Saturday, 31 May 2014

A Lovely Weekend of Not Very Much

Dave’s away this weekend.  Work on the house has practically stopped so I’m doing nothing this weekend. Nothing.  Well, that’s not quite true but let’s say nothing major.  I have confirmed that the Revenue property ID pin that they sent me out works for my current apartment not for the property id of the new house so need to fix that.  And if there are any sales on I may go looking for a fridge but other than that I’m doing  nothing house related.  

Instead i shall do things that have needed doing for months like getting my hair cut, visiting my nephew, seeing my sisters house etc!  Read.  Maybe go for a stroll up Bray head.  Drink some wine.  You get the idea.

We paid window deposit this week - Rationel won in the end.  Cosi Homes were out to discuss insulation work.  Kitchen is progressing (one hopes!).  I’ staying quiet.  

Have a lovely long weekend!  




Saturday, 24 May 2014

An Update From The Last Week

The last few weeks seemed to just, out of the blue, get very busy.   We found that we needed to make decisions on certain things if we didn’t want to hold up the building work.  As last Saturday became all about buying the bathroom and nothing else we took Tuesday off to try and get through a few more things.


We started with heading to Domino Designs where we paid our kitchen deposit, confirmed kitchen colour, picked tap etc.  We have a fitting date of June 16th which will be great if met so fingers crossed!  I was on to them yesterday as they still hadn’t been down to take out the wire carousel, spice racks and pull out wire baskets from the existing kitchen (currently  under cover in the back garden) that we intend to reuse in the our new kitchen (desperately trying to keep that price down).  We’re also waiting for plug socket plan also.  They told me that they’d head there yesterday afternoon so fingers crossed that they did.  We’ll be heading down there in a bit (plumber on way) so I’ll look to see if anything looks like it’s been even vaguely disturbed.  I sincerely hope so.


We visited the Rationel showroom also.  We’d been to the Sean Doyle showroom the previous Thursday morning where there was lots of discussion on colours, window design etc.  The Rationel showroom was very quiet and tame in comparison.  A pretty flat experience to be honest and I left feeling somewhat underwhelmed.  Having said that Dave can’t find anything negative about them on the web (unlike other window brands which seem to have definitely mixed reviews especially in relation to fitting) so they’re definitely still in the running (and right now it looks like we’ll go with them).  After that we headed to a flooring place out in Kylemore where it looks like we found the traditional parquet plank size at a much more affordable price than what we’d seen to date.  The wood itself is unfinished so on top of the purchase and fitting price there’d also be a priming and varnishing price but it should still be something that we can stretch too.  


The bit that we left to last is something that we were finding nearly the hardest to do - tiling for the bathroom.  While I don’t mind (too much) the idea of a black and white floor I do not want a black and white bathroom.  But it just seemed odd to me to introduce colour on the walls if the flooring is black and white.  So then we might see wall tiling that we liked but we’d struggle to see floor tiles that would work with that… or vice versa.  However, we think we may have finally solved the problem by going for what could best be described  as a busy floor tile and plain white wall tiles.  Nothing purchased yet but that’s the route we’ll be going for now.  Tiles picked out in Tiles & Tubs in Sandyford.


Arnotts warehouse sale this morning - decidedly disappointing!  But Dave at last persuaded me to visit Ikea as we were so close (warehouse sale was in Santry).  We picked up the track lighting and Led bulbs for the kitchen… and gooseberry jam for Dave’s Mum :)


Oh!! We finally decided on our insulation dilemma in the end!  There’s no question over the external for the side and back of the house but we’ve been torn over what to do with the front as the it distinctive quoins and a large pebble dash.  An external insulation finish could replicate the quoins but was always going to struggle with the dash due to the stone size (which is a real issue when we have a semi-d).  So we decided to go with internal insulation for the front.  So once the windows are done the front walls can lose their somewhat currently exposed finish...

Front Bedroom

Monday, 19 May 2014

We've bought a bathroom...

Well we’ve paid the deposit at least.  

So in the last week things have been a little hectic (both at work and with the house renovations!)  The bathroom has had a lot of work done on the walls and the bathroom floor now has two 18mm layers of plywood with tanking system paste on it (whatever the hell that is!).  It’s still pretty bare but it’s looking a lot better than before.  


Bathroom's Improving...

Wednesday evening was a little on the stressful side as Dave arrived home and told me that Michael needed to know what shower tray we’d be getting as that was required so that the builders could continue work on the bathroom.  Something about needing to know the exact placement of the drain as that was going to hook to a pipe between the joists on the floor.  Basically they needed to know so they could carry on with the bathroom flooring going down and the kitchen ceiling going up.  That led to a lot of measuring, thinking we’d made a decision and then realising that as soon as we put a sink we’d be blocking off access to part of the bathroom!  

Dave chatted with Michael the following morning and a decision was made on a 1200mm x 900mm shower tray just with the shower head not going in quite the ideal location but it resulted in something that looked like it would work.

On Saturday morning we headed down to Tom Doyle Supplies on the N11 outside of Gorey.  While there we spoke with a very helpful guy Billy who really knows his bathrooms!  Apart from the fact that he kept trying to change our bathroom design (yes I know it’s less than ideal but it’s tied down now!)  he spent over 2 hrs with us giving us lots of advice.  We left having purchased a toilet, sink, shower and all the other bits and pieces come with each of those.  The only thing left that we need is a shower enclosure… they’re expensive!

On Friday we gave the go ahead for our kitchen.  We’re meeting with John tomorrow to discuss the fine details (such as the tap and deposit!) tomorrow morning.  The only thing slowing everything down will be the fact that the kitchen measurements can not take place until the final plastering in the kitchen is complete. Hopefully that will happen this week!  Dave’s job to find out tomorrow.  The guys took out the old kitchen, or most of it at least last week and opened up the chimney space where the cooker and hob will go.  With the partition wall knocked back the place looks so much better (it my not look like it but trust me it does!)

Cooker Location


Remains of the Kitchen

 My bannisters is looking a little worse for wear at the moment but my fireplace is slowly reappearing...

Homely Living Room

My sister, her husband and the kids came to visit at the weekend.  I did warn Ciara that I had my suspicions that the house is not quite child safe at the moment (i.e. it’s so not child safe!) but kids were fine - hands held firmly :)  And here’s Grace collecting stones on the beach before viewing the house...

Grace Collecting Stones...

Saturday, 10 May 2014

And That's Another Saturday Gone!

Today was yet another busy house day.  Our first appointment was with Ferndale Kitchens/Domino Designs in Bray regarding plan for the kitchen… and most importantly what that might cost to make real.  We have (sorry, had) a budget for the kitchen.  We loved the plan.  I did question about the draining board for the kitchen (assuming we get the quartz worktop that i really want!) but got told that the grooves come for free with that. I asked if they really worked and laughingly got told No.  I assumed that this was a sarcastic response but as the conversation progressed I realised it wasn’t!  So we got told what the other two options were (both of which cost extra) and it seems to me that the only viable practical solution is, of course, the most expensive at an extra €480. I accept that  that may not seem like much in the grand scheme of things but considering all the little things that have been found and addressed during the renovation work plus the fact that the kitchen quote we were given (excluding the worktops) comes in at what was our total budget for a kitchen (one including worktops and tiles on wall!) then you can understand how that little extra makes a difference! Anyway, I suspect that it was a case of our budget being highly optimistic more than a case of us being given a high quote.  But I like to think that the first quote one gets is not the best quote that could be on offer.  So now I just have to figure out how to get to that best price.  I’ll deal with the quartz worktops (looking at €2500 for those!) at another time!


After that we headed off to the Cosi Homes showroom in Ashbourne.  We’re torn about whether or not to internal or external insulation on the front of the house.  Everybody says “Oh you can’t do external on that” but we’re the ones that are going to be living there and yes we want to be sympathetic to the surrounding houses but we also need to be dry and warm! Oh and if we don’t do external then we have to do full internal not eh front of the house which means 82mm depth lost from front the front room and the front room is not big to start with.  Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised though I guess no decisions have been made.  We were lucky to get a sample to take away with us… the colours aren’t right and the pebbles aren’t as big but we know we can’t get the pebbles as bit so it’s just a case of deciding if we think it looks okay...


External Insulation Potential


We did a quick visit to B&Q… lovely decorative tiles but didn’t see anything I’d like for actual flooring.

In the afternoon it was back to the house to take some more photos of work in progress and the kitchen so we can try and sell it online!


The driveway is really progressing… the hardcore came during the week, the cobbles are down so now we just need crushed stones for the tops.  It’ll look so good when done - or at least a hundred times better than it did when we bought the place!

The Driveway is Coming Along!


The Driveway is Coming Along!


The ceiling is gone from the kitchen exposing the rafters and floorboards from upstairs.  Luckily (well it’s all relative!) only joist has water damaged from the dodgy bathroom upstairs so there’ll be a bit of strengthening required there a steel beam will go in in the kitchen to support the upstairs.

Water Damaged Joist


 While the bathroom is currently hugely unattractive (see previous post!) there are some lovely colours showing on the exposed wall at the moment...

Bathroom Colours!


And last but not least here are some photos of the current state of the front bedroom and walls in the lounge.

Front Bedroom under RepairA tidy fireplace


Thursday, 8 May 2014


Well there’s been a bit of progress since Tuesday.  All the black floor tiles are up and we’ve manage to salvage some must see if I can flog those.   I mean it’s expensive marble.  

The bathroom tiles came out yesterday.  We knew that they were placing way too heavy a load on the joists.  I mean seriously, who needs big heavy tiles all over the walls and floor of a bathroom?  Talk about a strain on the 80 year old joists.  What we had before was this


 and what we now currently have is

Bathroom Post Tile Removal 1

So yes there’s a mess from the tiles coming up but but more disconcerting is the obvious water damage that exists.    Our builder has concerns that the joists underneath that plywood flooring has been weakened and damaged.  And even the partition wall to the bedroom (beside the toilet) is apparently damaged.  Anyway, not looking great.  There’ll be more exploratory work required before we find out what additional costs we’re about to be hit with.


Oh well, at least the driveway is coming along… and doesn’t the front look much better without that horrible PVC porch door?

The Driveway is Improving

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Talk about Progress

It’s hard to believe that only a week has passed since the start of work on the house!  So much has changed in that time.  The driveway is currently a building site holding a mini digger and a skip full of rubbish.  

The Garden...

The chimney’s been patched up (no photo).  The back of the house looks like a bit of a patchwork puzzle as the cracks have been filled in and the decking is gone.

Patching up the Cracks


Today the electrician was in preparing new sockets before the new plasterboard goes on the walls and all the flooring has been taken up except so far in the bathroom.  Goodbye to horrible black flooring...

Hate this Flooring!


to (in progress)


The Hallway


We also discovered some interesting looking tiles on the porch under the horrible black stuff.  Unsure yet if we’ll be able to work with it - has to fit with door colour and window frames and some tiles are missing but it’s a possibility...

Porch Steps

 I had three different companies in today for quotes for insulation and windows.  I think that Dave is rather shocked that I was as relaxed (we use the word relatively here)  as I was when he got home earlier!

We visited Ideal Bathrooms at the weekend and think we may have picked our toilet, sink and taps for the bathroom which is  a good feeling.  We still have to decide on showering and we’re waiting for kitchen feedback which hopefully we’ll have this week.  Speaking of which maybe I should go email them now!  

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Dealing with it all...

I’m finding this whole “work on house” lark quite stressful.  Dave is down with the builder this morning.  I’m baking - buttermilk scones (a Nigella recipe).  It’s easier to deal with.


Stress management Baking

Thursday, 1 May 2014

It's Only Day Four

We've just completed Day 4 of building work on the house... I am so not cut out for this (I say as I sip my glass of wine on a school night). I mean I could be cut out for it if it involved something like:

  • Pick Builder
  • Tell builder what you want
  • Pay Builder
  • The End

But instead it’s something like

  • Pick Builder (eventually)
  • Tell builder what you want
  • Day 1, 1.5 hrs in, get phone call from builder regarding levels of driveway
  • Day 1 evening - visit house and speak to builder.  Listen to builders idea (discard as do not like) and come propose new idea.  Get agreement that a short delay on driveway work is acceptable as there is other work to do.  
  • Day 1 evening - Dave continues with builder while I discuss kitchen options in kitchen with kitchen guy. Then watch Dave help builder bring gutters, fascia and soffits in to back garden for next day.
  • Day 2… something happened day 2 but can’t remember what.
  • Day 3 get update on gutters and hear that lead flashing on roof is in v bad condition.  Oh and that roof tiles not in good nick.  And generally some shoddy repair work has been done.
  • Day 4 hear that the chimney is in even worse condition then we thought.
On Day 4, during breaks at work I arrange 8.30, 10.30 and 2.30 appointments at the house for next Tuesday.  Getting more quotes for windows and insulation.  Electrician arriving at 8.30 as we realised at 5pm this afternoon that need to get him in asap so some internal work can continue.  Luckily he is a super friendly guy who is free on Tuesday and is happy to do a days work for us then.
I popped in to house this evening (day 4) to look at prospective paving stone for drive.  And looked at what remains of our shoddy back garden now that the decking has come up (and is not being replaced any time soon… let’s wait until we know what, if any, money is left in the kitty in a few months time).  But it was rotten and had to go...
The End of the Rotten Decking
The hallway and stairs carpet are a bit of a mess too but at least all that flooring is coming up.  So much stuff lying around!
Hallway during building work

The driveway doesn’t really look a whole lot different yet… can’t wait until that is done!

Start of driveway work