Wednesday, 29 October 2014


It’s been a long time coming but we now, finally, have a floor downstairs (well not a kitchen floor but the rest of the downstairs!)  This work couldn’t start until after the internal insulation was completed which in turn was delayed by the windows so we had hoped that Mike (flooring guy) would start within a week of the insulation being completed.  Unfortunately he didn’t start until 8th October.  There seemed to be delay after delay with this work - originally (re)scheduled to start on the Monday 6th he told us on the Sunday that it would be Tuesday.  Okay, seeing as it was only going to take him 4 or so days and then a day for the staining we felt we could live with that.  In the end he didn’t start until the Wednesday and while there may have only been 4 or so days work for him he was still working away on Saturday 18th when the guys turned up to do the staining!  Anyway, the end result is something that we love.  We struggled a bit over what stain to go with and in the end chose a colour that seemed to surprise the guys doing the sanding and staining and Mike.  Needless to say that got me worried - why? what’s wrong with this colour??  Turns out there’s nothing wrong with it (at least not yet :) )  The parquet floor processed involved laying a 6mm  plywood base, then putting down the herringbone design followed by the border at the end.

Base of Ply before the Parquet goes down


Parquet Laying


Parquet Floor in Hallway


Back room - Completed Parquet Floor

On the Saturday when the guys were doing the sanding and staining we headed off in to Arnotts to order the sofa that we’d picked out the week before.  Assuming no delays (and i’m really not assuming that considering we’ve been hit with delays throughout this process) we’ll have the sofa in time for Christmas!

Michael our builder was lined up to come in on the Monday after the parquet floor was in to do all the skirting boards, door architraves and the kitchen floor tiling.  As we’re putting carpets on the stairs and upstairs they can’t go down until that work is done so I had the carpets lined up to be fitted yesterday (28th).  We got a text on the Sunday evening before Michael was due to start that he was “very sick” with his lungs and would do our job when he was better!  So I postponed carpets and we then wondered what to do.  How ill was he - very or just unwell (we wondered if the use of “very sick” was just down to English not being his first language).  We decided we’d wait a week and then call him to find out how he was doing and to find out of if we needed to get somebody else for the job - which I should say we didn’t want to do.  Michael has done a lot of work for us and we know where we stand with him (he normally finds something to give out about but I just try not to listen to that) and he’d given us a good price.  But this was a our last job preventing carpets (and us) going in to the house.  Anyway the great news is that he was much better and started working yesterday and expects to be finished by the end of the week.  So carpets lined up for next Wednesday.  And after that I guess we clean the place and look at moving in!    The garden is embarrassing at this stage so looking forward to being able to clear some stuff out of it (a lot of rubbish and paint tins!) once we’re done with builders vans in our drives.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

The Flooring is Next

The insulation has been finished for a few weeks now and it's made the world of difference to the side and back of the house (where it was done externally). We've gone from a dirty white with concrete strips up the side (from repairs) to a spanking clean white exterior. That is, we've gone from Patching up the Cracks to External Insulation Finished I know we lost some space in the front rooms due to the internal insulation but I'm pleasantly surprised to not be noticing it the minute I walk in to one of the front rooms. The depth of insulation is decent enough and is nicely visible (for now) along the windows as we haven't yet got internal cills in place. Just needs a cill now! The flooring was due to start a couple of weeks back but has been delayed until this week with work on the parquet floor actually starting today. I'm really looking forward to have something nicer than this (and the current horrible bare boards) to look at soon :) Hate this Flooring!

More to follow soon, hopefully!

Friday, 12 September 2014


Well the windows, finally, after many many weeks of waiting, arrived Wednesday week ago.  Unbelievably they’re still not finished (don’t ask!) but the remaining work is external only and so has no impact on anything else proceeding.  The insulation company arrived to start work on the same day as the windows arrived.  After talking about and waiting for this insulation for many  many months it was v exciting to walk by the house and see their van in the driveway!

Insulation Finally Starting!


Today is the last day (or so I’m told) that  the insulation guys will be on site.  The external and internal insulation are now finished and today is tidy up day and the attic too needs to be done (I’m assuming that that too is happening today).  I won’t go as far as using the word “fascinating” but it was definitely interesting to watch the external insulation progress.  After the application of insulation blocks to the side and back of the house, two layers of plaster were added and the render went on yesterday.  The side and back of our house now look shiny new (almost).

External Insulation Happening

External Insulation Plastering

Amusingly we picked separate colours for the render for the side and back as we wanted a more grey colour for the side so that it would fit in with the houses around.  When we were looking at the render last night we had to look very hard to see if different colours were used.  We came to the conclusion that they were but either the wrong colour was used on the side or else the sample book is not at all indicative of the render colours on a large scale as there’s barely any difference at all.  We don’t mind, we’re happy with the look but I’m sure the guys applying it were asking why we had chosen different colours!

There were three types of render we could have used.  Cosi Homes quoted mineral render by default which is the best suited to Irish weather (apparently) but we went with the mid range acrylic render just because it is that bit less expensive!

External Insulation Finished


Certainly looks better, in my opinion, than it did when we first bought the place!

Patching up the Cracks


The garden unfortunately has gone downhill.  It’s gone from this

The Garden with Potential

to this:

Our Very Own Jungle!



The front of the house is now insulated internally.  You can get an idea of the depth of the insulation from this photo (hopefully).

Just needs a cill now!


The downstairs flooring happens next.  Was hoping that would start in the middle of next week but from what Mike (flooring guy) was saying it could be the week after.  But I can take a delay  of a day or two at this stage.

There’s still a lot to do though at least the majority of the big ticket items are now done!  Wouldn’t mind a finished off hob area though (driving me insane!!!!) and some carpets upstairs...

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Painting and the non appearance of our Windows

We’ve taken this week of work.  It’s our holidays.  What we’re doing for our holidays is painting.  Oh and we did take Tuesday and tomorrow (thursday)  to do some fun stuff.  We were also looking forward to our side bay windows windows which were due to to be fitted today.  At least we were looking forward to it until we were looking forward to it until I got a phone call at 10am yesterday morning informing me that “there is some bad news”.  To which I immediately responded saying that the windows had to go in this week as we have the previously postponed insulation company due to start new week and I have the guy for the flooring booked in for the week of 15th Sept.  And I can’t be cancelling them again.  Which is of course all well and good but if, as it turns out, ones windows are still in Denmark and won’t be leaving said country until this coming Friday there’s bugger all that I can do about it.  Needless to say I’m less than impressed.  For a start we ordered these windows in June.  And they arrived at the end of July… and at that point everybody realised that there was an issue with the size of the side bays (they’re each 2 inches too narrow!).  Unfortunately, even though this was not our fault, we would have to wait another 6 weeks (make that 8.5 weeks!) for the correct ones to arrive as Rationel shuts down for 3 weeks for hollers.  Isn’t life grand?  Anyway, clearly there’s no guarantee that this won’t happen again this week but right now there’s nothing we can do except hope that they are shipped this Fri and arrive post haste!      


So in the meantime we’ve been painting.  We now have a fully painted kitchen and living area.  First coats in front room and the hall way too and three coats on the window wall in the bathroom (this is a different colour to the other walls hence only it being done).  The plumber was out today so we now have a kitchen tap, an installed dishwasher and the hob and oven are in place (the latter is not wired up).

A Kitchen Tap

The kitchen fitter is back out on Friday afternoon (hopefully that won’t be postponed) for finishing touches.  Still waiting for the electrician to get back to me as to when he can come out - reckon I’ll give him a buzz tomorrow (it’s our day off… off to the National Stud and Japanese Gdns :) )  Unfortunately the plumber will be back to tomorrow as we need a new boiler :(  Well that’s not true, we could replace the fan on the existing one but that is nearly the third of the cost of a new one and as we’ve no idea how old the current one is and it’s apparently not a great model so we decided to take the hit now and get rid of it while we’re still a work in progress house.


Front Room Painting

Friday, 22 August 2014

Continued Painting

There really has been very little to report over the last while hence the silence on here. The kitchen worktop went in a few weeks back... a lovely quartz worktop that I'm v happy with. We're continuing to have a dilemna over wall tiles, tiles for behind the hob and the floor tiles. The real difficulty with the tiles is finding something that will go with both the worktop and the cupboards; harder than we thought! As the worktop has upstands we're now considering no wall tiles other than around than hob. We still have to find something we like and that could work but... Floor tile wise we have a sample of a dark grey tile which is actually v nice but the kitchen is so darl that I can't help wondering if a lighter tile would be better. But unlike the lighter tile the dark tile helps add some contrast to the space. Bit of a dilemna! Earlier this week I was having a look online at coloured glass specialists. It'll be a while before we can afford to change the glass panes around the door but it was fun to have a look and get some ideas. We're off work next week so hoping to pay a visit to Rathmines Glass. I really quite like this one though as it still allows lots of light through. As our front door is north facing this is important to me. Painting wise we're making progress. It probably doesn't seem like we're going anywhere fast but it's three coats per ceiling and per wall and we have jobs so it's down to one day at the weekend and an hour or two one or two evenings a week. We finished ceilings a few weeks ago and are still working on the kitchen living space. Plenty yet to do - the kitchen is taking forever as everything has to be taped up before each paint. If the tape is going over paint then we take it off at the end of that painting session too which means retaping before the next painting session! Our windows, the correct sized ones(!) are due for fitting next Wednesday or Thursday so the insulation company are lined up to start the week of the 1st Sept and Mike is lined up to start our parquet floor downstairs the week of the 15th. It'll be good to see some real progress happing again. The mess with the windows (not our fault!) really put a hammer in the works time wise!!

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Painting and Bathrooms

The last big thing that can get done before the windows get put in did get done this week and that was the finishing of the bathroom.  The floor tiles had been down for a while and some of the wall tiles but no grouting was in place and none of the bathroom suite was in place.  After a minor flurry of “what the …?!” comments after being told that our sink (which was to be wall mounted) was too heavy for the wall we got what i think is actually a rather nice vanity unit Ikea which works well with the tiles.  The guys finished up on Friday - all the tiles, with grouting in place and we finally have a flushing toilet!  We still need to paint the ceiling and one a half walls in there but other than that it’s done.  Which is great!  The only downside really is that the water coming out of the sink tap is a joke.  It’s a trickle so we’re going to have to get that fixed up!  The floor is still covered in white dust from the grouting powder so I’m quite looking forward to cleaning the floor up to get more brightness from those tiles!



In other news we started painting last weekend.  We have a whole house to paint including ceilings, walls and all the woodwork and the front door.  As the whole interior has been replastered that means we’re looking at three coats on everything, joyous work!  We’re doing all the ceilings first and at this stage we have four of nine ceilings done so I feel like we’re making progress.  What really slows us down is actually the application of the painters caulk at the ceiling/wall join that gets applied before the third coat goes on.  We didn’t actually know about this until we turned up at the house on Weds evening to apply third coat to some ceilings and our builder was still there so he mentioned it to us.  It’s not the easiest thing in the world to apply but it’s worth doing I reckon.  Dave was getting very frustrated with it yesterday so I took over.  I reckon it easily took us an hour to apply to the kitchen/dining room but hopefully I’ll get better as I go along!  Have to admit that I prefer applying that stuff and the actual ceiling painting itself (unless it’s the edging in which case I’m quite happy :) )

Prep for third coat


Hallway Painted Ceiling


Saturday, 19 July 2014

Size Really Does Matter

I know there are plenty of people out there who ask if size matters and let me tell you, the answer is an emphatic Yes when it comes to your new windows!  After a six week wait after placing our order our windows arrived to be fitted last Friday (11th July).  This was a big day for us, as apart from the fact that I hated our existing windows, we had a lot of work that couldn’t be done until the windows went in.  This list included the internal insulation, the plastering of the kitchen wall (and hence the worktop) and the parquet floor.   Our new windows are aluclad from Rationel and while I’ve read and heard some horror stories that people experience when their windows are being fitted we couldn’t find anything negative about Rationel.  They were certainly our most expensive quote but we felt that we were going to get what we were paying for.  


We’d been told that the windows would be arriving at 8am on the Friday so we both arranged to take the day off.  I checked my phone at 7.10am that morning, mainly to turn it out to see I already had a missed call.  It turned out it was from  the guy delivering the windows!  For anybody familiar with the BBC adaptation of Pride & Prejudice, think of the scene where Mr. Bingley arrives at Longbourne early in the morning to propose Jane.  Jane isn’t yet dressed so Mrs. Bennet proposes sends Mary (or is it Kitty?) down until Jane is properly dressed and ready to receive suitors.  That is totally the image that came to my mind that morning.   Dave had had his shower so he was sent down to Neidin to meet this guy and hand over a bankers draft for the remainder of the payment.  By the time that I got down a little after 8am the place was a hive of activity with windows being unloaded and brought in to the house!


Carefully Does It


I was so excited at the thought of finally getting rid of the horrible windows in the house that i made poor Dave pose for a photo outside one of them :)

Nearing the End


We hung around for a little while but left not too long after (for a yummy coffee and pastry in Gusto Italiano) as no matter where we turned we nearly always in somebody’s way!  Honest to God though, they had most of the old windows out by the time we were leaving!

Removal of old Bay Frame


 A couple of hours later I arrived back down to the house to be met by a friendly as ever Tom who informed that “we have a problem”.  When you’re getting windows in that can really only mean one thing… something somewhere doesn’t fit.  And that’s exactly what it was.  The bay windows (upstairs and downstairs) each come in three pieces - the centre windows and the two side windows.  There are of course numerous other bits and pieces to go with that but, to cut a long story short, each of the two side windows was 2 inches, too narrow.  Two inches.  That’s four inches of missing window from each of the bays!  This bad news was further compounded by the fact that it takes six weeks to make a Rationel window (five weeks at a push) and Rationel were going to be starting their 3 week holiday that following week.  And when I say Rationel were going on a 3 week holiday I don’t mean the office, I mean that the whole operation in Sweden shuts down for three weeks!  To be honest, there was no point getting annoyed or angry with Tom.  He admittedly straight away that this was Rationel’s error and it was a mistake. I mean one of the things that i do for a living is write and review code.  I know that bugs get in to code.  And I guess there’s no reason why code should be the only thing that bugs get in to.  At that point in time I naively thought that the insulation would still continue and while they wouldn’t be able to do internal on the front the flooring might still be able to happen (turns out that neither or happening until new windows go in).  Anyway, the upshot is that the the four new windows are on order and expected to be fitted some time the week of 25th August.  A little later than I would have liked (obviously) but such is life! In the meantime they’ve fitted the incorrectly sized windows so that the house is weatherproof until the new windows arrive.  And we’re happy with what we’ve got to date.

Busy Busy



Below is a photo of me amusing myself earlier in the day when the windows were still being unpackaged :)

 Taking Photos


I do like our new french doors (I’d prefer if they were wider but that’s down to us not widening the space rather than measures this time!).  Ignore the jungle out back… we’ll get to that in time!
New French Doors