And perhaps the biggest challenge was the decision to move into my family home, buying out my sister: I'd always said I didn't want to move back into the house I grew up in and only changed my mind after realising how difficult the housing market was. Alison and I had been seeking our last house from months before my Dad died and had been outbid on several properties, generally with offers of silly money. The final straw was getting a way-over-asking price offer on a property accepted, expecting to have to spend £100k on it... and then finding it needed more like £200k. Enough: We had just accepted an offer on 102, which had been on the market for a while, so I had a good measure of its real value and the amount I should pay my sister for her half. Apologising profusely to our buyers, we took it off the market, then set about selling our lovely Victorian end-of-terrace in Wallington. Quickly found a buyer who fell in love with it too, but she wanted to move ASAP so she could have Christmas with her ageing parents in it. We abandoned plans of gutting 102 before we moved - it really needed it - and just about managed a rewire and getting the girls' bedrooms liveable before we moved in, just before Christmas 2015. Ripped everything out, carpets n'all. The day before we moved, I had three painters, two electricians, a plumber and a team of cleaners all getting in each others' way. Right to the wire it went. There still isn't a carpet in the place.
We've been here a year and a few days now... and we've actually got quite a lot done. Rewired the place, sure - but also replaced most of the windows too. Replastered just about every room. A few decorated to completion, quite a few not, on account of not being able to do anything with the floor, because it needs to come up when we move some element of the services. We always had in our heads some major works, the first of which we've just completed:
- Build a new bathroom in the loft space, for the moronettes, whose bedrooms are on the top floor
- Once done, install new bathroom on our floor, as I dig avocado, but not old plastic avocado
- Tear down walls on the ground floor, turning kitchen and two of the receptions into big living spacy thing and utility thing
- Remove ponds and garage in the garden and build something else. Preferably something with music and AV potential.
Through it all, I've taken not as many photos as I should and had nagging concern that I'm not properly recording it, This is my family home that I'm remodelling and I feel I should be capturing what it was and what it's turning into - for my benefit and perhaps for the girls too. It's now Christmas hols and I have a bit of time - so I am going to start with the big job we've just got done and then work backwards. Hopefully start working forward in the new year.
Anyhow: Next post. A new bathroom and a make-up area that was meant to be for homework.