Yesterday we finally appointed a builder to carry out the structural work on the house **Little dance of relief**
It feels like it's taken a while to get to this point, but we've at least been thorough to hopefully avoid headaches and heartache later down the line. In the end we went with 'Barry the builder' - it has a certain ring to it don't you think.
A lot of people have been asking what we're getting the builder to do on the place, and more importantly how long it will all take. Ahh, the golden questions I wish I could answer with some certainty! Just to put a bit of context to the extent of the work - The idea of a side return was always something we hoped to do in the future, but something we couldn't afford straight away. But as we started thinking about what tasks we would take on ourselves, we thought maybe we could ask about doing a small extension, and before we knew it we were discussing plans with builders and getting excited about a full on side return and a shed load of DIY! The thing is, we could have a finished house before the end of the year if we kept it the size it is, but where's the fun in that? When else are we going to have a chunk of cash to do structural work, and more importantly what am I going to do with my time when it's done??!!
So here's our thinking on what we're going to do with the extension to the kitchen. We've been through numerous scenarios and iterations, and this will probably change once we sit down with the structural surveyor and Barry the builder, but here's where we're at:
Rather than aim for something that will leave us utterly broke with the end far from sight, we've planned this so it's functional for our needs - divided up into a kitchen and living area, and practical structurally - we've been sensible with where to keep columns and piers so we use less steels. We're planning to have a kitchen with a central island at the end leading from the current dining room and hall, and the area by the bi-fold doors leading to the garden will have a seating and dining area as well as a tv to make an open plan living space. We'll get the plumbing and walls in place for a future downstairs toilet as well - we already picked up a sink from Gumtree last weekend, totally ahead of ourselves but couldn't resist a bargain!
In my head this area of the house will be a calming space with mid-century charm with a sprinkling of industrial quirks - of course concrete worktops were top of the list, however we have to accept that this is totally out of reach for our budget now. As an alternative I found a lovely warm grey Corian, yes also expensive, but Barry has a friend who installs it for a good price so I'm keeping it on the wish list for now. We may have to scavenge cupboards out of a skip at this rate to be able to afford it!
Here's the palette:
After ruling out concrete worktops we toyed with the idea of polished concrete flooring, before reading how hard it is on your legs and back after standing on it for any length of time. I found some great grey rubber flooring when I was speccing it for a client at work - it's warm, durable and hygienic, and looks almost resin-like when laid. I've been promised a 'better than trade' price, so we're going to propose we use that to the builders and hope that they are confident to install it.
Here's a sneak peak of our first thoughts on new kitchen/living space:
The one thing that's really bugging me is where to get a brass or gold effect tap in the UK. I've filled my head with the idea of brass fittings, only to find these are predominately from the US, cost a small fortune, and Si has said I'm not allowed to risk importing one from China. Fair enough.
If all avenues fail then I see they do this pretty decent black one in Ikea, which is more likely the sort of thing we'll end up with!