The end of August came and went. Still no builder on site, still no windows ordered. The goalposts were being moved and it started to feel like any semblance of control we had was slipping. That sounds overly dramatic BUT in this case it was a lot of wasted time.
I dreaded the questions, “any news on the house”, “how’s the house going” “are you in yet?”, everyone excited to see how we were getting on. The next commencement date was moved to the start of November and we were really losing patience. It was costing us money now, bills were doubled between our rental and the Mews and we were no closer to moving in.
On a few occasions, we had quite fraught meetings.
One particular occasion I'm still seething from (!) was when I wanted to see what options there were for laying zinc on the roof of the new extension. I liked the idea of changing the width of the strips or even potentially laying it at an angle, my natural compulsion to push beyond the obvious and to try to look at things differently. The response I got was that it was just laid a certain way followed by “Its not like putting up wallpaper you know”.
One word. Rhymes with hob.
The windows were still in limbo and we were struggling to come to terms with the cost of lime-plastering the walls. There wasn’t much choice though as old buildings need a certain breathable type of plasterboard which was working out more expensive than lime rendering and we needed both the external and internal walls done.
Another curveball came with the roof; while we initially believed it didn’t need to be changed for a good few years yet, once the guys had access from the scaffolding they recommended that it would need to be re-roofed sooner rather than later and we would possibly get another 4/5 years max before we’d have to do it.
I hate these decisions, you know it's the right thing to do, it makes 100% sense to do it, but it’s another extra that we hadn’t bargained for.
Brian and the team from Rainey Restoration, finally started on the first week of November. It’s a long process and they recently finished in early March, some four months later. Their work is a craft; painstakingly meticulous, I have huge respect for what they do. I loved seeing the repaired walls but the most exciting thing for me, was an actual design decision at last, an ope for a new door, FINALLY a nicety and not a necessity.
The bull-barn, aka bit of a shed at the side, maybe from now on we'll call it ‘the extension’… was the one part of the building we had permission to make changes to. We are swapping around the original kitchen with the sitting room, my thinking behind this is to integrate the new extended area with the kitchen and create an extra eating area opening onto the courtyard.
This also gives us additional space for utilities and a downstairs WC and shower which in turn allows us to combine the two en-suites upstairs to create a single, more substantial bathroom.
The new doorway opening through the wall is just great, so well-finished, such a small thing, but already the room looks much bigger and the extension has more purpose. We also opened a closed arch over the original bull-barn door. It wouldn’t have worked any other way because it was too low to walk through, but boy does it make a difference. If I may say so, it was a damn good bloody call!
Fingers and toes crossed, touch wood, salute the sun, whatever it takes…
"Please Patron Saint of moving buildings along, can things start to take shape soon?"
SPOILER ALERT: things do improve.
CONFESSION ALERT: that is a bit of a lie as I'm up-to-date in the story.
BLOG ALERT: this blog will get better.