6 posts

Updates on House redevelopment

Bye bye house

Or, “about bleedin’ time”.

Time to say goodbye to the house in Dublin. The sale took rather longer than we hoped. Sale agreed in late February, completed yesterday! The market is completely different to the last time we nearly sold it in 2005. I wonder where we would be if we had sold in 2005? Unfortunately for us and the buyers at the time my old company went titsup (as recorded by The Register some months later) about a week after we agreed to sell so we decided to pull out until I was back in gainful employment.

Anyway, it’s gone now!




Tales from the Crypt

There’s dirt and filth everywhere, all our stuff still layered in dust despite being hidden under dust sheets. Thank God Jean and the kids are in Ireland as this is really tough.

However Jean is not doing very well – she’s picked up every post-partum infection known to Woman and is really tired and stressed looking after Sophie and Lauren. I’m going back there on Wednesday night to help out and drive her back home. Lauren is aparently doing well – should be a huge difference when I see her over a week on!

The Basement guys are making progress – they’ve stripped the basement and dug out most of the area under the dining room. They’re just getting started with underpinning which involves digging one metre square pits alternately around the perimeter and building up to the foundation level. They are on site having a cup of tea at 7:00 when I am only getting up and by the time I leave at around 9 the place is thronged with workmen all bumping into each other in the hallways. I’ve got two guys with jackhammers in the basement. I’ve got two or three plumbers installing a boiler on the second floor, decomissioning gas and all the other old lead pipework and crap that is strung through the house and rehanging the radiators. Then I’ve got another two electricians completly rewiring the house top to bottom, sorting out cat5 cabling and tv/aerial connections. Hopefully they will be done by the weekend.




Did I mention the cold showers? No heating and no hot water for a week! This is an unusually long wait but purely of my own making. I have specified the most complicated route for the ducting from the boiler which is centre of house and against a party wall. It has to come out the top, wind around the ceiling of the walk-in wardrobe/hot press to the opposite side, then go up through the bathroom above and out through the roof. Cost of ducting alone is £800 but hopefully worth it for a clean installation.

The electrics I am much happier with. The house had about three generations of electrics and a crazy bakelite and barbed wire fuseboard on each floor. Now we will have a bang up-to-date system with the consumer unit in the basement area. The walk-in wardrobe space on the first floor (which I am going to have to settle on a consistent name for) will house the wireless router, network storage and telephone point. Cat5 goes from here to the livingroom, kitchen, basement, bedroom 1 and the new study room on the 2nd floor. Of course I have to terminate the network cabling myself as the electrician can only lay the cable, so it could be a protracted period of trial and error to get it right.

House Redevelopment Begins

The buliding – or more accurately, demolition – work has begun. Jean, Sophie and Lauren are safely back in Ireland while this is going on but I am faced with a cold shower in the morning. The top-floor bathroom has been stripped and will be divided into a small shower room and a study (with three girls in the house I am going to need a retreat however small!). The builder ceiling has also been stripped and will be vaulted directly upwards to a large velux window.
The rest of the house is being completely rewired – all sockets and switches being replaced, ethernet cable being installed, and new sat/tv sockets being wired.
The cellar has also been emptied and some of the internal walls taken out – I’ll put some more pics up in the next few days.




Some photos and a house update

I’ve just put a bunch of pictures up on the photos section of this site – the most recent thumbnails should be on the left and you can click on them to be taken to the gallery. The pictures currently fall into three categories – family, house and snaps – so you will see some pics of the house as it develops, some more pics of Sophie as she gets bigger and just some other photos that I like.

It’s taken a while to get used to the new camera – just as it did with the old Nikon 5700 – but it’s fun learning about it. It’s a Nikon D50 that I bought for a song (£130 including a kit lens) on ebay a couple of months ago.

We had a visit from Patricia and George yesterday. It was good to see them and to get another perspective on the house. Sophie as usual took about two hours to settle down and stop bouncing off the walls with excitement at having visitors. I kept having to pick her up and put her in the next room to cool down. She loved her present of finger paints and a paint book too, which she played with alongside me while I edited my photos last night.

The house is still the same – we are struggling to get a builder to even provide a quotation never mind agree to do the work so we may need to look further afield. We haven’t agreed on a kitchen style yet, never mind a supplier so no progress there. The living room and first floor bedrooms can be done quickly if we pull the finger out so we may try to make progress with that this week. Bedroom 1 needs to have a fairly horrible gas fire extracted from a nice marble surround. The living room needs to have a totally new fireplace to replace the over large wood burning stove.

House progress

We have been in the new house in Harrogate for just over two weeks now and we are pretty comfortable although it is a bit of an old persons house at the moment. No curtains at the front, just the previous owner’s net curtains which I can’t wait to bin. NO DISHWASHER because the small kitchen will be redeveloped soon. VERY LITTLE TELLY as the previous ownwer didn’t have one and the aerial is a little antiquated for DVB-T/FREEVIEW. NO BROADBAND so it doesn’t really feel like a home yet – according to our soon to be new ISP Eclipse anyway who reported the following survey results recently:

32% of people could not live without their curtains and only 8.5% could not live without their microwave. This compares to a staggering 92% of people who said that in the first month following moving into a new home, the one thing they wouldn’t be able to live without was their broadband connection.

The house and location are great though, 10 minutes to walk downtown, 5 minutes walk to Sophie’s school, 5 minutes drive to my office and a less pleasing 50 mins to Jean’s new office in Wakefield. The house consists of 4 large bedrooms, two on each floor, two large bathrooms, a large walk in wardrobe on the first floor. The ground floor isn’t huge – but we will join the kitchen and dining room together to create a large family room. Having the cellar though is great, we’ve got the laundry down there, an overflow fridge freezer and a larder room for storing veggies and drink. Means we don’t need to pack out the kitchen with storage.

Some oddities though. My car insurance has been hiked by £50 for moving to Harrogate from Hull. English average for car theft is 4.5 per 1000. Hull is 10 and Harrogate 2 per 1000. How does that make sense? I suspect an affordability issue. That or the fact that the theft of one Range Rover or Aston Martin from the neighbour blows more insurance company profit than 20 Citroen Saxos nicked in Hull?

Also wonderful Lib Dem Harrogate has possibly the worst recycling service anywhere. Rubbish is piled in big black binliners at the side of the house – the bin men hand you two new bags when they pick up. They don’t recyle plastics either. Jean called the council and asked why they can have a top-class service in Hull and a third world one here are the response was
“well the government likes to invest in services like that for deprived areas”. What about the £1,350 we’re investing in Harrogate council fees on an annual basis then!

Anyway, I’ll post some pictures of the house and get a before and after series going AS SOON AS I GET BROADBAND!