There was an overlap of about a month where Michael pretty much tried to make the house decent before we came. Whilst on viewing, things looked in pretty good condition, lots of things were hidden and didn’t come up on survey (what is the point of a survey?!) also the sale took about 9 months and the sellers pretty much stopped taking care or doing any upkeep so the carpets which had looked ok, needed to be taken out (pets!) and no amount of bleaching and scrubbing could get rid of the built up grime in the bathrooms, the ensuite in the master bedroom was so revolting we just shut the door and hoped it would go away!
So our original plan had been to gut it and start again, adding a new kitchen and replacing floors and bathrooms. However with quotes and inspection, things came up that ate our budget, like holes in the roof, the boiler needing replacing, radiators broken, electrics, wiring, the water pressure needing to be corrected.. the windows, as the house is on high ground, south facing, with views of Christopher Robin’s 100 Acre Forest (Ashdown Forest) the back of the house and all the windows, take the full brunt of the elements and there was a lot of specialised work needed to repair the original window frames.
So rethinking our budget we did what we could and have left the rest for phase two which will commence I hope in the next few years (!)
So all the boring things that take up so much money but leave things looking exactly like they were; roof, boiler, radiators, electrics, water, wiring and 4 of the worst windows (because they are original and it cost an incredible amount of money to repair them!) And then we started on the bathrooms because they made you feel dirtier after using them.
The master bedroom had an ensuite (the one we had locked up never to be used) that you entered from the side of the room. As the room felt so huge (it was possibly bigger than our entire London flat) Michael’s vision was to use the bay window area of the room and create an ensuite in that space.
He thought the bay was an awkward space you couldn’t put a wardrobe or a bed in it without it blocking the light, it was a nice vista but, I guess living in and converting 3 tiny flats from one bed to two beds, he saw it as prime real estate!
I really couldn’t envision the end result but knowing what Michael can do I left it up to him entirely. My grand plan was a dressing table would have used the space adequately but when you see the after pictures, what did I know?!
So our builders gutted the old ensuite, blocked the entrance and created a new entrance on the other side (we’ll get to this extra bathroom later), then following Michael’s design built a room divider of wardrobes – one for each of us! (I haven’t had my own wardrobe since I left home!) And within the bay created this, I guess, showstopper bathroom complete with copper bath, a his and her sink (ok, ok it's a basin) and a walk in shower. (I will list all the supplier details at the end)
We went for a dark blue colour because, it seemed the time to try something new. Although we are not quite sold on the colour…
The final part was to sand the original floorboards and stain them. These too, we feel, are not quite the right colour but our plan is to eventually sand and stain the rest of upstairs (there are just Ikea rugs hiding the bare boards at the moment) but we can’t quite decide what to do, as 50% of the floor boards need replacing, should we replace them or lay a wood on top and if so what wood?! But those are decisions are for the future.