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house renovation hell - what are priorities now? long ramble alert

(7 Posts)
eeky Sun 14-Jun-09 23:32:24

We bought turn of century house 4 years ago for a great price, mainly due to it's awful state - completely neglected, empty or rented out and last decoration in 1950's at a guess. We bought from a property developer who went bust, but had put in new double glazing (shame to lose original features but warmer..) and new carpets landing and bedrooms. Good points on 3/4 acre plot on outskirts great village with excellent facilities, no immediate neighbours and open fields surrounding. 5 mile drive to my job smile and like the area. Plan was to build large extension, move into that then renovate old bit.

However... although dh construction background and job, and he has renovated houses before, we have got nowhere sad Dh severe depression and didn't work for 2 years. Consequent lack of funds although I have stable, well-paid job. Dh worked hard at recovery and got back to work, doing really well in stressful job again. We had first child, dd now 1, and expecting ds in September! Dh meanwhile developed arthritis which was extremely disabling so no chance of building or renovating anything. He is much improved now but future as to how he will be uncertain. I had pnd after dd but now recovered.

DD has beautiful clean, light and airy bedroom, which she will need to share with ds when he goes into cot. Paintwork and door old but liveable. Thank goodness one room ok!

Our bedroom again large but has old embossed wallpaper with several layers underneath. Developing mould on paper and damp patch one corner from roof which needs repair. I went nuts last week and started stripping off wallpaper either side chimney breast, so that can move large wardrobes from dd's room to ours. Now looks disaster as half of plaster came away too. Dh livid as have made hash of it; although he could fix it and re-plaster has not.

Bathroom and kitchen appalling, dirty, mouldy, cramped and need total stripping out. Complicated as kitchen will be part of new utility room and bathroom will be new bedroom so dh maintaining not worth doing anything major. Have new bath plumbed in (3 weeks before delivered dd!), no shower, new loo and cloakroom basin. No plaster on walls and bare floorboards (one missing) with old rotten rubber tiles.

Kitchen can all go including mouldy old lino. Look like salvageable quarry tiles underneath. Just 2 floor cupboards and crappy old sink, so no storage. Problem is house relatively small and trying desperately to declutter, but no room to move stuff to deep-clean or temporarily decorate.

ok, so 27 weeks pg, hugely hormonal and trying to nest, on top of 4 years of frustration and still living in crappy conditions. Dh and I solid despite difficult few years grin. What do I do now? Dh does not seem to realise that dd will be walking soon and we need to make house at least safer and cleaner for her and has no sense of urgency - as well as physically limited in what he can do.
I vote for continuing to work on stripping bedroom alcoves, so can move in wardrobes, so can make room in dc's bedroom for cot and cotbed. Also plasterboard bathrooom and some kind of hygienic flooring, thinking of when will be toilet training dd. Given up on shower for now... Definitly strip whole kitchen, need new fridge and can manage with free-standing units, camping stove, microwave and new sink. Safety gates dc room doorway and stairs.
What would you prioritize? Not sure how much I can persuade dh to do in the next 10 weeks; I am now on mat leave for a year (paid), he has been SAH dad for last 8 months and doing fantastic job with dd. Can afford just for him to stay off work for this time if it means whole project gets done - otherwise he can go back to work asap.Just need to get some sense of order now as very little chance once ds arrives, esp if I have pnd again. I know sounds like we are complete slatterns but have been dealing with life events instead wink

Shitemum Sun 14-Jun-09 23:43:02

1.Get the roof fixed or it will keep on leaking and damaging paintwork and walls.

2. Redecorate your bedroom as you will need a haven from the rest of house and baby can't sleep in a room with mould on the walls.

3. Start planning kitchen make-over and aim to get it done a few months after birth.

Not sure about floors, as if you do the rooms one by one you will have to make sure floor levels match up later...

Can you get other people in to do work or does it all have to be done by your DP?

eeky Sun 14-Jun-09 23:51:09

dh unfortunately a perfectionist (not a good combination with lack of urgency!)so wants to do most work himself but has friends that would help and contacts in building trades. Can't afford to pay for unknown people to do much. We can't plan kitchen make-over as don't have extension yet, where fab new living/dining/kitchen room will be ... allegedly...

GrendelsMum Mon 15-Jun-09 10:56:32

We have a very slightly similar situation - DH says not worth changing things until we change them all properly, I wanted to fix problems to make it nicer to live in while we prepare to do the big renovation.

I'd try to get your DH to do one thing to his perfectionist standards, while you do a blitz on the rest to get it liveable. Your bits don't need to be perfect! I think that making it look better will to some minor extent help with mood - it does me, anyway.

For him:

1. Fix the roof, before you have more damage.

2. If someone else does the roof, he can do plastering in your room.

For you and your friends and relatives

1. You say the kitchen and bathroom are dirty and mouldy. Get a professional cleaner in or ask your friends and relations round to help, and scrub, scrub, scrub.

Tackle the mould and mildew by keeping the windows open as much as possible, in all the rooms.

3. Take the mouldy lino out of the kitchen. Scrub the quarry tiles.

4. Go on Ebay or to your local discount flooring shop and buy enough cheap lino to go on the bathroom floor. Tell DH it's only temporary, and cut it to size yourself. Buy a book called 'Fix it Good', which gives amazingly clear instructions on how to do this.

5. I'd be tempted to do a quick lick of paint in bathroom and kitchen when your husband is out :-) It makes a tremendous difference, even if you're going to knock them down in a few months. I did this, and it was seriously worth it.

Please ask your friends and relatives to help - I was gutted when my friend didn't ask me to help with something similar and struggled on by herself.

Hope this helps!

CMOTdibbler Mon 15-Jun-09 11:45:58

Sit down with your DH and have a frank discussion about the house. Make a list of what needs doing to make it a) habitable for a walking toddler and b) nice.

Then agree a weekend that you will blitz the house - invite everyone you know over and bribe them with beer and curry (or whatever) to clean and make the house safe. Over one weekend you can get an amazing amount done - rent a trailer/box van and put everything you can in there so it is out of the house, get someone to take DD so she is out of your hair, and then get people to concentrate on an area each. You'll be amazed.

Even in my unskilled group of friends, we have completely replace floorboards and joists in a house throughout the downstairs in one weekend.

Your DH has to realise that the safety of your children comes first, perfection a long way second. Threaten him with DIY SOS !

goldenpeach Mon 15-Jun-09 11:53:29

I renovated my first house myself. The advice I'd give is to do the lest important room first so by the time you takle the best bits your skills have improved!

Mould: could the double glazing be a problem? We rent a 1930 semis and they put doubleglazing causing mould to attack the pristine paintwork (it was completely redone and updated before renting it out). After talking to estate agent and builder (which my neighbour told me he's known locally as the bodger...), we solved the problem inexpensively. Basically the mould was caused by condensation as the builder plastered over all the air bricks. He installed a kit on every window, a kind of vent thingy you put on the frame (you dh would be able to fit it, you need a drill and then you screw in these two pieces). This way we don't need to open the windows anymore and the house is warmer as the damp made it feel colder (and most of my stuff in contact with the new flooring was getting mouldy too, even shoes). Of course mould can also come from water dripping from roof, chicks in facade bricks (so when it rains the water trickles in) and blocked/defective guttering.
Good luck!

eeky Mon 15-Jun-09 20:41:15

Thanks for all your great advice. Although I know this all needs doing, I find you can get so overwelmed by all the different things that you don't know where to start for the best! I've chucked out masses of unwanted clutter and doing that rest of week (I'm trying to train myself out of being a terrible hoarder) along with making blackout blinds for dd's room. Then back to dreaded bedroom walls to strip before making dh plaster them. Believe me, I have threatened him with DIY SOS many a time and may do it one day! Then on to stripping kitchen and making bathroom ok as you all suggested. Hoping that ds will arrive into, and dd will soon be toddling round a much more pleasant house grin

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