So now this crazy idea of a house project is creeping closer to becoming a reality, the enormity of what we’ve taken on is starting to sink in. As far as I’m concerned, the house is definitely not habitable in its current state. No way, no how, no chance.
Which means we won’t be able to move in straight away. Not least of all because it needs a full rewire and central heating system installed first. Those are the very first jobs, and the plan is to get the electrician and the gas fitters in as soon as we have the keys.
Currently, there are no ceiling lights upstairs at all – instead, each room just has a couple of wall lights – and there are a few dodgy-looking plug sockets, but definitely not enough to power our array of appliances – and I’m not giving up my hair straighteners for anyone! So the plan is to sort out the ceiling lights everywhere and fit four double sockets in each room. The new fuse board will also have to be big enough to power the extension, when we actually get around to doing it. But that’s a way off yet.
At the moment, heating is limited to a hideous gas fire in the front room, which has a back boiler running the haphazard central heating, so again there needs to be a new combi boiler fitted, as well as pipework for the central heating and radiators in each room.
Now, speaking of radiators, Paul has been eyeing up some gorgeous old school-style cast iron column radiators – they look fab, and since the house is called The School House I think they’re quite fitting! They’re definitely on the pricey side, but I think that stylish radiators make so much difference to a room that they’re worth splashing out on straight away.
Then it’s a case of ripping out pretty much everything that’s there and starting from scratch. A lot of the floors have wooden floorboards under the grotty carpets so the plan is to get an industrial sander jobbie and restore the boards back to their former glory where we can.
Wallpaper will need to be stripped, and in the bedrooms the ceilings are covered with polystyrene tiles which will need removing and possibly re-plastering. Then we’ll be walloping the walls and ceilings with a fresh coat of paint to brighten everywhere up.
Paint choices, Paul has already said, are my domain, and I’ve already ordered my Farrow and Ball colour chart. As the rooms are quite small, I’m thinking of keeping everything fairly light and neutral – favourites at the moment are Cornforth White, Blackened, Elephant’s Breath, Pavilion Gray and Dimpse, which are all really lovely, soft tones.
Our bedroom at the moment is a beautiful Laura Ashley Pale Eau de Nil, a gorgeous green hue which I find really calming, so I’m after something similar I think for the new bedroom, although I don’t want to just copy what we’ve already done.
So while stage one is being done, the plan is to live with one then the other set of parents for a couple of weeks. It’s an ambitious schedule, but I think that if we put our minds to it – and seriously graft for those first few weeks – we’ll be able to do what we need to, to be able to move in.
And I’m quite looking forward to crashing at Ma and Pa’s for a while – it’ll be nice to come back from the building site that’ll be the cottage to a cosy, clean and tidy house!