As you know from earlier posts we have let our architect go. He had far grander designs than we did, and his head in the clouds (the politer of two terms I could have used) as far as trying to help us keep to a tight budget. Don’t get me wrong – for the amount we have to spend on these renovations we built an entire four bedroom home from the ground up ten years ago in Australia, so it’s not an insubstantial sum.
I also told you that I proceeded to radically rethink the plans in order to avoid large scale demolition and to make the best use of current space. In essence, our architect had us knocking down and then rebuilding this entire back section of the house, on exactly the same footprint but with the roof four brick courses higher to make the ceiling height the same in both parts (!). This was after we had already reined him in, as initial plans included a massive family room on the back as well, with a large bespoke roof lantern on the top, increasing the total ground floor footage by about a third. How he ever imagined we could afford to do that is beyond me. We had always insisted that our first priority was the renovation of the house as it currently stands – electrics, plumbing, windows, roof and guttering, removing lead pipework, stopping leaks, bathrooms, kitchen, decoration etc. I guess that doesn’t excite an architect. Or keep his monthly payments coming.
So now for a summary of the new plans. The original kitchen. This is the current breakfast room, which was once going to be a ‘snug’ (ie. cosy sitting room), then a breakfast room again. Now it is going to become the kitchen, reinstating its original use! The door on the right is being blocked up and a new door formed to the left, behind that large sheet of particle board, leading to the entrance hallway and front door.
The boiler is going to be moved from its odd current position to the cupboard in the bathroom on the next floor. The small window on the left will be removed and blocked up. The entire chimney breast is coming down. This will then form part of our U-shaped kitchen.
This large window will be replaced by a new window with a higher sill, allowing for kitchen counter tops to also stretch along that wall. The door on the right and its architrave will be removed, leaving an open space to walk through into the next room. You can also see the original quarry tile floor. We will restore it rather than dig it up and replace it, saving an amount equivalent to buying a small car.
In the next room, originally the scullery and currently the unused kitchen, we are removing the old kitchen and knocking out that doorway and the wall to its left, making the room bigger and turning it into the breakfast room. The larder beyond will become part of this room and lead to the garden through double french doors.
Looking back in the other direction. That’s the door through to the new kitchen. The door to the outside is being blocked up. The window on the right is being upgraded. The walls, which are currently brick, need to be brought up to building regulations with a layer of insulated board. We also need to remove the highly flammable polystyrene tiles on the ceiling.
Phase two of the build will involve turning the coal store into a utility/laundry room, and that current little covered area will be built in and converted into a toilet. Phase two will happen a couple of years from now.
In the meantime this dead space will become our utility closet with washing machine and tumble dryer. The external door is going to be bricked up and we will re-use the door in the new internal doorway we are creating between the entry hall and kitchen. The door on the right will also be blocked up (leading into the current breakfast room/future kitchen). It was JB the builder’s idea to turn this into a utility closet, as I had planned to put the boiler in there.
As part of the enlargement of the future breakfast room, the servants’ toilet will be removed and the door bricked up. Note the original Edwardian timber toilet seat. The wall at the back and the right will be removed and this will become part of the breakfast room.
Vintage toilet roll holder.
Things are taking a little longer than anticipated with the builder as I am being super careful with the spec – we will sign the contracts this Thursday with the work scheduled to begin just after Easter, on April 22nd – just over seven months after we moved in! Hallelujah!