Friday 20 January 2012

When renovation becomes maintenance

We have been living in the cottage for nearly eight years now and the renovation ought to be finished, but it isn't. There is still one bedroom left to do plus some odd jobs. We have put the bedroom off a few times as we could not face the upheaval involved. Eight years is the longest that we have lived anywhere during our married life and we are now having to redecorate the cottage which is something that we have not had to do to any of our previous houses. At the moment we are redecorating the kitchen which was the first room that we decorated after we moved in. Here is the ceiling with the beams taped up and ready for a fresh coat of paint.

I know that the Victorians did not have beams in their ceilings, neither did they have artexed ceilings. They are the legacy of the previous owners and would cost a small fortune to remove and change. So we have left them. Even if they are not authentic, they give the cottage character and are only in the downstairs rooms. Anyway, the Victorians did not have electric lights or central heating, but we would not think of living without such facilities today.

When we moved in the kitchen was usable but desperately dark and dated. There was a fitted freezer which did not work and a fitted oven which heated up even when it was switched off! We eventually found that the wiring to the oven was faulty. I do not think that anything had been done  to the kitchen for about 25 years. We started by having the kitchen rewired and new lights fitted. Then we had to have some plastering done. The dust, upheaval and general mess is now becoming a blur and this was the second new kitchen that we had had fitted as we had had one put into our previous house after extending it. Consequently we had learnt from some of the mistakes that we made the first time. One thing that I insisted on was that we ate our main meal out. Trying to cook a meal in a microwave is a nightmare. The only problem that I have never forgotten was that at the beginning of the fitting of the kitchen in the previous house, the electrician had said to me that he had never worked on a kitchen that did not have something missing.  I confidently said that maybe this would be a first, but it wasn't. We had everything but the hob! How did they manage to leave that out?

This time all that is needed is a good clean and a fresh coat of paint.  We are keeping the same colour scheme albeit with the walls a slightly different shade of green.


Rosaria Williams said...

The hob?
Yes, upgrading an old house takes time and resources. We bought a 1970 cottage, modern for that era, but still needing a whole lot of work, starting with bathrooms and kitchen.

In the end, the mess will be gone, and you'll enjoy the newer digs.

Akelamalu said...

We're in the process of redecorating too. So far we've painted the kitchen and dining room. Hopefully we will get the lounge done next week then the hall, stairs and landing the week afterwards. I don't mind painting at all, in fact I find it quite theraputic but shifting everything before starting to paint is a ball ache!

Maggie May said...

We live in a late victorian house and there are still many things that need renovating. It is like painting the Forth Bridge!
Sometimes we have to compromise with someone elses idea because theres too much hassle to change things.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

the fly in the web said...

We're upgrading the house in San Jose...installing a proper bathroom and removing the smallest shower compartment in the world....installing a proper kitchen...but the poor men are working there three days a week with only a gas are taking your advice and eating out at lunchtimes.

GaynorB said...

We are also redecorating our Victorian home and are hitting the same authentic/updating issues.

I like your electric light idea as a way of moving forward.

I'm moving on to another landing today.

The biggie will be the redecoration of my daughter's old room, which is enormous, with aubergine and deep pink walls (it looks better than it soumds!). Son, who is moving in to it, wants white ...

Valerie said...

We had beams in the kitchen at the old house and I really miss them. You're right, they do add character. How would I manage without a hob!

Jennyff said...

Good luck with that. I hate the disruption of decorating any room, so we hardly ever re-decorate though you can only keep washing the walls for so long. Last time I repainted the kitchen ceiling I ended up in bed for several days but then I was already going down with something, like decoration phobia probably. Have a good weekend.

Diane said...

Now how could they forget the hob!!! Restoration is not really a lot of fun but I was lucky working in France. I had plenty of time and only myself to feed while Nigel worked in the UK to pay for everything! We have the original beams but as much as we love them, they do make the room darker. Never the less we would not dream of changing anything original that is in good order.
Keep up the good work you will soon get to enjoy it all. Diane

Hilary said...

Renovations are never fun to live through. They never go quite as planned - particularly time-wise. I hope yours is the exception.

Catharine Withenay said...

I love our renovated house - and dread the day we have to redecorate. I hope your kitchen is back to normal asap and that you both appreciate the fresh look.
And the hot meals...!

Leon Sims said...

You know you've lived in a place for a long time when you start renovating your own past renovations. After almost 30 years in our Californian Bungalow, the newer extention is the part that needs work rather than the front which is now 80 plus years.
I can hear you all laughing who live in old stone cottages in the UK and France.

Gill - That British Woman said...

our houses name is actually "The Money Pit!!!"

It's never ending those renovations.....good luck,

Gill in Canada

cheshire wife said...

Hilary - you are right things never go to plan. This kitchen repaint seems to be taking ages.

CW - I, too, hope that our kitchen is back to normal asap.

Leon & Sue - everything was built to last in olden days.

Gill - I know what you mean by the money pit.

Carol said...

Having rented forever I have never had to face the renovation (or even re-decorate) problem. We are, however, now talking about trying to buy somewhere so I will have this to deal with this at some point!

At least its just cosmetic and doenst require walls being knocked down or anything as awful as that!

C x

imbeingheldhostage said...

A kitchen without a hob! I envy you your redecorating, I actually enjoy it. Maybe that's why I'm never really satisfied- job security for myself :)
Good luck with the kitchen freshening!

cheshire wife said...

Carol - good luck with the house hunting.

imbeingheldhostage - I know how trying it is to rent and have to live with decoration that is not your choice.

Thud said...

Artex is a great key for a new skim coat.