Wednesday, July 25, 2012

New Doors

So I had to replace all of the internal doors - in fact there were only 3, one on the kitchen that had glass in which was not safety glass:

Then there was one on the living room that had a chunk cut out of it (for cables maybe) and one on the bathroom door that had a hole in it for a vent. Although at one point the doors might have been nice, they had been altered and damaged and were really not worth holding on to. So, in with some basic new doors:


The chippie was here all day fitting the 4 new doors so I am pretty glad that I didn't try to do it myself as I am sure I would have taken a lot longer (and probably struggled hugely to get them to hang straight!).

I still have the long task of sanding, filling and painting the architraves and painting the doors so that will be a big old job.

Garden Wildlife!

So on Monday the sun was out in full force so I thought it best if I worked in the garden. One thing that I have found is that there are heaps of ants nests. All along the paving and even in the lawn there are tons of them. I have doused a load with boiling water and put powder down on some but it seems never ending. Monday seemed to be flying ant day too but I did manage to kill a lot of them off.

One of the massive ants nests in the garden :-(

There also seem to be a huge number of snails in the garden hidden in all of the nooks and crannies and climbing up many of the walls. I don't think these are particularly good for the garden but I am a bit loathe to kill them so I'm not really sure what to do about them. There seem to be a couple of snail breeding houses under some of the paving slabs and this was a bunch that I found that I have yet to decide what to do with!

So last on the wildlife list for Monday was when I was clearing out some of the large number of pots that were in the garden and taking them down to the tip. One did not have any holes in the bottom and so had some water left in it and a little friend in the bottom...

He was relocated to the back of the garden :-)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Drop Kerb

Oh yes and so when I spoke to Ipswich Borough Council during the week they said they would send out a form to apply for a drop kerb so that I can have a driveway in front of the house. However, on Friday a man from the council knocked on my door to actually discuss it. He said that there was no problem in having one but he didn't know how much it would cost. He would pass on his recommendation of approval and someone would come round to measure up and give me a quote. One of the approved contractors for doing the drive is the chippie who is doing the doors so that is good to know. I'm still not sure if I will be able to afford it but it is a bit annoying that people park on the verge right in front of my house so it would be pretty useful and a good selling point. There is a house 50 yards down the road for sale, again a 2 bed bungalow but it has extra grounds and a garage and off road parking as well as a conservatory and it is up for £139,950. 

More Work On The Garden

So as it was such a nice day today I did a bit more work on the garden. There is a lot of work to do and it will likely take months to get it nice. There are huge numbers of weeds everywhere and the grass was really long so it will take a while to recover. I started yesterday by scrubbing up some of the paving slabs to see how they would come out after a clean. I reckon I can manage at most 4 slabs a day as it is really hard work (especially as I need to take care of my back!). Anyway, you can see the difference that a good scrub can make on them here:

I also cleared the weeds from half of the patio behind the lean to which now just needs a bit of a scrub too, but that can wait for another day! I have done quite a bit of cutting back at the front as well and to show for it have a complete brown bin full of waste. I thought I had better do as much as I could as the bin men come tomorrow.

Still more to do but making progress!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Get the Chippie In

So yesterday i had a few people come round - the electrician came round to check out all the stuff that I needed done with that - I might need a new RCD(?) board and also I want some more sockets plus some extra ones taken out. He will also quote for taking away the storage heaters as I was wondering how I would get rid of those.

The chippie also came round - he gave me a flyer a few weeks ago as I was coming out of Wickes so I gave him a ring - seems like a nice guy and he can pretty much do anything! First thing I want to get done is to get some doors put on - the bedrooms do not have doors and the bathroom and living room doors need replacing. he sent me down to Magnet to order the doors and handles as he said they had the best trade prices. I got 4 doors with handles and hinges etc for £144 and he will hang them for £25 each so a total of about £250 for the 4 doors. Slightly over my budget but I'm now not sure if I would have got them any cheaper elsewhere. Hopefully he will do them next week.

I also phoned the council to get a form to possibly apply for a drop kerb so that i can put in a drive - there is plenty of room in the front so it just depends how much it will all cost.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Quote for Central Heating and Bathroom

So last week a plumber came round to give me a quote for the central heating and bathroom. He is a guy I used a couple of years ago to do 2 bathrooms in my previous house so I know he will do a decent job for a good price. The quote he gave me for both installing the central heating system (including all the radiators and the new boiler) together with supplying and fitting a new bathroom suite was pretty much exactly on my budget so that was good news. I just need to get the tiles in and I have now chosen which ones I want which are only about £10 a sq m so good value. A friend of mine used these same tiles in her bathroom and it looks really good so I know I have made the right choice. Now I just need to go pick them up and hope my back doesn't give out! The plumber can't start til mid/late August as he is always really busy but the gas supply won't be installed until then anyway.

Looking Behind the Fireplace

So the fireplace in the living room had just been covered up by a wooden surround and a sheet of wood in front of it - not very exciting. There was a slim chance that there might be something interesting behind this but given the age of the property (50/60s?) I kind of doubted it. Anyway, this evening I felt like I needed to do something so I just thought I would see what was behind the piece of wood. Well obviously once I started I couldn't stop there!

This is what the fireplace looked like at first:

So then I took away the wood from the front and there was a bit of a hotch potch of tiles behind:

I hacked the tiles off and found that there were a few layers of wood behind...

Having taken away the first couple of layers (and having to remove the surround which was attached to a socket on the right of the chimney breast!) there was a hacked up door underneath:

So at this point I was pretty sure there was nothing decent underneath and I was proved right in that there was just the remains of the old open fireplace (sorry for the letdown ending!)

So now I just need to find someone to come and block it all up and plaster over it so that I can just hang a wall mounted electric fire on there. I have the electrician coming to give me a quote tomorrow so I can sort out a power supply for it too.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

12 July Update

So yesterday my friend helped me to get my wardrobe out of storage and up in the bedroom :-) I really needed her help as it was pretty heavy and not something I could do on my own even if I didn't have a bad back. However, I hadn't quite estimated how deep it was so I will have to strip a bit more wallpaper and paint more of the wall! I'm glad I did the bulk of it behind the wardrobe though.

The man from National Grid came this morning to check out the situation for the gas supply (there isn't one) and says it should get installed quite quickly - which means 3-4 weeks. Oh well the plumber isn't free til then anyway!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Doing things the strange way!

So this week I have started to strip the wallpaper from the bedrooms but I have been doing it in a bit of a strange way! I have a short attention span and so I like to see progress going quickly. So in the 2nd bedroom (which has lots of stuff in) I cleared all the stuff at one end and stripped the wallpaper, filled in the holes, sanded the walls and painted 2 coats of magnolia - just at the end of the room! This means that I can move some stuff to that end of the room and then start on the rest of it while moving stuff round. Oh well it works for me!

So last night I stripped the wallpaper from 1 alcove in my bedroom where the wardrobe was going to go so that I wouldn't have to move it again - did the same thing - stripped, filled, sanded and painted a bit. This afternoon my friend is going to help me get the wardrobe up so I can get the stuff in it that is hanging around.

So the good news is that the plaster is good in the bedrooms at least and should not need replastering - hooray!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Getting Quotes

So I had a guy in for some quotes today. He did 2 bathrooms for me in my previous house for quite a good price so I thought I would try him again. I need to keep the costs as low as possible or else there will be no profit in it. At the moment I think it is going to take £10k to do all the work (which I don't actually have!) and that should give me £10-15k profit hopefully. But every extra will eat into this and it seems that there is plenty of extra work that could be done. I just need to stick to my guns and keep it as simple as possible.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Slow and Sure!

So it is a bit of a slow business getting everything started. I haven't yet moved all of my belongings in as I want to sort out what is here first. I have set up a small desk in the living room so that hopefully I will be able to work on the smallish second bedroom first as that doesn't need a huge amount of work. The main thing in there is that the sockets do not appear to work but as I am getting an electrician in for a quote on Tuesday I will have to wait until all that is sorted. There is also cabling going over the wall so that needs to be inset but apart from that it just needs decorating and a new carpet.

Did some more on the back garden - mowed the grass (can't call it a lawn yet!) and did some weeding but the patio areas will need a heck of a lot of work!

I also put down some lino in the bathroom that I had in my studio before as the floor was very sticky from the previous flooring.
The bathroom as it was before the lino went down (not that it looked much better afterwards!)

The patio that requires rather a lot of weeding!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Attacking the Garden - Before Pics

So the first job I did was to start on the garden. As the place had been left empty for at least 3 months before I moved in and there had been a lot of rain in that time, the grass was, let's say, more like a field! Luckily I had a strimmer so that was set to work straight away. Only thing with a strimmer is, how on earth do you fix it so that you can just keep feeding the line through rather than having to take the thing apart even time it breaks?

Anyway, here are some pictures of the garden just before (and halfway through) attacking it: