Part One: Our Home Renovation Project
Let me start by saying that we absolutely did not set out to do a home renovation. No siree! We were just looking at houses in different areas in and around Bristol and trying to get a feel for what was possible. In fact, about 20 minutes before we saw this house we saw two houses in a totally different area we both really liked, and we even set up a second viewing right then and there. But alas, fate was not pointing down the easy road.
This house was built in the 1940’s, which is the right side of the 90’s and means that it has a damp proof course and complies to a decent amount of building standards. If you buy something too old you are often faced with a world of plumbing and damp problems. So, let’s just say I am lucky in love ;)
We chose this house for the size of it – it was the biggest we had seen, and my African blood needs SPACE! Adjusting to small rooms and buildings has been one of the toughest things about my move to the UK. We also chose it because of the location, which is green (very important for dog walks!), just outside the city with train and bus connections and within walking distance of a grocery store and a pub (also very important ;).
It’s a three bedroom house and the previous tenant has been living there for SO long and has not put any love into the place. So the fist thing we did when we got the keys… okay, lets be real, the first thing we did was look at each other like WHAT THE F*** HAVE WE JUST DONE. Then, we started by ripping up the wallpaper, pulling out the carpets and smashing away at the tiles in the bathroom (we are installing a brand new bathroom).
Here are some of the issues we hit:
1. Wallpaper comes in different types. Who knew! Some of it comes off really easily – strippable wallpaper, and the other type of wallpaper is built to stay there for like, ever. So, we plan on renting a steamer and steaming it all off. I’ll report back.
2. We removed the carpets to find beautiful wooden floors. I was so hoping we would, and was thrilled to find the boards in good shape too! But, the wood needs to be finished and sealed correctly to manage drafts and make sure its nice and even across the whole floor. Some of the planks also need to be replaced, so this could be the start of an interesting journey.
3. When you remove tiles you would think you can just go all nuts on them right? Wrong. You have to remove them super carefully using a hammer and chisel and do as little damage to the wall as possible so that the plasterer doesn’t have a huge job on his hands after you’re done with it. It took me two days to remove half the tiles in the bathroom and I was left with a lot of wrist pain! I’ll be grateful when this is done.
Our electrician arrives next week to instal more sockets and fit a new circuit breaker box. Then the builder is coming in (by this time we hope to have as much of the demolition done as possible) to get to work on skimming, plastering and all that other fun stuff we can’t do ourselves.