Monday, 28 July 2014

Flatzilla 2.0: The Great Outdoors, part one

So, it's been almost a year since I last posted on here and my, what a busy year it has been. Just as we finally settled in and got ready to host our first Christmas in our tiny flat, the freak weather hit us and while we weren't anywhere near the hideous flooding in Somerset, we did get to watch all of our beautifully freshly plastered walls destroyed through water damage.

I'm still getting over it. The less said the better. Needless to say, we learnt a lot of DIY skills very quickly in those soggy weeks.

And now, we have a new project: the roof.

So, a little background first: When we were looking for a flat, one of the biggest draws to what eventually became our home was the outdoor space. Having lived in a house with a very big garden since I was two, I was determined to have some kind of outdoor space. Our flat came with access to two very unloved communal terraces and in our lease negotiations we managed to convince the freeholders to hand over exclusive use of both under the provision that we would look after them.

We quickly transformed the small lower terrace by painting the rails, cleaning off the brick work and investing in a nice little Bistro set from good old John Lewis (You can read more about it here) but the upstairs terrace was a much bigger fish.

We were so excited to have the outdoor space that at first we simply put up with grubbiness but as soon as the sun came out this season, we began plotting what to do upstairs. There was only so long that I could look at weeds and dirty walls like this:

The long and short of it is that we need to tear up everything, put down a new framework and retile the entire thing which is not only expensive but difficult to do when every roofer within the M25 appears to be booked solid until sometime in November.

As the resident sun worshipper (see above), I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands and so began my next project, Flatzilla 2.0: The Great Outdoors. The plan? To kill the weeds, blast off 15 years (possibly more) of accumulated dirt and generally make it a lovely place where we could spend our summer, rather than this:

Just like St Tropez, right?

 After swapping our giant Karcher for a more reasonably sized handheld version that we could get up the stairs, we started Flatzilla 2.0 on June 29th by blasting everything off the walls.

Luckily, most of the paint was so old and chipped that some vigorous pressure washing blasted it straight off. And onto us. Mr F's legs took the brunt of it:

After one afternoon, we were free of around 90% of the old paint and once the sun dried off the wet walls, the difference was already staggering:

Stage one: completed. Now, we just had to let the walls dry before the REAL fun could begin.

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