Outdoor Taps

The builder just asked me if we wanted to add a hot water tap outside. I quickly checked online if it’s viable or not. Apparently, it’s quite common to have one for washing the dog, car, bike, filling the paddling pool, etc.

We have gone ahead with it. It’s something that never crossed my mind in the past. Keep note.

Example of how it will function.


Doing My Rounds

I’m sick of moving between three different places to stay. It took me an extra 40 minutes this morning to find my clothes and pack for the rest of the week. I don’t know where half of my sh*t is. I’m popping to Next tonight to buy more socks. God knows how many I’ve bought in the last few months.

We can only do this as we don’t have kids and have family nearby. If you have kids, make sure you sort out accommodation and budget for it. There’s no way you could live on the property if it’s a full renovation, top-to-bottom. I recommend a car with a big boot. My boot is tiny.  Hopefully, it will be worth it once the house is complete. It’s sometimes difficult to see the ending, especially when frustration takes over and you just want it complete now. You have to remind yourself the end goal will be worth it (hopefully).

Oh, and stock up well on toothbrushes.



Retaining Wall

We had to put up the retaining wall ASAP. There was real concern that rain would cause a mini mudslide. I personally think it was a small chance as there was only a thin layer of soil and the rest of the ground was made up of rubble. We’re guessing it was either the previous house if there was one or rubble from another property close by. There are broken tiles, bricks and all sorts creating the high banking for the lawn.

The retaining wall is not to the specification provided by the Architect as the cost of removing the dirt was much higher than expected. The Architects plan was to use sleepers. It would have meant removing dirt furthermore dirt and filling it up with concrete. In hindsight, maybe we should have stuck to the original plan. The plan now is to either render the brick or use cedar wood to clad. The later is my first preference.

It does feel like a big chunk of the garden has gone.


Loft Opening Boo-Boo

The builder decided to create a loft opening on the side wall in the landing. It was a good idea at the time and in all fairness, the builders meant well. I was never 100% sure about it as I thought it looked like crap and could not imagine how the door opening would look.

We got to a stage where we felt the project was running away from us and called in our architect to cover a few pointers that we found puzzling. I’ll explain that episode in another blog. Anyway, she straight looked at it and said it will not pass building regs (inspection). There is a solution, however, when I received the details and looked into it, the costs were not worth it.

One reason why the builder did it was that he didn’t like the idea of the loft hatch being positioned in a bedroom. He had no choice to backtrack as there’s no way I’m paying the amount of money it cost to get it passed building regs and the fact that I never asked for it in that position.


You can see the concern. Anyway, I’ve had to order new ceiling loft openings. I’m sticking to the building regs version of our plan that the architect supplied. She put in amazing detail. I’m a bit concerned that I’ve ordered the wrong item, nevertheless, we won’t know until we receive it and try fitting.  We have two loft openings. One I know I ordered is correct. The other to replace the large side opening, I’m not so sure. The builders have already plastered the bedrooms and the one I’ve bought for the bedroom requires it to be plastered. Before you judge me, let me explain something. The contractors plastered way too early on in the project and it has caused headache after headache. I was quite vocal from the beginning about being unhappy with plastering really early. We have four plaster-in light fittings and plaster-in coving. How the hell can they plaster before fitting these items?

That’s why I’m going ahead with the loft hatch type I’ve ordered. They will have to figure it out as it’s their own doing. The reason I got a plaster in loft hatch is that it’s in a bedroom and I don’t want it to stick out. I’ve actually bought a service hatch. You can stick insulation to the top to make it function as a loft opening. It also has a strong lock.

Plasterboard Door – https://www.accesspanels.co.uk/product/900-x-600-mm-premium-range-plasterboard-door-beaded-frame-rpt-fr60/

Loft hatch

The other ceiling hatch is a standard picture frame.

Speaker Cable quality control

Here’s the difference between a crap speaker cable from eBay and a high-end cable. Look at the thickness and protection. World apart.

Mind you, the price is also a world apart!

We’re wiring one room for 5.1 speakers. We’ve also put an additional four cables in the ceiling to future proof. I don’t think we will ever have ceiling speakers though. You never know.

Check out my wire cutter from Japan.


Essential Tools

There are three items that I religiously carry with me day-to-day. I wouldn’t be able to cope without them during the renovation. I wish someone had told me to buy them at the start of the renovation as it would have made things a lot easier to understand and figure out. Here they are:

  1.  Tape Measure: what would I do without this. It’s used almost every day. You might not think you’ll need it much as the client, however, it’s turned out to be my most valuable tool. It’s essential.
  2. Scale Ruler: this is a bit of an odd one. I didn’t really know much about it until someone at Howdens showed me how they use it. You can use it to draw out any future floor plans, check the measurements, plan your kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, etc. Keep in mind to print your plans of with no scaling applied by the printer (e.g. print within margins).
  3. Laser Distance Meter: I love this tool. It allows you to measure large distances with good accuracy. It’s good to use to measure any new construction and check against the plan. Once the structure is up, you can get an accurate measurement of the space and start laying out your fittings/furniture using the scale ruler.  There’s plenty of features. You can calculate the m2 of a room and volume. Great tool.


It may seem a bit odd that you go around checking the measurements but trust me, don’t put your trust any builder. If they say they have checked it, you go and double check. Builders do what’s easy for them and could never face being wrong. check it, if it’s good, at least you have peace of mind. If it’s shit, go nuts.

You can also have a mini leveler, however, the builder will always have one onsite. Not essential unless they don’t like you handling their tools.


Sorry 4 the Wait

I know it’s been a long time since I’ve updated the blog. It’s not due to one reason, but a multiple of reasons. Firstly, the WINTER. The winter has made it difficult to visit the house as its dark every time I get there and taking decent photos is impossible. Spending time at the house is not as easy as its cold and you don’t want to hang around too long. Not all the rooms have lights and it’s all boarded up until the Glass is installed. Secondly, the pace of which I’ve had to be involved in the house has significantly increased. The ground floor and extension needs way more time and effort than I expected. I’m finding myself busy deciding on the builder’s questions, kitchen, fittings, the garden, glass, etc.

I’m also moving around frequently compared to start. This has taken a toll on the time and energy I have to update the blog.

Hopefully, things should get better from now on. I have a shit load of material to write about and get off my chest. I’ll try to add as many tips as possible from my good and bad experience so far.