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New house - need help planning!

(22 Posts)
GreenEggsAndNichts Sat 12-Jan-13 16:59:27

Curtains are the thing we all forget until we're wondering where we can change our clothes after moving in. grin I think I'll need to find a cheap quick solution while I try to figure out a nicer, long term option.

I'm going to get a wallpaper stripper and I suspect that will keep me busy for a while! I mean to get some builders in for quotes for our kitchen, so I might spend some days at the new place doing wallpaper in-between those.

How hideous is our house? well. All of the "real" work that's been done on the house over the years has been to a decent standard, so (touch wood) there aren't major repairs which need doing. However, almost all of the interiors are well past their sell-by date:

The carpets look worse than the ones in our current rented house. Some of them aren't wall-to-wall, so it's noticeable now that their furniture is gone because it's missing sections. And almost all of it is dirty, probably due to the fact that the couple passed away a few years ago and their son has been the only person taking care of the place. If it were good quality, semi-recently installed carpeting, I'd consider just giving it a deep clean and keeping it. However, this is stuff from my childhood, and I'm 36. hmm It must go.

And carpeting in the bathroom, fgs, WHY do people DO that.

Almost all of the rooms are wallpapered, and it's all very old fashioned stuff. I think even if I were to accept some of the rooms (some paper has been painted over downstairs) I'd want it to be in a room I don't use often, upstairs. I'd like the downstairs to be done properly. I also think it will help refresh the place; at the moment it just smells old, and I'm sure carpeting and wallpaper have absorbed that smell.

The bathroom is.. some kind of brown/cream suite which actually has a seaside motif or something created in the tilework. I, sadly, do not have a photo, but the more I think of it, the more I want it gone. grin To be fair, though, it's all in working order and I do not need to have that done straightaway.

The kitchen is the only big conundrum, it has units which are old and don't use the space very well. I love cooking and I don't want to feel detached from everyone else while I do it, so I'd like the wall to the dining room knocked through. Unfortunately I think it will be expensive as it's probably load-bearing. Hence the builders.

I'm having a look at your list now. It's all things I'll need to have done, though I think we don't need electrics done. hm. (god I could just go on for days on this!)

aufaniae Sat 12-Jan-13 11:17:05

Curtains! <facepalm!>

We need new curtains for all the windows. I'll add it to the list, thank you!

I wonder which other totally obvious things I've completely overlooked? grin Oh well, time will tell I guess! grin

aufaniae Sat 12-Jan-13 11:16:35

GreenEggsAndNichts congratulations on exchanging! smile

Your new house sounds much like ours!

How long do you have to sort out the house before you move in? Or are you able to work around it while living there?

Also, how hideous is it now? And if you put off doing it now, how long do you think you'll need to live with it? If it ended up being a year, or a few years, before you got round to doing all the rooms, could you live with it or would it get to you?

The decor in our house depresses me! It's awful!
For us, I know if we don't have a push to finish it now, it won't happen for ages.

We have a new baby coming in April, so I won't want any major work happening for quite a while after she's born. Also, I know what we're like, once we're moved in and have all of our stuff there (we have lots of stuff!) it'll be a much bigger job, and way more disruptive to decorate.

But it works for us as we have the luxury of being in rented accommodation for the moment. We have to give a month's notice. If we were going this month we should have given our notice today. But we haven't, we're going to have a 2 month cross-over period. It might sound like a lot, but realistically, there's no way we could get it all done in 4 weeks with me up-duffed and DP studying too!

Must to move in in March though. I have another deadline, DD due April 11th!

GreenEggsAndNichts Sat 12-Jan-13 10:38:45

I love this thread. I could have started this thread. We've just exchanged on our house, and it's lovely, but it needs loads of updating (owned by the same couple for 40 years). It also needs a new kitchen. The rest of the house is a good size, but the kitchen was an afterthought, as they were in the late 50s/early 60s, I guess!

Your post has made me wonder how much of this I should try to sort properly right now or if I shouldn't do a few quick fixes (painting over wallpaper in a spare room, for example) whilst trying to sort the bigger things properly (would want the living area to be done to a decent standard, even if it means plastering. Which I imagine it will.)

I'm now having a think. I do need ideas.

And curtains! The guy took all the old curtains out yesterday, he can't possibly have a use for them as it was his parents' house. I suppose this means a trip to IKEA is in our future.

aufaniae Fri 11-Jan-13 23:29:43

Oh and ...

* Already done:**

- ripped out carpets

- got rid of banister ming - DP scraped it off with a knife <boak>

- spoken to old friend (general builder) about general possibility of him coming down to do some work. If he's up for it that'd be great. He's considering it (I'm hopeful!)

Not much I know! But DP did submit the first part of his dissertation today, and (I know I'm biased but ... ) it's excellent, so it's been a productive week on that front!

aufaniae Fri 11-Jan-13 23:27:04

Had a really busy week (non house stuff) so not making much progress!

Have decided to go for colours we like in the house after all, rather than just all white so I've been procrastinating getting colour inspiration from

Going to have another go at organising myself:

Stage 1: this weekend:

- get list of electricians & plumbers to contact by Monday latest
- take carpets to tip
- do budget
- get quotes for hiring sander

Stage 2: next week

- sort finances
- put boards down in loft (so we can store stuff up there)
- find out if builder friend is up for doing work
- get electricians round to give electrics the once over & quote for any work
- get plumbers round to quote on new bathroom, plumbing in washing machine and dishwasher
- organise (probable) electrics work (and possible plastering - really hoping to avoid this!)
- orgaise plumber to do work
- get angle grinder to cut old lock off gate (for driveway)
- choose colours

Stage 3:
- box up everything going to loft and move it over
- go to London to get bathroom suite from shops we used last time!
- organise painting party

Stage 4:
- start on bathroom
- make sure work is properly notified to council (came up against this with our sale!)
- sand floors throughout house
- buy second hand range cooker (from ebay)
- buy paint

Stage 5:

- painting party with lovely friends who have offered to help paint whole house
room priority:
1. study
2. A's room
3. Kitchen
4. other rooms

Stage 6:
- put up fence in garden
- put up shelving
- move basic furniture in

Stage 6:
- move rest of stuff & ourselves!

aufaniae Sun 06-Jan-13 12:16:44

Loquace thanks for really useful kitchen advice too. It is indeed a 1970s monstrosity!

I will have a good think about what we could do with it.

Love the idea of painting the insides a bright colour, I wouldn't have thought of that smile

aufaniae Sun 06-Jan-13 12:13:54

Loquace thanks smile

"Glaring at vile wallpaper day after day does nothing to keep a woman's spirits up and her creative juices for future improvements flowing."]


aufaniae Sun 06-Jan-13 12:13:14

It is a tall order, yes! I must admit I am feeling a little intimidated!

"Have you been round each room to decide how much time you will need to spend on it?" No we haven't, that's a really good idea, thanks!

We're just going to paint over the wall paper. This is a quick clean up rather than the main decorating job which we'll do later. If we strip the wallpaper we'll probably need to plaster too, and we're not up for that right now, especially as we plan to knock through walls at some point.

Seriously, I can't live with that wallpaper, it'll make me miserable as I know it'll be months if not more than a year or several before all the rooms get done properly. It's depressing to look at IMO, I can't live with it as it is now, it'll make me sad! (Sorry I know that makes me sound really picky, but it's true!)

"Might be easier to take the bannisters off and dip them in something strong in the bath" That's a great idea too, thanks. We're getting rid of the minging bath there now (has about 30 years of limescale on it) so we can just chuck it in that with something strong without worrying about ruining the bath.

achillea Sun 06-Jan-13 11:45:36

Hmm I think this is a tall order because you are pregnant and he has a bad back.

Now that you have explained about the carpets, do strip them out first but I would still budget for carpets in some rooms for comfort. Sanding a whole house, with varnishing will take about a five days - you have to punch the nails into the floor, sand several times, varnish several coats.

Have you been round each room to decide how much time you will need to spend on it? Each room will have different conditions. If you are stripping the wallpaper this will take several hours for each room, depending on the strength of the glue. Do a detailed assessment of what it will take to make the room perfect, then decide what to compromise on.

I've been there, and it worked for me to get one room perfect and leave the rest until I was ready.

Consider getting some handyman type locals who you can get to do the work - they will do twice as much in the time than your friends will.

Might be easier to take the bannisters off and dip them in something strong in the bath. (wondering if they would fit in the dishwasher!)

Loquace Sun 06-Jan-13 11:22:59

I'm in two minds whether to deep clean it or bin it and start again!

If you can stand the smell (wear a mask!) amonia might work. With that fine wire wool stuff for the tougher bits. That got a vile thick layer of decades worth of grease off my kitchen tiles behind the cooker area so I could prime them for painting.

I think your plan is very sensible. Glaring at vile wallpaper day after day does nothing to keep a woman's spirits up and her creative juices for future improvements flowing.

aufaniae Sun 06-Jan-13 10:14:41

The whole house has floral 60s wall paper (simply ugly, not retro-cool sadly!).

We're having a baby in April, so no serious work will get done for a fair while afterwards, realistically!

For my sanity, I need to make it feel like my house before the baby's born, and that includes sanding all floors and painting everything. That's a minimum for me. I'll be spending a lot of time in the house and it'll depress me if any of the rooms are still in their current state!

DP is talking about picking colours for the rooms, but personally I don't think we have the time for the luxury of dithering over colours right now. I just want rid of the awful wall paper! Our personal stuff is pretty colourful, so if we paint it all white it will be fresh rather than stark I feel, and we can enjoy picking colours at our leisure.

The exception is DS's room. He's been promised any colour he wants (he's currently keen on bright red!)

Actually DS (4) is the most organised about this move. He's really into it. He keeps saying "Mummy, let's talk about furniture" grin and he managed 3 hours in Ikea last week without losing it or becoming incredibly naughty <impressed>

aufaniae Sun 06-Jan-13 10:06:17

I don't think it's animal smell. It's a 50s house and a probate sale. I think it's simply that not much has been done to it for decades, including any carpet cleaning!

The house has been totally cleared out and most surfaces are clean.

The two bits of ming are the carpets and the banister. To give you an idea of the scale here: the stairs have two banisters on them. One side is recent, it's almost certainly the type the council put in, and has been done relatively recently. The original banister on the other side has never been cleaned as far as I can see. It has years of grease from hands which have built up so much it's millimeters thick and the top of the rail is totally black. <boak>

I'm in two minds whether to deep clean it or bin it and start again!

Loquace Sun 06-Jan-13 09:13:55

I agree with electrics first. I got seven small shocks the first three days in this house. There was no trip switch and DS was only three at the time. Was a blimming desth trap.

There are enzyme based liquids for removing animal unie smell, don't know what the brand names are in the UK, but you should find them in a specialist pet store or something like B&Q.

Take your time love, we spent money twice, doing something and then having to rip it all put and start again cos the house revealed a fault AFTER we had done the finishing in that room.

Very sensible idea just to go for a freshen while you wait for the house to show you where it's not happy.

Loquace Sun 06-Jan-13 09:09:23

How to improve a kitchen on a shoestring.

1) You can prime and then paint tiles. The 1970s Italian monstrosities I had on all four walls, floor to eyebrow height Lomabrdy style, have gone from blerg muddy grey floral to white. Not so easy to wash as a tile surface, but rather that than mud grey.

2) Paint walls/ceiling

3) Prime and paint exisiting unit doors (and insides bright pink if you are my sister) and add cheapo inoffensive handles if needed.

4) if old units are beyond hope and you have IVAR units (the ones with doors) going spare from prefious use, paint and harware them, pull them forward leaving the gap at the back and then stick worktop on top. You can hide the gap at the back with a single panel of wood on any end unit that isn't next to a wall. My ehole kitchen is IVAR. Some 50cms and a row of 30cms, my best kitchen ever cos the shallower depth is better for disorganised people like me who can't be arsed to scrabble in the back of deep units.

5) If not IVAR, STEN painted up or just waxed makes lovely open shelf style kitchen. But is bad if you have 8 cats who like to sleep in saucepans

6) buy cheap but inoffensive worktops and just slap them on top with batons if you need to raise the height for an air gap when sticking them on dishwasher/freezer etc.

I created a whole massive country kitchen for about 400 euros (200 of which was for cheapo worktops, rest on primer, paint and handles) , but I did already have the IVAR units. Do need a new sink though. So that'll add some more to them total when I get round to it.

Obviously if the kitchen if not to your taste but doesn't make you cringe everytime you see it then you don't need to rush into improvents, but just in case it is the vile 70s disgusting horror I least you can hide the worst of it in the interim.

jchocchip Sun 06-Jan-13 09:06:08

I remember this! Bought a repo in 1996 that smelled of dog. We had to rip out most of the carpets straight away, although left living room as wasn't too bad, guess dogs had not been shut in there.

However bad it is - after getting rid of smell. Do not start all rooms at once. If you can start painting before lifting carpets as they will save the boards but understand if you can't. Get the electrics done asap, he should be able to give you a cert or get building regs involved to inspect. Make one room habitable and move in asap. Will be easier once on site and save rent.

aufaniae Sun 06-Jan-13 08:57:11

Good point about the loft btw. Will definitely bump that up the list.

aufaniae Sun 06-Jan-13 08:56:07

Thanks for the reply, useful advice smile

Would normally agree on the carpets, but they smell and until they're gone I can't bear being in the house for any length of time! They're the priority for me before anything can happen! (They don't seem to have any underlay. Very old, once good quality carpets laid straight on floorboards. Do they predate underlay I wonder?!)

Nothing has been done to the house since the 70s (or earlier for some rooms). It is however structurally sound. We've got a lot of work to do over the next few years, but for the moment I just want to paint everything white, to freshen it all up. (Ultimately it'll all need replastering but we'll do that one room at a time, over time).

achillea Sun 06-Jan-13 01:40:35

Congratulations. I think the most important thing is to make sure you have reliable people who will do the work for you - if neither of you are physically capable, having someone you can pay £80 a day for some shifting work will help and you can get a lot done. Start looking now on community forums etc, ask locals.

Get quotes for electrics asap - this has to be done first.

You can get an angle grinder for £20, cheaper than a locksmith / hiring one. Do this soon so you can get vehicles in!

Forget lifting the carpets for now as they will absorb dirt and protect the floor while the other stuff is being done. Remember that replacing carpet can be very cheap if the underlay and grippers can stay - so seriously consider this as it can save labour costs (or your time).

Do board the loft and move as much in there as quickly as possible (so you don't have to pay rent).

Do one room at a time (prioritise one bedroom and kitchen) unless you are absolutely sure you can do the whole house in one go.

aufaniae Sun 06-Jan-13 01:17:49

How long do you think that list might take, realistically? (Given that we're hemorrhaging money in rent atm!)

aufaniae Sun 06-Jan-13 01:14:09

I should probably mention, DP has injured his back and I'm currently upduffed so both useless at lift and shift atm! (Rubbish timing, this move!)

We do have a tardis an estate car however and some lovely friends who have offered to help out, so I'm thinking we'll probably move much of our stuff over a couple of weeks in the car, so we can get organised as we go rather than move a sea of boxes over in one go.

aufaniae Sun 06-Jan-13 01:11:32

We finally got the keys to our new house (yippee!)

Only problem is it's come through months later than we anticipated, and now DP is very busy doing the final leg of his qualification and not able to give much time (brain or brawn!) to the move atm. He'll have some time in 10 days.

I need to make a plan, to get things moving before then.

I'm not sure where to start or what order to do things in. I'm going to list it here, to try to organise my own brain, but if anyone else fancies having a go at organising me I'd be very grateful for the help!

Or if you have any tips i'd love to hear them.

- rip out carpets (DP will do when on a break this week)
- take carpets to tip (DP will do this week)
- get electricians round to give electrics the once over & quote for any work
- get plumbers round to quote on new bathroom, plumbing in washing machine and dishwasher
- do budget
- organise (probable) electrics work (and possible plastering - really hoping to avoid this!)
- orgaise plumber to do work
- make sure work is properly notified to council (came up against this with our sale!)
- put boards down in loft (so we can store stuff up there)
- organise painting party with lovely friends who have offered to help paint whole house
- sand floors throughout house
- put up fence in garden
- get angle grinder to cut old lock off gate (for driveway)
- put up shelving
- improve kitchen if any money left (unlikely)
- move basic furniture in
- move rest of stuff

Have I missed anything obvious I wonder?

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