Sunday, 29 April 2012

The heat is off...

I think I may have mentioned that the central heating and hot water system in this 60s house was pretty ancient. Not necessarily the original, but I would guess as old as me or T!

The boiler had an efficiency/environmental rating of G, the worst possible rating. We kept thinking about how much it would cost to run for just one year; I thought we would be likely to see a return on our investment in a short space of time, purely in the lower running costs of a new super efficient A-rated boiler.

What with the asbestos flue and asbestos cupboard door, we had quite a cupboard of horrors.

The thermostat didn't work - it was either HOT or COLD with nothing in between. And the radiators were the biggest things I have ever seen. Another photographic opportunity missed was the radiators in situ. It was a sight to behold. But you can just about make out the dining room behemoth below.

I did take a photograph of all of them on the driveway waiting to be collected by the disposal team. They didn't make it in time, though, as T sold (!) the old boiler to a man up the road, who eventually came back and took all the radiators too. Another man had taken the radiator valves in the interim. Amazing how one man's trash really is another's treasure. It was good to know that they will be used somehow and not just chucked in landfill.

Thankfully moving into the house in September meant that we would be ok for a while, without too much need to use the radiators. But we still needed hot water, so we had to use the decrepit boiler for a while until British Gas were scheduled to replace the entire system. Warts and All.


Can you just make out the shabby carpets in the bedrooms? Oh my. More on those later.

The hot water cylinder. Somewhat surprising how the engineers don't leave those copper bad boys on your driveway to be haggled over. Hmmm.

But they did leave all this. Asbestos is a really scary word these days. But the engineers assured me that it was low grade and didn't pose a threat to us for the time it was in the house. Good to know.

So there you have it. All the bad stuff ripped out, and a complete new system installed. One happy family. Just in time for the weather to turn cold. Lovely.

I found B-Gas extremely efficient and helpful. I would certainly recommend them. Of course we could have paid a lower amount for this work if we had chosen an independent tradesman. And for most things I would always try to use local and independent tradesmen where possible. However, with such a large job as this, we felt using a large company would give us some comeback should anything go wrong. I guess we paid the extra money for the peace of mind.

For us, it was worth every penny.

Very happy indeed. Not to mention, warm as toast.

Saturday, 7 April 2012


So here it is. The bathroom. Done. Save for a new light pull. Enjoy the finished product.

Ah. Gleaming taps. I still find myself buffing them in between cleans. They are just so pretty. Swoon.

Victoria Plumb, in case you are interested.

The shower - Screwfix. We needed a 'replacement' shower because of how the pipes and electric cables came into the bathroom from the ceiling. It's all a learning curve. We originally purchased a shower from a generic retailer only to find that it wasn't possible to fit it with our pipes as they were. We had the option then of major plumbing and electrical changes which would have taken a) more time and b) lots more money OR we could pop on over to Screwfix and purchase this snazzy little 'replacement' shower and have it fitted the very next day. A real no-brainer.

We are not in this to refurbish the house to show-home standard. We want a house to live in. To love in. To grow in. And grow with. We love it this way, and you know what? It's a pretty rocking shower every morning. Who needs a power shower? Besides, that would not be environmentally friendly.

Oh, and don't you love the tiles? And the tiling. Much applause to T and his brother A for a brilliant tiling job. Saved us lots of money and I am thrilled with the final result. We had a professional tiler at a previous house, and I genuinely don't think you can tell a difference - perhaps the only exception being the amount of time it takes an amateur to finish the job. But, honestly, that is a small price to pay. DIY at it's best.

The one thing we did need was some additional storage. I am happy to have the day-to-day things out and easily accessible, but extras - face cloths, spare products, moisturisers, bubble baths etc - all need a place to live without cluttering up the surfaces.

This Bathstore vanity unit has proved itself to look great and function very well indeed. Very happy.

Do you love the Olive Press paint? Gorgeous.

White on green. Calm. Restful. Perfect.

We have had this mirror for ages now - one of many IKEA products that reside in our home. I am sure I will talk more about IKEA in the future. I have a huge soft spot for their design and functionality. This mirror acts as a contrast to the straight edges throughout this bathroom.

The bath panel. Oh, what fun we had with this. Did I mention it was bespoke? Yes (see previous posting). Made from plywood, because MDF has a tendency to warp and bubble in wet conditions. Trouble with plywood is the grain. When painted, the grain shows up and doesn't look all that pretty. Long story short - we (eventually!) used a product called Smooth-Over which gives a smooth finish on which to paint. We like it.

And the floor. I am a big fan of real tiles. In our house we bought up north, we had the most gorgeous tiles on the floor in our bathroom. I would have had them again in a heartbeat. But, in terms of a family bathroom with a toddler, hard tiles are really not all that practical or safe. So we opted for vinyl flooring in a tiled effect. It's not going to win any style awards, but actually it looks quite nice. And it is much warmer under foot than real tiles. I am surprised by how much I do like it.

So there you have it. The sunlight pours into our new bathroom and it feels so good to finally show it off.