RENOVATION DIARIES: We Bought a House, What Happens Next?

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So, it’s been a few months since we bought our house in August 2021. We haven’t really done much to the house as this time we are doing a much bigger renovation project. There isn’t much we can do at the moment apart from plan and work out what we need to do and in which order. So we are currently living in a but of a building site, very cold one for that matter and planning our house renovation! You can see the the full house tour [the before] in this post and continue to follow the progress as we go along on my instagram account. We absolutely love our house and we have so many ideas on what we want to do to make the most of it, the plans have been submitted to the Planning Office and we just have to wait and hope they get approved!!

THE HOUSE AND EXTENSION

This house has such an amazing potential, we want to make sure we do this beautiful house justice so we are taking our time to make sure we get it right! We had an idea on what wanted to achieve when we came to view it for the first time, we both had the same vision and having worked with our architect on the plans we are very happy and hope they get approved soon.

The current kitchen in the house is very small and completely inadequate for us. We always knew that we would need to build an extension to have that open plan kitchen/dining room we both love. Remember our old kitchen makeover? We have a big enough garden so an extension was always on the cards even we came to view the house for the first time. By creating a new space for the kitchen and dining room, the current kitchen will become our utility room. We did debate on whether or not we should turn it into a second bathroom, but as it is only two us us, utility made more sense. It is perfect size to store away things and have the washing machine and dryer!

The old dining room will also become a room with a new purpose and we will be building up a wall to create a downstairs toilet. It is interesting to learn that it appears, there was a wall place already originally as the floorboards and therefore beams are changing direction. We always thought that the hallway wall was a little odd, but when the asbestos panels came off (read below), we could see an opening which used to be the original doorway.

ASBESTOS

When we first saw the house, we were both mesmerised by the gorgeous “wooden” panels in the dining room and the hallway. During the negotiation process it turned out that the beautiful “wood” was actually asbestos sheets. This actually worked in our favour as practically everyone who was meant to view the house dropped out, as soon as they heard the word “asbestos”. We also re-negotiated the price following the test results.

Our first job, when we moved in the house was to arrange the removal of the panels. This perhaps could have waited as unless you move or cut into the boards, they are ok to live with and not dangerous. However, we thought that it would be best to get them out as soon as possible. What we didn’t realise was that after the removal of the asbestos boards we would be left with unfinished walls and gaps, which meant a very draughty house. Combined with the house that has old radiators (some of which have been removed to allow the asbestos removal company take them off easily) meant that we have been living in a very cold house for the last few months!

GARDEN

The garden is beautiful and has so many trees, shrubs and bushes it needs some serious attention as the lady who lived here before us was elderly and all this was too much for her, so the garden is very mature, shall we say? As we are planning on building an extension at the back, the bushes on the side of the house will need to go. Thankfully the big pine and oak tree can stay, which is amazing as I love these trees in our garden. Did you know that trees are protected in the Isle of Man, which means you need a special permit to cut them.

REWIRING

As this is an older house, the electrics needs updating.. It is safe enough for now but it will need a complete rewire, all sockets, switches and electrics will need to be updated. We are planning on doing this possibly in stages or perhaps when we come to build the extension. We are still debating about this.. This house even have sockets in the skirting boards, the switches are the wrong heights and some are very very questionable indeed!! Rewiring is on our MUST do list. Thankfully we have a brilliant electrician, who we used in the other house renovation and we trust him completely to sort the electrics in the new house.

DOORS

The doors in the house have been painted to match the panelling and is a very interesting finish. It looks like there are many layers of various paint and some of it is lead. We used this lead testing kit to test the paintwork in the house. We have been in touch with a specialist, who has tested one door to see if it was possible to have them dipped. Their concern was that the panel in the door, could possibly be ply, which might disintegrate in the solution. I am happy to report, that the door is solid pine door and dipping worked! We were told that the downstairs doors with 6 panels were more intricate and more expensive, than the 4 panel doors upstairs, but they are all solid wood. We now need to decide whether to get them dipped in the spring (at a cost of around £50 per door) or to attempt to strip them myself using the paint stripper.

GAS TO OIL CONVERSION

Currently we have gas heating system. This is very expensive in the Isle of Man and to be honest I am not a fan of gas.. If you follow me on Instagram you will remember the ENORMOUS gas bill we received last month and we don’t even have any heating on.. The radiators are also very old and the boiler system isn’t great in this house with the huge water cylinder upstairs. We have had a couple of issues with the boiler losing the pressure so we are converting from gas to oil in the next couple of weeks. The plumber has been round to check everything and everything is ordered, so once we have laid the concrete base outside the potting shed, the oil tank can be installed. This should take a couple of days so we will probably move in with the in-laws for a couple of days whilst the work is being carried out. We still won’t have the radiators installed but at least I will be able to have a bath which won’t cost me hundreds of pounds!! 🙂

NEW RADIATORS

As I mentioned above the radiators are old, there is quite a bit of swelling and as our plumber said these will not give great heat and also could possibly burst at any time.. Great news NOT! This means that all radiators in the house will be replaced and also repositioned as some of the layout in the house is being changed. This is on my to do list. If anyone has any suggestions or advice, please message me!!!

LOG BURNER

We have two chimney breasts and two [old] fireplaces. We have purchased a cast iron insert and a marble fireplace from Facebook marketplace for the living room to replace the pink tiled fireplace. We have now removed the old one and as this job is beyond us, plus needs to be done by a professional as fire is involved, we have been in touch with a fireplace installer to do this for us.

The old dining room, will become our sitting room/library/entertainment space when guests are around, as this will be the room that will have the opening to the open plan kitchen and dining room. We decided to get a log burner installed as this would also give out nice heat to the kitchen and dining room. We are still in the process of choosing the right one and waiting for a quote. I am getting a FREE fireplace surround after my plea on Facebook.. Well it will be costing me the amount a tin of shortbreads from Marksies.

NEW FENCE

The old fence on one side of the garden is rotten and falling apart, thankfully the neighbours have been very nice and we have agreed on building a new fence, which I am happy report has now been done (see the photo above), I just need to paint it. Weather hasn’t been great so I may have to wait for a bit to get this done. We can’t yet start the fence on the other side, as there are some smaller trees and bushes, which need government approval in order to be removed. This is still with the planning committee, and hopefully once it is approved (I’ve got everything crossed!!) we can start on the other side as well.

FLOORING

Again, all flooring will need replacing. The old carpets were removed and the floorboards underneath thankfully are in good order, so we need to decide on what we want to do. Shaun likes carpets, I like wood flooring… Our compromise is going to be – carpets upstairs in the bedrooms, wooden flooring downstairs, runner on the stairs and tiles in the bathroom.

INSULATION/EAVES

This is pretty important as this is such an old house, the bedrooms upstairs are mega cold. I have started to fix the roof (from the inside of the eaves) using sand and cement and will be insulating the eaves to make sure there’s no draft. Insulating will make a difference!! It also means once this is done, I can move the boxes, suitcases and Christmas decorations in there out of the way!!

Of course the list goes on and on… and I could continue to write… Well done if you have made it reading this far…

This is just the initial plan so far.. So please keep everything crossed planning goes through without any issues!!

Have you got any renovation questions – let me know!!

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