I had already arranged appointments for four different window companies to provide us with a quote for a complete house re-fit of windows and doors. Before the third one came, I already knew who I wanted to choose (blog post to describe why to come later) We have a total of 16 ‘normal’ windows, 1 huge box window, 1 unusual window that we want to make into bi-folding doors, 1 patio door that we want to make into a window and a total of 3 doors to the property. So as you can imagine, we had some unique requests that some of the companies were unable to help us with.
The next things on the list were the plumbing and electrics. We got in touch with a local plumbing company that my parents had used previously and other family friends had recommended. They came to the house, took measurements of each room and talked about what we wanted. The boiler was so old that it was actually unrated in terms of efficiency and the heating systems in the lounges were old-school low level heating, which neither of us had seen before. The current pipes were ridiculously wide and chunky so we were hoping that they were copper so we could have been quids in 🤑 unfortunately they weren’t. The plumber discussed all the options with us and in particular what we wanted to do with regards to the boiler. Another friend had told us that a commercial combi boiler would be best suited for the size of the house plus potential future extensions, however the plumber also advised us to think about a hot water cylinder system. The reason for this was to think about the future, when we were all going to be taking showers and how many bathrooms we were planning on having (the plan is to extend with another bedroom and ensuite so another shower is inevitable). The plumber tested our current water pressure, which was ok for now but for the potential size of the house, having the washing machine on at the same time as having a shower would drastically change the water pressure. This is something I did not want so decided on a hot water cylinder system.
The next thing we discussed with the plumber was the potential for underfloor heating in the family room, he brought a contact with him that specialised in this area to discuss the options. We took up the floor boards in the family room to reveal a 50cm deep space underneath with irregular spaced joists. The best option would be to use a wet system that would include a layer of insulation, pipework and then concrete screed. Due to the size of the room (35sq m) and the nature of the joist layout meant that there would be a significant cost for both the materials and the labour to fit. We were quoted £3,500 just for the materials and with the complexity of the fitting, the overall cost was becoming prohibitive. Adding to this, we would be limited with the flooring options available to us as we were not keen to have stone/tiles in the family room. In the end we decided that underfloor heating was a no go 😩
We are lucky that we have a good friend that has given us advice on electrics and advised us to start from fresh and re-wire the whole property, something that we had planned on doing anyway. He came to the house and talked through the options with us. It is worth noting that if you are budgeting for electrics, the piece of advice our friend gave us is to budget £45 per simple light fitting and £65 per metallic fitting. This is a good rough guide that covers a full rewire. He also asked whether we were keeping the kitchen (we weren’t, but it wasn’t priority). He said the best thing to do would be to to remove the current kitchen and get a plan for our new kitchen so he could calculate the power requirement for when we do organise the new kitchen. We then went round each room and planned the number of plug sockets, light switches, light fittings and locations of everything we wanted. My husband was under the impression ‘the more the merrier’ but we soon realised that our budget was way off and we had to compromise (the challenge of having such a big house!)
From the advice given, the next thing we organised was a plan for the kitchen. We arranged for three completely different companies to come round and measure up and produce a plan for us. I knew exactly what I wanted in my head, which made it easier for the design. The following week, we made the journeys to the kitchen companies and saw our plans. We were surprised that all the quotes came in at around the same price. We have plenty of time to decide who we will go with as there is no way we can afford the new kitchen until at least the beginning of next year. But at least we have starting planning.
The final thing we decided to look into was the fireplace in the family room. When we viewed the house, the fireplace was just one of the things that got me very excited about the property. It is built internally using the same stone that is also on the outside of the house. I wanted to keep as much of this stone as possible but just modernise it and have a wood burning fire. We visited a local fireplace company and a specialist came to the house to discuss our plan. I will write a separate blog post on the transformation of the fireplace, so please stay tuned for that.
All in all it was a productive 2 weeks and I was extremely excited about all our ideas. All we needed now was money 😁