First Week Recap and Our Plans for This Renovation Project.


It feels like so much has happened this week that I’m not really sure where to begin but I guess I’ll start with when we finally got the keys.

After another weeks delay we eventually got the phone call that the keys were ready to collect. I was at work so Stuart picked up the keys and went straight to the flat. When he opened the door he said he was hit by a heatwave. The previous owner had left the heating, electric fire and the oven and grill on full with the door open! CRAZY! The place was also still full of furniture and rubbish. The previous owner then showed up about an hour later and was surprised to find Stuart in the flat, he said he was there to clear the furniture but then said he couldn’t lift it on his own so left with nothing. He claimed he didn’t have any keys but he must have if he was planning on getting into the flat so the next day we changed the locks and got rid of all the furniture. We are not 100% sure why he left every heat source on, he said it was because it was cold outside but I think it was to try dry out the damp which was supposed to have been repaired . . . but wasn’t.

The Layout

Before (left) After (right)

Not much is changing in this flat, just a couple of stud walls in the kitchen. The previous owner had incorporated a kitchen into the back room but the proportions were a little off. The kitchen seemed quite big for a two bed flat and the back bedroom could only fit a single bed. We have moved the dividing wall back to make more space in the bedroom.

When the flat was built there wouldn’t have been any internal bathrooms. The old outhouse is actually still intact in this building. People used to sleep in cupboard spaces in the kitchen and living room (like the photo below). When plumbing moved inside people had to make space to add bathrooms and for health reasons people stopped sleeping in confined spaces. This is why lots of tenement flats have strange shaped rooms.

Kitchen

The kitchen will be a little smaller than it was previously but hopefully it will feel welcoming. As there are no windows in the kitchen space we have had to come up with some creative plans for getting light into the room. We decided on a feature wall that lets light through. Like the ones below.

Although I love the mid-century feature wall, we decided the first one would be most practical as it adds extra storage to the small kitchen. I’m excited to style it with plants, some nice jars and cook books.

We also decided to add extra tall cabinets on one wall and leave the other empty to make it look less cramped without losing storage. Buying the kitchen was really simple but I’ll wait until after it’s fitted before writing more about it, incase I made any mistakes.

Here are some befores for now

Bathroom

The bathroom is another tricky space due to the size and the toilet location. Apparently we can’t move the toilet because of where the waste is so we have to keep everything pretty much how it is but also add a shower. Ideally I would have liked a layout like the ones below but old flats are tricky and I’m learning to adjust my plans.

There were a couple of old pipes that had been boxed in and that caused the bath to be pushed out about 12″ from the window wall. This bathroom is really tiny so we needed to get that space back. Stuart did some investigating and has managed to get rid of one so far. Fingers crossed we’ll be able to move the other but even if we can’t we’ve still gained some space.

The plan is to push the bath back then add a stud wall between the bath and the basin so that we can get a shower over the bath. Ideally we wouldn’t add a wall in such a small space but there are no other options for a shower. We did think about taking out the bath and making it a shower room but there are some pipes that feed the full building under the bath which made that impossible.

I don’t expect this bathroom to feel large and luxurious when we are finished but I’m sure it will be a lot better than it was when we got it.

Bedrooms

There are two bedrooms in this flat, neither are huge. We have made the back bedroom bigger and moved the boiler into a cupboard to free up some floor space. The other bedroom only needs some cosmetic stuff so that will come later. Both bedrooms had the original doors but they have large glass panels so we will have to either find new doors (they are really big (905×2115) or remove the glass in the originals. Is it just me that finds glass doors on a bedroom really odd? Stuart didn’t seem to think it was weird but he also has no problem moisturising naked in front of a window! Anyway, I’m thinking that replacing the glass with wood and making some decorative panels to match the other doors would be the best option. All the other doors will be getting sent away to be stripped, I’m not making the mistake of trying to do it myself again.

Living Room

The living room is another problem area. There is a lot of damp above the fireplace. We found out that there was a blockage in the chimney that was catching rain water. We (well Stuart, I was scared of dead birds) removed the blockage but we need a roofer to add a cap to the chimney to stop it happening again. When it gets capped it will take a couple of weeks to dry out so getting it fixed is a priority right now. We also have to replace the windows before we can start decorating. If you follow me on instagram you probably know that a quote came in A LOT more than we were expecting today. I’m hopeful we will find an alternative and get some windows in the next week or so.

It feels like we have made some really good progress this week and we’ve also uncovered some great original features. This should be the last week where things keep looking worse, hopefully by this time next week we will be rebuilding.

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