Thursday, 27 December 2012

A big update

I promise we're still here, and still plodding on in our own way. It's just been a blog-free-from-me plod because I've been distracted. Luckily Cassian has been keeping you a bit up to date with wall-y shenanigans, and who doesn't love those?

Here's a little round up of other events chez Golem in recent months.

Toby came to stay for a week unexpectedly, and to make up for imposing on us so horrifically*, worked like a dog on the spare room. The removal of the tiles on the walls left hundreds of holes, large and small, and he filled them all up. Every last one!

B.T. (Before Toby)

A.T. (You get the idea)

This room has been patiently awaiting a paint job ever since, mostly because after Toby left, we filled it with bags full of broken up plasterboard from the hallway walls, and had to wait for that to be disposed of before we could even get through the door! It's clear again now, so will hopefully soon be looking swish and ready for a big reveal.

Speaking of the hallway walls, we have now gone from this, to this, to this!

Apologies for the rubbish shot, but you get the idea!
The hallway which gave this house it's original nickname (Labyrinth, for those who may not remember) is now wider and much, much lighter, and in the course of this big improvement we have made both Joe and Cassian's rooms bigger. Win all round! Their new walls are still at the plasterboard stage, but will hopefully be lovingly plastered soon. There is an enormous amount of making good to do, both in their rooms and in the hallway, but the big layout change is at least done, and sound insulation fitted in all the new partition walls. The studwork is staying here to be recycled, so we'll be taking it down in a leisurely fashion at some point soon. Toby came for another week and worked for days on this too, and very grateful for his help we are too.

This whole corner is now in Cass' room and not the hallway. Woop!

Outside of the house, there have been no big changes. We have finally accepted that rebuilding the wall is beyond us, and in mid-January a builder is coming to do the footings (and possibly the wall too). Although this is going to be a much more costly route, we have decided that delaying some other work in order to get this huge, lingering and in-the-meantime-quite-dangerous job done is something worthwhile. Personally, I can't wait for it to be done so we can start Operation Clean-up in the garden, which includes knocking down the breeze block wall which someone has plonked, very badly, on top of the Victorian stone wall between here and next door, and lifting the concrete. So much to do!

Speaking of paying professionals to swoop in and majestically fix things, we recently spent less than the cost of one new window to have six windows repaired. Between them they needed new hinges, handles, internal gear-y bits and panes of glass, and in the space of a few hours they were all as good as new. I swear the house has been less drafty as a result, Flick can now  see her wonderful view at last, and the frames should be good for a long time yet.

One of the hardest things I am finding about the work is that we are constantly delving into things and discovering over a century of tinkerers like ourselves and their weird ways of doing things. The house is not in a bad enough state to rip everything out completely and start again with bare walls, far from it, but I almost wish we could sometimes. This has obviously always been the case as lots of others have been there before us, adding layer upon layer of their own best efforts. The handrail of the stairs is a good example. It is completely different on each floor, and being me, I'd love to continue the small section of original handrail on the top floor back down to the bottom of all the stairs, and try to find some suitably authentic-ish spindles. Alas, someone has removed a key part of each stair on one section in order to fit their own bodge, so this would be much harder than it sounds. In order to make the handrail make sense, we would probably have to rip it all out, including the good bits, which seems to be the dilemma we arrive at in every room of the house.

Our financial year ends in a few days, so amongst other things we will be re-jigging all our work budgets, and re-planning out work priorities to match. Once the garden wall is done, we will probably be re-doing three of our four roofs, a thought which fills me with terror and delight in equal measures. Knowing the roofs are all in good nick will be the most wonderful thing, and we are hoping to re-roof the dormers and bay window at the same time. There's just the small matter of spending a few wintry weeks up four storeys of scaffolding to deal with! If that sounds like your thing, then please get in touch and we can let you know when we know more about dates.

I think that's everything, or everything major at least. I'll endeavour to update you more often, and will hopefully soon have a fabulous garden wall to show off. You never know!

- Hannah

* I jest, of course. He's been invaluable :D

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Holes! In the wall!

I know, right? Awful picture. The house is wonky, but not *that* wonky; that was my laptop webcam being awkward to use.

However, it shows how different things are looking. That doorway to the right wasn't there before; this is the view from my bedroom door, which is also soon to move, and I previously was unable to see any of this. It was just wall. The studwork is pretending to be banisters for the time being.

Those pesky previous landlords, of which there is often at least one, decided that splitting our house into two flats was a good idea. So there were lots of funny shaped rooms and doorways in odd places. Coming down the stairs seemed like an epic mission to me, the sleepiest Golem, because to get upstairs from my room involved a weird U-turn detour thing.

It is now starting to open up and become glorious. The lightbulbs shine over a bigger area now, which saves electricity and makes the hallways safer, I feel. It would've become even more glorious today, except my lovely housemates held off on the work because I've been asleep all day with some kind of hideous stomach bug. What a bunch of legends.

The longer I am here, the more I get over my living-with-people grievances and love the place and its inhabitants.

This has gotten rambly. My point being, we're going to need to deal with an awful lot of plasterboard waste soon. At least it gets recycled, eh?