Wednesday, 7 October 2009


Well, technically, we've now been in the new house for just over a month, so it's really more 'moved' than 'moving'.

Firstly, lets start with what we got for our life savings and 25 years of debt:
  • Edwardian (1905), mid-terrace, three-bed house. The house was great and had lots of potential, but it was the 70+ ft garden that we really fell in love with!
  • Double glazing (although not FENSA registered - everything needs a certificate now), some loft insulation, gas central heating to radiators and some fairly dodgy electrics (although it passed an electrical survey before we bought it);
  • Walls, ceilings, coving, ceiling mouldings - in every room throughout the house were painted a slightly off-peach colour;
  • Very nice hardwood floor throughout the living room/dining room, original floorboards in master bedroom, revolting purple carpet in second bedroom, lino in the bathroom and clip-lock wood flooring in the smallest bedroom (the study);
  • Small but serviceable bathroom, with no storage;
  • Two lofts with separate access - the main loft helpfully has a velux window, meaning lots of natural light to see the state of the insulation;
  • The master bedroom has a shower. Not an en suite. A shower - where you might expect to find a cupboard, opening straight out onto a little patch of the bedroom floor that's been tiled. Even the estate agent described it as 'pretty strange';
  • Kitchen that was the most disgustingly dirty room in the whole place - the 'cream' doors to the cabinets were beige, there were marks and detritus in every draw and cupboard, the laminate worktop is peeling, the tiles are orange and blue (bright), the mastic is grey.....
Here is a picture of the cover to the hob extractor - after I'd cleaned half of it. Can you tell which half?!

You can see some more pictures of the house before we did anything here.

So for the last two months we've had four major projects to occupy ourselves with:
  1. decorating: the main living and dining area is open plan and the stairs are open to that too, meaning to decorate the living room required decorating the dining room, up the stairs and the upstairs landing. We also decorated our bedroom before we moved in and we've been tackling the other rooms as time permits (we've just the second bedroom and the kitchen to go now)
  2. kitchen: we were lucky to receive a substantial gift from my grandmother, which has allowed us to plan to get rid of the kitchen, which besides the aesthetics only had a single oven in a strange place, only had limited space for a fridge/freezer, didn't have enough of the right kind of storage space, the oven isn't on the circuit breaker labelled 'oven', and so on. We've ordered our new kitchen and should be having it fitted early next month;
  3. electrics: at the same time, we're having some of the electrics re-done, as we need to put the kitchen on a separate ring, and generally modernise the electrics. Most of the work centres on the kitchen, but we're having additional sockets put in around the house and some data cabling for WH's geek projects (my god, I think there was talk of a server cupboard....)
  4. finally, the garden: as I said, it's very long (although only about 5ft wide). The estate agent particulars had it at 70ft, however our 25 m hose only stretches about half way, so we think they were out by a bit. We've already had a couple of large ash trees removed, WH has been doing a great job clearing the weeds from what was the main veg plot and I've been tidying up around the sides.
In addition, we've started looking into:
  • finding a builder to fix the hole in the exterior wall that was noted on our homebuyers survey (shame not a lot else was!) - this was a good place to start
  • getting an extractor fan fitted in the bathroom
  • insulating the loft (someone from British Gas is coming to tell us how much they'd charge to do it, so we can change our minds and decide we'll just do it ourselves!)
I'm planning to cover each of the projects separately and, as we make progress on some of the smaller projects, I'll add a note about them too.

A couple of pictures of the garden to finish:

The sliding doors lead out from the kitchen on to a deck, then down some steps to a paved area with raised beds, currently filled with shrubs.

At the end of the raised bed section is another step down to the path underneath the pergola. The best feature here is the amazing lavender bush. At the end of the pergola are two espaliered apple trees

Behind the apple trees are some raspberries and then the veg plot. 'Slightly' overgrown.

Then the greenhouse.

Which hadn't been emptied of old pots, canes and compost.

Behind the greenhouse is another patch of land 3mx3m excluding the path where the largest ash tree used to be. Now there is only the plum tree (in shot) and finally the shed.

Looking back up the garden from the greenhouse.

And from the apple tree end of the pergola.

A close-up of the lavender.