Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Breaking down the walls

So, I thought I would share a little sneaky progress report with you all. Despite the hiccup the other day, the builders are saints in dusty clothing and have been working at breakneck speed (or so it seems) and in the space of three weeks have done the following:

- Rewired the entire flat, including moving and installing a new fuse box.

- Replaced all of the radiators and dodgy verging-on-the-condemned boiler.

- Taken down, re-boarded and plastered the kitchen/living room wall.

- Ripped out the bathroom, put in a new partition wall between what will now be a separate en suite and loo off the hallway.

- Replastered virtually everything.

- Repaired the floorboards, laid acoustic boards to block out enough noise to allow us to have laminate flooring.

- Repaired three original sash windows and the sills underneath them plus replaced two rotten windows.

Admittedly, the entire place still looks like a building site but it's all slowly starting to come together which is very, very exciting.

The thing that I am perhaps most excited about is the wall, or lack thereof. When we first went to see the flat many, many months ago there was a lot of debate about whether or not we could remove the wall between what was currently being used as a second bedroom (but had been the kitchen) and the living room (where the kitchen had been moved to). The estate agent reassured us time and again that it was just a partition wall, as did our builder when we went to investigate further. However, our freeholder was concerned that it wasn't and might be load bearing. Cue finding a structural engineer who could come out and tell us yay or nay. Thank god for the lovely Alan, who came out on the same day that I called him in a blind panic and the next day, we had a letter stating that it was fine to rip it out.

So rip it out we did.

L to R: Day 1: wall in tact, Day 5: taking down the plasterboard to reveal the 120 year old partition, Day 12: removed and replastered

Unfortunately, we couldn't take out the wall right up the ceiling as they're uneven - it would've involved ripping out and replacing the entire ceiling plus I think a bit of wonkiness adds to the charm - three years of living in Brighton gave me a taste for crooked walls, floors and ceilings.

Now, you're probably still looking at the photos of the kitchen and wondering what the hell we've actually done - you can really see the difference when you see it from the living room:

Top: the cramped kitchen/living room before works started. Bottom L to R: Minus a kitchen, then minus a wall.
I am still amazed at how removing 150cm of wall has changed the dynamic and the light in this room. We'll be moving the kitchen back to its original place (where the big grey board is currently resting) so that we can reclaim the living room for a sole purpose.

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