Not Quite Right, that seems to be the state of this house and the state of anything we try to do here.
We signed the documents on the house just over 5 years ago, on the day of man-child’s 30th birthday celebrations. It was to be the house of our dreams… 3 bedrooms and a study over 3 levels, 2 1/2 bathrooms, a built in fish tank and a fully landscaped courtyard with a hot tub. The perfect house in a fantastic neighbourhood. What more could we want with baby #2 well on the way.
We looked at the house as a finished canvas, nothing ‘needed doing’ as the house was only 7 years old. Well the carpet was pretty ordinary, but that could always be cleaned. The laundry was kind of useless, but who does laundry anyway. The house was finished and that was all that mattered after renovating our last house as we lived there.
Within a year of living in our dream house we realised that the carpet downstairs had to go. It was covered in stains and appeared to get dirtier with every clean. New carpet with 2 kids wasn’t practical, so we went for floorboards. We had floating floors in the old house and they were fantastic, but we decided to go for the real deal here – this is our ‘forever house’.
‘Forever house’ meant that if we were going to do something, we should actually think it through, perhaps even research products prior to starting. Unlike the spur-of-the-moment, do-it-ourselves workmanship in the old house, we paid professionals to do most of the work. Thinking it through, we decided that if we put down floorboards, we would be stuck with the kitchen and laundry configuration forever unless we changed it now. As it was, it wasn’t really practical – the laundry was too small to actually use, so we decided to knock out the wall and build the laundry into the kitchen cabinetry.
The company that we used for the kitchen were fantastic in terms of getting the job done on time and co-ordinating tradies, but they didn’t try and up-sell anything. The extras we have in the kitchen are those we insisted upon. It is a nice kitchen, but it doesn’t go wow. It is still 2 million times better than it was.
The floors were laid and looked beautiful. We went for a pre-finished solid floor nailed to battens over the concrete underlay. It was great, until 4 months later we found that there was a slow leak in an internal wall (thanks to shoddy workmanship). The water leaked under the entire floor causing it to buckle. The floor had to be completely removed, this included removing the kitchen in order to re-lay the floor.
Of course during this time (after much arguing with the insurance company) we had to move out of the house. Much easier said than done, man-child was on 3 week rotations between here and the US, I was working part time and had a 1 and 3 year old and the apartment we had for 3 weeks was a 3rd floor walk-up!
Eventually the floors were redone and the kitchen put back together. This floor was slightly different and perhaps even nicer than the original. Unfortunately when they put everything back together, they didn’t put the toilet in the powder room back properly, it had a slow leak. More water damage, this time to the walls and skirting. Of course it took a year and 3 attempts for the company to get around to fixing it properly. In the meantime, we had to turn the tap to the toilet off to prevent too much more damage. The damage to the floorboards around the base of the toilet is annoying but tolerable.
Our latest kitchen disaster is a shattered splashback. Toughened safety glass that has shattered into a bazillion pieces for no apparent reason. Although according to the latest tradie that has been to inspect the damage it was caused by not enough expansion gap being left when the kitchen was re-installed by the insurance company recommended repairers. The glass shattered forever ago, but we are still waiting for it to be repaired. The repairs have finally been approved by the insurance company (as they bloody-well should have) but they haven’t approved a glazier to to the job yet. You really can’t hurry these things, it has only been broken for 2 or so months!
So that sums up the first lot of renovation disasters, we are about to embark on another lot. We are doing the opposite to most people we know who are renovating, we are adding a wall!
One of the things we initially loved about this house was the sense of space. Being able to look through to the back yard from the front of the house, through the kitchen. Of course this is no dramas when life is quiet and controlled and clutter free, but that isn’t the case around here. Now when I walk in the house the first thing I see (other than the dirty carpet on the stairs) is the explosion that is the kitchen. Even when the kitchen is clean and everything is hidden away, it looks cluttered and messy. I really don’t need a constant reminder upon getting home from work, that work needs doing.
My solution, build a wall to hide the mess, and to create more storage. Of course, it is work we could do ourselves, we can build and plaster walls (we can even re-build balconies, but that is another story of things gone wrong here) but who really has the time these days, so we had to find new tradies. If we are getting in tradies, we may as well add in a few more jobs, build in robes in the master bedroom which is currently the kids bedroom but they are looking to move back to their own rooms for a while and perhaps remove the build in fish tank that we loved so much when we moved in but can’t manage to keep fish alive in.
So that is the plan for the inside of the house. We finally have found a tradie that we like – he turned up ON TIME and delivered a quote that sounds reasonable all when he said he would. He is going to start in 2 weeks. Fingers crossed.
That sums up the work that has and is happening to the interior of the house. Of course there are still bathrooms that need updating, walls that need repainting and of course the carpet from hell that needs replacing, but you can’t rush these things.
We also have a self-imposed deadline to get the backyard useable. It has to be completed by mid-September or there will be NO Grand Final Day party here. That would signal the end of the world for many as it is touted as being ‘the Happiest Day of the Year’ and we have celebrated with festivities for over 10 years (with the exception of the year we were living in NZ). Hopefully this is enough incentive to get the outside done in a hurry too.
Of course all renovations will be documented on flickr and no doubt on both blogs (the disasters and traumas here and the fun bits on superRelish), as long as the end result is a finished renovation I really can’t complain!