How to tell that a pensioner once lived in your house.

It’s all in the mail.
I like the fact that some cute old lady lived in this house and gave it to us in a really dated state. It’s given us a great project.
But I must admit, I do get a bit weirded out with post that thinks I need a zimmer frame. Or letters from the NHS asking me to come in to have my blood pressure checked urgently. Or correspondences from a lawyer alerting me that an old friend has passed away.

Perhaps I should stop reading her mail…

And maybe I should look at who it’s addressed to in the future *reaches for glasses*

Eeep! Maybe I am getting old!

Karen x

A thank you to our rockstar friends

This weekend we had a visit from our good chums Sam & Dan (ullo you two!) as they hadn’t seen the house yet.

Back in the days of the flat, me & Joe would host Fajita Fridays (guys, it’s your turn now until we get a kitchen back!).
However, more often than not, we would all stuff ourselves with food, the boys would head off to the kitchen for a large amount of booze, and me & Sam would bash it out on Guitar Hero like rockstars.

So, in true rock ‘n roll style, they got us the best cheese grater I have ever seen in my life. Plus, because it’s so funky, Joe is going to have to let me have more cheese in the house (he hates cheese). YAY!

Thank you Sam & Dan. We will surely return the favour when you buy a palace of your own. Rock on mi amigos.

I *think* that is meant to be a drawing of me & Joe

Karen x

What a difference a month makes

It took us one whole month from getting the keys to the house, to making it decent enough to live in. Joe took some pictures of the house just before we had the keys, and here are some updated images now that we have got our stuff in, so you can see how much it has come along (and how much we still have to do!) in such a short space of time. Really proud of ourselves, and grateful to the family who have been superstars.

The Lounge

Before

Since then we have…
Stripped and skimmed the walls and then painted them white.
The fire has been removed completely and the floors have been stripped back to the floorboards.

After

The dining table has also been shoved into the lounge for now. As soon as we build a dining room, that's where it will go!

The Kitchen

Before

To be honest, not much has been done in the kitchen. Eventually, we plan to knock through the back wall to extend the size of the room and then build a kitchen. So far, this room has had the boiler installed, and that’s about it! It is mostly being used for storage.

After

Bedroom 1 (the “master” bedroom)

Before

In our bedroom, the horrendous moss green carpet has been removed. The bright pink wallpaper has been stripped off. The gas fire has also been removed. We have skimmed the walls and given it a white coat of paint.

After

Even managed to fit my dresser in there! Plenty of my junk yet to unpack though...

Bedroom 2

Before

This room has been stripped of the horrible wallpaper. Because we couldn’t afford to have another room skimmed just yet, we decided to just paint behind where our wardrobes were going to go, and leave the rest until later. You may have heard me talking about the wardrobes before. They are massive and once they are assembled, we are NEVER moving them.

Poor Peter (Joe's dad) having to assemble them. You're a legend Peter!

The rest of the room is currently being used for "storage"

 Bedroom 3 (The boxroom)

Before

I would have loved to show you what this looks like now, but it is currently home to a computer desk, a spare single bed, and an entire bathroom suite, so it’s pretty stuffed!
We have however, removed the lovely carpets, and all wallpaper.

The bathroom

Before

What used to be this awfully dated pink bathroom suite (rotting, may I add) and a separate WC, we have now ripped out all fittings and tiles, as well as the adjoining wall. We have taken everything back to the brick, added plasterboard to the walls and ceiling (to make a lowered ceiling) and added a toilet. As soon as we can afford taps and tiles, we will fit the rest of the bathroom. Hoorah!

After

We will probably take things a little slower now. We got so much done in the first month simply because we had to. I can’t wait to get all the dirty stuff out of the way and get some flooring in the next few months. It’s going to be a blast.

Karen x

Crack open the bubbly…

…we’re in!

It’s official. On Wednesday 21st September at approximately….11pm, we were finally moved into the house. HOORAY!

We cracked open a bottle of bubbly we had been saving, ordered a chinese, crawled into bed, and watched a DVD. ………aaand relax.

I love my new house shoes. Bought them in Crete because I knew we wouldn't have floors in the house. They're so cute!

Karen x

A lesson in moving onwards and upwards

So we are officially out of the flat and into the house today.
(Well, Joe is sorting out the last minute bits and bobs. We’ll have a big clean up of the flat tonight before handing back the keys.)
It was a long process, but this past month since we received the keys has been a real eye-opener. Here’s what I have learned in that time.

How much we take certain things for granted.
For example, a kitchen side. Do you know how hard it is to make a round of coffee/tea without any kitchen surface? It’s an absolute buggar! I am absolutely adding a kitchen to my wishlist.

Cardboard boxes appear to be worth their weight in gold these days.
Amy and I were very close to getting the flat packed up over the weekend, but were about 3 boxes short. A quick trip to Homebase showed us that five cardboard boxes cost £24.99. No thanks! As if moving house isn’t expensive enough…

We did get some boxes from Joe's Auntie Debbie, who works at the hospital. We may have looked like druggies as they were mostly syringe boxes but that was all part of the fun. Also, the rats just loved playing with them. I might keep a few as toys.

Moving house is hard.
I have moved almost 10 times in my short but happy existence, and I can’t remember it ever being this stressful before. Possibly because the house we are moving into isn’t exactly ready to be lived in yet, but I don’t mind that so much. Camping with walls should be an adventure.

I am more of a hoarder than I ever realised.
Not to the extent where I keep old rubbish and rotting food, like those people on the telebox. But I have found so much junk that I can’t believe I have moved from my mum’s house to the flat, and now nearly moved from the flat to the house! For example, I have kept for a long time now, bags of bags. Yes, plastic bags. What a numpty.

There is a paranomal website called TAPS.
After trying to buy bathrooms taps online this week, Google kept sending me to The Atlantic Paranormal Society. They say you learn something new every day…

Family is underrated.
We’ve had an unbelievable amount of help and support from our families. No matter what people say about needing all the money in the world to buy a house, I disagree (although it does help!) If you have a good family, you can do anything. I’m a lucky bunny.

Karen x

You have mail: a Royal surprise


Ever since we got the deed to the house upon completion, I’ve been fascinated with the woman who used to live in it.

Her name was June, and she was the original owner of the house when it was built in the 1940’s. She passed away last year and so the house has been empty since. We knew that she was elderly for a number of reasons…

1. The fact that she bought it in the 40’s and only died last year was a bit of a giveaway.
2. The house was dated. As in, there was no central heating, the brickwork and walls were apparently “typical” of the 40’s (whatever that means) and the bathroom had corroded – well, quite rightly after 70 years after installation.
3. The fact that there were handle bars (or safety rails as I think they’re actually called, but I think they look like handle bars) on every other wall, gave us a clue that she was an elderly woman.

What Joe learned yesterday really made me smile. Working on the house, he met our postman and as we’re nosey and would love to know about June more (as she has so far been the only woman to live there) Joe asked what she was like.

The postman said she was “lovely” and that he “really enjoyed delivering her letter from the Queen 2 years ago“.

She was 102 years old!
I’ve never seen one of those letters. I’d love if it we find it in the loft at a later date.
Dearest June, Happy birthday innit. Love Queenie.

I really love the fact that the postman knew her and was friendly with June. I remember when my Nan passed earlier this year and although the majority of people at her funeral were family and friends, one of the biggest bunch of flowers came from her postman. I think it’s the cutest thing.

I can’t wait to find out more about her. I love history.

Karen x

The final countdown: Part 5

Today is Tuesday – 1 day before we have to be out of the flat – and the last few days have been manic. Moreso for Joe who has had the time off work to continue with the big move. But I’ve found it really stressful anyway, waiting from afar to hear any news, to hear how things are getting on. I’m a bit of a stresshead by nature anyway.

Well, Sunday was another day of manic packing. The final licks of paint went onto the main bedroom walls/door/skirting, and a first coat went onto the huge wall in the lounge. The rest of the walls in the lounge are still far too damp from the recent skimming, which means we won’t be able to get this room painted before we move in as we’d hoped. But nevermind. (Brown walls are in fashion these days right?)

After work yesterday I popped round to the house to see how Joe was getting on and I was so so chuffed with the progress. Joe’s parents were helping with a spot of painting, electrics and putting up the wardrobes,  and my uncle Steve arrived with our bathroom suite!
(I actually can’t believe we are going to have a toilet. We thought we were going to have to do without for a while but this is a huge relief! …Geddit?!)

As always, I took a few piccies of progress. Joe has loads more from the weekend and I’ll make him do a blog post when he’s less busy.

The master bedroom! Fully painted and finally with furniture! This is the spare single mattress, as our double is still at the flat to be moved last minute. We may not have carpet yet, but we've managed to fit in the bed, our bedside tables and my dresser. Chuffed to bits!

Our superduper friends Jimmy & Boozy gave us this lovely Home ornament, and Homebase vouchers as a house warming pressie. SO thoughtful. This is currently on my bedside table 🙂

Plasterboard has been added to the bathroom ceiling by my Uncle Chris. Because the old ceiling was such a state, we decided to have a lowered ceiling. Luckily the original ceiling was approximately 9 foot high anyway, so we weren't likely to have a small ceiling even after lowering it.

Looks like Joe got a bit happy with the sledgehammer again! This is where our double shower will eventually be built. You can see through to the hallway!

And there's the bathroom from the landing....OOPS! As Joe's dad says..Looking on the bright side, it could be a good way to pass through loo roll when you run out! I'm hoping it doesn't come to that...

What's left of the old bathroom in the garden. Apparently we could get some cash for those globe taps so I'm holding on to them for now.

The fire also found a new home in the back garden!

h10

The bathroom has arrived! Look how happy Joe is!!

It's the most wonderful sink I've ever seen!

Rik and cute baby Skye came to visit! 🙂

More to follow soon. We need to have everything out of the flat and into the house by today. The countdown is over. We’re officially moving.

-Karen x

The final countdown: Part 4

Saturday

Today has been a bit overwhelming for me.
Mum, my step-dad Nick, and my sister Amy popped round to the flat early this morning to help move stuff between the flat and the house, but me & Joe weren’t quite as prepared as we thought we were. However, as my mum often says, “You’ve got to be brutal.” I was hoping to be very organised, recycle everything I didn’t want and maybe put a few things on eBay but with so much to do at the house, we’ve neglected the packing.

I’m superduper excited to move into the house properly. A new era and all that jazz. But it will be hard to leave the comforts of the flat. It was mine & Joe’s first home together and we have had some pretty good times there. Plus, it will be hard moving away from my sister Amy, who lives in the same building at the minute. It’ll be hard not seeing her every day.  On a lihgter note, check out the progress we made today…

Joe in our bedroom flat. The wardrobes are going to be difficult to move...

The other half of the flat bedroom. Plenty to still pack...

The bedroom by the end of the day. The bed has been moved so looks like we're just on the mattress for now.

The second bedroom in the flat. The single bed has gone, computer desk has been dismantled and moved, and the room has been taken over by our wardrobe doors. Don't know how we're going to move them...

The second bedroom by the end of the day. Looks bigger now that it's empty!

Amy helping to pack the kitchen.

Back at the house…

Nick helping unload some boxes

Mum sanding the skirting boards in the lounge

Peter (Joe's dad) adding new skirting to where the fireplace left a hole

Sam (Joe's sister) painting the second bedroom in preparation for the monstrous wardrobes

I’d better crack on with packing for more of the same tomorrow…

-Karen x

The final countdown: Part 3

Thursday

Thursday I was off work, but unfortunately not in a way that I could make myself useful at the flat/house. I was off ill. *insert sad face here*
I have been feeling groggy for a while, probably from stress, and I suppose that staying up until 1am the night before packing up the wardrobe didn’t help!
However, the central heating was finally finished, and the lounge walls were finally done being skimmed, so all was not lost.
So, I decided to pop to the house and check out the progress.

Hello boiler Byebye money...

Beautiful skimmed wall. Byebye ugly old-fashioned fireplace

Lily obviously paid us a visit.

She's a lump!!!

Friday

Probably shouldn't have let Lily sit on my lap in my work pants...

For someone who has "no clothes" I have a lot of jackets/dresses/jerseys

Didn't realise how many shoes I have!

Bit gutted the bathroom didn’t come on Friday (yes that’s right, we will have a loo!) but it is due to come on Monday instead. Cutting it very fine, but better late than never! Need to get moving stuff to the house now. Luckily we’ve got a few happy helpers over the weekend. To be continued…

– Karen x

The final countdown: Part 2

Wednesday
We have arranged for plasterers to re-do the lounge, which will take all of Wednesday and Thursday. In preparation for this, Joe bricked up the fire we no longer want on Tuesday. But beforehand, we thought it would be a good idea to leave a note behind the bricks, so that if anyone ever finds it in the future, we could say hello.

Joe's brickwork. Not too shabby

The note we hid behind the bricks.

If you can’t read my terrible writing, the note says:

Dear future humans,
The year is 2011 (13th September) & we’ve just bought this house.
We are obviously not here anymore so if you are reading this, please make sure you play lots of 80’s music (my favourite), eat lots of chinese takeaways (our favourite) and look after the cat if it’s still here.
Enjoy our house!
Karen & Joe xxx

And then on Wednesday the plasterers came…

Enough plaster?

One wall down...

Ceiling re-boarded. We weren't originally planning to do this but decided that we are only doing this room once, so we might as well do a proper job of it.

In the evening, I tested some colour samples on the bedroom wall, and – obviously – played with Lily, the our cat.

Lily off to see what all the racket in the bathroom is (Joe was bashing walls about with my Uncle Chris)

Peek-a-boo

PLAY WITH ME!

As soon as the testers are dried, we will pick a colour and get this room finished!

I was also up until about 1am packing up our wardrobe & I’m probably only about half way through. If you haven’t heard me natter on about it so far, the wardrobe is about 8 feet tall, and almost 10 feet wide. It was custom made for us, and when we bought it at the flat, took nearly a fortnight to assemble. It should be easier the second time around as we won’t take apart every draw or shelf, but the sooner we get that big boy packed up the better. Never realised how many clothes I had….

The sooner we get the main bedroom painted the better. We need to get in the house pronto.

-Karen x