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Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Finished for Christmas??

That would be no. A big fat fail!!! I really am not going to bore you with all the details, just know it involves snow and various other excuses.
But I do have some pictures for you.
The shower room is tiled. Still some grouting to be done, but at least the shower can go in and the door can go on.

The ensuite floor has been laid but there is still a lot of tiling to be done in here. Loo is in, the cistern needs boxing in.

The redecoration of the hall, stairs and landings is about 75% there. We still need to paint some walls that were trashed by the builders, but the stair carpets are being relaid tomorrow. So we will be covering them up to paint over the holidays.

Since I had a whopping 0 comments to the last post I thought I would ask you a question. In the ensuite, I had intended to install a mirrored cabinet with a light inside it (sounds a bit horrid, but it was very nice). I hadn't accounted for the slope of the roof, so it is a no go. But I still have a wire hanging out of the wall and a switch. So I am planning on tiling in the marble up to the line marked on the wall. The area above the tile will be a mirror cut to fit to the ceiling. But I am not sure if I should mount a light onto the mirror as the electric is there? I also am out of ideas, what light would you use? Any ideas?? This is the space and the wire. There will be a prize for the person who suggests the light that I select. Answers on a postcard, or just in the comments section below!! ;-)

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Limping along...

Yes, that would be a thick layer of dust. The plasterers were in this week, and my goodness it has made the place dusty. Both the little loo and the shower room have been plastered and are ready for the plumbing second fix. Except the plumber has a sore knee. So probably won't be able to come out this week. And Christmas creeps ever closer...
This is the shower room, the new stud wall for the shower on the left.

The little loo (I am thinking of putting wallpaper up in here, which will be my first ever time!):

We haven't really cracked on that well with the decorating and I am now starting to feel a bit of panic. We have got the carpets for the hall, stairs and landing coming next week, and are hosting a Sunday lunch this weekend, and we have masses to do. I need to get on with it really. I am starting to consider carpeting the loft room. I just can't find a wood that I like enough for the money we have left. Haven't raised it with the Mr yet, but I do think it would make our lives much easier, as he wants to install the wood floor himself, and it will take him a month of Sundays. I also can't get the elements 7 floor out of my head, and nothing else comes even close. I just think going for a neutral carpet would make things so much easier. Sigh. Can you tell I am so over it now?? Tiler is supposed to start on loft ensuite tomorrow although I haven't heard from him and I didn't get a chance to ring him today as I was a parent helper on a trip to the Royal Albert Hall with Miss SLS's class. SO I was too busy telling 7 year old girls to get down, stop chatting, pay attention... Will ring him tomorrow to find out when he is going to start covering my ensuite in marble goodness. Hopefully I will have some piccies for you soon.

In other news, we did some different decorating this weekend and pulled out all our Christmas decorations. Given that the living room is currently a plumbing warehouse (there are currently 3 toilets in my living room!), we have kept most of the decs in the kitchen and the hallway.

SO sick of not having carpet on the stairs:

The kids tree, which for some reason has wound up in the hall!! It looks so tiny there, need to move it!

Our family tree:

Probably should have moved the barbie VW bug out of the way...

My decorating helper with my front door wreath (that I made last year out of cotton wool pads - crafty or what!!).

Hopefully I will be back soon with loads of progress having taken place... but don't hold your breath.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Extreme Decorating

Gosh, it is a long way up. Mr SLS has taken a week of his annual leave to decorate the loft.
He rented this super long ladder and has been up and down it all day decorating the new landing and stairs. I have been on duty in the bedroom doing the less adventurous decorating with just a small pair of steps!! What a guy.
So this is what the loft room looks like with the base coat.

My shoulders are killing me!!

The plumber was here last week. He installed the shower tray, and so now we are waiting on the tiler to tile the ensuite.

Please note that that is a plastic cap covering the chrome waste!

In other news (!) as we have the carpets up in the hall, stairs and landing, and the skip out front, we decided to rip out the dodgy bath room on the second floor, and the loo on the first floor. When we moved into this house, we had a little toilet and sink on the first floor, and a bathtub and sink in a very small bathroom at the top of the house. Here is a photo of the before for your viewing pleasure:

Ack. So horrid. This is what it looks like now:

Somehow this offends me less!!!
This is the little loo

I don't have a before picture, but imagine a symphony of beige toilet, sink and brown tiles and you wouldn't be far off the mark. SO the plan is to refit the bathroom with a shower (900x800) and a loo and sink, and the little loo will be a cloakroom. It is ridiculous really, as we will wind up with 5 toilets in our house and there are only 4 of us, but it is hard to know what else to do with the space. Anyway, the plumber was due here on Monday to first fix these bathrooms but unfortunately his wife is unwell. So I need to put the plasterer on hold until the plumber is back. I was starting to wonder why we even started doing these on top of all the work in the loft, but just looking at that photo with the dodgy green floor and the horrid fittings and I now realise a bit of pain now will be worth it in the end.

I am, however, burnt out on tile selection for this room. I am going to drag Mr SLS away from the paint roller tomorrow to have a look at tiles to see if we can find something. I would really love to use glass on the shower walls but sadly I don't think the budget will tolerate it! So a tile shopping we will go!! No doubt I will fall in love with something hideously expensive.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Let there be light!

What an awful lot of fuss over what seems like not much to me!!! The rooflight has gone in. The project manager came back to me with a letter regarding the installation, somewhere from £180 - £280 to install it. Given that we wouldn't be using the polycarb dome that was in the original quote (£350+vat) we were actually in credit. What a silly arse. So if he had just kept it all to himself, I wouldn't have chased up this extra money. Whatever, it is in. It makes SUCH a difference to the light in the hall, it is so much better up there. I was really worried that the new flight of stairs would make the hall even more gloomy than it had been, but I would say that it is about the same as it was before with just a small velux. The top landing is absolutely flooded in light, which makes me happy, I love bright spaces.

So where are we? As we go into week 7 (!) we are at that stage where there are a million and one 'bits' that need doing/finishing off. The electrician has been an absolute star (and he is SO lovely, if anyone needs an electrician, please do send me an email or leave a comment, as I would so happily recommend him, same goes for the roofer). In connecting up the loft electric supply, he noticed how 'shocking' our electrics are throughout the upstairs. He has rewired the whole upstairs for £1000 (we had a quote for £20k to do the whole house when we moved in, which we knew was outrageous, but we then decided to do it in bits as we redid the house). As the kitchen is new, the wiring is fine there, so we only have the playroom and front room left to do. Really pleased to have had it done, as it did worry me. The previous owner was a DIY bandit, the electrician reckons he did most of the wiring himself. Given that he was a fireman (!) I find it surprising that he would let his family live with such crappy wiring. Anyway, needless to say I am so glad to have had such an easy fix. The electrician that did our kitchen extension was so crap, so I am glad to have met someone so thorough and happy to help me!! He also put a light on the first landing which has made it so much brighter.

So we are waiting on the plasterer coming back to plaster in and around the rooflight. We also need the electrician to come back and do some more bits for us and to hook up the new circuit board (lights on the top of the house currently run from an extension lead!!). We are also waiting on the plumber. The plumber is a really nice bloke, but I would say he is more of a tortoise than a hare. I suspect he will get there in the end, and it will be done properly, but he is certainly s l o w.

Bathroom currently waiting patiently in my front room....

My vola tap!! Sexy, everything about you is so sexxxxy.... 10 points to the person who can name the band??

Shower valve, so close and yet so far.....

Soil pipe in, but loo still to do....

No lights yet.

But we do have doors!!! Horrible fire doors, but they do open and close.

So that is the current state of affairs. I can't wait to have the plasterers finish so that we can get going with the decoration. Yes, that is right, we are decorating it ourselves. Mr SLS is very good at decorating, and every time we have someone else do it, he is p*ssed off with the finish, so he is doing it himself!! We didn't really have a summer holiday this year as we had a bit of a 'summer of austerity' to save for the loft conversion, he has loads of annual leave yet to take. So he is taking off the first week of December to paint the loft room, the ensuite, and the hall stairs and landing. I will be assisting in between school runs (and the gym, and coffee mornings, and all the other very important business that I attend to every day!).
Would love to know what you think if anyone is still reading!!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Nickel and Dimed to death

Nickel and Dime to death is an expression we use in Canada (where I lived to the age of 21), not sure if there is an equivalent here in the UK, but basically it means that you keep asking for little bits of money here which then amounts to a huge amount in the end.

I really don't want to whinge, but I am fed up to the eye teeth. The plasterer has ripped off loads of lining paper in the hall, almost all the way down to the dado rail so that he can 'match in' the old plaster, and has left me with a massive wall that is going to have to be stripped, relined all the way up, and then re lined. It is a mess. I have rung the project manager and asked that he confirm that he is happy with leaving me with this as the final finish. The plasterer then came downstairs 5 minutes later and told me he will make it good after all. WTF is it with people trying to do the minimum work and just seeing if you will accept it?? I hate that attitude. If I want the whole wall re skimmed, there will of course be the charge for another whole days work.

I have also had issues with the fitting of the rooflight. When we had the initial site meeting, I showed the project manager the rooflight I proposed using. I then printed off all the information for him and the lead builder. I emailed details of the rooflight across. They kept telling me, no problem, no problem. The rooflight arrived almost two weeks ago and has been sitting on my patio since. A fox has done a big poo beside it. Well, I assume it was a fox but it might be the builder, because they have since told me that they are 'worried' about installing it, and that it is bigger than they thought (even though I told them the dimensions of it, and they built the hole for it about 3 weeks ago). I had the project manager waffling on the phone about it the other day, and I asked him to cut to the chase and he said they are going to have to make an 'extra charge' for the installation because it isn't 'standard'. I asked him how much the charge would be and he said he couldn't tell me until the rooflight had been installed. Who runs a business in this way??!! I was on my way out the door when we had this conversation, so I told him I would need to speak to Mr SLS about it. I came home to a letter saying that 'he had tried to ring me a number of times about this matter' (news to me!!) and that he would be making an additional charge. To say that I find his approach unprofessional is an understatement. Here it is, sitting on my patio, not on my roof.... (I left the big pile of poo out of the picture).

I rang the project manager to question the letter. I also stated that I feel that asking us to make an additional payment should have been mentioned when I showed him the rooflight at the outset. He then started saying I am being unfair, that I am now blaming him.... blah blah. Really, it was like a conversation with a petulant child. We eventually agreed that he would give me the cost in writing and then we could discuss. So apparently this is being dropped by today. If it is anymore than a couple of hundred quid, I am not paying it. I am so hacked off with the way the situation has been handled. I have generally been very happy with the quality of the work, and the speed at which it has happened, but this really takes away from that.

OH, and today he told me that the cost of the doors to the ensuite and new bedroom aren't included, and I need to pay for them. You will find it in the small print of the contract....

SO, hopefully I won't be on here ranting and raving about the £1000 he proposes charging for the rooflight installation, but I have a feeling I might be. Feel free to tell me if you think I am being unreasonable. Am I???

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Week 5

Can you believe it has been 5 weeks since the building work started? I can!! Actually, it hasn't been too bad, but this week with the kids off school has been difficult. I find it difficult to have a conversation with the numerous people in and out without being interrupted by one of my children asking:
  1. Can I have a snack?

  2. Can I have a drink?

  3. Can we see a friend?

  4. What are we doing later?

  5. Why can't we go out?

  6. What are you doing?

  7. Can we work on my Victorian Schoolhouse project?

  8. Why is there water running down the wall?

  9. Why do I have to have a brother?

  10. When will all these people leave our house?
Question 10 is a very valid one! Who knows. I would say we have another 3 weeks at the very least. I am starting to tire of it all now. However, we have had progress. Would you like to see? Here are some photos that I managed to get today. It was starting to get dark, so they are a bit dark, but hopefully you get the idea?
Stairs are in.....

Builder even less keen on the rooflight as he has realised it is going to be tricky to fit! Whoops! This is where it is going to go.

New landing (rooflight above this landing):

Getting plastered....

Other side of the room:

So we are getting there. These pictures look so bland and boring and building site. So I have to balance them with some gorgeousness. My lovely friend Helen came to visit last week with her 3 supermodel children. She brought lovely gifts for my children (Mr SLS has had great fun playing with the Top Gear magnets) and I was given the most beautiful flowers. My favourite, Amaryllis. Aren't they gorgeous.....

Thank you so much for all the feedback on the last post. I have decided to have the Vola tap at the basin. I can't spring for the marble shower tray as well as Vola shower fittings, so I have gone for controls as close to the Vola ones as I can get, and a fixed shower head and kept the marble shower tray. I would have LOVED to buy the Vola shower controls as well, but they are SO expensive. I can't find a brushed chrome shower control to match the tap, so I have gone for the normal chrome and have convinced myself I like it almost as much...
This is the Vola shower that Helen suggested in the comments section back when I was considering a digital shower. I can see why she thought of me when she suggested it. Clearly that woman getting in the shower is my spitting image.
Tee hee!! Sadly not..... perhaps in my next life? Please?

Monday, 18 October 2010

Who knew??

Mr SLS had last Thursday off to go bathroom shopping (more on that later). As he is very brave, he climbed up the ladder like a little monkey and snapped some photos of the loft for me. We were both surprised at how much they have achieved.

The top left corner of the room is the ensuite, shower will be on the left. That is the electrician doing the first fix....

The three velux are positioned high so that I can have some cupboards set into the eaves. I love how bright the room is looking already.

Another sunny day in SouthWest London. Can you see why I wasn't so keen on scaling the scaffold? These photos were taken last Thursday and they have told me that all the plasterboard is now up. The stairs are being fit tomorrow (they are currently sitting on the landing) and then I will be up there taping out the ensuite fittings to make sure they work.
Thank you all so much for the feedback on the shower. It did really help. I agree that the control panel is not the slickest thing around. We have therefore decided to just go for a fixed shower head and the bare minimum of controls. Had a look at the Vola shower control that Lady Helent suggested in the comments section of the last post. Very nice, but also very pricey. I do like the brushed chrome. So now I am trying to decide.
As a bit of background, this is the sink we are going with:

Are you interested in seeing the loo? Is it a bit strange to post a photo of a toilet? You can nominate me for a 'crappy blogger' award then (tee hee).

Back to the shower valve. So here is the Vola option, but imagine it in brushed chrome weighing in at a hefty £656.83:

Below is the an option for Crosswater which is just a shade under £300, but doesn't come in brushed chrome.
I think you would agree that they aren't a million miles apart. It is when you look at the basin taps that it all goes in Vola's favour:
Here is the Vola basin tap (in the brushed chrome, weighing in at over £700:

And here is the Crosswater, looking rather pedestrian and clunky, but at less than half the price.

Sigh. Not sure I can do the Crosswater now. What do you think?? Thing is, we have already maxxed out the budget for the shower tray. I was hoping to save some money on the taps. Or should I ditch the shower tray, get a nice low profile one for less than half the price of the marble one, and go for the pricer taps. Or should I risk divorce and order it all? What would you do??