A sign

Thursday, 31 March 2011
We've run out of oil at our old house - I'm taking it as a sign that it's time to go! Our new house is lovely and we can't wait to get in. Our builder is even lending us his van to move some of our stuff. How decent is that? I haven't mentioned Adrian very much, I'm not sure why when everyone else has had a mention. Maybe I was trying to keep him on his toes :0) At the start of this project I was dreading having a builder that I couldn't work with but thankfully my fears were unfounded. Adrian's "can do" attitude is a breath of fresh air, especially when you have ideas like mine! He makes it easy to ask for what you really want, knowing that he won't laugh (well mostly). He is genuinely interested in new ideas and always gives good advice. Thank goodness he is patient and has been more than generous with his time helping us to get to where we are today. That sounds like a reference! Not a bad one either :0) Right that's enough being nice, off to bed now, busy day tomorrow.

OMG! We're moving...

Wednesday, 30 March 2011
You wouldn't think it would be a surprise to me but it has come as a bit of a bolt out of the blue that we are moving this weekend! Until today we weren't totally sure it was going to happen because the carpets hadn't come in. However, I got the call at midday today to say they had arrived, so they are being fitted on Friday. McAuleys kitchen people are delivering the electrical appliances as well, so its all go. Gerry the tiler has been doing a lovely job on the ground floor. I am going up tomorrow am. to just confirm that the grout (which has been changed!) is to my liking. We are short a box of tiles to do around the bath panel but they will be available on Monday, so there's a wee bit of work there after we get in. The horrible plastic has been removed from the window frames and they look fantastic (make for boring pictures though). Joe has been working away on the patio, it was half completed today so hopefully almost done by now. The guys were working away on leveling the back "lawn" area and the granite kerbs have been put in place. A replacement loo has been delivered for the family bathroom at last, but we have had a wee problem with the shower enclosures, quite bad scratches on them so they need to be returned, but I'm assured they will be replaced tomorrow. A lady is coming on Monday to measure for blinds. I'm scared I will forget she is coming with everything thats going on. Kitchen worktop is being fitted on Monday as well, at least hubby will be there to supervise. Outstanding issues - I still haven't got a post box or a door bell, nor shelving for the larder. Sounds minor but not having a post box is a bit of an issue, we've already had mail returned. Not sure how I have fitted it all in in the last 3 months, mostly on my own. I have had the kids, homeworks (including 11+ stuff), school runs, swimming lessons, housework and food shopping, builders queries, suppliers deliveries and various decisions to make. On top of that I have had viewings for this place and I dare not forget that the hubbys fortieth birthday is looming. Is there any wonder I've been in bed at 8:30 a lot of the time? On the whole it's a bit of an emotional time for me and the wee girls (hubby seems to be immune to it all). Kids were crying this week cos they don't want to go. We have been very happy in this house and we have a lot of good memories, but it is time to go. Time to make new memories in our beautiful new house :0)

An update for the distant husband

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Good progress is being made. I have to choose grout tomorrow and go and pick up more tiles. I really need to get a letter box sorted as well as we are having mail returned.

The lights in the hall, they will light up and down when all the bulbs are in!

Sink has been installed in family bathroom:

Garage has a window now!

Interesting light fitting above garage door!

Kitchen diner tiles well underway:

No. 34 update

Tuesday, 29 March 2011
I've had 3 more viewers in the last week but unfortunately although they love the house, they are not in a position to make an offer as they cannot get their own houses sold. First time buyers appear to be few and far between and the help for first time buyers announced in the budget wont help much either because it applies only to new builds. Personally I think that is very limiting with regard to the choices available to a first time buyer.

One Week To Go

Sunday, 27 March 2011
Next weekend will see me celebrate my 40th birthday. Imagine, 40 years of age!

I'd always hoped that we would have moved in to our new house in time for my birthday and we would've loved for friends to come along to a party in the new house. However, the kitchen won't be ready in time and the upstairs carpets will miss the deadline by 24 hours.

The idea of taking this coming Friday as a day off from work in order to perform the lift and shift of all our worldly possessions just can't happen. At least, not entirely.

Moving over the course of the weekend still might be possible, though that would mean moving on my birthday - some birthday celebration, eh?

That said, no fault can be assigned to our builder who has been brilliant. Internally, we merely have the floor tiles to be laid, wooden floors to be laid and some minor electrical tests. Externally, we have a bit of paving to do and a driveway to be laid. All of these tasks are still on target - apparently.

The paving and steps around the house look terrific so far:

Obviously there is a lot of dust around, but it should give you an idea of how it is coming along. The path at the back looks like this:

And internally, our wood burning stove has turned up and has been installed. Try to forget the cement mixer sitting in front of it:

So this day next week - I'll be 40 and we may be in our new house!


Thursday, 24 March 2011
The view from the kitchen into the hall.

The sink in the ensuite.

The wood burning fire in the kitchen diner.

We have handrails on the stairs now.

Front steps. Aren't they looking good?

It is Saturday, isn't it?

Saturday, 19 March 2011
Stephen and I went up today and there was Joe working away! He is doing a great job on the paths and steps around the house. Backbreaking work but what a lovely result.

The family bathroom has been grouted now and it looks beautiful. My father-in-law and his wife were up with us and were impressed with the work that has been done.

My lovely fire has been installed and I can imagine sitting there on a winter evening with it lit. Just needs finished off around the edges and it will look great.

The kitchen has to be measured for the Corian worktops but nearly there.

The utility room.

Next week we have yet more tiles being delivered on Monday - to that end, the heat has been running all weekend in an attempt to get the floor completely dried out.

On Tuesday, the rest of the bathroom suites are being delivered - so hopefully they will be installed next week as well.

I had the upstairs measured for carpet on Friday afternoon and have various carpet samples lying around. I have a very good idea what I want but the samples look different when you get them in the rooms. I also need to start thinking about some blinds and curtains.


Wednesday, 16 March 2011
In three days this week, the progress has been fantastic! I have been trying to stay away because there is so much going on and I don't want to get in the way!

It has been pointed out that I haven't mentioned Bertie much in this blog and he is feeling left out! Well, that won't do now will it? I think I would be right in saying that if it wasn't for Bertie, we wouldn't be where we are today. He has kept everything going along smoothly and I'm sure he has dealt with more issues than I have got to hear about. I have appreciated his straight forward advice, even if I didn't always take it :0)

Here are the beginnings of a lovely set of steps that are being built at the front and there's Bertie examining them!

The garage has been rendered.

The kitchen has been painted and most of the carcasses have been built.

Our Master ensuite shower has been tiled and is looking so good. I just love the black tiles and the tilers have done a really brilliant job - it wasnt easy cutting around the shelves and there's a curved bit too above the shower. And not a bit of tile trim in sight.

The family bathroom (blurry photo-oops). This is so lovely and bright and clean looking, it's a shame to allow the kids in here, but we'll probably have to. I think this turned out very well, were the sleepless nights worth it? Yes probably, I can sleep some other time :0)

It's all systems go

Monday, 14 March 2011
There is so much going on it's hard to know where to start!

The tiling has started in the family bathroom and our ensuite. This is not a very good photo, but I think the black tiles look fantastic. I love it!

The painter has started in Rachels bedroom and it looks brighter.

And best of all, when I arrived this morning at 10:30, the lights and the heat were on. And Trevor and Roger our electricians were there too, so we did a tour and double checked everything. The light I have picked for the outside above the patio is too small - so I need to have another go at it. Anyway, here is a blurry photo of our kitchen lights. It probably seems silly to get excited about it, but we've been waiting for so long and we are delighted.

The wood buring fire comes tomorrow as does the kitchen, although it's not being fitted til Wednesday. In addition to all of that there are joiners putting on doors and men outside building paths and steps. Hope there are no more hail storms on the way and that the sunny weather is here to stay.

The Big Switch On

Sunday, 13 March 2011
Monday 14th March... That's the day that the electric finally gets switched on and the house will light up.

Tuesday 15th March... That's the day that the kitchen gets delivered and the fireplaces turn up.

Wednesday 16th March... That's the day that the kitchen will be fitted.

In and around all of this, the interior will be painted, doors will be hung (albeit all the upstairs doors are now in place). Patios will be laid and front door steps will be constructed. The garage will be rendered and the roofing completed.

In short - this is going to be a big week. There will hardly be room to move on site. (Thankfully, I'll be nowhere to be seen!). It still seems like there is a lot to do and a very short period of time to do it, but I guess the professionals are involved rather than a DIY amateur like me - if I were to hang a door, I'm quite sure it would take me hours!!!

As with every blog entry, it is appropriate to show some imagery - people like photos because some people can't read. So here you go:

A boiler:

The electrical consumer unit:

The view from the top of the stairs:

I wonder should we start to think about packing up and getting ready to move in?

The Doors

Wednesday, 9 March 2011
No, not a reference to the late Jim Morrisons band (which might have made more exciting reading than the rest of this post), but we have doors on site! Here are some just sitting there..

And here's one which has been hung in Rachel's room! I think the hinges are great, all down to ball bearings apparently.
And we have an almost finished garage.
Another not very exciting photo but it charts our progress - sockets have been done and most of our downlights are in as well.

Outside, most of the raised beds have been plastered and several big piles of pavers are waiting to be put down.
I went down to Randalstown on Tuesday and ordered the tiles and today I picked the door handles. I need to get the wooden floor nailed down (ha ha!)
As far as the near future is concerned, the upstairs tiling will be started on Monday. The kitchen is delivered on Tuesday and will be installed on Wed - Fri. So in a week and a half from now, we will have an almost habitable house. It is really starting to come together and everything I have thought about for hours and planned in detail for months will become a reality.

Artichokes or Pinecones?

Wednesday, 9 March 2011
I think I have chosen the light for the hall.

it is a snip at only £50k. For goodness sake - it is 24 carat gold!

Ok, ok, ok - I'm only joking. I am gonna take the advice of our architect who (like ourselves) has very good taste, and I'm going for a reproduction of the same light. I can hear the bank account breathe a sigh of relief.


Sunday, 6 March 2011
I had a 2 hour meeting with Trevor, our electrician, on Friday, to discuss the lights. We had a lot to get through but it's nearly nailed! We're having mostly downlights, but in the hall, we're having these:

Outside on the raised beds we're having these:

We have still to sort out the ones on the front steps and by the front door.

For the hall I love the PH Artichoke light:

But I think I will be having the Norm 69 instead as it comes in a bigger size:

Buying Tiles

Sunday, 6 March 2011
I knew I would struggle with the tiles as there are so many options available, just when I think I've got it sorted, I see something else. However I knew that I always wanted a black ensuite. Something like these would be good. However I am not sure whether to tile some or all of it. I am absolutely delighted with the chunky shelves that the joiner has put in to utilise a bit of space behind the shower. It is exactly what I wanted and I love it! Now should I go with the black grout or not?

I (at the moment!) have chosen this grey colour for the other bathrooms. There is a 30x60 that goes with this mosiac. Also I am thinking of having a white tile for the family bathroom to brighten it up a bit. But what to put where? The floors are easy - they will be the 30x60 grey one, but the walls? Aargh.

Some ideas:

These are fairly simple looking - easier said than done I think.

Stairway To Heaven

Saturday, 5 March 2011
The builders have been busying themselves with the landscaping over the past week but that hasn't stopped some work continuing indoors.

The stairs have been installed but have also been "built-in" now. The hallway no longer has dodgy ladders or precarious scaffolding:

Of course, the stairs are currently protected , but the effect is still quite something when you have been used to a blank void!

Indoors, there isn't too much left to do. Install the kitchen; install the bathrooms; install the electrical fittings; do some tiling and install the fires. Actually, now that the list has been written out, there's still plenty to do. However, we are into the final four weeks apparently and it won't be long before we can open the bubbly and celebrate moving in to our new home.

Now - time mto draw up an invite list for the house-warming party!

Number 34

Tuesday, 1 March 2011
Two last minute viewers squeezed in today. Very positive vibes, one works for a builder so he was very interested in the plans for the extension we had planned. Fingers crossed again.