Back Bedroom gets Boldly Finished!

When we last let the bedroom I’d finished the first coat of dark blue on the ceiling. Unfortunately the paint I bought was not enough to complete the job so I had to go on adventures in buying a second tin.

These are the same colour according to the outside of the tub??? Just your standard reminder to buy at least double the paint you expect and to mix the two of them together to make sure the coat is consistent.

The second coat pretty much covered the ceiling completely… and it was time to start the true reason for the dark blue.

This is Spencer, my housemate who is now in the back bedroom, and absolute enabler. I was originally going to just paint the entire room white but I started chatting to her about putting some dark blue as contrast around the chimney, or maybe the ceiling but then you could paint stars on it and suddenly the idea for a SPACE CEILING was born.

SO MANY STARS.

Spencer did most of the stars with a template cut from cardboard and a stipple brush. She took the ceiling while I painted the rest of the room.

The room also needed some more furniture so I picked this bureau off ebay for £20

Amazing what two coats of paint will do!

Useful shelves!

Mirror up! Believe it or not this is actually level, this room is so wonky.

Before and after painting the radiator. Just shows how this house was that kind of dirty that only a coat of paint would fix.

 

Room cleared ready for final bits of sanding, hoovering and then a scrub down with white spirit.

Then let the floor painting begin!

I went with a dark grey to add contrast with the walls and make dirt not show up as much. White floors are for people who hoover far more than me.

Rolling out the rest of the paint.

Painting the floor makes SUCH a difference. The room looks a little cold here but that’s why I picked gold/brushed bronze to add a bit of warmth.

As a reminder, here’s how the room looked back in April

And here it is now:

 

And BEHOLD the space ceiling!

The light fitting is one I get out every christmas and now has a permanent home.

And the curtains are out of this world ūüėÄ

Here’s Spencer enjoying the room. Can you tell we met via pole dance fitness?

The next thing for the house is changing the old cranky upstairs toilet over for a new shiny one and replacing the tiny sink with something an actual human could wash their face in.

Then the house is DONE I GUESS???

Tune in next time for the last stage of the Fantabulous House….

The back bedroom goes boldly forward…

This post is talking about the back bedroom which for looked like this back when I first viewed the house:

It’s spent the last (almost 2!) years being used as a dumping ground for spare wood with peeling wallpaper, with it’s creepy lock on the outside of the door and plaster falling off the walls around the chimney breast. Back in january I found out that the roof was leaking (hence the blown plaster) so before I could renovate the room the roof had to be fixed first.

 

 

Here’s the scaffold up in the neighbours garden- be nice to your neighbours because you never know when you’ll need to shove a giant metal contraption on their lawn!

The roofers actually let me go up there ( ahhhhh! ) and see that shambles that was the roof after they stripped all the tiles back on the leaking side.

The job took them 2 days of freezing weather (many hot cups of tea were delivered) and finally the room could start drying out a bit.

 

Then in April (once the bathroom was finally done) I got stuck into getting the room ready for plasterers to come in.

I decided I wanted to leave the chimney brick exposed so that meant moving this socket over.

While the electrics were off I decided to move the light fitting- it was over in one side, probably over a bed, but it bugged me SO MUCH that it wasn’t in any centre of the room. As I was getting the ceiling replastered it didn’t matter about making holes so I tried moving it at first by making holes big enough for me to fish around for the wires.

Unfortunately that didn’t happen so it meant I had to crawl up into the (tiny) loft space. There’s a reason why most electricians are small.

Loft space is always the DIRTIEST DIRT I swear- all that black soot that manages to leak into my dust breather no matter what I try!

To save money (and time) instead of replacing the door I cut some scrap hardboard to size and used no more nails to glue over the awful 70s glass pattern.

A bit of trim and it’s almost like it was never the crime against home decor it once was!

Then the plasterers came in and made everything smooth and beautiful

  

Such smooth, such beauty.

To improve the sound and heat insulation I pulled up all a bunch of floorboards and chucked some wool under them before sanding the floor with my trusty belt sander which I used for the middle living room. 

 

While the plaster was drying it was up to me to clean the chimney up and make the bricks good enough to paint over. This involved raking out all the loose mortar and chiselling off old plaster with an sds.

I chucked a coat of pva and water over it to seal any dust in then used a bunch of bucket mix mortar to repoint all the large gaps.

To be honest it would have been SO MUCH easier (and probably cheaper) to just have it plastered like the rest of the room but I’m stubborn okay?

After adding skirting board it was time to get a tarp down and start painting! All of the brick had to be done with a brush.

Then a second round of filling in all the holes that I’d missed on the first go with the mortar.

(yes it does look like a shocked face)

Mist coat done it was now time to inject that spark of personality all the other rooms have in my house…

…though this is quite a jump in at the deep end.¬†

Next up- pictures of the room finished and furnished as I get it ready for my friend/soon to be roommate!

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:

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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

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

 

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Yeah door!

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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.

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

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BEHOLD! BATHROOM PRIVACY.

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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.

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

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GOT WOOD

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

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

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Mum to the rescue!

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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.

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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.

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

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

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A lot of wangling and we get it in!

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Next day we begin on the rest of the wall.

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Then one last big one to go in the middle!

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

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Safety first kids!

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

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Such SHINE!

 

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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

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

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

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Ripped out the FELT OF BETRAYAL

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Put in the correct Vent Light stuff

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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.

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Then shoved the middle stud back

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And beat the thing up until it was level again.

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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.

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

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

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

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Laying in the new pipes

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What light through yonder window breaks?

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Tis the upstairs bedroom, and tis disconcerting as hell.

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

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

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Plaster board for some nice new walls!

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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.

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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…

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

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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.

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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.

 

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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:

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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

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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…

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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.

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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.

 

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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!

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

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And the walls kept tumbling down in the city we loooooveeee

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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Then mother nature decided to intervene.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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They also put me in this new snazzy window!

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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.

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BOOM

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

ūüėÄ

 

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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.

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

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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

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

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

 

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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…

 

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Mmmmm check out that faux wall stone

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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…

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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

 

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AND SO THAT’S WHAT I DID

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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

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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.

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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 XD

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

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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…

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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

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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 XD

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Check out that before and after!

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First coat!

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

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

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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?

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

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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….

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…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.

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

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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.

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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!

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

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

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

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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.

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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