Riding the Tailwind: Wk 14 – Day Three

It’s tempting, now we are enjoying the proportions and functionality of our new space, to call it a day and take a breather. But that isn’t ever really an option on a project like this. If we stop now we risk never starting again and being destined, until Nick Knowles gallantly arrives, to live in chaos forever.

With that sentiment in mind we’ve been turning our attention to the rest of the house as well as doing what we can to finish in the kitchen. We have received, for instance, two very important numbers regarding the bathroom. A quote (blessedly under budget) and a start date (next Monday). It will propel us back into the frustrations and inconveniences of living amidst structural ‘building work’ again as the wall between the existing bathroom and bedroom will come down in order for us to steal a metre or so….but K has assured S that he has a plan to keep most of our bathroom functioning meanwhile so with luck it won’t be as disruptive as we’d imagined.

That said, it certainly isn’t the last dusty bit of work left to do. A second pair of chimney sweeps/restoration men called by today to quote for the refurbishment of the two fireplaces (lounge and snug) in part exchange for the bedroom one and it was vehemently advised that no decoration of either room take place before it is conducted. Obvious perhaps but demonstrated, if I had been in any doubt as to the soundness of their advice, as they poked and prodded about releasing yet another billowing batch of ancient soot into the air. Keen to get started in the lounge I’m hoping their quote won’t be prohibitive so the fireplaces can receive their makeovers in the next week or so. Everything else is pretty much ready….the wallpaper is on its way and the paint arrived, impressively as it was only ordered yesterday, this morning. Less impressively the order was mixed up meaning I have a freebie litre pot of ‘avocado’….a colour being considered for the kitchen sofa wall, I’m missing a pot of dark olive for the chimney breast in the lounge and am five litres short of the light olive green chosen for the remaining walls. It’s in the post I’m told…as ludicrous as that image might be.

“What kind of paint is it?” C had asked yesterday, eyebrow cocked to the ceiling.
“I’m not telling you” I had replied, tapping at the frustrating set of forms on its website “else you’ll laugh at me.”
“It’s like that is it?” he asked, “one of those ‘costs the earth but not the planet’ things?”
“Eicó paints” I began reading verbatim from the website “are manufactured in Iceland and Sweden to exacting environmental standards, using 100% geothermal or hydropower energy, making the production process carbon positive.” I paused for breath “So yes….you had it about right.”
“You are the only two people I’ve ever come across who do this” he said, shaking his head in disbelief.
“You’d think we would learn our lesson?” I asked, completing the payment.
“One day they’ll make it law to be more environmentally friendly” he prophesied as he made his way back to continue work on the understairs cupboard, “but until then you are better off with Dulux”.
He may well turn out to be right.

The bathroom design is coming together and tiles are finally purchased with the generous help of C who accompanied me to, as he calls it, ‘B and Queues’ to manhandle heavy packs of grey slate from shelf to trolley, trolley to car and car to house. The somewhat complicated marmoleum floor is in the process of being ordered – to achieve a seamless look the material is welded so expert fitters are needed meaning a barrage of questions need to be answered first. And a designer friend is currently drawing up a set of elevations to ensure that K (and S) know exactly how I see the whole space working. It turns out, however, that it doesn’t.

“I don’t think there’s room to have what you’d sketched on your plan” explained my friend on the phone today. I’d optimistically squished the loo hard up against the wall gaining inches in which to have a vintique cupboard for towels and products. With adequate space around each piece of sanitaryware we lose that space…..or rather….it becomes clear the space was never there in the first place. A coffee together tomorrow will present some alternative solutions and combined with cake and chat is, in my opinion, a luxuriously pleasurable way to troubleshoot. Better calmly now than in the pressured environment of a small space filled with pencil-chewing plumbers.

Meanwhile in the kitchen the utility cupboards have had their priming coat, the walls have been touched up where a frustrated C wrestling with a faulty catch on his access panel caused significant scuffing to both the walls and…..Ill whisper it so S won’t hear…ceiling. Kitchen handles have arrived, replacement drawer panel (C had screwed one in back-to-front) has been collected and the fridge has been plumbed in now offering us cold filtered water at the touch of a button….that last job being requested by S at 6.30pm as an alternative to C hitting traffic on his way home. I’m not quite sure it stacked up in C’s benefit….it certainly didn’t in mine as a prostrate C lay under my feet as I attempted to make dinner.

Undistracted by nostalgic renditions of German songs, today C began working his way obediently through my list, plucking jobs from it with no apparent rhyme or reason. Understairs cupboard still a gaping hole, C began to tackle a makeover of the snug and lounge doors….70’s glass to be replaced with sturdy ply before being painted. A cheats option I realise, but I’ve honestly no idea what kind of doors would be in keeping with the house so have plumped instead for (creatively? Or absurdly?) adapting the existing.

The ‘lary’ loo ….S’s despairing description…is awaiting its final sea-blue coat on the woodwork before the mural and a customised porthole mirror, salvaged from the bottom of the sea by my fearless diver dad, can be hung. Hallway colours are being considered and will be purchased tomorrow in preparation for that last major bit of painting ….an exercise due to its soaring proportions – stair wall in particular – destined to be as exhausting as the extension debacle. And finally a sketch of the library wall planned for the snug incorporating book shelves, TV and toy storage has been given to our kitchen company for a quote in the hope they might be able to save us from yet more MDF.

“Are you doing all this to sell?” the toothless chimney sweep had asked this morning.
“You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding.” I had stuttered and through clenched teeth muttered “We are NEVER moving.”
S had, over the weekend, also referred similarly to a move in the future.
“I’m going nowhere.” I had countered firmly. “O will be bringing his wife back here to visit us.”
I continued, balanced unsteadily on my ladder, to painstakingly pick out softened beads of paint from the plasterwork as S had made his way downstairs enroute to the kitchen.
“And” I called out after him “she’ll find it just like this. We can be like the previous owners and not touch it again for forty more years.”
S stopped short, realisation dawning.
“I know now why they didn’t.” he said “They did it once then realised it had been a bloody pig.”

The house is certainly proving to be so. But with a tailwind blowing we are getting there.

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The kitchen in operation
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Bathroom and hallway choices
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Doors in the process of being painted
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The fireplace spews its muck

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A rather cool mirror

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