Thursday, 25 April 2013

Prepare to be floored, part three

I know I repeatedly say this but I am always amazed when I go round to the flat in the evenings by the progress that's been made that day and to see our selections and ideas come to fruition. All of those months ago when Mr Flatzilla and I spent what seemed like weeks deciding (read: arguing) about what floors to put in finally paid off when I popped in last night to find that the boards were finally going down and soon enough the acoustic boarding that lies underneath would be hidden.

The previous owner who rented it out had put down cheap beige carpet everywhere - including the kitchen (yeah, I know) - which hid the poorly maintained floorboards and did nothing in terms of sound insulation, meaning that the people underneath could hear every word and step which is never fun.

Our deeds stipulated that we too needed to put down carpet but after speaking to the freeholders, they told us that they were happy for us to put down a laminate or wooden floor provided that we could do something to insulate the sound. Talking it through with our builders, they suggested repairing and screwing down the original floorboards which were in a dreadful state, then layering insulating foam, followed by acoustic board (which cuts 80% of noise), followed by more insulating foam and THEN our floorboards. I'm not going to lie, it was an expensive idea but one that has proven worth its weight in gold. Previously, when I'd visit the flat in the evenings I could hear everything going on in the flat below us and now, nothing. Unless, of course, the tenants have buggered off on holiday and there is no noise emitting from them. Who knows.

Anyway, most importantly, we have a floor! Well, at least in our hallway, living room and dressing room.

And yes, some of it is essentially covered with industrial cling film at the moment. Best stuff EVER if you're decorating - the communal hallways are also covered in this to protect the carpets from all of the dust, paint and miscellaneous debris that our renovation has unleashed and unlike dust sheets, it actually stays in place.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Slowly slowly...

We are coming to an end with our renovations. At last the sink and lights are in the bathroom, the loo has been plumbed in and the kitchen is finished. I am most grateful for the latter as this means no more visits to the hideousness that is IKEA's kitchen department where I have spent far too many hours of my recent life sitting atop the dishwasher display, waiting for my number to be called.

Of course, my IKEA days are far from over - we still need shelves for the loo, an array of spatulas and bits and bobs plus half of our living room is overrun by items that need to be returned but at least I will never have to sit and wait amongst the hob and oven displays ever again. Or at least, for a long time.

Once again, I am amazed at my builders and the speed at which they work - I popped round on Friday to ask about a cupboard being built then ventured back in the evening to discover it was fully built to my specifications. As such, we're thinking it might be worth the extra cost to get them to build all of our other storage - time is at a premium as we'd like to be in to some degree by Mr Flatzilla's 30th birthday, which is next Friday. I know its a tall order but seeing how quickly they work, there is a distinct possibility that it could happen.

I'd love to share more photos today but unfortunately, I'm having what can only be described as a technological meltdown - first, my camera packed up, swiftly followed by a few days where my iPhone decided it didn't like taking pictures. Now that it's back up and running, I've used up all of my data allowance so I can't transfer any of the photos unless I find some free wifi knocking about.

So, until later this week, I have one photo to share, that of our bathroom lights. I spent a lot of time trying to track down Hollywood makeup mirror-style lights that are bathroom safe and don't cost an arm and a leg (and maybe a kidney). The ones that I'd had my heart set on originally have almost doubled in price over the last three years (from £60 each when my mother bought them for her bathroom to £100 a piece, plus VAT) but  I must grudgingly admit that the big blue behemoth came to my rescue with these, a reasonable £42 each. I'm planning to change the lightbulbs to chrome fronted ones at a later date but for now, I'm pretty happy with how they look:

I'll do full posts on each room at a later date but here's a sneak peek of our new bijoux (read: tiny) en-suite.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

The immortal quest for a kitchen

We almost have a kitchen. After six trips to the big blue behemoth and with one more to go, we might actually never have to trek to the dreaded kitchen department of Ikea ever again. Considering that some members of staff now recognize me in all my harassed-face glory, I think it's safe to say that Ikea and I need a break from each other.

It has been a slow process to say the least but then, I guess all of these types of things are, particularly when you are very much a kitchen designing novice as I am.

So, mid-week last week, it looked like this:

Then at the weekend, it looked like this:

The top cupboards won't actually be blue of course, that's just the protective membrane in place, keeping the white cupboards glossy and pristine until the grand unveiling.

There's still bits and pieces to do. The shelves need to go in next to the door, there's another cupboard to hang and the fridge needs to reclaim its rightful place in the lefthand corner as opposed to the living room but we are getting awfully close to having a full and proper working kitchen. Look, we even have working plug sockets now!

Now, if IKEA could just sell me the right bloody pieces instead of the wrong ones as they did on Monday (went in for white finishing plinths, came out with grey gloss skirting boards - thanks, IKEA), we'd be done. Unfortunately, we now have yet another trip to blue and yellow hell planned for tomorrow night. Rocking good times.