening that you didn’t originally plan for. If you’re going to do it, now’s the time, right?! We decided to cut off the corner of the second bedroom and move the wall in slightly. Being a Victorian terrace, the hallways are extremely narrow! Although it means making the second bedroom slightly smaller, the difference it will make in the hallway is so worth it. It’s time to make this house feel a little more spacious and open!

Onto week 3…

Week 3

Week 3 was here before we knew it, and the start of our building supplies had arrived! 10 tonnes to be exact which all had to be moved by hand from the road into our garden. A very long and tiring job! Harry roped in some of his friends to help which was so great of them.

We also had the building inspector come out again (eek!), to only be told to “keep digging!” A little frustrating. A planned one week job was quickly turning into two. However, a few days later and after more digging, we hit 1.8 metres. The building inspector gave us the green light to continue!

Week 4

Week 4 and we got the go ahead to proceed with actually building this extension! Concrete was poured in to the trenches and brick work started! It’s really starting to take shape now, and we can actually visualise how big our lounge area is going to be. Exciting!!

A few more bits have also been done inside. The bathroom windows have been been bricked up (ready for one big window to go in!) and we’ve decided to remove the ceiling to really open up the space some more. Told you I’m after those spa vibes…

The entrance hallway plaster has also been taken off, ready to knock out some of the brickwork to really help to open the space up. Plus, all of the carpets have now been removed! In fact, every room (bar two) has had some sort of work or changes done to it so far. Somehow this feels like a full house renovation in one go, rather than just an extension…

It’s been a learning curve…

4 weeks in to our house renovations and we’ve realised just how true it is when people say to always plan for the unexpected. So far, additional extras we’ve decided to do or have been advised to do are:

  • Replace the roof (thanks to asbestos tiles and some leaking!)
  • New joists in the main bathroom
  • Adjustments to the size of the spare bedroom/ hallway
  • Chimney to be removed from the main bathroom
  • Chimney to be removed from the spare bedroom

We always knew this was a doer-upper, and it will be worth it!

We’ve also found some treasures since digging everything up – old crockery (the builders think our house used to be a Blacksmiths!) and a thank you letter from the police dated from 1880!

Despite a little stress here and there (it wouldn’t be building work without it!) these past 4 weeks have been totally exciting and I cannot wait to see our home take shape even more. Fingers crossed we don’t have any other hiccups or hold ups…

Bring on the next 4 weeks!

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