The Chamber of Secrets is OPEN!

When we last left the bathroom it looked like this:

The shower eventually got fixed after a lot of back and forth between the plumber and the factory that made the shower fitting- resulting in a brand new mixer being installed. This meant I could finally continue with the tiling!

 

This is how I made sure my 45 degree angle was actually 45.

*cries softly over corners*

Sticking tiles upside down was scary (I kept expecting them to fall on my head) but they stuck fast!

 

Letting the edging tiles set with some masking tape help.

I worked until late at night but got the bulk of the tiling finished in one day! The brown muck is from cutting the terracotta of the tiles.

A couple days later and I was ready to start on the rest of the wall.

I couldn’t get a satisfying enough edge on the 45 degree tile so I decided to do the rest of the room in a brick pattern. This was a) faster and b) I only had 4 boxes of green tiles left so I had to make sure I had enough to make a pattern that I could do around the rest of the room.

I put the muck up all along the edge- the idea being I could count how many tiles it took to get around, then calculate how many rows of green I could do.

I worked out I had enough tiles to do 7 rows of green. I did the bottom in white to make painting the skirting board easier and the rest of the tiles would be white to the height I wanted.

 

Checking to see if I actually liked the 3 rows of white and the edge trim- awww yisss

I got all fancy with the tile cutter and did the edging tile on the mitre like it’s supposed to.

One corner finished!

And all done! I still had some trim tiles to add around the shower once the screen was fitted, but that was most of the room complete. In total I used approximately 1,100 tiles which took about 3 days to lay.

The glamorous side of renovating- this is what my kitchen has been like for the past 3 months. My next step was to get grouting because it was time to get the plumber back in to fit the toilet and sink!

Goddamn tradesmen make this stuff look easy. ¬†ūüėÄ

It was then my job to lay the underfloor heating mats ready for the fitters to come back and wire up. Turns out taping these suckers down is a lot harder than it looks? I’m very glad I decided to lay it all out first before actually sticking things down because this is not how I expected this pattern to go.

The next step was mixing up some latex floor leveller to protect the wires and stick it all down properly.

I’d describe doing this as the MOST INTENSE TWENTY MINUTES OF MY LIFE

You only get a certain working time with this stuff, and my experience worked like this:

  1. Start mixing in tub- realise your tub has a hole in it, panic as it begins to leak over the floor, find another tub to chuck it all inside.
  2. Slop it down on the floor
  3. Realise you need to get behind the door and can’t fit the tub inside so grab a smaller bucket and use it to ladle it out
  4. PANIC as you remember you were supposed to set the thermostat temperature thingie into the floor and pour this stuff over it
  5. Start pulling up tape and making a place for the thermostat cable while covering your hands with floor leveller
  6. Tape everything down with hope and concrete
  7. Try to make it all flat with a float

BUT I DID IT

There’s one more thing to tick off in the ‘things I’ve never done before’ box.

All in all it wasn’t that bad- like every job you just need to be prepared for it, and I just wasn’t prepared!¬†It isn’t perfect and the matt still pokes through but I was tiling over the top so it didn’t matter.

I then left the bathroom alone for a week or two while I had to focus on other work, using some bits of cardboard to keep the floor protected.

Then last week with my birthday party looming, I got the box of tiles out and finally laid those lovelies down. I went with the same tiles as my kitchen as a) it only cost £60 and b) to keep the flow of the kitchen into the next room.

I also did important stuff like painting the trim white, finishing off the tiles around the shower, siliconing the corners (which I attempted on my birthday and really shouldn’t have), putting up the medicine cabinet, towel rack and mirror and painting the door (green of course).

Plus one last touch, a little snake to hiss secrets to.

As a reminder, here is what this room looked like in January

 

And here is is now!

 

(Some panorama shots because it’s only a little room so it’s hard to get photos showing all of it)

This shower *almost* makes the four months of turmoil worth it.

Here’s an idea of how much all this cost to do:

£4000- back wall renovation, window and new wall installation
£900- new toilet, sink, shower and screen
£1900- plumbing, electrics, plasterboard and skim
£200 Рbuilding regulation visits
£400- tiles and adhesives (I managed to get the green tile on sale for £14 a metre!)
£200- Underfloor heating mats
£60 Рfloor tiles
£45- lights
£60- paint, towel rail, cabinet, wood trim etc

TOTAL: £7765

T_T

To be fair, the back wall needed repairing if I ever wanted to sell the house which makes over half the budget. ¬£4k isn’t bad for a new bathroom and should hopefully add more than that onto the house if I ever did sell up.

(not that I ever will, goddamn)

This bathroom has taken about 1/3 of my house renovation costs so far, but it does make an investment for the future.¬†Having two bathrooms made hosting a party much easier and as it’s on the ground floor with a low shower it’s much more accessible for friends with mobility issues. It also means that I could feasibly stay in this house until I am old and struggle to get up the stairs!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some house grime to wash off myself from moving furniture from the back bedroom- the last big project to do!

 

It never rains but it pours…A rather damp bathroom update

It’s been an gruelling end of winter here at the Fantabulous house. I’ve been slogging away at comic work mostly, but now that the Minority Monsters¬†book is sent off to the printers I have a free sunday to do an update!

When we last left the kitchen it looked like this:

2016-12-01-12-42-36-1

Behold! A gateway to the new bathroom! The room was letting out out a lot of warm air (due to poor insulation and a hole for the bathroom extractor) so first thing was putting a door in the hole to cut down on heating.

I considered buying a new door but fortunately for me I had a spare one from when Ruben and I took out the hallway wall

2016-12-08-12-59-37

These doors got ‘modernised’ in the 70s with chipboard and trim, but a chisel reveals the beauty hidden away…

 

2016-12-08-13-08-29

Yeah door!

2016-12-08-13-28-17

I even had the door frame (mostly) intact from when we ripped it out. This is why keeping all the random bits of scrap wood ‘just in case’ works out.

2016-12-08-14-42-36

Some huffing and puffing, hammering and cutting, swearing and tearing later; I have a frame in!

2016-12-08-16-07-45-2

BEHOLD! BATHROOM PRIVACY.

2016-12-09-11-58-42

The door was about 1cm too wide for the doorway so I used a circular saw (having to rest periodically for the battery to cool down) and a handsaw to finish off.

2016-12-09-12-40-19

Here’s my ingenious method for keeping the door closed while I waited for the handle hardware to arrive.

2016-12-07-18-31-38

GOT WOOD

2016-12-08-12-46-28

Next thing was to update the insulation on the far wall and build a stud to support it.

2016-12-26-13-39-48

Unfortunately this meant taking out the old toilet cistern… with a shut off valve that didn’t actually shut off properly.

2016-12-26-13-34-50

Mum to the rescue!

2016-12-26-14-03-06

In boxing day tradition we decided to check what local shops were open and managed to buy a pipe freezing kit. This would freeze the water inside long enough to change the stop valve for one that actually worked and get the grubby old toilet off the wall.

2016-12-27-12-59-35-2

Some commemorative graffiti for anyone who ever opens up the wall years from now.  I highly recommend hiding things in your home wall space for this reason.

2016-12-26-15-29-06

Then we began building the stud wall. Here’s the shower bits laid out so we know it looks right.

2016-12-26-16-02-15

The stud was built in sections so we could put felt on the back to prevent moisture getting into the room and insulation.

2016-12-27-11-22-022016-12-26-16-17-33

A lot of wangling and we get it in!

2016-12-27-11-48-14

Next day we begin on the rest of the wall.

2016-12-27-11-48-35 2016-12-27-12-33-23

Then one last big one to go in the middle!

2016-12-27-14-39-36

I had to smooth down some brick work in the middle of the wall before the studs could go up in the final corner.

2016-12-27-14-40-01

Safety first kids!

2016-12-28-09-16-11-2

Then we spent many, many hours cutting out insulation with a knife to get it to fit into place.

2016-12-28-09-16-04

Such SHINE!

 

2017-01-08-11-42-52

The next week the very nice building inspector man came to look at our handy work. He asked to check the backing but when I proudly pulled a square of insulation out his face fell and he said

“I’m very sorry… but that’s the wrong kind of roofing membrane. You need vapour barrier, not felt.”

D:

“You’re going to have to change it or condensation will build up on the inside”

WHELP, TIME TO DO THE STUD WALL AGAIN

Šēē( Šźõ )Šēó

2017-01-08-11-52-04

So the next time I had a sunday free I carefully labelled all the insulation blocks and took them out the frame.

2017-01-08-11-52-08 2017-01-08-12-02-37

Then awkwardly wiggled the middle stud out and put it to the side.

2017-01-08-12-09-26

Ripped out the FELT OF BETRAYAL

2017-01-08-12-11-22

Put in the correct Vent Light stuff

2017-01-08-12-26-57

Very fortunately for me I could get around the back of the stud and staple gun the two sides insitu, so only the middle section had to be removed.

2017-01-08-12-36-21

Then shoved the middle stud back

2017-01-08-12-44-03

And beat the thing up until it was level again.

2017-01-08-13-24-16

Then lots of insulation and taping occurred. I’m so glad I labelled these before I took them out- it was a puzzle even with the numbers.

2017-01-09-09-48-58

Lastly I made a stud above the window and popped some insulation up there, ready for the builders to come in and start work.

2017-01-17-08-47-58

Start of January and the plumber/electricians turn up for the bathroom.

2017-01-16-11-22-01

They make very quick work of pulling up the floor upstairs.

2017-01-16-11-22-03

Laying in the new pipes

2017-01-16-12-22-08

What light through yonder window breaks?

2017-01-16-12-22-11

Tis the upstairs bedroom, and tis disconcerting as hell.

2017-01-17-08-48-03]

Pipes all going in. God these guys make it look easy.

2017-01-17-16-15-42

Shower business! The pipe is bent so there’s less likely to be issues with pipes leaking- important with a concealed shower unit!

2017-01-17-16-19-11

Plaster board for some nice new walls!

2017-01-24-12-31-50-2

I got the builders to put in moisture resistant board around the shower, but even that’s not completely safe (even with tiles on top) so I bought a tanking kit¬†¬†and set to water proofing the shower.

2017-01-24-13-35-56

The kit includes some tape for joints as well as slurry to go over the top which is like a low odour rubber. So I put on the first coat and happily went upstairs to bed…

2017-01-24-23-39-23

Only to come down the next morning to a floor full of water.

2017-02-06-14-25-42

D:

Fortunately the plumber had planned ahead and had put in a stop valve in the floor upstairs so we could switch just the new the bathroom off and still use the water in the house.

2017-01-25-09-46-48

We initially thought it was the  middle valve, so got on to the factory about a replacement. They needed a bunch more info so that meant I had to get the plumber back to take the plaster off and have a deeper look.

 

2017-02-06-14-25-482017-02-08-14-51-54

Some more faffing (and weeks) later we finally diagnose the problem as this teeny tiny crack in the brass. Then I start a fun game where the factory blamed the plumber for over tightening it and the plumber says there’s no way the factory can tell it’s over tightened from a photo. In the end I just gave the plumber the factory’s number and got them to sort it out themselves. Finally the¬†factory relented and I am now in ownership of a new valve, ready for me to call up the plumber on monday to¬†get it fitted.

*sigh*

It’s not all doom and gloom though- in the meantime I’ve been able to work on getting the newly plastered walls painted:

2017-01-26-10-45-05 2017-01-26-11-33-26

I went with wall lights because I thought they were super cool??? But also makes more flattering lighting for looking into the mirror- I’m getting old now so need all the help I can get. ¬†ūüėõ

2017-01-17-16-10-10

I also managed to get some SUPER CHEAP green tiles for £14 a metre, taking the last 10 boxes topps tiles had in the country.

2017-02-21-11-42-29

After much searching I also managed to find a beautiful trim tile which is almost a perfect colour match- though in typical tile style (and because my mains were so cheap) the border of 50 tiles cost me more than the ENTIRE 1400 other ones.

2017-01-26-12-35-32

Then, because I like to give myself work, I decided I would tile the shower enclosure on the angle. To get this right I screwed a wood guide to the wall at 45 degrees, the got tiling.

2017-01-26-14-32-06

HNNNGH IT LOOKS SO NICE

Doing it on an angle takes a lot more time but it also makes the entire wall look like snake skin and I am 1000% into that.

2017-02-01-15-23-46

Now it’s time to get the shower fixed, and do the rest of the room!

I cannot wait ūüėÄ

X Tab

Back wall and Bathroom Building…

We all have our quaint little winter traditions, mine seems to be ‘get a wall knocked down’, like I did last year in December to make the workroom.¬†

Over the past few months people have been saying to me ‘oh you must be finished soon, right’, to which I laugh, shortly followed by sobbing. Because when it comes to this house renovation I saved the best thing for last…

2016-12-04-progress

In red there’s the weird outside toilet thingy, which for reference used to look like this:

2015-03-30 14.45.58

2015-03-30 14.59.47

2015-03-30 14.59.32

The plan has always been to knock these two little walls through and to make it into a downstairs bathroom, but there was some other stuff that needed sorting first, like making the house relatively liveable.¬†There was also this problem…

2016-11-10-10-52-03

Can you see how that wall curves out under the window? Yeah, basically someone decided to build a cavity wall in my upstairs but not below (whyyyy?) and over the years this has made the wall curve out. It wasn’t dangerous but was bad enough that I wouldn’t be able to fix it with remedial wall ties. I knew when buying the house I’d have to spend about ¬£3,000 on taking the wall down and rebuilding it.

Yeah, don’t buy a fixer upper unless you’ve got a lot of cash sitting about kids.

To save on labour costs of both projects I decided to get it done all at once, hiring the brick layer who did my wall knock through in the workroom. Of all the people I got quotes from he was the only one who spoke comfortably about dealing with building control, which is generally a good sign as it means he’s not afraid his work would be up to scratch. He was also the only one willing to reuse as much of the bricks as possible, and to remove the rubbish in his tip truck instead of parking a skip on one of the precious parking spots on my back lane.

So on a cold, cold November morn, I woke up to the gentle scraping noises of the builders starting to dig me a new bathroom.

2016-11-11-08-13-59

In the space of a day they had dug the footing foundations for the new wall as well as demolishing the inner walls of the toilet, something I knew would have taken myself and several friends days. Sometimes it just pays to get the professionals in.

 

2016-11-14-15-02-48

While digging they found one of my soil pipes had a fracture in it and replaced it before it could fill up the foundations, which is currently being protected by the rain by this handy door. Shame,¬†I’ve always wanted a moat!

2016-11-11-16-28-51

The next week they put scaffolding and support props up to take the weight of the house while the outer wall skin came down.

2016-11-14-15-02-29

And the walls kept tumbling down in the city we loooooveeee

2016-11-14-15-02-41

YEP.

Here you can see up into the floorboards in the bedroom below. That room became CHILLY to say the least and had to be isolated from the rest of the house. Fortunately it’s the guest bedroom (where the wood lives!) so I didn’t freeze.

 

2016-11-16-16-14-32

They removed the wooden facia to find that for some reason they’d popped not one, but two steel beams into the wall here (whyyyyy?). The builders had to cut the nuts holding the two together and hammer the front one backwards to be able to fit the bricks in.

2016-11-16-16-14-36-1

After a visit from the building regulations guy (who was actually rather nice and mainly concerned about me making sure it was insulated well enough) they filled in the moat with concrete and began making me a TEENY wall.

2016-11-18-09-32-46

Then mother nature decided to intervene.

2016-11-18-10-30-41-1

Concrete can’t set below certain temperatures so the builders had to take most of the week off waiting for the weather to clear up. During this time they dug out the floor of the bathroom to fully insulate it¬†with kingspan and put in a damp proof course. Builders sometimes get a bad rep for taking time off but the second they had good weather these lot WORKED.

2016-11-26-14-19-12

They also used this time to do the mystical cut through on one side of the wall of the kitchen. I looked out when it was happening and all I saw was a plume of dust gush out of the window hole. D:

2016-11-29-16-01-12

We finally had a streak of clear(ish) skies last week, so the builders returned to finish the repairs to the back wall. In some places it was an entire half brick out, which makes me very glad I bothered to get this repaired.

2016-11-29-16-00-49

They also put me in this new snazzy window!

2016-11-29-16-00-14-2

We managed to find the glass company who made my back door so even got a match on the glass effect.

Then with the window ready to go it was time to knock through into the kitchen. To reduce the level of dust they used a chisel and bolster and did it by hand as much as possible.

2016-12-01-12-42-36-1

BOOM

Just goes to show that when a window of opportunity closes… a door way opens.

ūüėÄ

 

2016-12-02-10-14-28

And here’s the space for the new bathroom!

There’s still some wall ties to be done, the scaffold to be taken down and some bits and bobs to clean up but now I can actually step into the space and get a feel for how it will be laid out. This side is going to hold a big ol’ shower.

2016-12-02-14-12-44

Here’s a little hole for the extractor fan, carefully blocked with a brick to keep rogue squirrels out.

2016-12-02-10-14-42

And here’s the tattered remains of the toilet that once was. I was sort of hoping to be able to get a working toilet (OH AND A DOOR) in there by friendsmas but it looks like it’s going to take me a while to find a plumber. My builder (which is normally very good for tradesmen) hasn’t worked at all this time, so tomorrow morning I’ll be calling up various places and seeing what quotes I can get.

In the meantime I’ve got a decent pantry to put drinks in to chill…

Tab’s Tacky Entryway…

It’s November, freezing and builders have just made a new hole in my house (a winter tradition!) so here’s a post about something¬†I’ve done which has helped improve the warmth of the house- replacing the front porch door.

(That and generally making the hallway entrance look nice, and by nice I mean gaudy as hell. Please leave your good taste at the door ladies and gents, you don’t need it at my house.)

No standard PVC door was good for the Fantabulous house so I had to go DOOR HUNTING

2016-05-25-14-52-40

The doors in their natural habitat- Insitu reclaim in manchester.

2016-05-25-15-01-05

I had a wild Christian come to help- which shows how long this has been on the to do list as this was back in May…

2016-05-25-14-59-01

Insitu is great, they have an entire room dedicated to just old toilets. I was looking for something I bit more insulated than their reclaim doors though, which I eventually found in a triple glazed oak door in a quality seconds hardware shop called Relionus D I Y & Door Centre in north Manchester.

2016-08-09-14-51-46

Two months later in August my mum came to visit and we finally got to work  installing the door instead of just looking at it longingly everytime I went to the kitchen.

2016-08-09-15-17-27

This is the old door which after some pondering with bits of wood we realised we could just cut out the new door hole in it and use that to hang the new (slightly smaller) door.

2016-08-09-14-51-26

Here’s some measurements so you can see how skewed the house really is. We decided to just do everything to level which meant a 5cm change between the top and bottom…

2016-08-11-17-33-21

This wood was a nightmare to cut and took several recharges of the circular saw to do. I guess that meant it was good quality but it was still a right pain.

 

2016-08-09-21-24-48

After adding the top piece and side we popped the door up on the hinges and then leaned a ladder against it so it wouldn’t swing open in the night.

2016-08-11-16-56-35

The next day we added the final strip down the side (which had to be slowly cut down again and again to fit) and added the lock. This is the opposite way you usually fit a door, but in a house this wonky you might as well keep the straight bits straight (the new door) and the weird bits weird (the entire house).

2016-08-11-16-58-16

Then I cut some trim to finish off the insides and keep the draughts coming through the cracks down the side. I ran out of trim so I just made a random pointy thing to go at the top.

2016-08-11-13-18-32

For some extra heat insulation I also got a double glazing unit made to fit behind the original porch glass and nailed it into place.

The effect of these two on the heat of the house was almost immediate- as well as giving me the peace of mind that if someone managed to kick down my front door they would just have a larger, thicker door waiting for them.

2016-09-20-12-24-51

A few weeks later I had a week or two of free(ish) time so I decided to tackle the decoration in the hall. First thing to go was this stunning relic of past wallpaper…

 

2016-09-20-13-10-38

Mmmmm check out that faux wall stone

2016-09-20-13-53-04

BE GONE

Then I painted the hallway with lots of white paint, not bothering to strip the other wallpaper as it was far less offensive to the eye and would have pictures covering most of it.

The next question was what colour to paint the new porch door…

2016-07-21-11-25-52

I finally repainted my front door green back in July but I think that would be a bit too much green even for me. Red would match the brick of the house but make the place too christmassy, blue would be too much with the green carpet, white was boring…

I gave my mum a call to catch up and asked what colour to paint the door as I was uming and ahhing so much over it. The conversation went like this:

Her: Anything but yellow.

Me: I KNOW I’LL PAINT IT GOLD

Her: How is that not yellow??

Me: ūüėÄ

 

2016-09-27-20-13-10

 

AND SO THAT’S WHAT I DID

2016-10-13-12-56-13

It’s surprisingly tasteful??? I think what I was expecting was a super shiny gold chrome, but what I got was a door with a dull lustre. Turns out not many people paint their door metallic gold so I didn’t have many comparison pictures to look over on pintrest, but I like it¬†and have no regrets. It’s going to look great with a christmas wreath ūüėÄ

2016-10-19-22-18-18

There were still a few painting jobs to go so I picked at those over the next few weeks, doing things like glossing all the trim in white.

2016-10-19-22-24-40

Then painting my worse for wear tiles with some black door step paint. Sorry for the weird dark photos- I didn’t want to accidentally get posted letters glued to the wet paint so I had to do it at night just before bed ūüėĄ

2016-09-28-16-55-00

I grabbed this light off Gumtree last year for £30- see how clean and white the freshly painted walls and trim are!

2016-09-29-17-06-13

A place for coats and hats! This is the blocked off door to my workroom which makes a lovely little coat nook. The hooks were a charity shop find by my mum (who brings the most random gifts from down south for me).

The hallway was clean and nice again, but there was room for one more embellishment, one that you might say has world wide appeal…

2016-10-20-12-00-04

I’ve wanted to do a big mural wall SOMEWHERE in the house since I learnt they were a thing. I scoured the internet for¬†MONTHS I tell you different mural options and realised that while some of the great artists stuff was lovely, there wasn’t anything that I liked enough to put up on the wall. I considered Mucha, Van Gogh and the Wanderer above the Sea of Fog¬†¬†but didn’t find anything that had true personal significance.¬†But then someone commented about how I need to have a drinks cabinet globe and that got my brain ticking.

Several days of ebay and measuring later and I managed to find a german company that printed a vintage map for £60 that had the correct height to run floor to ceiling in my little porch nook.

 

2016-10-20-12-25-21

I discovered (when I actually read the instructions) that this was a paste the wall job and was surprisingly easy, if not awkward in the tiny cramped space of the porch. The hardest bit was the ceiling which kept falling down on my head as I tried to cut it to size but eventually got wrestled into submission.

 

2016-10-20-14-54-22

So to one side we have the Americas and New Zealand- places where I sell most of my comic books to and the reason I can work from home.

2016-10-20-14-54-30

Then the other half of the world and the little smudge that is England to the other side.

2016-10-20-14-53-16

And of course, Australia on the ceiling! It’s the right way up when you enter the front door (if the world can have a right way up?) but I wasn’t going to lie down on the doorstep outside to take this photo ūüėĄ

Anyway, here’s the doorway where I enter and exit the world, something something global symbolism and unity.

With the gold door I think the hallway is the opposite of good taste but I also love it. The next job was to hang some mirrors and art to get some more light into there, but that can wait for another post. That one involves finishing off the rest of the library details, including the wall of beautiful men, my deformed plush animal collection and the famous flaminglow lamp.

Until next time at the Fantabulous House!

~Tab

Uplifting the outside

Autumn is well on it’s way meaning the weather is what you’d expect from manchester, but back in september I had a day or two¬†of sunshine-¬†so it was time to do something about the rather sad looking stonework out the front of my house.

2016-09-13-11-31-11

As with all renovations this had been deemed ‘super ugly but not vital’ so had sat on the To Do list for over a year. With winter fast approaching I knew I wouldn’t get many opportunities to do this again so I marched my way outside, dust sheets and brush blazing, ready to spend my day being gawped at by passers by in cars.

2016-09-13-12-43-27

First step was to scrub everything down and go at it with a wallpaper stripper to get the worst of the flaking paint off. I know you can really clean things up with a heat gun or a jet washer but I was just looking for a fresh coat of paint, not a masterpiece.

2016-09-13-14-07-36

I decided on cream because that was the colour of the masonry paint I’d picked up in the B&Q bashed bin for ¬£6.

2016-09-13-14-07-23

Check out that before and after!

2016-09-13 14.37.46.jpg

 

First coat!

2016-09-15-11-35-05

Then I chased a bunch of angry spiders out from the window ledge and used a paint scraper to clean it up.

2016-09-15-13-17-28

Compare the difference- unpainted on the left, painted on the right.

2016-09-15-11-35-16

This bit and the bay window gutter were so tall I had to borrow a ladder from my neighbour who saw me working and felt pity. I was cleaning in a yellow t-shirt with a bucket and as I scrubbed the trail of filthy water would slowly trickle down my arm into my armpit. Wet t-shirt competition anyone?

2016-09-15-12-57-34

Mid-painting! Even the glass shines brighter with a little polish.

2016-09-15-12-09-10

Now it was the upstairs windows- which I did by just leaning over the edge of the open window and painting from there. I considered using a ladder for them but….

2016-09-15-12-09-14

…windows are surprisingly high okay? This is why you pay roofers so much money- half of it is danger cash for them risking their lives, not you.

2016-09-15-12-12-29

Right side unpainted, left side painted! Sometimes houses are the kind of dirty that only a coat of paint can fix.

2016-09-20-11-12-06

The next day I did another coat of the cream and set about putting some outside wood filler into the rotten bits of the wooden guttering. Most of the street have theirs replaced with something sensible like plastic but mine is still in *relatively* good nick so I’ll be leaving it for as long as it works.

2016-09-20-11-12-12

External wood filler is great- mix 2 parts together and it’s cured in under an hour ready to be sanded down and a lick of paint. I already had a tin of green wood paint from the kitchen and front door¬†so green it is!

2016-10-22-16-21-45

And here’s the final result, photos as of yesterday!

2016-10-22-16-21-29

As a final touch I added a dab of gold inside the house name, because why not.

front-2

As a comparison, here’s the photo of the house as taken from the estate agents website back in 2015.

2016-10-22 16.19.36.jpg

 

And here it is when I nipped out to take some photos of it yesterday. Of course in true Manchester tradition that was exactly when it decided to rain.

2016-10-22-16-21-02

But with rain comes rainbows!

I keep getting asked if I’m done with the house yet, the answer being a resounding ‘nope’. Right now I’m getting quotes for some back wall repairs and the downstairs toilet conversion which will be time consuming and *expensive*, probably the most expensive on the house to date. I’m dreading doing it because it means cracking open this beautiful shell of a house I’ve made and letting the dust, rain and builders back in. But it has to be done eventually, so that’s a project for the next few months.

In the meantime I’ve got some finishing touches to update you on and some final photos of the hallway!

Until next time~ Tab

Over a year later… and I finally paint the front door.

I’ve just got back from a couple weeks holiday/business trips (NYC, Wales and Southampton. Random mix I know!) ¬†but I’ve still been working on bits and bobs around the house, it’s just that everything is half finished so I don’t like to post them.¬†Things are slowing down now as I’ve gotten everything vital to living finished… but will start to speed up again as I panic about how close this Christmas is and all the stuff I wanted to have finished off by then. T_T

One of the big accomplishments last month was finally painting my front door.

2015-03-30-14-47-43

As a reminder this is what the door looked like when I moved in last July.

2015-08-23-10-12-14

(This was the state of the front garden, which was cleaned up pretty shortly)

2015-08-23-13-12-16

(Much better!)

front-door

2015-10-26 12.53.54

The square anti smash glass wasn’t really my style so I copied the design of the top window and had a new pane installed back in October 2015.¬†

2016-07-19-14-28-29

Then 9 months later (and a hell load of work) I got the step ladder out, a tin of the left over kitchen paint, a new letter box I’d been sitting on for months and a jigsaw, ready to finally tick the door off the To Tab list.

2016-07-19-14-04-09

This door is probably the original with the house- I felt like a savage hacking into it but the new letter box wouldn’t open through the old slot. It was the most delicious burning wood I’ve ever smelt… maybe¬†it aged like a fine wine?

2016-07-20-12-51-34

As well as the green I decided I would pick out some details with gold, because this house is either go fancy or go home. I found it easiest to do the gold over the edge and then cut in with the second coat of green. I’ve awkwardly swirled out my house number because I’m all about sharing the intimate details of my house adventures, but not the actual address.

2016-07-20-12-51-45

Moar gold for the haus hoard.

2016-07-21-11-20-36

Masking tape only does so much so once everything was dry (and no rain- yayyyy) I used a scraper and some white spirit on cloth to clean up the edge.

2016-07-21-11-25-52

ONLY TOOK ME OVER A YEAR BUT MY DOOR IS SHINY AND GREEN. YESSS

2016-07-21-11-26-01

My next step is cleaning and painting the stonework, hopefully while the weather is still nice. And¬†someday I might get around to taking the old ‘for sale’ sign down…

The Library? Drawing Room? Sitting Room? Parlour? Who cares it’s basically finished

When we last left the fantabulous house back in April I’d just ripped down the hallway wall to make a new open space:

2017-house-plan

 

2016-04-24 18.15.19

Taking that wall down left me with an electric cable sticking out of the floor as well as two radiator valves that needed moving.

2016-04-26 14.35.08

Fortunately for me the cable was just from a junction box so it was super easy to replace that with a longer cable and just move it to another wall. Don’t play with electrics if you don’t know what you’re doing though kids- that’s how fires start.

2016-04-26 13.31.48

Here’s a blurry picture of me using a circular saw to cut access in the floor.

2016-04-26 14.35.17

TAHDAH

2016-04-26 11.51.13

While electric cables mean more possibility of death, the most damaging thing is actually a radiator valve. If I kicked the head of this sucker off pretty much all of the upstairs central heating system would have emptied into the floor, ruining my brand new workroom ceiling and gawd knows what else. My Dad was appearing in a few weeks to help me move it over, so until then I made it a special wooden hat out of scrap wood to keep them safe.

2016-05-12 07.27.34 

These were screwed into the floor- wouldn’t protect it from a flying kick but made sure the floor didn’t sink to an early grave.

Then it was time to start stripping wallpaper and get the room ready to be replastered.

2016-05-03 11.22.08

Holy original wallpaper batman!

2016-05-03 11.23.11

This was fused to the wall and most likely as old as the house. Anyone with some wallpaper expertise know when this was made? It’s discoloured from age but there was something about it I loved (despite the vomit-y yellow appearance) ¬†and seemed a shame to plaster over it.

2016-05-10 10.34.07

After chatting to my neighbour and plasterers I wandered down to a local charity shop and bought a frame to bolt to the wall which the plasterer was happy to work around. He seemed to think I was a bit crazy but by this point I’m used to workmen looking at me like that.

2016-05-12 07.28.04

Then I covered it up ready for the plasterers to begin work!

2016-05-12 07.38.37

The only thing left to do was to climb into the roof and move the light over by a foot.

2016-05-12 07.38.48

You can see it more clearly here- while it looked fine before with the wall knocked down you could see that the two lights were slightly out of line. So I did the scary thing and moved the one over the stairs.

2016-05-12 07.27.15

2016-05-12 07.27.50

Dawn breaks on the room ready to be reborn!

2016-05-12 10.59.56

The chimney was so wonky I just got it boarded and skimed

2016-05-12 11.00.06

The wibbly ceiling was too wibbly for this world and fearing it crashing down I got that reboarded too.

2016-05-12 16.10.57]

(The workmen were not invisible, I just took all these photos while the plasterers were out at lunch.)

2016-05-12 16.11.18

Sexy new ceiling being sexy

2016-05-12 16.11.40

Bonding coat around the frame

2016-05-17 11.34.40

Hot diggity what a lovely new room! It was about 2 days work from start to finish and I still have no idea how they did above the stairs.

2016-05-14 11.06.08

(The plasterers finished friday afternoon just in time for my dad to roll up and for us to move the radiator over to help with drying out the room. Cheers Papa Kimpton!)

2016-05-17 11.34.46

Hot damn thems some fine walls.

2016-05-17 11.35.01

Ain’t nothing smoother than a freshly plastered wall

2016-05-17 11.35.16

And check out the wallpaper still intact! Or is it a picture of my ageing decrepit face?

2016-05-17 11.35.04

With everything dry a week later it was time to do a mist coat

2016-05-17 11.37.22

LET THE PAINTING BEGIN

(I’ve given up wearing shirts while I paint ceilings. Sorry neighbours.)

2016-05-17 21.10.53

I decided to keep the swirly wallpaper on the stair wall because I didn’t want to get my entire downstairs hallway replastered as well. I’m just tarting it up with a fresh coat of white paint.

 

2016-05-19 15.19.13

My next job required a second pair of hands a couple days later- making a faux beam along the back of the plaster coving that used to be in the hallway. Much drilling and swearing later we managed to recycle some of the stud wood into 3 parts and put it up on the (wonky) ceiling.

2016-05-19 18.08.55

This was followed up with two 10mm planks of timber underneath the coving to help support it.

2016-05-19 18.08.33

Then some new (super cheap resin) coving goes up in the other side of the room- not matching but acknowledging that these used to be two rooms and making it easy to put a stud back up if I so chose.

Then lots of expanding foam to fill the (huge) gaps because this ceiling is as straight as me.

2016-07-05 15.59.07

Then I basically left the project alone for a month while work got in the way. I spent about a week applying plaster/filler to this beam to get it looking finished. Plastering is hard yo, that’s why people do it for jobs and deserved to be paid top dollar.

2016-07-05 15.59.23

I did use this chance to add a corbel to the beam because I think everyone needs support in their life.

2016-07-05 15.50.27

Filling in the coving gaps. Coving is the worst and requires SUCH math so I’m not even going to go into how much error and trial went into getting these angles right.

2016-07-05 15.51.50

Using a wet paintbrush over filler/plaster is a good way to make it match- I’m going to remember that one for later!

2016-07-05 15.59.02

With the plaster drying it was time to tackle the trim…

2016-07-05 22.56.34

HERE I GO

2016-07-05 23.16.33

Such a sad radiator, it’s okay, we’ll make you pretty again.

2016-07-05 23.16.45

Ewww. This house was the kind of dirty that only a coat of paint could fix. I’ve gotten much better at using oil based gloss and now I can use it I wouldn’t go back to water based or satin. It just makes everything so much nicer and easy to clean.

Around this time I got a quote to replace the (slightly broken) window and with my 1 year anniversary housewarming coming up the pressure was on to finish and get everything done in time. Usually I paint all the walls first but with builders needing to change out the frame and furniture being on floors I realised that I needed to sand and paint the floor over the course of 2 days.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

I decided not to hire a drum sander for this floor as they are super heavy, don’t make a good job of wonky floors (like mine), and it would save me ¬£100+. Instead I would be using a handheld belt sander because I’d had to use that one all around the edges of the work room floor anyway.

2016-07-08 16.56.57

After about an hours sanding my neck started to hurt something rotten though so I stripped off my protective gear (IMPORTANT) and came up with a cunning plan…

2016-07-08 15.35.20

Yep.

Turns out you CAN¬†cable tie a belt sander to a stick. You probably SHOULDN’T but that is what I did and I am still alive. I had a friend with me to supervise and was wearing gloves, face mask, visor and ear protection so I’m not a complete idiot but it’s not on my list of things I recommend other humans do.

I then spent the next couple of hours walking my new dog up and down the the floor before unhooking it and doing the edges.

2016-07-08 16.57.01

The next day was hand sanding all the weird bits and hoovering up all the dust (SO MUCH DUST)

2016-07-08 18.37.50

Then a rub down with white spirit (WEAR A BREATHER) before onto the actual staining…

2016-07-08 19.29.38

2016-07-08 19.29.43

Coat 1 (aw yiss)

2016-07-10 13.47.01

Coat 2

This probably needed a third coat but I was running out of time and had a room to paint, so down the tarps went

2016-07-11 10.37.59

I tape all my edges because while I can cut in a line free hand with a house this wonky it’s good to have a starting line. I also needed to keep white paint off the freshly stained floor.

2016-07-10 14.38.57

Here’s how I painted the coving above the stairs without risking my life. Cable ties are really useful!

With the ceiling/coving all dry and a brilliant white it was time to add that splash of colour I’d had waiting in my cupboard for months with this room in mind.

2016-07-11 10.40.23

Oh dear.

This is dulux ‘Tuscan Terracotta’

By which they mean ‘Salmon Pink’.

I’d been fooled by their man-vertising and bought it, thinking it would add a soothing masculinity to my room. Thing is- I wear pale pink all the time and have several pink shirts, but even I rankled at the idea of painting a room salmon pink.

2016-07-11 12.08.31

BUT I DID IT ANYWAY

2016-07-11 12.08.37

Because you only live once and you can always paint twice.

2016-07-11 12.58.06

And when it was there on the walls, fading from eyes bleeding wet to soothing dry matt, I realised that I actually really really…

2016-07-11 12.58.36

Liked it?

It’s more soft pink than the burnt orange photos, but there’s something about it that does have that deep soothing quality I wanted from this room. So masculine stereotypes be damned, I was happy and going to live in my pink room with glee.

2016-07-13 23.46.27

Unfortunately even with masking tape paint edges don’t come out very well. However that’s easily fixed up-

2016-07-13 23.47.31

-Awwww yisssss. That’s what the good stuff in life is made from.

2016-07-12 15.10.04

The paint dried just in time for the window fitters to turn up and blast the old creaky window for a brand new one.

 

2016-05-03 15.26.04

Now it was the rush to get everything finished for the house warming. I’d found this old fire surround in a charity shop for ¬£15 and once again awkwardly fitted it into my car.

2015-07-18 14.50.51

(Like the first weekend with my dad, almost a year ago)

2016-07-13 11.26.30

This time it was just me though and a very, very slow climb up the stairs with this slung over my shoulder.

2016-07-13 11.54.40

Luckily for me I had two large tiles left over from the bathroom perfect for making the fire hearth.

2016-07-13 12.38.08

Cutting a hole for ventilation and adding a support shelf for a very special stone block.

2015-08-20 15.56.35

I found this broken slab with Karen in the debis of the downstairs fireplace back in August last year

2015-08-20 16.03.10

After cleaning it up a bit we realised it was slate painted to look like marble- and would make a totally awesome addition to the fire.

2016-07-13 12.43.56

Here it is in pride of place with the surround to check the levels of everything.

2016-07-13 14.46.15

Then- wallpapering!

2016-07-14 11.31.02

I had a bit of uneven plaster at the base of the chimney breast so I wallpapered the entire thing to give it a smooth surface to paint over. This is just black metal paint which might not be the best thing to use but it’s just SO GLOSSY I love it. I decided to just paint the missing section of the stone black so people could see it was something that was smashed- another little mark of the house’s history.

2016-07-14 15.26.36

Karen arrived on thursday to help me get all the furniture ready for the housewarming friday evening. I bought some discount chalk paint (this time the tin was truthful and called itself ‘salmon’) and used it to tart up the old set of shelves and drawers that used to be in this room:

2016-04-15 12.04.32

Mmmmm faux wood finish

2016-07-14 17.00.18

But it was FREE furniture and I wasn’t going to pass that up.

2016-07-14 17.35.02

2/3 coats later and a spritz of furniture sealant and I had a lovely set of shelves and a desk.

2016-05-18 11.53.55

With furniture drying and guests looming I took to the ladder and changed the light fittings for something a bit more interesting.

2016-07-15 12.09.00

Yay¬†now my guests don’t have to sit in the dark

2016-07-15 09.20.50

Tight fit!

2016-07-15 13.32.23

Desk squeezed in and fire surround secured into place over the (just) dry black paint.

2016-07-15 13.39.01

Rolling back the tarp, sweeping the floor, adding furniture…

2016-07-15 17.06.41

AND LO, A ROOM FIT FOR A KING

2016-07-15 22.14.04

And then we had a party and it was very good.

2016-07-24 21.09.31

I’m still moving my stuff in but my books are now officially where they should be- might need some more shelves though!

2016-07-24 21.13.25

And check out my super fancy coffee table!

2016-07-24 18.01.56

ūüėÄ

2016-07-24 18.36.22

Never a dull day at the fantabulous house. The only question left is… what do I call the room?

 

What should I call the new room?
The Library (because it will have books)
The Parlour (because parlour games idk)
The Drawing room (aka, room to withdraw to after dinner)
The Sitting room (I will be sitting in there after all)
The Middle room (makes sense)
The ATRIUM (technically needs an open top but what a name)
Other
Please Specify:

Quiz Maker

//scripts.poll-maker.com/3012/scpolls.js
It’s got to be something that I’ll actually use as a name- answers on a post card!

 

Until next time friends ~ ‚̧