Saturday, December 5th 2020 – The Great House Extension Project (Days 90 – 98)
We’re finally hitting the stage of the great rebuild where it’s now becoming much clearer what the space will look like when it’s done. This makes me much happier than the previous chaos with no end in sight and where it didn’t look much different at the end of it, and the dust that we’d cleaned up the day before, and the day before, and the day before, was back again.
Monday of Day 90 saw the replacement plasterers arrive (the first one, two weeks previous, didn’t show up because he had to go for a Covid-19 test instead and promptly proved to be positive), two of them on Monday and four on the subsequent two days, which meant it was all done by the end of Wednesday, so we had two days of peace that we weren’t expecting. We also had two extra days of running the heating pretty much non-stop to try and dry it out as fast as possible so that painting could start on the Monday of week 2. All the windows steamed up, and the dehumidifier needed emptying twice inside a week as opposed to its more usual once a month. By Sunday evening it was all a light shade of pink, and we’d turned the Wi-Fi connected electric and gas metre reader off because the numbers were getting scary!
I spent a chunk of Sunday online with a wardrobe planner at Ikea, trying to figure out the best way to use the dressing room space. We could go completely bespoke but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of point. By the end of the session we had what looked to be a workable solution. What they neglected to mention was that on December 1st Ikea introduced a brand-new planning tool and all plans made previous to December 1st cannot be opened! Who does that? And why?
The second week was altogether more insane. Dave and Darren turned up to paint, and started upstairs because they knew what we had planned for the rest of the week. By the end of Monday they’d painted all the upstairs spaces once fully, and were ready to start the second coat. It was starting to look a whole lot more convincing. But again we were running the heat full blast to try and make sure it dried properly. The power bills for this quarter are going to be eye-watering in every sense. Just to add to the fun, we had the Sales Rep from Hillary’s round, so we could order curtains and blinds, having worked out which fabrics we wanted. Duly measure up, we put the order in ad paid the deposit. We will at least have curtains for Christmas, even if we might not have a floor downstairs (mostly due to the effect Covid-19 seems to have had on people who can screed a floor)! We will have an upstairs that is fully useable, but it’s all going to be a bit ad hoc on the ground floor.
Tuesday (or Toosday as Dave the builder calls it) was another day of painting, and not much else happened.
Wednesday (Day 96), painting was on downstairs and upstairs two blokes from Northants Air Conditioning turned up to fit air con/heat pump units to three out of four of our bedrooms. This job started around 08:30, and they didn’t get finished until around 19:00 which meant they were working in the dark, although actually it was a pretty dull, dark day anyway and daylight never really happened. The location of the third outside unit proved a problem because it was directly opposite our neighbours’ back door, and they weren’t too happy about it, so it had to be moved, hence the really late finish, and a trip back the following day to fix a couple of bricks that they’d managed to blow when drilling out the pipework holes. They were most effective, and efficient (as well as unbelievably loud), and I’m sure the units will be brilliant once we have actually power sockets we can plug them into. We won’t have these until the electrician returns to do the second fix.
Thursday saw more painting downstairs, and the arrival of the man from Unique Floor Sanding who was going to turn our unexpectedly good upstairs floorboards into a beautiful stained floor that won’t need a carpet to hide it. He spent the day sanding the boards ready to stain and treat them, and left us with a striped patch in the middle of Lynne’s workroom to decide which of three colours we wanted to go with. It was all incredibly noisy yet again but you could absolutely see the difference between the bits he’d done and the landing/stairs that he was leaving till last. I also spent another session online with Ikea, tweaking the plan we can no longer open, but that they can. Hopefully we can order all the units in the next few days if we can get them installed before Christmas. If not, we’ll put them off till January. The room is 237 cm high and the units are 236 cm so it’s going to be close but interesting!
Friday would have been quiet, because the painting was almost done, but it was another day of floor treatment, with more cleaning, and then staining, with the mid-coloured stain. By the end of the day it looked amazing, but again we had to turn the heat on to try and get everything dry in record time.
Saturday was the final day of floor work, with the varnish going on (four coats of it). He finished at 14:00, and we were banned from walking on it for another four hours. And then only wearing socks. Sadly no one told our elderly cat, Mrs. R, who had not had a happy day being shut off from her humans for most of it. we loved the finished floor – she clearly didn’t and left us a souvenir by crapping in the middle of the bedroom some time in the night.
Monday the electrician comes back (must once again try very hard not to give in to the temptation to murder him and bury the body under what will be the new patio) and so we’ll have lights and power. The removal people have promised we can have the two (of five) containers of stuff that contain our bed and the spare beds back by 23rd December at the latest and the curtains should be with us around 10th December. So we should be able to hide out upstairs and pretend all is well.