We’ve now had the keys for two-and-a-half weeks, and it’s been a busy time, let me tell you! After finally completing on the Monday, we gave ourselves a day to breathe after the hectic moving weekend then got stuck straight in on the Tuesday – I say we, I mean the hubby, his dad and his friend. Between them, they managed to completely strip all the walls, floors and ceilings of the decades of wallpaper, carpet and lino, plus those glorious polystyrene tiles.

As they went along, it became evident that, while the walls are pretty solid and sturdy, a lot of the plaster is damaged and started to come off without much effort on anyone’s part. My single contribution for those first couple of days was to pull off a strip of wallpaper from one of the bedroom walls – and bring down a huge chunk of plaster with it!

One bonus in the very same bedroom was that we uncovered a beautiful cast iron fireplace, which had been boxed in with plyboard and wallpapered over. It needs a good clean, but we’re planning to restore it and find a lovely fire surround to make it into a feature in the room.

The beautiful hidden fireplace.
The beautiful hidden fireplace.

I did get my hands dirty – and I mean dirty! – at the weekend when we cut a hole in the main bedroom ceiling to create an access hatch into the roof space, ready for the wood to be sprayed with the woodworm treatment. We discovered that there was actually enough space in the roof cavity to create a bit of a loft, which we’re going to board out so we can store all the usual odds and ends that don’t really have a home elsewhere. But preparing the space involved scraping and hoovering away more than 150 years’ worth of dust, dirt and debris, which wasn’t the nicest of DIY tasks going!

Stripping walls - a messy job!
Stripping walls – a messy job!

Still, we got it cleared, and having made really good progress in the first week the house was ready for its woodworm treatment, which meant a couple of days where we couldn’t go in while the spraying was in progress.

After that it was stripping out the kitchen, which has gone back to brick after seven layers of wallpaper and two layers of plaster!

The first major job has been the electrical rewire, which was carried out in a single day by a local company, Elecsafe Tamworth. They removed all of the old wiring and fitted all of the light points, plug sockets, appliance points and outside lights. It was complete chaos at the time, and I stayed out of the way except to bring bacon sarnies and cups of tea, but the end result is fantastic. It was definitely worth getting it all over with in one day!

This week, Paul’s been back stripping plaster and clearing debris ready for the plumbing work to be done at the weekend. We’ve ordered beautiful old school-style column radiators for most rooms, complete with cast iron feet and gorgeous walnut and silver nickel valves from Mr Central Heating in Tamworth, which are due to arrive tomorrow, although it’ll be a while before we can get them installed.

It’s been a hectic couple of weeks, but we’ve got a lot done already and we’re on course for our tentative schedule to be in by February, although we’ll be downing tools for a few days of much-needed rest over Christmas!