28th Jan: Wondrous Water

Hooray, Saturday night and the snow disappeared. After eleven days without running water, Rich and I sadly don’t have an excuse to go to Braddies Boutique and use Looby’s lovely fluffy towels for a wash. Nor did I have to endure the mental image of Richard washing his plums in the kitchen sink with a hot kettle and a bottle of Buxton. Hope you’re not eating while reading this 😉

It got a little chilly for a while

It got a little chilly for a while

What pleasure the joys of a running tap can bring. Even the Turdis, in full working order, seems like a luxury but, obviously, only if you keep the door open. To celebrate, we necked vodka.

Lordy, it was quite bad

Lordy, it was quite bad

There’s not much doing on the outside of the house but inside, it’s looking top, especially when you compare it to pics of just six months ago. We really must have been a little soft in the head. The living room has been given a couple of coats of render and it’s beginning to really take shape. With that in mind, I’ve had to start really knuckling down and parting with some cash for the final details. I’ve ordered the lovely bath from the Cast Iron Bath Company – we opted for the copper one with a tin inner, and it’s booked in for polishing early March so will get here probably in the second week. An extravagance, at £2K, but I reckon it’s definitely a justifiable one as it’s going in Liberace’s playroom along with some dark wooden flooring, LED uplighters, mirrored rococo vanity unit (actually, it’s a console table with mirror and we’re bastardising it to add freestanding tap and sink) and chandelier with matching wall lights. Sounds awful when you read it back, ha ha, can’t wait to see it finished! Not that we’ll ever use it – it’ll be such an expensive room, you’ll just have to stand and look at it.

This is the 'nearly after' shot of the same room, Paul's!

This is the ‘nearly after’ shot of the same room, Paul’s!

I’ve also managed to procure a gorgeous Matki shower for the main bathroom, and Matki door and tray for our ensuite. I saw the Matki products some way back at one of the home renovation shows and it’s one of things we were hoping not to skimp on. It’s not that we’re label snobs, but I’ve never found a shower door that closes with the solid ‘thunk’ of a Matki one, all British made too. There was much head scratching about our shower room, I can tell you. I love the big hinged doors and the initial idea was to fit and full glass panel to the end of the shower-room, so the whole thing became a shower. But a) it won’t fit and b) have you seen the cost of the bespoke glass units, which we’d need, thanks to the sloping roof?  Instead, we’ve gone for a 900mm bi-fold door and a tiled panel, with a 1200 tray. We debated about whether it would be a spacious place to have a wash, then realised that the only comparison was the caravan shower which is about the size of an elves’ shoe. I think 1200x900mm will be plentiful. Now all we need to decide on is which way to go with the tiling. It could be a while…

Brett, totally bald and taken for a £5 haircut

Brett, totally bald and taken for a £5 haircut, throwing some shapes

As for things like taps and shower valves, I’m afraid I have gone kind of cheap. Not cheap, exactly, but cheap compared to what Richard wanted. Plumber Nigel recommended we went for exposed shower valves – if you have a problem, you can just replace them rather than gouging out your lovely tiles and digging out your entire bathroom. He has a point. Rich was looking through some catalogues for our freestanding bath tap. Christ have you seen the price of them? Yes, it’s lovely Rich, but at £1800, for a tap, it bloody well ought to be. I’ve found a pretty hefty one (in weight, I’m hoping that translates to quality) for £400, reduced to £179. It’s probably shite as a tap, but it does look quite nice, I’ve found a matching sink tap (for the rococo basin thing, remember) and, well, we can always change it at a later date. Same goes with the shower valves and heads, I’ve spent a monumental £200 on them both. I may well come to regret it. Then again, I may not, and I’ll be quids in.

You've seen this one before, but it's funny

You’ve seen this one before, but it’s quite funny

We’ve pinned down the flooring for upstairs and down, too. I’ve never been a big fan of engineered wood – probably because I’ve only seen it in one house, and it looks shite, but actually, there’s loads of options out there and we’ve chosen one that looks quite rustic (well, not new anyway) for the living room and hallway. By all accounts, natural wood and underfloor heating is a total pain in the arse and now I’ve managed to look at about fifteen hundred engineered samples, I’m happy with the final selection.  Upstairs, we were going to go with carpet in the bedrooms but I’m telling you, the house is talking to us and it wanted dark oak in the old bedrooms and bathroom, so that’s what we’re going for (that and the fact that we can get the VAT back on wood, but not carpet). I’m hoping that Manesh from UKFlooringDirect is going to give me a very good deal. Hi Manesh, hope you’re reading this, we’re up to 55,000 views don’tcha know 😉

There's no rhyme or reason for these pictures

There’s no rhyme or reason for these pictures

Same goes for the tiling in the kitchen and utility areas. Limestone is lovely, but a porcelain that looks like limestone and therefore is totally low maintenance, and far cheaper to boot, is even better. Look at Mandarin Stone if you want a limestone floor without the sealing and cleaning hassle.

Speaking of stairs, little Geoff the joiner has been back and measured up. He’s going to do the windows in our bedroom (Howarth’s couldn’t do it as they were out of their standard sizes), the oak and glass front door and the stairs. I was hoping to buy some cheap stairs off the internet (actually, the company in question do a lot of stairs for the main suppliers so are only cheap because you go direct) but the guy, called Clive, was fucking useless. And patronising. I dismissed him after about three minutes, and realised why little Geoff would be the better, albeit more expensive option. Clive, just in-case you’re reading this, you’re an idiot.

Wait til you see the whole thing!

Wait til you see the whole thing!

Tomorrow brings the luvvies back. Presenter Simon came before we started on our ‘journey’ and he works on his own renovation jobs so it’ll be interesting to see what he thinks of the place. Throughout the build, filming has been largely down to one man and his camera (Vince) but, no doubt, they’ll turn up tomorrow with make-up crews, runners, first gaffers and some other such flunkies. Just in case, DependaPaul had his hair cut the other night and, so he didn’t feel left out, Brett had his done too. Paul has hair. Brett doesn’t. It cost Brett a fiver, Stu and I reckon he was robbed 😉



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