The Builders are gone - Exterior reveal
I'm writing this with excitement in my belly because the builders have finally left and we feel the massive achievement that - WE DID IT! We may not have any useable rooms or plaster on the walls for that matter but we both recognise the immense achievement in getting the exterior structure up.
Where it all started
We moved into this property over 5 years ago and from the moment we viewed it we were plotting how we could transform it. It's a 1930s chalet style semi and in it's original format there was no landing. At the top of the stairs there were two doors were you entered into two decent sized bedrooms, one of which led into another room (not so cool) so we knew it could not stay the way it was.
We were very lucky in that straight after we moved in my husband (I feel that John needs a nickname for blogging purposes - Mr Skirting?) and my father-in-law started concocting plans of how we could transform and improve the space, not only making it more usable but how we could maximise the space. Utilising space to it's best use was one of Mike's niches before he retired from being an Architect. So with the Master Architect at hand, he came up with a few different plans. He started with a basic update to the original upstairs layout adding a couple of bedrooms but then realised that by having a cantilever of 30cm over the side of the house that we could add in a cheeky upstairs bathroom. We loved his ideas of this grander extension, pushing to the limits of what we could achieve and we can't quite believe that we actually managed to do his grand design in the end!
If you've been following the blog then you'll remember how difficult I found the preparation (read all about it here) and how we survived the actual build (read my top tips here) but seeing the space transformed and with the dust disappearing gradually, I really can say that it was all totally worth it! Without further ado here are some before and after photos...
There is not one part of that yucky greeny-yellow kitchen that I miss! Here you can see the main wall of the kitchen where the range cooker and most of the cupboards will be. The plan is to hide the dishwasher and washing machine and put the tumble dryer in the garage.
From this rear corner you can see how the empty space on the first floor was transformed into 2 bedrooms with an en suite bathroom and then covered in a flat roof with a parapet.
Here looking into the kitchen from the other side you can see that the kitchen wall on the ground floor hasn't moved but we have added rooms above it.
We are standing where the sloped roof used to be looking into Ethan's old bedroom (gorgeous warm grey walls and white floorboards now too dusty, dirty and broken to use!) It's incredible the amount of space that has opened up by ditching the slope and creating a flat roof and now our en-suite bedroom will be twice the size of that little bedroom.
It's worth mentioning that in order to achieve all the extra rooms in our home we planned for we had to do it in a few stages. Firstly (and due to a freak incident of the water tank valve breaking and water literally pouring out everywhere when my first son was 5 weeks!) we downsized the size of one of the bedrooms to make way for a landing. Then the second stage about a year after that was to add the bathroom and the front children's bedroom, getting rid of the chalet roof at the front.
Here are some old phone pictures of that process...
Our recent building work almost 3 years later was the most difficult but also probably the quickest! It consisted of building on top of the kitchen but because this was an old nineties extension with not sufficient foundations, we had to put huge 6m steels in the kitchen. By far this was the part of the build with the heftiest price tag and that's before any of the interiors has been tackled yet!
One issue we had with such a gap between projects was first of all saving enough money to make it happen and secondly was finding the right builder in the right time frame. We wanted to get on with it sooner rather than later and when we felt that we had found the right person, something would always fall through. Anyway, now that it's over we are over the moon but some people must think we are a little bit mad! We don't even have walls inside and the savings account is pretty much empty now. BUT THIS IS WHAT WE HAVE TO SHOW FOR IT. Drumroll please...
The Glorious Exterior
And some more without the scaffolding...
It's all a bit rough about the edges but it's safe to say that we are blown away with the aesthetic and feel of the build and can't wait to have that same finish in the garden and on the inside. Which leads me on to the....
I know this is the 'exterior reveal' but here is a little glimpse into the spaces we have now created as part of this build. They are a great size but obviously need a lot of work. The good news is that we are hoping to work our little butts off so that the children's bedroom will be ready before Christmas. I have colours and a scheme in mind but the only problem is that it was meant to be for Ethan but now his older brother Jack wants to move into the bigger room!
So what's next??
Well we have a lot of work to do! John is excited about plaster-boarding the walls, fitting the kitchen and I'm thrilled to have some new rooms to design and paint (if you want to try a bit of DIY have a peek here for my painting tips). I'm also pretty excited about learning some new skills. To John's great dismay (sorry Hun!) I'm definitely going to be doing a bit of wallpapering in the next year! I've been so inspired by reading some tips from two Interiors bloggers that I love following Lisa Dawson and Melanie Lissack and their confident approach to this dreaded skill. I'm determined to do it myself (any tips welcome!).
So now we are left we these shells of rooms, my mind is already buzzing with SO many ideas. Wallpaper, dark colours and even a bit of monochrome in the kids room (I know - pushing myself to places I'd never thought I'd go!). I just wish I could wave a magic wand and have it all done straight away but I although the next year is going to be a long and tiring journey, I know that it will be worth it and that I will have a lot of fun along the way.
Phew! This was such a cathartic and rewarding post to write! I hope you've enjoyed my ramblings about the process and journey of this renovation. I'm really excited that I get to share my thoughts and ideas with you my avid readers and friends. You guys make me even more determined to get on with these rooms so I can share them with you. WATCH THIS SPACE...
Oh and a final (and public) MASSIVE thanks to my talented and creative Father-in-Law who came up with such an amazing design of our space - thanks Mike!
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