Dream Home has a Dream New Bathroom

Everything that we’ve done to this house has been on a tight budget, and that includes our new bathroom.

Although we’ve saved a lot of money, we have also spent A LOT. Buying a brand new bathroom is expensive, so we figured out how we could make it cheaper. And it sort of happened by accident.

My brother works at Wickes, a bathroom, kitchen and general DIY warehouse. Instant 20% off.

They also happened to have a 50% off Christmas/Winter sale, that they then stretched to 65%. Amazingly, we got half of my brother’s discount on top!

Our bathroom was over 75% off and it meant we could pick out whatever we wanted in the warehouse.

Old bathroom

This is a before picture of the bathroom as it was when we moved in. Our original intentions were to not touch the bathroom for a couple of years. But as I mentioned in this post, we had a leaking soil pipe that ran through the inside of the bathroom.

It involved us taking the whole bathroom out so it looked like this.

Building site bathroom

We did, ultimately, have to take the toilet out, so we’ve been without one for about 6 weeks! Luckily, we aren’t living in this house.

Last week, we got the floorboards back down in time for the tiler. I’m absolutely in love with my tiles, which is such a relief.

new bathroom tiles

Seeing them on the wall has transformed the room. It has brightened it and finally adds our personal style.

We’ve still got a way to go. The flooring is going in, and then the toilet and the sink can follow. I’m just so excited to show you the finished thing! It’ll be the first room of the house to be completed, and I hope I’ll start to feel like I’m getting somewhere.

We bought a second-hand kitchen….on eBay!

We bought a second-hand kitchen on eBay for an absolute bargain, and it was probably the riskiest purchase I’ve ever made!

When Jay turned round to me and said he’d found a second-hand kitchen on eBay, I said absolutely not. No way.

I don’t often use eBay. Partly because I don’t trust that a) the sellers will even send the product, and b) that the goods might be faulty, damaged or broken.

And yet somehow we ended up with a kitchen…

Jay and my dad had to go and take the kitchen out of the seller’s house and transfer it back to Chester in a van. But for £650, we got a bargain.

Can I add that we bought the kitchen BEFORE the sale of the house had even gone through! Yes, we’re mad, but it all paid off!

I love the kitchen, and it cost £20,000 new which is money that we just didn’t have. We had to pay the house deposit and then all the renovation costs as well. We did manage to buy a brand new bathroom suite though obviously (ain’t no way I’m buying one of those second hand. I have my limits).

kitchen being marked up

Sizing up the kitchen

Figuring out how we could make someone else’s kitchen work in our house was difficult. The kitchen was originally custom made for the seller’s house, so we had to shake it up a bit. When we bought the house, the sink used to be facing next door’s wall, but we’ve moved it so it’s now facing the back garden.

Big decisions

The other big decision we had to make was if we wanted a hallway. You can see by the picture above that there used to be a door behind the cooker, which we boarded up. We considered building a hallway in to separate the lounge. But we would have lost so much space in doing that.

We decided to keep it modern and left the whole thing open plan. Now we have an arch that passes between the dining room and the lounge.

Now, after plastering and emulsioning, the second-hand kitchen looks, well, brand new!

second-hand kitchen

The couple we bought it off said we could take the Range cooker for an extra £200, so the whole thing cost us £850 and came with a built-in fridge unit, and a built-in freezer, a Belfast sink, and solid granite worktops which I’m in love with. Funnily enough, I never saw myself as a granite girl, more of a solid wood, so who knew.

 

This is the completed result.

As I said, we had to rearrange the whole kitchen to fit our room, and were left with some strange gaps in the corners. See the wine rack in the left-hand corner? Jay built that from leftover units to fill the remaining space where we couldn’t possibly fit another unit.

Overall I’m really happy with our kitchen, and would buy a second-hand kitchen over a new one again.

 

Want more? See how to avoid house renovation disasters.

Jay demolishes things: I remove wallpaper

I was really excited to get the wallpaper off the walls, partly because it was all patterned and pink.

The wallpaper in this room wasn’t too bad, and I could have lived with it, but that carpet!

House1

Exhibit A

You can’t tell from the photo but it was all worn through in several places, especially around the sofas where people would sit down.

landing wallpaper

Exhibit B

Exhibit B manages to ever-so-gracefully demonstrate all the ugly carpet and wallpaper that was throughout the whole house.

The carpet downstairs was pink, and upstairs, green. Though not just one shade of green, but two or even three! The wallpaper is a combination of pink and green with big flowers on it. It is quite obvious that this place has not been decorated since the 1950s threw up on it.

office wallpaper

Exhibit C

Exhibit C shows what will be our office, with TWO DIFFERENT CARPET PATTERNS. The second, 70s-esque carpet was hidden beneath two wardrobes when we looked around the first time. So that was a lovely surprise.

I think the combination of the three pictures have demonstrated the datedness of the house. Yet, we still thought: “We’ll just remove some wallpaper, get some new carpet and all will be fine”.

Removing the wallpaper took me about 3/4 weeks. It was in every single room of the house, including the bathroom and kitchen. Once it was removed, we quickly realised that we’d need the whole thing plastering.

wallpaper-less wall

Next time we buy a house, I’m making a point of seeing how much wallpaper there is. This wall alone took me about 4 hours. I used a steamer, which just made the adhesive more sticky and therefore it stuck to the floors, the skirting boards and myself.

Who knew it could be so messy!

Keep coming back to the blog to see how the plastering turns out.

 

 

How to successfully remove a kitchen

The biggest job of this house renovation is removing and replacing the kitchen.

When we bought our house, we knew it needed work. The decor was very dated, and probably hadn’t been changed for at least 30 years. Our mistake was thinking that we could simply strip some wallpaper and repaint, and replace the carpets.

Well, we were wrong.

The kitchen was removed after having the keys for two days. It was removed by Jay and my dad, and they said they didn’t even need tools for half of it, due to some damp problems from a leaking soil pipe (ew).

Kitchen before

The ‘before’ kitchen

The cupboards were rickity, falling apart, and extremely old-fashioned. I do remember my Grandpa coming to look round it and stating that it “wasn’t that bad and we should live with it as it is”. That didn’t happen.

Within two days the kitchen looked like this:

Removed kitchen

Skip #1 has been filled

Jay spent a few days taking all the tiles off the wall and floor. The floor tiles were cemented down rather than glued so, of course, most of the floor came up with the tiles, which meant we had to have it levelled.

removing kitchen tiles

Jay in his natural habitat

As you can see, the pipework is extensive and very old-fashioned, so we need to get those neatened up, and even replaced. The original soil pipe was fitted inside the house, which is meant to be very typical of a 1950s house. It has now been put outside the house and has therefore left us with some extra space inside the house.

I just love the space of this kitchen/diner. It’s a long, rectangle shape with some French double doors that open onto our back garden. We have two large windows in the kitchen as well, so the room is incredibly light and airy, which always makes a space feel bigger.

I’ll be posting again and keeping you updated!

The Day Our House Offer Was Accepted

Spoiler: Our house offer was accepted.

Buying a house wasn’t something either me or Jay had done before, so we were thrilled when our house offer was accepted. We’re only 22 and 23-years old, and the house we bought needs a lot of work.

Despite there being no chain on either side, the process of buying the house was a bit of a struggle, but we got by with the help of our mortgage advisor.

Our first house offer was rejected, obviously. We knew that would happen, and absolutely expected it. But our second house offer came through when Jay was having a nap! I remember it being a Friday, around 4pm, so neither of us was expecting to hear until after the weekend.

The phone rang, and it was the mortgage advisor who said he was phoning with good news. I immediately jumped up, and was practically screaming Thank You’s into the phone. Jay sleeps through the whole thing.

House offer accepted

Now I face a dilemma. Do I let him sleep or do I wake him up? Well, how often do you buy a house? Of course I jumped on him, told him that we had a house and that we were officially adulting our way through life.

What do I get back?

“Hmm, that’s good”. He sits up slowly and looks at me as if “You woke me up for this?”. He must have been having a very deep nap, but he quickly realised what was going on and was excited as I was.

Phew! No second thoughts on either side then.

Delays followed by more delays

Even though we had no chain, the buying process took 3 months. There was a delay with the mortgage offer. The bank we took our mortgage out with (I’m not naming names) apparently don’t live in the 21st Century, and things were only done by post….or fax?!?!

The mortgage offer needed to be sent to the estate agents, yet it took six weeks to reach them. In total, the mortgage offer was ‘sent’ three times, by post and fax each time. Yet, the first two times it never reached its destination. If it was sent via email, the offer could have been sent in under a minute, so we weren’t exactly thrilled about the holdup.

And then Christmas was looming, so everything was pushed back even further. On the 6th January, 2017, we exchanged and received the keys.

So, our first job? Demolishing the kitchen!