Sunday, 4 July 2010


Dear blog, it has been 40 days since my last posting and progress has been made!! If I were a religious man and had to confess for each time the renovation of my bathroom had caused me to swear, I would be here a very, very, very long time.

It has been a mighty long affair and having spent the best part of 70 days working on such a small room the thought of writing about the bathroom in my spare time was simply not attractive. Now however, I can say with pride that the bathroom is now complete, end of!

Following on from my last post I got the plasterer in to skim the hall construction around the boiler, the hall ceiling and the bathroom in its entirety. It looked fantastic when it was complete and it felt like a finished bathroom was only days away. How wrong I was.

The tiling started well with a 4 day effort achieving a wall covering of about 30%. The remaining bare walls didn’t get fully covered for another 2-3 weeks. Before you mock my slow progress, tiling takes bloody ages; especially when you have walls that are anything but straight and you cut each and every tile by hand. In one area there was a deviation of around 20mm from one edge of the tile to the other; needless to say I went through a huge amount of adhesive. Fortunately the finished article looks nearly perfect.

When the tiling came to a close I was low on motivation and the pleasure of grouting soon brought me back to life as I saw the room slowly coming together. This joy was short lived as a switch to Wickes own brand grout caused major headaches as it stuck to the tiles like superglue. It was a good thing I had my Dad around that day to take over and complete a job that would have certainly resulted in minor nervous break down.

Another weekend plumbing in the towel rail and the shower with the help of Tod brought me ever closer to the finish line. New taps also went on the basin and the new toilet was plumbed in. Having a shower for the first time since we moved in was finally in sight.

Another weekend was spent working on stripping the panel door which was in a terrible state and repairing the window sills. The glass panel in the door broke during the repair which turned out to be a good thing as a new piece of cut glass will look grand.

Another weekend was spent drinking beer.

Another weekend was spent choosing a floor.

Another weekend was spent painting and sealing whilst Shell went out and brought the accessories……. and then finally I had my first shower. It’s great to have the room finished and I’m pleased that the finished article is better than I ever expected. All the fittings from the taps, to the shower, to the towel rail, to the toilet roll holder match perfectly and the colours of the wood, the floor and the tiles look superb.

In hindsight I am pleased that I spent the time to achieve a high standard of finish throughout the room and although it was stressful and painful at times it was completely worth it.

With some new skills and a greater tolerance to working in very hot small rooms, its time to move on to the second bedroom, I can’t wait!

Sunday, 25 April 2010

DIY Bling!

While some choose to run 26 miles this weekend, I had my sights set on an equally challenging event; the building of a partition wall and cupboard for the boiler in the upstairs hall. Sure, 26miles of running requires months and months of hard, sweat inducing training, but I spent over £90 in B and Q which nearly brought me to tears!

Fortunately I had a crack team of helpers this weekend in the form of a rather drunk Jeff and the ever keen parents!

Friday afternoon and evening were spent adding the finishing touches to the bedroom prior to handing it over to the chief interior designer. The curtain rail was put up, the bed was constructed and the sliding wardrobe doors were finally put in place. During this period Jeff (worker #1) was ''stuck'' in the pub as a result of a beer induced train delay.

Once the lubricated friend finally made it the only possible course of action was to down tools, up beers and ring the Curry Centre for a mosterous feast.

Saturday morning started like any other, coffee and planning. Jeff and I decided planning was over rated and ploughed straight into the build. After a couple of hours hard graft, we had a frame that almost looked like something substantial. The parents ( worker #2/3) arrived with the new lawnmower and more importantly home made brownies and they set to work in the garden.

At lunch we decided that it was time to hit B and Q for plasterboard and timber. Long story short.... we ended up in the car park with a sheet of plasterboard double the size of the Ford Focus. Bring on Car Park DIY! Once in the car, the only concern was the avoidance of any kind of road traffic accident which would have brought about sudden death in the two of us. I have never seen Jeff looked so relieved as he got out of the car with all his limbs attached!

5 hours later and we had a fully enclosed 'normal' bathroom and a cupboard around the boiler that would put any carpenter to shame! Whilst all this heavenly construction was taking place the rents and the missus were making great use of the new lawnmower and strimming in the garden. What a sterling job they did! I now even have a tidy garage that a car will fit it!!

Sunday we focused on the coving around the hall which went up like a dream. There were a couple of dicey moments as I balanced over the stairs on an old hand rail, which in turn was balanced on two 40 year old ladders, which in turn had a precarious Jeff balancing on the end, but all was well and everyone survived unharmed!

By late afternoon it was time to hit the shops as chief credit card holder to purchase the bed sheets and duvet stuff for the master bedroom. Half way through we said good bye to Jeff and thanked him for all his hard work and we continued to run round a couple more shops.

So, another weekend of great progress thanks for all the help received. Time to start the mighty move into the new bedroom now. Toast first though... always toast first.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

The marathon DIY session has finally come to an end and as a result I am now coaching both my body and mind back to health!

Following the last post where we had the bath in place and the toilet 'kinda working but leaking' things progressed well but not without a couple of nightmares along the way.

First thing Saturday we got the bath secured in place and piped up. We ran the new waste pipes which was hard work as a couple of new holes were required in the external wall to the back of the house. A strong desire to crack out the power tools at this stage to save on manual work resulted in a plume of black dust filling the bathroom and covering my father as I went to work outside with the grinder. Some loud shouting and coughing from the window soon had me back to the pain inducing hammer and bolster.

Some time later we started on installation of the basin (not sink, they are found in the kitchen). Little did I know the pure pain and mental torture that was just ahead of me. To cut a long story short the basin went on, then off, then on, then off, then on, then off, then back to the bathroom shop as it was the wrong basin, then back again to the bathroom shop because it didn't fit, then on and then off. At this stage my Dad had suffered a minor breakdown and it was time for him to be wheeled off the safety of the local mental home. Fortunately, at 6pm the second shift arrived in the form of the future father in law. We pressed on until the whispers of darkness fell and exhaustion had engulfed me. At this stage I thought that it was the perfect time to climb a ladder in the rain and install the waste pipes on the side of the house. Amazingly this little job went without incident and I even had a little joke with the neighbour about how my Dad had got caught earlier going to the toilet in the garden by the neighbour on the other side of the house; I later regretted this!

Sunday was another day packed full of FUN. The sink came off and on again as we attempted to stop the waste leaking and I got a nice little wave from the neighbour I was speaking to just 12hours ago as I zipped up my flies as I walked back to the house from the garden.... nice.

After a couple more hours work the partition around the bath took shape mostly due to the encouragement of Tod whom without I would have been sat playing the playstation or fast asleep.

After a jolly on Sunday night for a rather merry dinner party, Monday was a write-off. I set about returning as much unused 'stuff' I had amassed from Wickes and Screwfix's over the weekend to try and replenish the bank account and then set about being grumpy and useless.

During all of this I must mention the superb work the girls, by whom I mean Shelley, my Mum and Julie, did in the garden. It looks truly smashing and if it wasn't for the randomly placed old bathroom suite would almost look like any normal garden!!

Thanks to all that helped this weekend and for putting up with my incessant swearing, none of it could have been achieved without you all!

Time for some special, well deserved playstation time now..... until Friday that is!!

Friday, 2 April 2010

Bathroom Mayhem

Its the start of a 5 day marathon DIY session and so far so good. Day one was spent constructing the wardrobe interiors whilst my mate and electrician supremo Tom tested my dodging wiring and worked his magic on the distribution board. Thanks Tom.

Day two has been a biggy. I picked up the basin early in the morning and the rents were down shortly after. No time for coffee as Dad and I set to work whisking out the bathroom suite. The floor came up reasonably easy, especially in areas where the wood worm had rotted the joists. After three trips to Wickes and much buggering about with plastic pipe, we were ready to lay the new flooring. I still cannot believe the price of the PE fittings!!

By 6:30 we had the new floor down and to treat ourself we installed the toilet! There is still no water upstairs but the bath is in ready for plumbing in.

Its been a long slog today but the end result is superb and drinking a beer whilst standing on the new floor was priceless.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Weekend of Bathroom Bashing

Well a weekend of destruction has resulted in a very large hole in the bathroom wall and a sink that is held on with a bit of blue tac! The hole is surprisingly useful as you can now get straight out of the bath straight into the hall way. Genius.
Most importantly though is the new ceiling throughout the hall and the bathroom. It looks excellent and just requires the fine skills of the plasterer to sort out now.

Thanks to Tod for all the help; its always nice to have someone to laugh at you whilst your balancing on a couple ropey bits of wood over the stairs!!

This afternoon we went out to get the tiles for the bathroom and I couldn't believe how many we needed for such a small room; 19m2!!. As you can see from the photos, they are also really bloody heavy and the car wasn't much fun to drive with no rear suspension. Shelley took on the role of 'supervisor' whilst I loaded and unloaded all 19 boxes... thanks honey!

Monday, 22 March 2010


After a busy weekend and with the help of a very useful father, the frame for the built in wardrobes was built.

At the crack of dawn and with more timber than you would find in a rain forest we started work. Of course I hadn't planned anything so the first thing we did was scratch our heads for a bit; who needs a drawing.

We started by laying the hardwood for the base and then moved to the uprights that the wardrobe doors will butt up too. The walls were anything but straight so there was some cunning trickery needed to get the uprights completely, well, upright. The rest of the frame went up like a dream, minus a quick trip to B and Q for a little more timber (don't ask). We had to wack one of the doors in to check the the frame was square and of course and the thing moved with just the puff of an asthmatic weasel! Perfect! A couple of layers of paint over the weekend have really finished it off and it looks sweet as a nut.

There is plenty more going on at the mo, so I will try to keep the blog up to date!!

The Study is DONE!

Its been a busy couple of weeks as per usual, so the blog has taken a bit of a back seat. Time for an update I think.

Having the study completed has provided plenty of distractions, the one major one can clearly be seen in the photo! I still can't believe I got permission to buy a new PC screen. It was true gaming heaven for a couple of days before I felt compelled to picked up the tools once again. Its great to have a room finished and its really motivated me to get cracking with the rest of the upstairs!

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

The Italian Stallion

The 'beauty' is mounted and looking awesome. Anyone notice the mistake I made when I installed the electrical socket?

The chaps from Ecoheat have done a superb job and it looks really tidy. Fingers crossed only a day more to go before we have heating again!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Heating Up

After 2 very cold months, the heating system is now being installed! The kit is here, the two chaps from Ecoheat just need to bolt it all together. The radiators are already mounted so fingers crossed only a couple of days to go.

You can see at the back the bad boy Italian boiler, the Alpha CD28C! An A-rated high efficiency combi-boiler. Sweet!
Too cold to write any more....

Monday, 22 February 2010

For the collective good

With Shelley vacating the grand manor this weekend, a couple days distraction free DIY were obviously on the cards. Friday night was spent like any other normal 26 year old, searching DIY stores for low tack masking tape. As it turns out there is a global shortage of the low tack variety mostly due to climate change. So, both the random lady in B and Q and myself had to opt for the overly expensive 3M Expert Paint Tape instead. Being blue and costing a huge £6 I expected great things from this tape and I wasn't disappointed! Even with the masking tape problem I still managed to get a full coat of paint on the master bedroom ceiling and coving that evening.

Saturday was a long day filled with painting, sanding and more painting. The master bedroom ceiling got another coat, as did the the three wall of the study that were being painted cream. Two panel doors were tidied up and each had there first layer of undercoat applied.

Sunday proved the most productive with the help of two part time DIYers also know as Phil and Lisa. With Phils obsession with general destruction I had no other choice but to set him tearing apart the upstairs hallway. It was either that or there was going to be little left of the downstairs. Once Lisa arrived, thing calmed down slightly and after a tediously long search for a scrapper we set about stripping the wall paper. All the progress can be seen in the photo above.

All I have to do now is decide on whether I want a lion or an acorn on top of the stair post..... apparently.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Clear as glass

One new bathroom window put in and looking tidy! The wall paper obviously was not our choice.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Process the Progress

Well it has been an age since the last update, so as I sit on the train heading back from a trip up to Bradford I thought it was an ideal time to post! It seems that if I am not working, I am working.

The master bedroom is nearing the decorating stage with the walls fully sanded, the carpet taken up and the lining paper only two sheets away from completion. It’s been a long slog but the room is slowly coming together. The wardrobes have been ordered and the bed picked so all the big things are all sorted now. On with the painting at the weekend then!

AV trunking and HDMI cables for the connecting of the loft PC to the lounge will get put in too if I can find the time.

The most important room in the house, the study, has only one coat of paint left to do and the floor to be laid and then the gaming PC can finally be set up! Having installed the cat5e cable for the PC alongside a number of 240V mains cable I am worried about network interference but we will have to wait and see. If it’s bad I will have to pull the floor up again and re run it as the media centre cable runs the same way; fingers crossed!

Electrically wise, the upstairs is done. The extra sockets in the bedroom and study went in and so did the unswitched socket for the boiler. Just need to connect the cables running to the distribution board into the new MCB’s and it should all work. No doubt the bathroom will need new lighting but I shall worry about that if the ceiling gets pulled down.

The next big job, the bathroom is another step closer as the suite has been decided upon. It is just waiting for approval from the lady of the house. Then it’s time to pull out the sledge hammers and knock down a wall. Oh and the new window goes in on Thursday. Go go go!

Back to the ‘Guns of Navarone’ then… only 15mins left to go.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Orange Squash

The first coat of orange is up and it looks pretty good. There was a moment as it went on the wall that I thought this could go either way but looking as the finished article I am really impressed. Wasn't impressed with the paint pads I brought from Wickes so it is back to the roller tomorrow.

One thing I wish I had done was run masking tape down the wall edges prior to painting; it turns out my brush skills are a little wobbly. I will try this on the second coat or possibly do it when I do the other walls. Thrilling stuff eh!!

The master bedroom is coming along slowly too with most of the wall sanding done. Just some trim to add around the window, run another double socket to the far side of the room and then its on to the next stage of lining and painting. Oh and i've got to run the trunking for the audio visual cables down one side of the alcove; I am sure that will be a delightful task.

Monday, 1 February 2010

E is for Energy

100mm of insulation installed and what a difference it makes, especially when your heating doesn't work. There is another 170mm to go down but I will wait till all of the AV wiring is completed up in the loft.

At the far end of the loft is the double gang socket for the TV in the bedroom. My first attempt at wiring a ring main and much to my surprise it worked first time. I still nearly wet myself as we tested it and the grinder burst into life!!! Anyway, I moved this socket last Wednesday further to the right so I don't have to walk over the bedroom ceiling to get access. With the joists being a little thin I was worried about the deflection caused by my 14stone cracking the new plaster.

Next job up here is to run the AV trunking downstairs and run some cables.

The Hatch (ref: Lost Ep4)

Loft hatch installed! This was actually done quite some time ago and the room is now lined but I have yet to download the photos to the laptop. Chasing for the ethernet port and coving are now all finished too.

In case anyone is thinking of doing any coving, buy the cutting tool and don't loss the instructions! It will really help, trust me.

Not long till this room is finished.

Bedroom wardrobes have driven me to draw!

So to the bedroom wardrobes! The plan is to have wall to wall sliding doors but as it turns out it is not quite as easy as I thought. Nothing is. Having found some that Shelley has approved I need to work out how the buggers are going to fit.

Due to the dimensions of the room I end up with a gap above the doors and fitting side and running panels would probably help overcome the coving and skirting board issue. Obviously B and Q don’t sell boards to match the doors that would be too easy. Think think think.

Weekend Work

After a month of long nights and even longer weekends of work on the house I decided it was time for a break! No work on Friday or Sunday.

Saturday I still managed to get the window sill in the bedroom stripped and the study ceiling painted though, so progress didn’t stop completely.

Sunday was spent shopping for the house and even with my ridiculously indecisive attitude we managed to get some flooring, a desk for the study and a light for the porch.

Back to it this evening!

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

New AV Schematic

Updated AV schematic. I have removed the bedroom PC as this seems to be a little overkill. I might run another HDMI cable from the media centre to the bedroom TV eventually but for the time being it will be DVDs only. Am wondering if the wireless remote could be used from the bedroom?

Coving DONE

Finished the coving in the master bedroom last night! All ready for the plasterer now on Thursday but have no skin left on my fingers with all that filling!

Monday, 25 January 2010

Original AV Schematic

This is the original AV schematic I produced for a house that fell through after our offer was excepted. The general principals have remained the same although I need to update a couple of items. Before we go any further I know this is nerd-tastic but there is nothing like a good olde schematic to help you remember all the cables to run.

Little did I know at the time the importance of considering power!! Have just spent the weekend installing a new ring main just for the media centre PC, bedroom TV and projector! A lot of effort just so I can watch TV in bed without having to stare at power cables.

I will update this schematic and repost it as soon as I get a chance.

The House

Here's the house! Its a 1920's 3 bed, terrace house which is ripe as a cherry for a full referb. Its structurally sound but does need loads of work.

We moved in mid December and are well under way with the work now. I thought that I was well prepared for the amount of planning required get all the AV kit installed but I was seriously wrong! PC, TV's and speakers are the easy bits. Its the cabling, lighting, power and planning that's the difficulty!

Any ho, I will add some pictures of the work that has gone on and make sure that I post regular updates of the progress. Hope its not too boring.