Friday, 16 April 2010

Before and After - the main facade

Ok, these photos are pretty amazing, showing the transformation from sad, old, neglected house to shiny new loved house.



..and after:

Ta da!

So clean, so white, so shiny, so waterproof! So awesome.

Before and After - some exterior shots

Looking at this shots, I realise I have already forgotten what terrible shape the concrete block was in when we moved. It's amazing what a difference paint can make.

It is also obvious that we have a long way to go with regards to landscaping - we have basically ignored the garden and allowed the tradespeople to stamp all over it, and we've cut a lot of things out, but it felt that when we moved in it was too far gone to really salvage much anyway.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Before and After - the living area

Okay, these ones are fairly awesome, as not only have we made things so much cleaner with the paint (and stripping the tiles and painting the window frames, and the chimney flue, and sorting out the aluminium door and...)... but our stuff is way cool.

Oh, and as you can see above, we have lights too (when we moved in, the fittings were taped to the ceiling). Our lights are not very bright. I think they are a bit silly, as they provide less light than a candle, but Matt smuggled them in before I had a chance to voice an opinion. And yes, I know they look very nice.

Before and After - the windowsills

I could have taken a photo of each of the windowsills, as they were all in equally terrible condition, but this office window gives a nice idea of how things were then, and are now.

Before and After - the upstairs toilet

The pictures say it all, really.

Friday, 9 April 2010

On the bright side..

The bathroom is the only major thing left to do right now (well, apart from replacing the drains and skylights - out of sight, out of mind), so I thought I would start taking some 'before and after' shots. Starting with the bedrooms.

Firstly the main bedroom:




After much deliberation regarding the colour of the cupboards (and several cans of unused paint), we decided against the original orange, and instead went for the colour of the downstairs chimney - a blue/grey:



And the spare room before:

And after:

I guess we're pretty happy with it, it the main bedroom is a thousand times better without the purple walls, and it's nice to have all the handles back on the cupboards.

I'll get some more photos up early next week probably. We are taking a break this weekend - the first proper break since we moved in, and probably the last break in a while. I am SO looking forward to it.

More bad news

This is a close up photo of the grout in our bathroom tiles. It is all porous and eroded. So water is seeping through the walls of the shower and down on to the floor (and the ceiling below). It has been happening for a while, but has been flushed back into the bath at the bottom of the tiles. Since we sealed the bottom with silicon, the water has had nowhere to go except over the edge on to the floor.


Long term solution: Re-tile bathroom.

Short term solution: Re-seal tiles, and possibly use plastic sheeting to prevent leakage.

We have runout of money so will have to consider the short term solution for the time being.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

The plumbing..

This is the hole in the hallway which exposes the plumbing to the bath. The plumber cut this hole today to try to diagnose why we had water coming through the ceiling when we showered on the weekend. You'd think that such a big hole would make it easy to see the problem, but no. Bizarrely, everything is bone dry in there. No leaks, no water, no nothing. Very frustrating.

Rather than seal up the hole and carry on, we are going to leave it open for the next week or so, and see if it leaks again, then have another look.

On the bright side, in terms of tradesmen and painting and repairing etc, we have otherwise finished! I said farewell to the painter this morning (I think he was relieved to be rid of us and our indecisiveness with regards to colours), and everyone else has packed up and left. If anyone is looking for some Resene Lustacryl in various shades of orange, green or grey then keep an eye on TradeMe, as I will be listing the leftovers in the next week while!

We still have lots of small jobs to do here and there, but we can finally clean the house properly (so long as I ignore the hole in the wall) and start living here like normal people. Hoorah!

Monday, 5 April 2010

Good news and bad news

Well, the good news is that sometime yesterday (Easter Sunday), the scaffolding guy came and took down our scaffolding, so we have our house back, and it looks AMAZING.

It was too good to be true. Things inside were wrapping up rapidly, late last week the plasterer came and filled the bathroom walls, and sanded them back so they were lovely and smooth. All that remained was to apply two coats of lovely white enamel and we could send everyone packing, close the door and enjoy our house.

For the first time in months I was feeling like there was actually going to be an end to this process, albeit temporary (there will always be more to do).

Then on Sunday morning, after we had woken and showered and gotten ready for the day, I found this:

The bad news is that that's the floor of our living area. Directly under the bathroom. Looking up, we could see drips of water coming through our beautiful wooden ceiling. Not exactly a torrent, but drips.

It's taken me over 24 hours to come to terms with it, but we have some sort of plumbing issue. the worst part is that the only way to even investigate is going to involve removing the wood panel on the side of the bath, and potentially opening up a hole in the wall of the bathroom (yes, the wall that the plasterer has so lovingly prepared for painting this week).

So, it's back to showering across town every day (thanks Mum and Dad). Hopefully someone is coming tomorrow to have a look. Hopefully.

The front door

Turns out I didn't have a very good 'before' photo for the front door, but it had been painted a sort of faecal/chocolate colour. I took the above photo after the painters had sanded it back.

We left it up to the decorating company to recommend a door colour, as they have been painting Warren & Mahoney houses since they were first built (we even heard a rumour that they may have been contracted to paint our house originally!).

They went for something called "Sepia" which is a shade of red, but in certain light can look brown, or crimson, or even black. It is super glossy and wet looking and we think it is ace.

Friday, 2 April 2010

The Aluminium Sliding Door

When we first saw our house, we assumed that the aluminium siding door in the living area (on the left in the above photo) wasn't original as aluminium joinery generally isn't a common feature in house built in the late 60s. However, the original plans showed that they were in fact intended, and a discussion with the original owner confirmed that they were part of the design.

Apparently, the door never worked particularly well (things were still being fine-tuned in the NZ ranchslider industry), and at some point the door had actually been riveted shut entirely. This resulted in no ventilation in the living area, and some years of condensation then contributed to the disintegration and rotting of the wooden frame.

Water could seep through underneath the frame, and what you can see above is the insidious tendrils of ivy which also grew around the door and into the living area.

Given that the door wasn't particularly functional, we decided to replace it with an oregon timber sliding door, in keeping with the doors in the dining area (which you can see in the photo above). We had the joiner all lined up to make them, he had come up with a pretty lovely design. Then Matt got a senior architect from Warren & Mahoney to come and have a look.

I wasn't witness to the exchange, but I understand that all it took was for the architect to say that we shouldn't replace it, for Matt to put a halt on the new doors and set about finding an aluminium door reconditioner (yes, there are such people).

Apparently, the doors were meant to look as much like a large window as possible (like the one on the adjacent wall), whilst providing ventilation. The only way to achieve this was to use aluminium joinery, as the edges could be very subtle and thin, and give the impression of a window - particularly from outside.

So, a couple of days later the aluminium guy shows up. He takes one look and shakes his head and says "no way". He explains that the door is not only very good, it is now stuffed as the tracks it runs on have been damaged by both ivy, and the irregularity of the rotten frame.

Despite explaining that even with several hours of hard work, the door would never function well, Matt insisted that we push on. He wouldn't consider a new door (wood or aluminium), nor a window. Needless to say, the aluminium guy was fairly unimpressed, and I have to admit, I was also considering it foolish to try to restore something that was never going to be very good.

Anyway, the builder and the joiner came along a couple of weeks ago now, and took the door out:

And removed the rotten frame:

And the glazier took the frames away and reglazed them with safety glass.

Then the joiner built a new frame, which the builder installed.

He then replaced the doors until the aluminium guy could come yesterday to create new tracks to make it slide.

And now it works.

Kind of.

It certainly looks nicer. Except the aluminium is really sort of corroded, and dirty looking.

Winding down...finishing touches.

Although we are not yet finished the first phase of restoration (hopefully everything will be wrapped up on Wednesday), the only things left to do are to paint the bathroom walls (white) and the bedroom cupboards (undecided).

All of the tradesmen have left, excluding the guy who's plastering the bathroom wall, and the painters. Such a relief.

This week, the internal frames were finished, including the black negative detail around the downstairs frames:

They look sharp. I'm gearing up to do some epic 'before and after' photos soon.

Before the scaffolding came down, I thought it best to take the oportunity to clean the upstairs windows on the outside, so one day after work last week we got Matt up there with the Mr Muscle. It was a beautiful sunset, and now our windows sparkle (Mum and I did the insides the following day).

We are so so close to everything being completed.