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Those of you who maxed yourselves out buying a do-er upper

(18 Posts)
Darnthetum Tue 07-Dec-10 10:22:03

How did you make it liveable while you saved for the work? We've got to get the roof fixed ASAP, Jan 11th the builder is coming, and to get our bedroom wall re-built. Other than that it already has central heating and double glazing.

We're getting a kitchen put in in 2 years shock as we need to build a room for it, and want to put on an extension anyway, so decided to wait. So do I dare rip off the wallpaper and hope the walls don't crumble in the meantime? What did you do? I don't know what it will look like when we have finished, so don't know where to start with the decorating.

lalalonglegs Tue 07-Dec-10 10:36:25

Don't rip the wallpaper off because even if the plaster doesn't crumble, you will probably end up having to chip away into it for rewiring at some point. I'd just let everyone know that you are living in a dump while you are saving to do it up, feel completely unembarrassed when they come to visit and have a couple of relaxing years, saving and not doing anything (as long as structure is sound). Let the children draw on the walls, wee on the carpet and build up a really strong idea of what you want to do to the place.

lucykate Tue 07-Dec-10 10:43:33

we don't start any jobs that can't be finished. dh is desperate to put a log burning stove in the sitting room, but it means knocking through into the blocked up chimney. i won't let him do it as it would turn yet another room, which as it stands is useable, into a building site.

Darnthetum Tue 07-Dec-10 10:47:35

I have always dreamed of having a height chart drawn straight onto the kitchen wall blush. Dp has been living in it quote happily since we bought it, and I'm moving in the week before Christmas (I've been abroad with dd until the school term ends, and then home!!!!!!!!!! Yippee!!!!!!!) Life without a kitchen could be fun, but I am so excited to be back as a family in our own home grin

lucy101 Tue 07-Dec-10 10:48:18

I wouldn't be taking the wallpaper off right now either - who knows what is underneath! A really good and cheap thing to do is to buy buckets of the cheapest white emulsion and just quickly (and not perfectly) paint all the walls white. It helps unify the space and lets you see what you are looking at.

It is actually a good idea to live in somewhere for a while if you can before doing it up as you start to work out how you actually live in it IYSWIM. You will know exactly where you want/need all your power sockets etc.

bacon Tue 07-Dec-10 11:43:20

My experience is allow x3 times original estimate - this works! Forget 10% contingency - hopeless.

Hate my restoration. Spent £120k and needs another.

Patch up with cheap magolia paint.

Gentleness Tue 07-Dec-10 11:51:55

What Lucy101 said. The one room we made major alterations before moving in is the disaster of the house. I'll do it very differently in 3 years time when we can justify starting it again!

And with a white background you can see the potential and use your imagination more easily - very useful when you are feeling overwhelmed.

GrendelsMum Tue 07-Dec-10 14:08:27

If it's got heat, a means of bathing, a means of cooking and it's clean, it's perfectly liveable. Anything else (such as wallpaper you like) is just the icing on the cake!

I'd recommend not doing anything at all for a while. Definitely don't rip off wallpaper (I did that, and the room is lowest priority on our renovations, so we will have wallpaper missing for 4-5 years). I repainted two rooms that I really couldn't bear, but paint is not cheap, so it is a waste of money.

As LucyKate says, don't start any jobs you can't finish and redecorate after straight away.

Darnthetum Tue 07-Dec-10 15:42:17

Heating was the one thing I refused to budge on, as I haven't had it for ten years now, so we had to pick a place with central heating already installed. We have a stove, so the lack of a kitchen is no issue, and we can wash up in the bath grin. I have no idea how to get it clean though, it just feels so ick!!! How do I clean it properly?

GrendelsMum Tue 07-Dec-10 17:24:08

Have you tried sugar soap in big buckets of hot water for cleaning? I cleaned my grandma's house for sale when she moved into a care home, washed down every possible surface in the house, often twice, and it made a massive difference. You'll have to sugar soap before painting, so it's not a waste of time.

I have to say that washing up in the bath is the thing I hate - not good for my bad back!

Darnthetum Tue 07-Dec-10 19:27:33

Have got dp to get a couple of buckets tomorrow, and we will spend the xmas hols sugar soaping like mad. I just want it to be home!

Pannacotta Tue 07-Dec-10 20:13:17

I agree re sugar soap, it's great stuff.

Also try and cobble together some kind of working kitchen and even a sink if you can, I think washing up in the bath is a real last resort (and I am not fussy any more, we have lived with a leaking shower and chipboard floor in shower room and broken avocado bath and loo with wobbly seat in our main bathroom).

But we do have a functioning, if revolting, kitchen, so at least we can eat well and clean up easily afterwards.

Maybe buy some nice scented candles and fairy lights, low lighting always helps I find!

Darnthetum Tue 07-Dec-10 20:34:44

We have an old fashioned school toilet in our bathroom! The one with the chain that you have to leap to reach and pull down with all your weight. I keep finding pressies from dd as she can't reach it (boak). Dp says it is lovely and "period-y". He also thinks the bath that only has 2 inches of enamel left on the inside and that turns even scalding water cold is "period-y", and wants to keep the lot. However, the loo leaks into the bath instead of through the floor, which is useful grin. Is it wrong to want to rip it out and replace it with period-esqe plastic stuff that doesn't freeze your bathwater? I am a bad bad woman!

MrsThisIsTheCadillacOfNailguns Tue 07-Dec-10 20:41:00

Don't start too many jobs at once.If one room is unliveable in/a mess,you can cope,but if it is every room you go into,it will wear you down very fast.And my God,do you learn to appreciate a lovely smooth plastered wall after years of living with holey plaster and peeling woodchip.

We waited 5 years for a new kitchen [the old one was 3 units and a 20 year old cooker with 3 rusty rings].I was horribly ashamed of it when people saw it,but everyone understood that you just can't do everything at once.

Enjoy your new home smile.

alfabetty Tue 07-Dec-10 20:44:17

YY to the sugar soap, for really stubborn grease use washing powder then sugar soap.

If it is stinky, take up the carpets and throw out or thoroughly air the curtains.

Thoroughly wash all the woodwork - skirts, doors, handles - you'll be amazed at the difference it makes.

If the paper is really murky, a coat of white or cream paint will freshen it up, but may make removing the paper later harder work - but if you do paint, don't even think about glossing or doing woodwork though!

Sweep up daily, tidy your tools up daily, otherwise you feel as though you are living in a building site.

Plumb in a sink and plug in a cooker. A table will do as a work top. You can manage with that and a microwave for ages!

You'll stop noticing the bare walls and floor soon, just be careful you don't get so used to it you don't bother getting on with it! And do one room upstairs first that you can use as a clean, painted sitting room to eat and relax in. Makes a big difference, even if you end up redoing it again at the end.

Good luck!

northerngirl41 Wed 08-Dec-10 23:06:35

Top tip: Get the most liveable room done - paint it magnolia, put down some really furry rugs, get some curtains up etc. This room should remain pristine. Do all the work you need to make it liveable before you move in and then keep it as your haven of serenity when the builders spew plaster dust, rubble and bricks all over the rest of the house. It should have a tight sealed and LOCKABLE door. And if they are doing really messy stuff, sellotape a dustsheet over it. And put a front door mat at the door.

In terms of a kitchen - get thee a Belling Belling cooker - these things are magic, a kettle and a microwave. One pot cooking is your friend! Sink even if it isn't pretty is also a non-negotiable.

I think we patched a lot when we moved in. So our sash windows had very heavy curtains instead of being renovated. We magnolia'd an awful lot. We got things liveable even if it wasn't what we'd ideally want in that room so that we could use it in the meantime. There was a lot of "Right, that room is done, now we can move onto the next project". Don't try and do all the decorating at once though - it's too much and you will truly hate it.

The order should be:
Get it watertight
Electrics
Plumbing
Building
Plastering
Tiling
Painting

(Did I miss anything?)

Darnthetum Thu 09-Dec-10 12:15:36

Ok, so we have electrics (mainly, although more sockets are to be put in at a later date, we can manage as is for now).

Watertighten-ing, plastering and plumbing being done early Jan (we will have a washing machine for the first time in 18 months, thank the LORD!!) We are getting the table top dishwasher plumbed in too, I am so excited about that!!! My hands will be so happy a la no more washing up! WIll not be in their final places, but as we have a handyman in anyway we thought we might as well.

Building will be done in 2 years when we have the cash.
Tiling and painting will be summer 2012's job I think grin. Hurrah! We don't have to move any rooms around etc, so am feeling very blessed right now!

northerngirl41 Thu 09-Dec-10 19:28:25

I think mentally it helps if one room is nice though. It acts as a haven in the madness. Ours was the sitting room.

It also meant (and I know this is going to sound so stupid) that when we showed people the house, in various stages of plastering, building, painting etc. they didn't just look at you like you were completely mad and had bought Fawlty Towers, because there was something to show them why you'd bought the house and how the rest of it would look once you were done.

Strangely even though the sitting room was relatively pristine throughout, everyone always ended up sitting in our kitchen. It just shows you that it's a really good house. Heart of the home is the kitchen and people still chose to sit in it even when it was a building site!

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