Tuesday, 31 May 2011

The first weekend

 Our bedroom, with clean walls.
 And again, with the first touches of a shade of blue called Foresight.  Soooo much nicer than the hospital green it's been wearing all these years.
 The loungeroom with clean walls and a clean window.
 The loungeroom fireplace, with partly sanded timber floors.
 Scrubbing 50 years' worth of cigarette smoke off the walls made an enormous difference.
 The creative one is quite pleased at the prospect of an indoor toilet.
 An army of generous friends pitched in to help with the work.
 Some much more deft with a cutting-in brush than we are.
The helper's helpers.  The seven-year-old took the story of the old man who didn't clean his house to school for show-and-tell on Monday morning.  

And now all that cleaning has to be done over - at 7.30 Monday morning the chasers hacked into our walls, cutting grooves for the new wiring.  Shortly after that the electricians crawled into the roof to feed the wires down, and then the plumbers dug up the 1920s era plumbing from under the 1940s concrete.  

We move in in two days.

Monday, 30 May 2011

What we're working with

Despite everyone's warnings, the settlement went through exactly when and how it was supposed to, and Marmalade Cottage is ours.

Since there's so much to do, we got straight into it.  With the help of P and D, we drank a bottle of Moet, then we ripped out the lino.

Over the weekend, there's been a small army of helpers and we've managed to get the walls washed - orange power is brilliant at removing 50 years of cigarette smoke residue.  Most of the floors are sanded and waxed, the furniture we're keeping is stacked out of the way.  We have a functional back door and the revolting old stove is in a skip.

Today the electricians started the rewiring, which involves cutting lots of holes in walls.  Tomorrow the rewiring will be finished, and the plumbers start.  After that the house will be liveable, and that's when we move in. 
Meanwhile here are some before photos.

 What we'll wake up to every day, minus the horrible curtains and the hospital green paint.

 This is the original kitchen.  It seems to have been used as only a dining room.  We'll put in a sink and stove, lots of shelves and good lighting and it will be a kitchen again.
 This is our loungeroom fireplace.  Under that lino are floorboards, they're not great, but they're sanded and waxed now and they'll do. 
 This is truly hideous - cracked and filthy and it doesn't drain properly.  We have a new pedestal basin (one of the few new things we've bought) and taps found at a garage sale for $15.  We'll paint and install a toilet and the bathroom will be transformed!
 This is what will greet us everytime we come in the front door.  We've cleaned off the grime, but it's still rather green. Once we've finished with it, the feature pieces will be glossy blue, a shade called foresight, and the rest white.
 The party toilet.  Not working now due to extreme neglect, the details of which are best not mentioned.  To be fixed shortly.
 This is the old kitchen sink, installed, we think, around the 1940s.  There is no hot water.  It's in the built in verandah bit, you can just see the edge of the old back door on the right. We're leaving it there, as it'll be useful for washing hands from gardening or rinsing off vegies just picked.
This is a horrible room, poky and dark.  Right now it's floor to ceiling with furniture and boxes, but once we've organised the rest of the house it will be the practical one's sewing room.  We have an over-the-top pink glass chandelier for it!

More to come!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

The night before

Settlement is tomorrow.  Today we had a hiccup - the bank realised it had miscalculated and suddenly needed another chunk of cash.  The settlement agent rang sounding grim, and so the practical one made a dash to the bank.

And we are once again assured that everything is in place for settlement to proceed without a hitch.

It had better!  The plumber is organised to fix the alarming leak in the outdoor (and only) toilet at 3pm, and the electrician is expected at 4 to do preliminary work.  There is a bottle of champagne chilling.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Nearly, nearly there!

At last the SOLD sign has gone up in front of our house.  We had the final pre-settlement inspection this afternoon, and a good laugh with the real estate agent about the ghostly activity in the house.

Our plans are starting to become tangible.  The electrician and plumber are booked and have promised their work will be done within only a couple of days.  We're going to believe them, because the alternative is too horrible to contemplate.

Our rental was open today to prospective tenants - who looked very suspiciously at the appliances and fittings we've collected in our carport.  So far, we've got a stove, bathroom basin and taps, hot water service, kitchen bench and a toilet.

Settlement is next Friday, and then there will be a flurry of activity.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Completely unexpected nutcasery

The background:  the real estate agent who sold us Marmalade Cottage is sympathetic to the amount of work the place needs, so he's been quietly giving us extra access.  So long as we don't do anything to change the place, he figures it doesn't hurt.  This has meant we've been able to get the place pest-inspected, take a heap of measurements, and get a plumber and an electrician in for a quote.

Since the  place has been empty for so long, and is wearing 50 years of cigarette smoke on its internal walls, we took the opportunity to do some scrubbing.  As an afterthought we scattered some sprigs of bay, growing in the backyard, about the house to help with the smell.

The nutcasery: it turns out the daughters of the deceased owner visited the house.  Two of them are quite reasonable, the other one is mad.  She was, the real estate agent reports, incensed that we'd moved some of the furniture.  She also took the appearance of the bay sprigs as a supernatural sign that her late father was turning in his grave! We believe coniptions were had.  The poor real estate agent got quite an earful.

Annoyingly, it means our quiet and non-destructive access to our house prior to settlement has now abruptly ceased.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Something of a shopping list

The plan has always been to do this renovation in the greenest manner possible.  So we've making a large effort to find second-hand appliances, fittings and furniture.

And, as settlement is in less than two weeks, there's quite a bit of pressure to accumulate rather a lot of things, especially those the plumber and electrician need to fit, very shortly after settlement.

This past weekend, with the help of the trusty Quokka and Gumtree, the reinventors are now in possession of 100m2 of insulation, a toilet (which had never been installed, but since it wasn't bought retail, counts as not new) and a hot water service.

The hunt is on for a kitchen sink and some stainless steel catering benches, towel rails, a toilet roll holder, one or two light fittings, and some doors.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

In which the old girl prepares herself for a shock

Things Marmalade Cottage has never known:
  • An indoor toilet
  • Proper plumbing
  • A kitchen sink in the kitchen, with hot water
  • Safe wiring (or rather, the wiring was fine when it went in during the 1930s)
  • Reticulated gas
  • A telephone
Things Marmalade Cottage is about to experience
  • All of the above

Monday, 9 May 2011

It's ours!

And so the reinvention can begin in earnest!

The mortgage has been properly approved, and the reinventors start the count-down to settlement.

Calls have been made to tradies and appointments have been booked.  Scary figures are bandied about.

A book is being run on how long it takes before there are tears.