Wednesday, 22 January 2014

We have moved!

And before you ask, NO, not house again.... I don't think either of us can face that quite yet!
Our blog has moved house, which is considerably easier than really moving house. We had decided a little while ago that we had been neglecting the blog, so we decided to give it a little push, put a bit more thought into it and try to keep the momentum going.
So, from here on in, you can find our blog at
Please update your bookmarks/RSS feeds etc (HA! Look at me being all presumptuous!) as we won't be adding any more posts to the old site.  It will be auto directing to here for the time being, though it may get shut down eventually.

Friday, 17 January 2014

"New look" blog and exciting things to come!

Happy 2014 from the Raggedy House!

Firstly, apologies for the lack of blogs recently. We threw ourselves into sorting the house out so that we would have plenty to tell you lovely people about. Expect to see lots of new blogs over the coming weeks showing you what we've been up to.

We've also been updating the blog including a new design and some new content:

Our new year's resolution is to give the blog a bit more love too, so expect some more changes around here soon.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Bathroom updates including the new shower

We never really intended to do much to the bathroom when we moved it, but there have been quite a few changes in there recently. I think this is turning out to be a "slow and steady" project.

We were forced to replace the basin tap in the bathroom a little while ago when it decided to stop working. As the bath taps seemed to be heading towards the same fate, we bought matching taps at the same time (but didn't fit them immediately as they weren't as urgent). We've done that now (thanks Mike)... here they are:

Left: Old taps; Right: New taps (and new pretty candles!).
Apologies for the poor quality photos.
They look so much more modern and (bonus) they work properly too!

Close up of the new taps - aren't they pretty!
Bath Waste:
We've been using the bath a lot recently due to a) having a boiler that works and b) having a shower that didn't (see here) and we noticed that the waste pipe was leaking. But, a trip to B&Q, £5 and some of Mike's time later and it was all sorted.
Old bath waste pipe - it was pretty disgusting! We cleaned up the white section using vinegar and elbow grease and replaced the black section entirely.

Old plug - most of the "grime" is the putty they used to make it watertight.
New waste = leak free
Mike fitting the new overflow
Left: before, Right: shiny new overflow, plug and plug hole
Bathroom Light:
When our electrician was giving the Raggedy House a once over, he pointed out that the bathroom light was close to being illegal as it was a few centimeters away from being in "Zone 1" and it wasn't rated for it.

It was old, rusty and pretty dim anyway, so we decided to replace it.
Old rusty light - bleugh!
Top: Old light, Bottom: The new one
... And the newest edition - the shower:
Mike and his Dad did a sterling job of installing our new Mira Pronto EV shower a couple of days ago (thank you Peter!!). It was installed at the other end of the bath because it was easier to hide the pipe work in the wall at that end by accessing it from the hallway. Also, it means that when we're showering we're not standing at the "slopey" end of the bath. So, technically at the moment, we are a "two shower family" (it's just that one is still broken).
Pipework as seen from the hallway - the plasterboard has now been replaced and once decorated will be as good as new!
New pipes under the bath split from the existing hot/cold supplies to the bath to feed the shower
Pipe work from inside the bathroom - nice and neat

Panorama: two shower family. New shower on the left, old on the right
It is so much more powerful and prettier than the old one and should save us a bit of money too as its heated by Gas not Electric.

Mike also re-sealed the Bath at the same time as the sealant at the tap end was really shoddy. We need to seal around the taps too as the shower is at that end now, but that won't take long.

All that remains now is to disconnect and remove the old shower. Our electrician is going to help us with that when he comes next week and then we can remove it. We will also need to source some new tiles to repair the area where we take out the shower.

Bathroom Wish List:
There are a few things we want to do in the bathroom still, but we're in no hurry.
  • Replace the sink and toilet to make better use of the space and not bang our knees on the radiator;
  • Replace the bath panel (but not the bath);
  • Add some proper ventilation - it isn't too bad whilst we can leave the windows open, but it gets very mouldy in there during winter;
  • Re-paint the ceiling using anti-mould paint (just to freshen it up a bit and provide some protection);
  • Add some more interesting tiles in (I'm pushing for purple ones he he);
  • Re-grout the existing tiles, again to freshen it up;
  • Re-do the flooring;
  • Re-seal the basin.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Hello boiler, bye-bye shower

We had our new combi boiler fitted a few months ago. The old one was struggling - it could only produce about an inch of hot water before making some horrific noises, giving up and going cold again. Furthermore, when we started a boiler care contract with British Gas, we were basically told it was a waste of time as it would be impossible to source any of the parts for it if it broke. 

A new boiler was ordered and installed. We were quite lucky as the pipework was the right size already so there was very little work to do to install the new boiler - it took less than a day!

Left: Old; Right: New
The new one is nice and efficient and came with some gadgetry:

The new wireless receiver for the combined thermostat and timer has been installed in one of the kitchen cupboards to replace the old timer. Its left a bit of an unsightly gap but it will do!
Our new all-singing-all-dancing thermostat and timer. You can text it, control it online or use an iPhone app to switch it on/change the temperature/change the timings etc - very geeky!
So, now we can have baths again:
Left: The boiler would only produce about an inch of water before; Right: Now we can have real baths again!
It was a good thing we replaced the boiler when we did as about a month ago our electric shower gave up the ghost and stopped producing hot water. You would think during a heat wave a cold shower wouldn't be so bad, but it really was too cold!

The old broken shower.
We called out a plumber for a quote on fixing it and he managed to narrow it down to two parts: one which would cost £15 to replace and one which would cost closer to £60. As a new electric shower would cost around £70-£100 anyway, we decided to order the cheaper part and see if that would fix it, but it didn't work.

We were both a bit relieved at that! It was a pathetic shower anyway and when we chose our new boiler we picked one that would allow us to install a thermostatic mixer shower in the future. So, we've decided to bring our showery-plans forward and have bought a new Mira shower. We managed to get £60 off by buying it at the Hedge End B&Q store, rather than our local Southampton one.

Mira Pronta EV shower
We're hoping to install this soon, but at the moment we're making do with baths and showering at work.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Bedroom 2 - Decorating Complete!

Apologies for the tardiness of this post! We did indeed get bedroom 2 finished and in time to get the radiator back on the wall for our lovely new boiler to be fitted (there will be a post on that soon I hope). Unfortunately, that weekend we also shifted everything that had been filling our living room up into bedroom 2 so it was out of the way which made taking "after" photos a bit tricky. I've had a stab at it though, so here we go...
Before: The walls weren't in a great state - there were some massive cracks (but mostly they were difficult to capture in a photo)
The plaster around the window has been repaired 
At the top of the window we removed a piece of wood that the curtain pole was attached to, re-plastered and put some proper coving in place.
The skirting didn't line up where an old chimney breast had been removed.

This wall had the old chimney breast in it and  hadn't been properly  plastered when they removed it. Although you can't see it from the photos, there has been a big improvement.

Before, During, After: The window

Currently we're using this space to store everything whilst we sort out our lounge
Once we've finished the lounge/diner we will finally be able to unpack and turn this from a storage space to a proper room - we'll post more pictures when we finally get to that stage. It still needs curtains and obviously we need to furnish it.

Work is beginning on the lounge/diner on the 12th August with our Electrician returning to sort out all of the many plug sockets that were left without electric after the kitchen was fixed and also to add some new ones in and replace the consumer unit whilst he's at it.

Here's a before and during of our poor lounge...
Left: Lounge/Diner just after we moved it; Right: current state... its getting better slowly!

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Kitchen Improvements

We blogged a while ago about our Kitchen and the Bodged Electrics, which left the room in a bit of a sorry state. So, whilst we were sorting the study out over Easter, Kate's Dad came down to help us finish off the Kitchen.

Tiling and generally tidying up behind the fridge:
When we moved in to the house we found that there was a large patch of plaster missing on the wall behind the fridge. There were also several large holes and channels where wires had been chased through the walls in the past. There wasn't any skirting on the back wall, and the skirting on the right hand wall was only half painted. Furthermore, this bit of wall also housed two cooker switches, one of which had the spur running from it for the cupboard light and sockets in the lounge. Our electrician had sorted out these issues leaving us with just one safe (and legal) switch, but it left us with some broken tiles that needed replacing.

Unfortunately, we didn't get round to taking a "before picture" of this bit when we first moved in, so we pick up the tale after some painting, filling and plastering had taken place.

Before and After: Re-tiling, painting and adding Skirting Board
During: Thanks Daddy!
Another electrical issue we had was a socket overhanging the gas hob. This had to be moved out of the way and a blanking plate installed in its place. Again, this left us with quite a few broken or missing tiles, so Kate's Dad sorted that out too...
Before and After: Socket on the left replaced one where the blanking plate now lives
And closer up....good as new!
Putting up some blinds:
We are a bit over looked at the back of our house (and the front actually - the joy of a terraced house in the city), so we wanted some blinds in the Kitchen to add a bit of privacy and obviously to shade us from the sun when necessary! We picked up some reasonably priced Ikea Venetian blinds which we're mighty pleased with.

Before and After: Window 1
Before and After: Window 2
General Before/After:
This room is slowly changing so its easy to forget how different it is from when we first looked around...

Before: Estate Agent's Photo
After: It has already changed again since taking this - we've added a wine rack and unpacked our coffee machine!
Going Forward:
There are a few remaining fiddly jobs in the Kitchen (such as properly attaching some skirting behind the radiator which is currently just resting against the wall). Also, a few final tweaks will make it fully fit for purpose, such as adding these in the two corner cupboards to maximise our storage:

Le Mans Corner Storage Solution
But that is a little way off yet. For now, on with Bedroom 2! 

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Bedroom 2 - The update...

The plasterer has been!  Here's the timelapse (again!) for the plastering being done.  It cuts out early as I managed to mess up charging the camera, but hopefully you should get the gist!

It has thrown up a few surprises, such as realising that the ceiling is not properly fixed in place.  It appears that whoever plasterboarded the ceiling just nailed the boards to the existing ceiling, rather than to the joists themselves.  The consequence if this is that, if you climb a ladder, you can push the ceiling upwards by about an inch!  The plan is to screw it properly to the joists and then hopefully, at some point in the future, finish it off with coving.

The other surprise was the amount of woodchip wallpaper that I found hiding underneath the paint yesterday.  That was another couple of hours of my life that I'll never get back!  Large swathes of it was (very helpfully covered in Polyfilla, meaning that we weren't quite sure how far we had to strip the paper back.  It was a bit of trial and error!

If anyone in the area would like a brilliant plasterer, ours comes very highly recommended:

Palace Plastering