After the setback of ‘damp-gate’, it actually feels like we’ve made some serious progress in the past three weeks with major tasks. The first of these being the damp proof course, which Paul measured, drilled and injected himself, and which fulfilled the second part of our obligation to the mortgage company (the first being the woodworm treatment) needed to get back the money they’d retained from the initial purchase.
After weighing things up and costing the various options, we decided to go with ‘ready-pour’ concrete for the downstairs floors, rather than Paul and his dad, plus a few willing volunteers, mixing and barrowing it in by hand. The overall cost saving after materials and paying for a bit of labour was minimal, and it meant that the job would be done within half a day, rather than taking up a labour-intensive whole weekend or more. We did actually end up paying a little bit more than our original estimation as we’d actually been a bit over-zealous in digging out the rubble from the floors, but the fact that it took just an hour-and-a-half from the concrete truck arriving to having the whole of the downstairs poured and levelled was well worth the added expense.
With a couple of days needed for the floor to dry, it meant that me, Paul and Ted had time to head off in search of some much-needed house purchases, namely appliances and a sofa! We did spend a lovely day choosing some essentials; we’re in agreement on all the appliances – the Stoves Richmond mini range, the Samsung AddWash Ecobubble washing machine and the Gorenje retro fridge-freezer, and we’ve finally managed to find a sofa we both like, which is both stylish – we’re after a Chesterfield-style fabric sofa with a button back and legs! – and comfy. The Brompton from John Lewis ticks those boxes and is definitely the forerunner.
And with the floors down and dried, it meant that the final bits of plastering could be finished off downstairs, the dining room fireplace could be finally finished off – it looks great, and we’ve been happily burning all the spare wood we can get our hands on! – and we could get cracking on with some more big decisions.
Now, the flooring downstairs has always been a given – the parquet which we’ve been gifted – but upstairs was another matter. During our sofa and appliance hunt we also had a look at carpets – Paul was keen to carpet two of the bedrooms and refurbish the floorboards in our bedroom. But with a toddler, dog and cat, I’ve always been wary of how badly carpet wears, especially since I really only like impractical, thick, lush carpets in seriously pale colours. In our old house the front room was carpeted in thick, off-white pile and while it looked amazing when it went down, when we moved out it had definitely seen better days.
I was all for wooden flooring throughout, but the floorboards in the two smaller bedrooms were higgledy-piggledy and really a bit too damaged to be a viable option. After a trip to our local reclamation yard to look at their wooden flooring, we were sold on brand new solid oak floorboards for the whole of upstairs; yes it’s a pricier option than a lot of carpet (but not really more than the stuff I was looking at, once you added in underlay and fitting), but it’s so solid and hardwearing that it’ll last forever with a bit of TLC. Plus, we can always get the plush carpet effect with big rugs, which can be chucked in the washing machine whenever they need freshening up! Best of both worlds, I think!
That beautiful flooring has now been delivered, and is just acclimatising in the house, ready to be laid next weekend. It looks gorgeous, and I can’t wait to see it down!
The window in Ted’s bedroom – the only one which wasn’t double glazed – has finally been replaced, and Paul’s been getting trigger happy with his latest toy; a heat gun to strip the decades of old paint from the door and window frames. He’s spent days lovingly peeling back the years; it’s a laborious task, believe me! Now, I love the bare wood look here, and we’re intending to get the old doors dipped and stripped so I think wooden door frames will look great, but Paul still wants to paint them white to match the skirting boards, picture rails and coving. I guess that’s a debate for another day!