The Wall is Down

I knew this was happening, but it still shocked me.

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I have no wall in my living room. Just a big hole open to the outside world. I guess this is one way of bringing the outside in…

This is one of the nice, optional things we thought we might as well do whilst we’re having to have a rewire anyway. It is also completely practical when you have a small child. The actual doing of the work is completely impractical in every way (here’s a tip for you, if you want to buy a 1930’s house, buy it and complete all the work before having children), but the end result will mean a much safer family home all round.

Our house was built in 1936, and the layout must have remained unchanged for many years, but at some point after 1970 the owner at the time built a garage and utility room extension. This was incredibly useful for housing things like a washing machine, dryer and freezer that wouldn’t fit in the tiny, 1930’s kitchen. However, it meant that the only access to the garden was via the garage, which isn’t particularly safe if you have young children. There are plenty of things within that garage that I don’t want small children anywhere near.

So we fixed it by putting a bloody great hole in the wall. Now we have garden access.

But oh the shock.

I can kind of see how this is going to work out, it is going to look nice. But this is the first big job of the renovation and it is a little bit scary.

 

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Moving Day: Our Lives in Boxes

I’ve been sat in amongst the boxes of our life in this house for about an hour now. We’re moving out today so we can get some essential work done. It is work that means we can live safely in our house for as long as we choose to stay here, and although we’re only going to be away for a few months I still feel a little, bereft?

My husband and I moved quite regularly before we bought this house three years ago. We first moved in together in 2011, and moved five times in following years. Every move is tinged with a bit of sadness, because you’ve had a life in that house – not matter how short a time you lived there.

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This time I feel sad that some of Pippin’s milestones might happen whilst we’re not living in our family home. I feel sad that some of our most treasured belongings are going to be in the loft, wrapped in bubble wrap.

I also feel sad because we’ve moved five times before, and I know just how long unpacking takes.

I will miss our house whilst we’re gone, but realistically I know that we couldn’t have stayed here much longer without making these changes. And I know that it is infinitely better to do it now, whilst Pippin is very young and it won’t affect her too much, than when she is older and more conscious of the change.

So today we will leave our home, and know that when we come back it is going to look very different. But it will also be a family home that we can stay in for as long as we need to, and that is very exciting.

No. 1

I don’t know that I’ve mentioned it before – but this isn’t my first blog. My guilty secret is that I have tried blogging before, unsuccessfully. I kept giving up at the first hurdle.

My other blog was supposed to be about the renovations of our 1930’s home, and it dried up a bit after we moved into our home and promptly sacked off doing any work at all. Until I got pregnant and we realised that a house with plaster falling off the wall probably wasn’t safe for a baby. We have subsequently realised that it is even more difficult to do up a house when you have a small baby – seriously, who has time for that?! But my new years resolution is to get some of the crap done on the house that has needed doing since we bought it three years ago.

So, a bit of background.

No.1 is a 1930’s semi. We bought it for the space it offered, how light and bright it was, the lovely garden and mostly because it was the biggest house we could get for the money we had at the time. As it turns out that has worked out lovely, No.1 is absolutely a family home.

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It has more issues that we could ever have imagined, and I love a good vintage home. It is far from a ‘good’ vintage home. The advantages are its aforementioned lovely garden and lightness, two large bedrooms, an original 1930’s bath and a lovely open plan reception space. It’s disadvantages are shot plasterwork, leaking windows, a tiny kitchen and mould.

When we bought it the house could have passed as a 1970’s show home, garish carpets and anaglypta everywhere. The tasteful bathroom suite was complimented by woodchip and the kitchen was finished with tiles in a charming shade of brown.

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I look back at the photos and think, wow, the house used to be tidy! We went in with so much enthusiasm and basically no plan, and that was a huge mistake. We managed to finish the reception rooms, do odd jobs in some of the others and then basically ignored it for the next two years. It wasn’t all laziness. The money ran out and we were paying for the house, it made sense to move out of the one room we were living in and into our new home – finished or not.

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Then we found out we were having a Pippin and we knew we had to get a wriggle on. So we sorted a few outstanding jobs around the house and made a nursery (which we haven’t finished: I hope you can see the theme here.)

My new years resolution is to work on getting more rooms done, the bathroom first I think, then the two remaining bedrooms and then the hallway. The kitchen we are still in two minds about. Our house is lovely, if in need of some tlc, but the area isn’t the one we saw ourselves settling in. Ideally we would extend and have a lovely kitchen-diner, but if we intend to move it wouldn’t be worth it financially. So we’re still debating that one. But hopefully No. 1 will make a few more appearances on the blog. You never know, we might ave finished Pippin’s room by the time she’s ready to move into it!