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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??

Monday, 11 October 2010

Shower Room

As I mentioned in a post many moons ago, I plan on using marble in the ensuite shower room in the loft. I even conducted a marble 'test' as I was worried that the marble might be stained by our hard water that we have here in SW London. The sample tile that sat in our shower for 6 months is the one in the middle. No orange staining at all. So the marble gets a big tick. The picture below is my inspiration room!! Sadly, my shower room won't have a lovely free standing bath in it! This marble is also much more darkly veined than the sample I think we are going with. It is amazing the variation in the different marbles out there.

I have decided on the marble sample on the left of the three sample tiles above. The veining is much more subtle than the veining on the other two, which I think I prefer. I think the room is too small to carry off the deeper and darker veining. The other reason is that the provider of this sample can also provide me a low profile shower tray made from the same marble. The first picture below is the sample tile that we decided to go with. The second picture below is of the shower tray. This example is in limestone, but it gives you an idea of the look I am hoping to achieve.

I think the tray above is a different material from the wall tile, I am hoping mine won't look darker than the floor or wall tiles. I want it to look as seamless as possible. Mr SLS has always been rather 'anti' wetroom, as everyone we know with one has had leaks. I spent ages researching wedi boards and he was happy with the marble shower tray as a solution. Now he gets his shower tray, and I get the look I want. Win win as they used to say when I was gainfully employed in the big world of business. Now I just spend all day on the internet finding expensive options for our loft room.

We are currently in 'negotiations' regarding the shower. I am loving the idea of a digital shower. Grohe do a lovely model with 3 pre set temperatures. It comes with a wireless remote to start the shower!! Mr SLS thinks it is faddy and doesn't see the point paying double for something that we can do easily ourselves (get out of bed and start the shower and adjust the temperature). I would love any thoughts any of you out there might have. Have you ever come across a digital shower? Do you know anyone who has installed one?

This is the write up from the Grohe website:

Imagine how wonderful life would be, if every morning you could simply press a button and a warm and inviting shower would be waiting for you when you reached your bathroom. The temperature, pre-set to the level of your choosing, and the flow rate finely tuned to suit your mood.Few of us can deny that at some point we've dreamt of such a luxury. With our digital shower Grohtherm Wireless, the dream is now a reality.
PMSL at 'the dream is now a reality'. I will be brave and admit that I have dreams of not having to get up and start the shower. I am not only a fussy cow but also a lazy cow. I can't wait to hear what the builder thinks of it!! Here is a link in case you decide you can't live without one either.

Thursday this week will be an exciting day, as the rooflight will arrive and hopefully be installed, and the stairs are due to go in. Mr SLS has the day off and we plan to visit a few bathroom suppliers to purchase the fittings for the shower room. So expect some pictures soon!! And the outcome of the shower negotiations....

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Could it possibly rain any more?

No, seriously, what is this rain all about? We took a daytrip up to visit my inlaws in Cambridge yesterday and it took us 4 hours (normally 2.5hr journey) to get home. As we S L O W L Y made our way home, the rain was lashing down and I had a bad feeling. I was right.Add Image The pics below are about a half hour after we mopped up, the amount of water coming through was unreal. The last picture is of the ceiling above the row of buckets, the water found a crack to come through.
Do you like my lovely assortment of towels? The little ones were very upset by the leak, and kept asking me why I had let the men take the roof off our house.
Fortunately, the rain seems to have stopped for a few days. I had the hall stairs and landing carpet lifted and stored a couple of weeks ago, so we were lucky that the only damage was the ceiling with the crack, and that is to be replaced anyway as there is a loft hatch in it which becomes redundant.
The building work is actually progressing at a very good rate. The dormer frame is up, and the flank wall brickwork is starting on Thursday this week. The builders have broken through in preparation of the stairs going in next week.
I have ordered the rooflight, and it will be delivered next Thursday. I am very excited to see it installed. Hopefully I will have some more interesting snaps to post next week as these things happen. The builder did ask me if I wanted to come up the ladder today to have a look at the space, and I declined. I am a bit of a scardy cat!