Back in mid May we opened our doors once more to the same building company we used for our ground floor extension in the summer of 2015, and we begun the loft extension project we had been thinking about for years.
I had fully intended to document the process of the build, but in all honesty, for the first six weeks there was very little to report as the builders accessed the site through a hole in the roof. We were both philosophically, and actually (thanks to the ply boarding over our kitchen velux windows) in the dark as to what was going on up there.
To be honest, reading other peoples experiences was a huge help when we were planning our renovation, and with it being a long time in the planning, I wanted to capture the progress to look back on, and for others who might be considering a loft extension. I am a blogger after all.
Outside it’s raining but inside it’s wet
Of course no renovation goes without it’s dramas and for the first month of the build, whilst our water tank wa temporarily relocated to a platform on the scaffold, outside the house, the main issue was with our waterworks.
We had a pipe leak through to Tig’s bedroom, thankfully (and slightly annoyingly) soaked up by the stash of spare bedding. Shortly followed by a waterfall outside the front door, a water feature we’d neither planned nor imagined. Then, as quick as we complained about the excess water, we hit the other end of the scale – a night with no water at all, of course aligning with a vomiting bug hitting the kids being a highlight. Also, around three weeks of no cold water upstairs which meant brushing teeth with warm water and filling the loo cistern with the bath water each night was a novelty which quickly wore off.
And then there was the apocalyptic rain storm which hit the days we had no roof. What fun. Thanks God for the decent weather forecast warning and the builders expert wrapping of the open structure with tarpaulin like a christmas present. I came home that day with my heart in my mouth, expecting to need waders but found just one small leak in Tig’s wardrobe – before any damage was really done.
Thankfully, each hurdle was quickly overcome and we can laugh about it all now…because the end is in sight.
At the beginning of week 5, an unconventional Fathers Day, we spent the day clearing the hallway and the Mouse’s bedroom to prepare for the big break through. Despite feeling pretty gutted about taking apart our gallery wall, I had a word with myself and put away the pity party – something I had to constantly remind myself of throughout the build!
As the roof hole was closed up and the windows and Juliet balcony doors fitted, there was only one way access was going to be restored.
The week we discovered our daughter was about to undergo surgery, of course aligned with the week the hole in the roof as made – somewhat panicked we debated delaying the op but concluded all would be fine – to be fair the guys on site have been amazing at clearing up each day. The stairs went in seamlessly (sort of) and finally in just one day our name was on the list and we were going in.
And so, after 6 long weeks of watching on from the garden, making endless cups of tea and living in a mess of everything upstairs is downstairs (and a noisy little mouse asleep next to us), we finally stepped in to what will become our new bedroom.
The big reveal
First reactions were pretty exciting – the blank canvas is exactly how we hoped and the guys have done an incredible job. It’s also been incredible to see the progress made each day…
One of the surprising things we discovered is that whilst the room seems big (it’s empty though!), the eaves storage is pretty non existent – and tricky to access. Might need some rethinking when it comes to putting all that crap back in. Good job we didn’t try and keep all the baby gear.
I guess rather naively we hadn’t anticipated the hallway needing a full refit after the build – the fitting of the stairs and electric cables means the walls have had channels cut out and there has been quite a lot of damage. I guess it’s the perfect time to get that big job done but it wasn’t something we had planned for so to speak.
Dealing with mess
I can’t lie, I ain’t great with all the upheaval. I’m one of these people who likes it all straight again at the end of the day, and when you have a building project on the go, that isn’t always possible! Being organised and on top of the dust does help though – and unlike the ground floor kitchen extension, we have been fine to be living here throughout.
When the ground floor extension was completed, our back garden was decimated. With a heavy heart we packed up as much of the garden as we could, allowing access and damage limitation.
Almost 8 weeks on, we are sooo relieved to say that the rear garden has barely been touched – the occasional builder popping through to access the rear scaffold, but other than that, we have been able to enjoy the start of the summer as normal, despite the work in progress.
There was just one minor mishap relating to a trampoline and a lack of safety mat due to the constant moving of it ..but she lived to tell the tale. No prizes for guessing who.
The fun bit
We are soooo close now we can almost smell the wet paint. With just two weeks until decorating begins, we have picked out the bathroom and furnishings and fittings to make it our own. A dream bedroom that will give us our own calm space, and allow the girls to have their own level (and most importantly, bathroom) in the years to come. With the tiles and bathroom suite starting fitting tomorrow, it’s going to be amazing to see it in its final state. No doubt there will be more on that later…
On of the main juggles has been managing the budget with regards to flooring as we have a large space to cover with a hard floor – plus the entire hallway, landing and original stairs carpets which need replacing (and decorating).
It’s looking like we’ll be in the room properly for the summer holidays (ish) and I can’t wait to get back on the driveway, say bye bye to the scaffolding, and return to normal tea bag usage.
Update: Since starting this yesterday the scaffolding has gone, the plastering is underway, and I’m beginning to wonder if I’m going to miss having someone to make a brew for…