Temporary Measures

When you move house, it can often take some time to decide what you want to do with it. You may want to move rooms to different areas of the house, you may want to take walls down, you may want to improve functionality. All these things are worthy of reflection and you would be commended for taking time to consider all the implications – building work is not for everyone!

If you really don’t like disruption, mess and above all dust, you are going to find having the builders in very stressful, especially because they won’t be able to give you an accurate idea of what they’re going to find behind your bathroom walls until they start pulling things apart.

bathroom refurb

On this job, a ‘simple bathroom refurbishment’ the contractors discovered that the tiles had been applied on top of other tiles and that the ‘bonding’ underneath (the method used to seal the plaster or brickwork) hadn’t been suitable for bathrooms, so they had to hack out all the old plaster and start again. It was a mess and no-one could have for-seen it – or that the previous contractors had flung all their takeaway wrappers into the cavity under the bath! Uggh.

Sorting out problems adds to the cost, of that there is no doubt, but it can’t be avoided without giving a substandard finish to the new fit-out. On the plus side, we reclaimed 50mm of space which meant we didn’t need to move the bathroom door to accommodate the bath! So sometimes there is a silver lining.

bathroom from hall

You can see from the above that building work is very invasive. The whole upstairs landing has been taken over by the contractors kit and materials. And that’s the thing – everything coming into the refurb has to be stored somewhere until it is needed. This bit can be very unsettling as your bedroom will become overflow storage, because its handy for the bathroom. But, if you have good contractors, the results are always worth it and provided you don’t over specify the materials being used, you will see a return on the money you spend.

What do I mean by not over-specifying? If the value of your property is £500,000, spending £30,000 on your bathroom isn’t going to increase the value of your home by the same amount. You need to take into consideration the area you live and think about what potential buyers will be looking for when you decide to move on. If you have your heart set on mosaic tiles, for example, deciding to fit Bissazza at £380 per square metre would be very unrealistic if there is no appreciation for that level of taste – or expense – in your area and besides, there are other types of mosaic that will give the look, for a fraction of the cost. So, do your homework and don’t allow your heart to rule your budget!

But if you don’t have the money to do the work straight away, what then?

I moved to my current house two years ago and knew instantly that I didn’t like the layout of the kitchen – it had an oversized cooker, but no drawer space, it had two awkward corner cupboards and was totally unsuited for preparing meals for more than four or five people, even though the oven was enormous – so I started planning what I would do when I had the money to make changes. In the meantime though, I decided I didn’t want to live with it as it was. The wood colour wasn’t to my taste and the depth of tone made the room darker than it needed to be. So out came the paint charts.

queensville kitchen 1

I took my references from the tiles – again not to my taste, but the colour was ‘inoffensive’, (a fairly damning word, but my focus was creating a unity between the space and the rest of the decor) so staying within that colour family seemed to be a good starting point. I gave the units a good scrub with soapy water – to remove any fat splashes – and then sanded the surfaces lightly with a fine grade sandpaper.

After that I applied two coats of emulsion paint (yes, that’s right, I didn’t bother to use eggshell. I wanted the drying time to be much quicker because I wanted the job finished in a weekend) and top coated it with my favourite decorators glaze in a satin finish. Et viola!

queensville kitchen2

The kitchen still doesn’t function as I would like, but it’s much more inviting to be in and it complements the rest of the living space. For the price of 2.5 litres of paint and decorators glaze, I’ve got a space that I can live with until such a time as I can afford to rip out a wall and completely reconfigure the downstairs space.

And that decorators glaze has stood up to the knocks too, no chipped paint or scuff marks after nearly two years of wear and tear!


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