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Monday, 14 April 2008

The Begining is Nigh!

So. Today the builder, John, and his team are assessing the house. Later today I will hear how much has to be done and how long this will take. Of course my husband and I have our own list of things to be done but the builder will be telling us things we can't see that need to be done. And as he is quite skilled at renovating old houses, we are hoping he will have more ideas for us to consider.


The main things we want to do are:
1. New central heating system
2. Re-wired fully
3. New staircase
4. Open under stairs to create a new doorway
5. Put an en suite into the area we have allocated as a bedroom downstairs
6. Some new windows
7. New bathroom upstairs
8. Two new en suites upstairs
9. Renovate the attached 2 storey shed to make a games room upstairs and a loo and a laundry downstairs
10. Patio area outside to accommodate bbq

And why:

1. New central heating system
The central system currently in the house is rather ancient and probably not very efficient anymore so it would be best to replace it at this stage rather than have to do it later. That and the fact that when we put a new central heating system into our own home last year we noticed the change in the level of heat output immediately.

2. Re-wired fully
The switches and plugs look fairly modern but I fear that they may be covering an older system and I am paranoid about electrical safety and so for my own peace of mind and the safety of anyone who stays in Daisy Cottage I would be happier with the entire house being re-wired. And this way too we can wire in fire alarms to the system which is another safety aspect I feel is absolutely necessary.

3. New staircase
If you look at the picture above you will see that the old staircase has a very definate list to it. Although it does feel very sturdy and is not at all rickety, I for one could not live with a leaning tower of pisa style staircase!

4. Open under stairs to create a new doorway
At the moment the only way into the area where we want a downstairs bedroom is through the small livingroom and of course that would not be ideal. Therefore I want to close off that door and open one out in the corridor under the top end of the lower staircase.

5. Put an en suite into the area we have allocated as a bedroom downstairs
The new bedroom will be suitable for those who do not do stairs and so as all the other bathrooms will be upstairs it is vital that this downstairs bedroom has an en suite. Plus, it will be a handy loo for day time use for kids.

6. Some new windows
Most of the windows are in good condition. The previous owner replaced the old windows with hardwood double glazed windows but some of the back windows are not new and definately need replacing.

7. New bathroom upstairs
The family bathroom that is there at the moment is a shambles. Horrible old suite, a plastic water cystern, tiles hanging off the walls, dodgy floor - and just look at that colour! Dreadful. That and the fact that the window is too low for the safety of kids in my opinion so I will have that replaced with a smaller, higher window. The room receives a lot of light so the slightly smaller window will make no big difference to the light.

8. Two new en suites upstairs
Although this is probably not strictly necessary, and we will be losing one bedroom to make them, I feel that nowadays most of us want the luxury of our own shower/bath/loo. And given that the house can hold 9 adults easily, you can imagine the queue for the bathroom each morning if we only had 2.

9. Renovate the attached 2 storey shed to make a games room upstairs and a loo and a laundry downstairs
Games room to be
The games room is fairly vital I feel. It would be great for any rainy days or lazy days that the kids have something to do and a games room is ideal. I would love to keep the old stone walls and the vaulted, beamed ceiling which you may just be able to make out in the photo above. And we want to add a loo & wbh downstairs from the games room which would save those using the games room from having to run into the house to pay a visit.


Laundry to be
We want a laundry separate from the house utility area so that the washing machine and tumble dryer in the main house are not given too much of a battering with the amount of sheets, towels, and so on which will have to be washed each week. Plus it will give us a place to store all the baby paraphinalia we have there rather than taking up room in the house with it.

10. Patio area outside to accommodate bbq

The above picture shows the bbq area to be at the right of the picture. The path to the left leads to the garden which lies beyond the small stone wall at the end of the bbq area. Having a bbq/patio area is another important thing in my opinion. Even with our Irish weather we do get some lovely sunny days! And in the summer we have very long evenings with darkness not falling until between 10pm and 11pm. These factors make dining al fresco a joy and Daisy Cottage has such a large area of outdoor space that we might as well use it for a place to eat, drink and relax.
And now I wait for the builder to arrive with his take on what's to be done, and how long it will take to complete. On the time factor we were hoping for 4 weeks but it may be longer of course. As we don't intend letting the house until late summer even an 8 week job still leaves us plenty of time to decorate and furnish. Longer than 8 weeks? I don't even want to consider that one - I am so impatient to see the house in all it's shiny new glory!

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