This week from the Money Pit: Something’s rotten in Queen’s Park

Monday morning, 6:45am. What sort of Christmas break is this?

Progress was made as radiators were removed and the last of the plaster came off, the damp proof course was injected into the walls and the fireplaces were opened and shored up with new lintels. 
Opening up the fireplace 

I walked through the electrical plan with the electrician. All ok there. He said it was all possible and would give us an estimate. He’s available in early January but we need to get the floors up before he can start work.

Removing the wallpaper – front bedroom

Things were going well. British Gas came round to look at the boiler and left immediately saying there were too many cooks and best to get the builder to install a boiler and central heating. Not very impressed with British Gas!

Deciding if we can move the door into the kitchen

And then things got a little more complicated. We started looking at taking out the cupboard under the stairs and bashing commenced. Suddenly it seemed things were not progressing as well as before.

We knew the lintel in the bathroom needed to be replaced but as bashing was replaced with excavating, it appeared that the joists were rotten in the ceiling. We were looking at a new lintel, new joists and new ceilings.

Wall down – hall and back bedroom 
Ceiling down
Are there any joists in here?
Rot in the bathroom ceiling

It was all a bit daunting but apparently it can be sorted.

I now have a binder of paperwork with bills, estimates, surveys and plans. It will only get thicker!

This week from the Money Pit: A Dose of Reality

Sunday morning and we were at the Money Pit bright and early to meet a plumber and a builder. It was time to get real.

We went over the plans, talked through the options, looked at the drains and decided there was absolutely no way we could swap the bathroom and kitchen over. It would cost thousands and would need drains to be moved and redug. It just wasn’t going to work. Victorian plumbing is a beast unto itself and best left where it is.

And so we’re going back to the original floor plan. A new kitchen and a new bathroom, a new doorway into the kitchen and a new configuration of the back bedroom.

Tomorrow is a big day at the Pit, we’re finishing up the plaster removal, doing damp proofing, we have an electrician and gasman coming round and we’re knocking out the fireplaces (and shoring them up so the walls don’t fall down.) Exciting stuff.

The plumber and builder laughed hysterically when I said we were hoping to move in at the end of February. I hope I will have the last laugh…

And so despite the creative disappointment, on the plus side, we should save some money.

Working from home

One of the benefits of my job is that I can work from home on occasion. Of course everyone knows “working from home” is a euphemism for not really doing much but as long as emails are answered and the work gets done, then everyone’s happy.

Having worked till 8pm (an epic effort considering I was slightly hungover all day) we finished everything before Christmas (or apparently the world would end) and I decided my team would finish work on Thursday and take an extra day off. 

Everyone needs a day to finish Christmas shopping (or start it), buy a new pair of tights to replace the ones which laddered at the Christmas party and rest from the madness of the festive season.

And so that’s it until January 5th. Just enough time to relax before January Insanity begins when I’ll be heading to New York twice, Paris and Copenhagen…

For now though, it’s time to settle in for a staycation (and renovation)

The Annual Christmas Bash

Last night was the annual Christmas bash. Working for a large corporation meant that it wasn’t just a round of drinks at a local pub. 

We started at 5:30pm with Prosecco and mince pies in the atrium before heading over to the Stables Market in Camden where a nightclub had been hired for the several hundred people attending. 
We arrived early and the race was on to beat the queues. Cloakroom first, coats dropped off then on to food where market stall options included Chinese vegetables and noodles, Caribbean food and fish and chips. Stomachs lined (strangely mature) it was time to hit the bar. We were all given wristbands which had eight free drink tickets. Surely eight drinks was far too many!
The place was filling up, it was really loud, I couldn’t hear anything, conversation was shouted and then dancing began.
We visited Bad Santa in his snowy grotto and were given another free drink ticket. 
And then back to the dance floor for a while before finally emerging on to Camden High Street. Not sure what time it was, before midnight I think. 
It goes without saying that there’s a sense of fragility this morning and perhaps a touch of food poisoning. Just to clarify, I didn’t have nine drinks… the wine was cheap and a bit nasty!
I stopped for breakfast on my way to work and felt a lot better. Tempted to go home but will head into the office soon, if I have the strength to leave a nice, warm cafe. 
Not drinking for a while… oh wait, it’s not even Christmas yet.

Water water everywhere

I awoke early, around 5am, to a strange unrecognizable sound. It wasn’t rain yet it sounded like water gushing. I looked out of the bedroom window, nothing. It was coming from outside so I didn’t think anything of it and tried to go back to sleep. Rain happens.

Then I heard a familiar sound, the sound of water dripping in the bathroom. This has happened before. There’s a leak through one of the lights and when it rains heavily, the light drips. Sure enough, it was dripping heavily but still no sign of rain. Bizarre.

I eventually gave up trying to sleep and went outside to have a look. To my surprise, water was gushing off the roof, pouring over the gutter and flooding the walls. To the untrained eye, I would say a water tank had burst.

I left a message for the porter and decided there was nothing else I could do. I do hope the roof hasn’t fallen in when I get home.

Time to head to the other wet flat in my life.
A long day ahead.

The white glove test

After a very productive Sunday where I cleaned everything I could lay my hands on (including the oven and the fridge), wrapped all the presents and wrote all the Christmas cards, I collapsed on the clean sofa. Exhausted. 

I was ready for my Christmas break. The flat was immaculate or so I thought. 
And then I looked up and saw a mouse with a tiny white glove on one paw. The cheek, it was doing the white glove test!
A friend said to me on Friday, “Everyone needs a mouse.” 
I’m not sure that’s right, I think everyone in London has a mouse. 
I give up, the mouse has won. I’m now making a little stocking to go under the tree.
Mouse 1, human 0

Time lapse photography

As things are progressing, I thought I’d try and show the process of renovation. It’s like time lapse photography only extremely hard work and comes with lots of dust. 
How we first saw the sitting room
Ripping up the carpet
Back to brick
With open fireplace
The furnished bedroom 
The wet wall revealed 
The dry wall
Bedroom stripped
Bedroom fireplace