It’s easy when buying a house to think about all the happy, cushy stuff. For example, here are my rainbow chandeliers, which I found on gum tree:
If there’s anything more tasteful, I haven’t found it!
And here is my fireplace, which will look amazing with the victorian tiles we found.
But before these beautiful things can be installed, I had a lot of work to do. To recap, here’s the planned work on the house:
This is the dining room. Over time the air brick to the wall got clogged and combined with a lack of damp proof course and a tonne of rubble in the wall it got damper and damper. When I took the wallpaper off all the plaster came with it, and showed some signs of rot in the joists, which we found when Clem helped me rip them up in the summer.
It’s gross, isn’t it Mr Millipede?
Get out from this hellhole while you still can!
I’ve got a good metre of free space under the house, which is officially corpse free! Finding a dead body under there would have really delayed the build.
Fortunately joist replacements aren’t that difficult, they just look scary. I hired some damp experts to look at mine and treat the entire area for rot while they were down there.
The new joists just get butted against the old ones, everything gets sprayed down and levelled out as best they can and the job gets closed over.
Boom, new floor!
Over on the other side of the house I had some floor props to fix. Clem and I ripped these open in august and discovered it was just that they needed some tiles shoved under the wooden props. I just…hadn’t gotten around to it for a few months. What’s one more hole in a floor anyway?
Whoooo standing on the ground underneath my house was weird. But not as weird as contorting myself underneath to try and insert the tiles.
While I was down there I wrapped the props with membrane to keep them from getting damp. Nothing says fun like staple gunning while hanging upside down with your legs kicking out the floor!
Safely supported and not a corpse in sight!
Putting down floorboards was a lot easier than yanking the damn things up. Though I’m starting to regret not leaving a time capsule down there.
Now that two holes were fixed, it was time to start making more holes to even out the balance. This was the window from the dining room to the patio out back. If you look at the lintel on top you can see it needed repairing, and with the damp issues on the wall and damage to the plaster I decided I might as well just rip the whole thing out and put a set of patio doors in there. This involved several phone calls, paying money to building regulations, and a month of getting quotes from builders until I found someone I wanted to work with.
But then on a miserable December morn the hole was finally knocked through!
It was loud. And messy. I gave my neighbours flowers to apologise.
But then the doors went in and I knew instantly that it had been the right choice. It opens the space up so much and lets even more light in.
And in the summer, this place is going to be killer for barbecues.
You know, when there’s less rubble out there.
The builders roughly blocked up the holes around the bottom to keep cats out, and left me with a free air conditioning unit to keep the house nice and chill until they could come back the next day to rebuild the upper arch.
The next job a couple of days later was to get rid of this bad boy. Sure, he’s a lovely wall, but between you and me, he had to go.
The builders put dust sheets over the door when they made the cut, but the smoke still crawled up the stairs, setting off the smoke alarm as it went.
So. Much. Dust.
They cut into the wall on one side with a petrol powered angle grinder, and took off the plaster to expose the brick.
The next day they turned up with the beam, which was A LOT bigger than I’d realised. I got a structural engineer to calculate this one for me, turns out my house requires 12 inches of steel to hold it up.
Before the beam goes in they prop the house up with supports that run all the way through the floor to the sublevel below. These took the weight of my living room and bedroom while they knocked the top bricks out and inserted the steel.
Then they just knocked the bricks out bit by bit, slowly unveiling the other room.
They lower the props and then leave it overnight to make sure it’s well and truly not moving.
At this point I just left them to it, so the next day when I came home they were done!
Look at all this space!
It was a horrible 2 weeks of noise and dust but it’s going to be a brilliant workroom and I have no regrets about getting this wall knocked through.
They even managed to keep the skirting board from one side so I can put the original one back up after the plasterers have been. My next job in this room is to rip out the awful fireplace, then take all the wallpaper out and get some quotes for getting the room plastered once I know the extent of the damage.
(Here you can see a sneak peak of the kitchen cupboards, but that’s another fantabulous story.)
Then it was time to decorate the house for my annual Friendsmas celebration!
Amazing what a good mop, some lights and a bit of tinsel will do to a place.
Happy Holidays everyone!