Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Back at last


Hello!! Its been so long since I wrote anything on my blog. Thankyou for not sending me to the sinbin and unfollowing me!
I have thought about blogging an update on our progress with the renovations so many times but I havnt had any decent photos and the place has been such a mess for the last 7 months with walls coming down, dust everywhere, tools everywhere, a pile of plasterboard in the Living room behind the sofa for months.......it has been a long slog over the winter.
We didnt even get up our Christmas Tree until Christmas Eve- there was just nowhere to put it in all the debri.
But we have now almost finished the Living Room/Dining Room which is open plan and takes up the whole front of the original house and the little Sitting room extension at the front. Its still a bit sparce, we only got the furniture back in a few days ago after the carpet fitter was in but I wanted to put some pics on- let you see what we have been doing all this time! We have done everything ourselves (except cut the hole for the new window in the gable end) and its just nice to have one place to sit down and relax in that feels like ours.

Here is the Living room before.....not great 'before' photos I am afraid, it was the day we moved in in September.

Its basically one large room with a fireplace at each end. Before, there was a smaller bit (here in the photo) sectioned off at one end. It was too small to be useful and had a fireplace we didnt like.The stove hadnt been plumbed in correctly so it was also useless.Thats the huge mirror that we had to actually cut from the wall, plasterboard and everything as it had been glued.
The larger Living room side didnt even have window to the outside in it so it felt really dark.It leads into the little Sitting room extension which they had built covering the external window and one of the 6 (some are going) external doors in the house.

 
You can see how dark it was with the stone wall and without a window.....like a cave!


We took down the stud wall dividing the space and moved the main Living room to the other end- the one with a window. We removed the weird dado rail thing which had an extra layer of plasterboard GLUED underneath it round the entire room.....just repairing, smoothing, filling and sanding the wall after this took us a long time.
We put up a new wall, this time dividing the room better proportionally, keeping the Living room at the end with the larger window and creating a Dining room at the other.
We built a false chimney breast with an oak beam mantle, layed a new hearth and plumbed in a larger wood-burning stove. Its seriously toasty in there when the stove gets going.
We went with good old Magnolia paint for now as its cheap and cheerful.

  Looking through from the Dining end.......




You can see though to the little sitting room extension..... We sold the external glass door that was there and replaced with a reclaimed old pine one but it isnt fitted yet and theres no door surround or anything either.
The light fittings arnt staying either....not our taste but not offensive enough for the expense of replacing them just yet.




I love the fireplace Euan has built, we stuck brick slips on the back to cover the dirty stone behind it. The flue coming out of the top is actually just placed there- the real flue exit is out the back of the stove into the original chimney. Its all an illusion!


At the other end, there was an exposed original stone wall but they had ruined it with an open fire which was not done safely at all and was a major fire hazard ( a definate nono for a firemans house.) With the lack of natural light, it felt very 'cave-like.' so it had to go.
We covered it and on my birthday in March, a builder knocked through a window - that was a great day! The light flooded in and we could see the garden.

That's Euan and my Papa in the photo, putting the window in with the builder.

We had to design a fireplace that would work with the existing ugly concrete mantle which was very low, so we came up with the brick arch and fireplace which we built in front of it. We laid another new hearth there and put in another woodburner.
We havnt got it properly set up yet so I will put some nicer pictures up when we do but you can see the space.

 This is a good before and after. That pine bookcase is right in front of the old open fireplace.....where the new fireplace is now.You can see the start of the new stud divinding wall going up.


I dont know if we will ever light that stove- the one at the other end heats both spaces really well but it looks the part! You can see the new window in the dining room...that room needed natural light so badly.


Euan made a lovely job of boxing it in and built me a window seat to look out onto the garden.
I should put a better photo on of that. Here it is from the outside.....we plan to add georgian bar to all the windows eventually....add some character!


I am still unsure about the carpet. I came home from a night shift after it had been laid in my absence and cried ( silly I know, its only carpet!) because it was a lot darker than it looked in the carpet shop.
It cost me 3 months overtime and we had the very cold and drafty floor boards for the last 7 months ....the wooden floor were actually nice but just too cold. Its not a warm house so we are doing everything we can to make it warmer. I was so excited about getting the carpet and its too expensive to change so I hope it grows on me.

Then there is the wee sitting room at the front... as it was the day we moved in....



Which now looks like this..........

Again, not totally finished or totally furnished but a vast improvement on concrete blocks!
We changed the outside door for a window, it meant the room could be used much better rather than kind of being just a 'through' room.It will be a little sitting room and one day when we have kids, a play room.

So those are the latest developments. We have pretty much run out of money for now so over the next few months, now that the weather is warming up (Yes, even in Scotland) we will be tackling the garden. Thats mostly just labour and time.We are so lucky to have a large garden, we have a hundred ideas as its kind of a blank canvas and I cant wait to stuck in.


But yesterday, we decided to just enjoy being in it.......so we got ourselves a giant trampoline second hand on gumtree....you dont need kids to get one....so much fun!


Isla was desperate to get up on it but then got scared......


Euan did some awesome tumbles....

 I hope you are all well and survived this horrendous british winter and I am looking forward to catching up with everyones blogs xxxx