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The 'big project' that I hadn't really thought about or planned for...

Started by Sir Henry, August 02, 2022, 06:08:57 AM

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Sir Henry

In spite of the thread title, we have been trying to leave our current nightmare of a place to live for nearly four years. The focus, however, has been entirely about getting out and very little thought was put in to what we would do with the new place. The problems were to do with the co-owner of the current house and his refusal to sell. In the end his mother died and he bought us out [long story massively shortened].

We were happy when we found a little place that was cosy - we saw ourselves hiding away from the world there in a secure, close-fitting nest. But it turned out that the sellers had some interesting ideas, like selling their house before the house they had set their sights on was even for sale. As buyers we were supposed to buy their house and then wait for as many months/years as were needed for their dream home to come on the market. So we backed out.

You know that saying about buses? That if you wait long enough, two come along at once? Well, it turns out that the same is true of houses. Ever since I was a kid and watched whichever Beatles film had them all living next door to each other in a terrace of houses, that was a silly dream. To own an entire terrace.

Well now we do. A terrace of two semi-detatched houses that have been knocked into one six-bedroomed one. The deeds have a very strange caveat that I was surprised was still in there: Within 18 months of the original sale of the land, a dwellinghouse must be built on it. That was mid 1919, so the house is almost certainly from 1920.
Maybe from its start, but certainly by the early 1930's it was a Mother and Baby Home (i.e. for single mothers) and, according to the neighbours, in the 1980's and 1990's it was a Women's Refuge (I assume that there is a less upsetting name than 'battered wives' for its occupants these days) and from then until two years ago it was a home for young autistic adults.

So it has all sorts of interesting things that you don't find in most houses - 5 toilets, electromagnetic door stops, a 'nurse call' system, an entirely tarmac garden with a polytunnel, and so on. Much more will be revealed over time, but I don't want to give away all its wonders (as in "I wonder why they thought that was a good idea") at the start. There will be pictures.

So I invite you to join me on the journey as I convert a damp old institution into a warm, timeless family home. This is the first time that we have had a free hand to do what we like with a house and, as you will see, what we like is not usually normal ("If you are normal, Norman, I want to be a freak for the rest of my life" as the Bozos put it).
I speak in syllabubbles. They rise to the surface by the force of levity and pop out of my mouth unneeded and unheeded.
Cry "Have at!" and let's lick the togs of Waugh!
Arsed not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for tea.

Sir Henry

So day one was spent trying to work out how to turn the water on. There was water in the kitchen sink and the kitchen hand-washing sink but nowhere else. There is a note on the pinboard saying that the stopcock is behind the kitchen sink - yes, but that only turned off the kitchen sinks.  ::)

The stopcock on the lead pipe coming into the house has been open for decades and won't budge. Too much pressure and the lead could tear so we left that and continued to search. It turns out that the stopcock for both houses is upstairs in the maze of pipes around the huge double immersion heater. So we now have water.

Too much water. The floor in one of the downstairs rooms is soaking because in the last couple of weeks some ne'erdowell has nicked the lead from the roof of the bay so the rain just pours in between the newly-exposed boards. So that needs to be sorted asap. I'd like to say that I was lost for words, but that wouldn't be true. I had lots of words, and none of them were 'ne'erdowell'.

That was yesterday.
Today we get a big van for a week to start moving our belongings. And pick up our 13 foot ladders and a roll of roofing felt for a temporary fix of the bay.

Good bay:


Bad bay:

I speak in syllabubbles. They rise to the surface by the force of levity and pop out of my mouth unneeded and unheeded.
Cry "Have at!" and let's lick the togs of Waugh!
Arsed not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for tea.

James Harrison

Persons intending to travel by open carriage should select a seat with their backs to the engine, by which means they will avoid the ashes emitted therefrom, that in travelling generally, but particularly through the tunnels, prove a great annoyance; the carriage farthest from the engine will in consequence be found the most desirable.

Madasasteamfish

Will be watching with interest.

Unfortunately I know from experience that the area has a number of 'ne-erdowells' thanks to various issues (I was almost one of them).
I made a note in my diary on the way over here. Simply says; "Bugger!"

"DON'T THINK OF IT AS DYING, JUST THINK OF IT AS LEAVING EARLY TO AVOID THE RUSH."

Hurricane Annie



This is a wonderful " Be careful what you wish for" tale. Just when it couldn't get any worse, it gives you more . I feel a song coming on


https://youtu.be/0pbuWH3Qzx4

Please keep is updated  with the "next installments"  of the Wayward Girls Home  adventures .

von Corax

The first thing you need to do is to find out  if your municipality has a lead pipe replacement program. Seriously, you need to do this yesterday, if not sooner.
By the power of caffeine do I set my mind in motion
By the Beans of Life do my thoughts acquire speed
My hands acquire a shaking
The shaking becomes a warning
By the power of caffeine do I set my mind in motion
The Leverkusen Institute of Paleocybernetics is 5845 km from Reading

Mercury Wells

Sir Henry, I hope that you have managed to secure the "gardens" out the back, in the sale price?
Oh...my old war wound? I got that at The Battle of Dorking. Very nasty affair that was, I can tell you.

The Ministry of Tea respectfully advises you to drink one cup of tea day...for that +5 Moral Fibre stat.

Sir Henry

Quote from: Mercury Wells on August 02, 2022, 10:22:25 PM
Sir Henry, I hope that you have managed to secure the "gardens" out the back, in the sale price?
Indeed we did! And it goes back further than we thought, more than doubling the size of the garden. Unfortunately we still haven't seen all of it due to a wall of brambles just before the tree line, a tree line including a dwarf cooking apple tree and at least six cherry trees. So apple and blackberry crumbles in the near future and cherry pies next year, after some judicious pruning.
There are half a dozen animal runs through the brambles the size of a cat/small dog/fox/badger/terrifyingly large rat, so we're not in a hurry to disturb whatever wildlife has been living there unmolested for the last few decades.

The trees are actually the saddest part of the purchase. There are several self-seeded elms at the front and another large cherry, all of which are growing right next to the top of the retaining wall so will have to come out before they destroy the wall. We're just going to prune the cherry back hard in the hopes that we'll be able to keep it.
Then there are innumerable trees and saplings growing along the side of the property which are against the top of the retaining wall that protects the school playground next door. All of them will have to pruned drastically if they're to survive, and the ones pushing their way into the outhouses (did I mention we have outhouses?) are for the chop. I'm not happy with the idea of killing dozens of trees, but what can you do?
On the plus side, when they're all down and we hire a wood chipper we'll have enough wood chip for all the garden paths. And enough mulched ivy, brambles and leaves to kickstart our compost bin.

In other news, it turns out that the current insane price hikes and turmoil in the energy market means that you can't move house. None of the remaining power companies will let you join. Online, they have removed all links and pages for joining, and on the phone all their operators are busy talking to irate customers so they've closed down their welcome switchboards. So no electricity for you unless you find out who the previous supplier was, phone the wrong department there and pretend to be the old owners calling to close the account. Then do the same thing but pretending to be yourself and needing to join to get a supply and then, within the two week 'grace' period, leave them and join the supplier you really want by phoning the wrong department there and getting passed around internally till you find someone who didn't get the message that they aren't accepting new customers.
On display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard', anyone?

And von Corax, I shall do. It is a bit more likely since they changed the law that said that all pipes on your property were the owner's responsibility. Now the water company has some responsibility to maintain them so I'll start chasing that too. What a bizarre idea - all the water entering the property is wrong. But the roofing felt has arrived, so the temporary fix for the bay roof is on for this afternoon, which should cut off one source, at least.
I speak in syllabubbles. They rise to the surface by the force of levity and pop out of my mouth unneeded and unheeded.
Cry "Have at!" and let's lick the togs of Waugh!
Arsed not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for tea.

Sir Henry

Quote from: Hurricane Annie on August 02, 2022, 07:52:11 PM


This is a wonderful " Be careful what you wish for" tale. Just when it couldn't get any worse, it gives you more . I feel a song coming on


https://youtu.be/0pbuWH3Qzx4

Please keep is updated  with the "next installments"  of the Wayward Girls Home  adventures .
Oh dear...

I'm afraid that your post may become immortalised. We really don't like the fact that the address still contains both house numbers, despite being one home for most of a century, and it turns out that you can't change the numbers. But you can name it and fade the numbers out over time.
Much discussion ensued...
Current favourite new name hints at all those twee retirement ones like Dunromin and Elysium Fields and so on. It looks like we may end up naming it Waywood.
I speak in syllabubbles. They rise to the surface by the force of levity and pop out of my mouth unneeded and unheeded.
Cry "Have at!" and let's lick the togs of Waugh!
Arsed not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for tea.

Sir Henry

All moved in, ability to cook restored and the first step taken.

Yesterday I laid a new lawn...
Spoiler: ShowHide
... in my son's bedroom. He's autistic and hates change, so we promised him something that he'd wanted for years. He's very happy with it and can already be found lying on it when life gets too stressful. As you can see he has moved in already despite the room still needing painting and furnishing. But he's happy.
We did quite a bit of comparison testing before we moved, looking for the softest and the least likely to molt and in the end it was cheaper than a good quality carpet and underlay!



Apologies for the star filter. Won't happen again  8)
I speak in syllabubbles. They rise to the surface by the force of levity and pop out of my mouth unneeded and unheeded.
Cry "Have at!" and let's lick the togs of Waugh!
Arsed not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for tea.

James Harrison

Making it feel like a home quickly is one of the important things.  I know I felt a little lost at mine until I'd got a few familiar bits and pieces placed around the place.  I hope this helps your son adjust to the change of scene.
Persons intending to travel by open carriage should select a seat with their backs to the engine, by which means they will avoid the ashes emitted therefrom, that in travelling generally, but particularly through the tunnels, prove a great annoyance; the carriage farthest from the engine will in consequence be found the most desirable.

Sorontar

Just catching up on this thread. Glad that things are going well(ish) so far. Hope the biggest problem is just working out what you *want* to do next.

And as for the Mannfred Mann video, I am afraid, this is the only Jack I think of, and I would be worried if they were out the back.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xs9ma5oHVbE

Sorontar
Sorontar, Captain of 'The Aethereal Dancer'
Advisor to HM Engineers on matters aethereal, aeronautic and cosmographic
http://eyrie.sorontar.com

Hurricane Annie

Quote from: Sir Henry on August 10, 2022, 05:12:39 PM
Quote from: Hurricane Annie on August 02, 2022, 07:52:11 PM


This is a wonderful " Be careful what you wish for" tale. Just when it couldn't get any worse, it gives you more . I feel a song coming on


https://youtu.be/0pbuWH3Qzx4

Please keep is updated  with the "next installments"  of the Wayward Girls Home  adventures .
Oh dear...

I'm afraid that your post may become immortalised. We really don't like the fact that the address still contains both house numbers, despite being one home for most of a century, and it turns out that you can't change the numbers. But you can name it and fade the numbers out over time.
Much discussion ensued...
Current favourite new name hints at all those twee retirement ones like Dunromin and Elysium Fields and so on. It looks like we may end up naming it Waywood.

  The right name will come to you. There will be an epiphany. A name that fits and you all feel at home with .

A previous home had so many strange occurances and an almost visible atmosphere,  that it inspired me to make a sign  with " Amity Villa"  emblazoned on it. Any suitable wood I collected for the sign though,  oddly kept disappearing , so it was never officially named.  .

My current home on a main street,  nearby river bank , I have proudly named after a famous French riverside villa  with a very cultural and musical history . "Villa Nellcôte" .
[ which I later discovered had originally been named a French translation of Amity Villa ]







Sorontar

Our house is more relaxing than our previous one and a bit further from being in suburbia. We named it "Solitaire", due to the sense of solitude and a few other connections it has to something that happened in the year it was constructed.

Sorontar
Sorontar, Captain of 'The Aethereal Dancer'
Advisor to HM Engineers on matters aethereal, aeronautic and cosmographic
http://eyrie.sorontar.com

Sir Henry

We now have hot water!

But I think we made our first expensive mistake in the process.
Rather than fitting an instant water heater under the kitchen sink and an electric shower in the shower room, we ended up getting the immersion heater replaced with a smaller, more efficient one instead. This allowed us to get rid of the 50 gallon water tank in the attic (a secondary feed for the old immersion heater  ??? ) and get rid of a lot of pipework (the old immersion heater was a secondary feed for the central heating  :o ). So the system itself is far more efficient than it used to be and no longer pours water into the distribution board (which is nice  ;) ) and is much easier to follow and therefore work on. And we finally get to wash (probably a larger part of the decision than we realised at the time)!

But when we came to have showers, it took about 5 minutes for the hot water to get from the immersion heater on the opposite side of the building. Not very efficient. And when I had the second shower, half an hour later, it took just as long again. I tend to have short showers of about 3 minutes, so having to run it for twice that long before getting in doesn't fit with our plans on making this place as efficient as possible.
On the plus side, it looks as if we have underfloor heating upstairs - all we have to do is run the shower until it gets hot and then stop it and the pipes will heat the 5 other rooms they go under en route.  ::)

So an electric shower is still on the cards, but will probably now wait until we get the electrics sorted as it needs a new power cable anyway.
I speak in syllabubbles. They rise to the surface by the force of levity and pop out of my mouth unneeded and unheeded.
Cry "Have at!" and let's lick the togs of Waugh!
Arsed not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for tea.

SeVeNeVeS

I am long out of touch on such matters but maybe look into an unvented cylinder, mains pressure I think, not tank fed, as an interim maybe a shower pump for the existing gravity system, it's a large house, unvented could be the way to go if your mains pressure is good.

Like I say, only a theory.

Mira do a shower with a built in pump for gravity systems, they ain't cheap.

Sir Henry

Quote from: SeVeNeVeS on August 19, 2022, 10:27:50 AM
I am long out of touch on such matters but maybe look into an unvented cylinder, mains pressure I think, not tank fed, as an interim maybe a shower pump for the existing gravity system, it's a large house, unvented could be the way to go if your mains pressure is good.

Like I say, only a theory.

Mira do a shower with a built in pump for gravity systems, they ain't cheap.
Good call, that is exactly what they installed.

And this morning we found that the lovely shower is leaking inside the wall with water running down the inside of the window below. Huzzah!

I took the cover off and it now leaks back into the shower cubicle, so at least there's that. And it means that I can deal with it when I have time. but it doesn't bode well...
I speak in syllabubbles. They rise to the surface by the force of levity and pop out of my mouth unneeded and unheeded.
Cry "Have at!" and let's lick the togs of Waugh!
Arsed not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for tea.

Sir Henry

It turns out that when they installed the new immersion heater, they upped the water pressure. So every slightly weak joint started to leak.
We've now fixed leaks in 3 of the toilets, both showers and the kitchen sink. I'm hoping that we have now caught them all.

The leak in the shower was both into the wall and into the cubicle, so we're going to replace it with the electric shower we planned to have in the first place. More efficient and drier, just what you want in a shower.  :o

But in the process we did discover something that I didn't know even existed in the UK. Two of the toilets have internal stench pipes, in boxes about 3 feet tall over the waste pipe before it leaves the room. For those that don't know, the stench pipe is the pipe that releases the unwanted gasses from your waste pipe (to stop the potentially explosive build-up of methane). I've only ever seen them going up the outside of buildings, with an opening at least 6 feet above any nearby window. But not here.
So at least it made the decision of which toilets to get rid of much, much easier.


It looks like progress is going to be even slower than we thought...
I speak in syllabubbles. They rise to the surface by the force of levity and pop out of my mouth unneeded and unheeded.
Cry "Have at!" and let's lick the togs of Waugh!
Arsed not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for tea.

SeVeNeVeS

Quote from: Sir Henry on August 24, 2022, 03:47:07 PM
It turns out that when they installed the new immersion heater, they upped the water pressure. So every slightly weak joint started to leak.
We've now fixed leaks in 3 of the toilets, both showers and the kitchen sink. I'm hoping that we have now caught them all.

The leak in the shower was both into the wall and into the cubicle, so we're going to replace it with the electric shower we planned to have in the first place. More efficient and drier, just what you want in a shower.  :o

But in the process we did discover something that I didn't know even existed in the UK. Two of the toilets have internal stench pipes, in boxes about 3 feet tall over the waste pipe before it leaves the room. For those that don't know, the stench pipe is the pipe that releases the unwanted gasses from your waste pipe (to stop the potentially explosive build-up of methane). I've only ever seen them going up the outside of buildings, with an opening at least 6 feet above any nearby window. But not here.
So at least it made the decision of which toilets to get rid of much, much easier.


It looks like progress is going to be even slower than we thought...

Always a problem going from gravity to mains is the leaks involved, both heating and hot water, as long as a Durgo Valve, AAV is fiited at least 1M above wet stack internal ( the toilet pan outlet) should be OK an efficient legal solotion if I remember correctly....... local bye laws may be different.

I fitted one behind my pan, 2m into a chimney stack years ago, never had a problem, they work internal or external to get rid of the traditional ugly pipe that runs up to the roofline and beyond.

Google search Durgo Valve...........

Synistor 303

Just so you know... it never ends. There is no 'fix' you can do to your house which results in you never having to do any work on that bit of your house ever again.

Welcome to home ownership...  ;D

SeVeNeVeS

Quote from: Synistor 303 on August 25, 2022, 12:51:46 AM
Just so you know... it never ends. There is no 'fix' you can do to your house which results in you never having to do any work on that bit of your house ever again.

Welcome to home ownership...  ;D

To a certain extent I agree, the main problem is trying to add and modify what is already installed then problems arise, I gutted my place and replaced everything from electrics, central heating, boiler all plumbing and drainage to try and future proof it as much as possible, the only thing I have to keep bodging is a 20 year old combination boiler that now and then decides to play up, my theory is if you do it right in the first place and not try to tag onto other peoples work, it will be OK and last a long time. But yes, there is always something that needs attention. ::)

Sorontar

Plumbing surprises do tend to happen.

1 month after moving into our place, we smelt a gas leak. The previous owner was "allergic to gas" and had switched to electrical in the kitchen. We got a plumber to fix the leak in the external pipes. 2 months later the external water pipes on the same side of the house burst, just before we were going to host a halloween-theme housewarming. We cancelled the party, got emergency plumbers who then told us that all the pipes needed fixing. So we got a quote from them, and agreed to pay a lot of money for them to replace the external gas and water pipes the entire length of the house (well, the property because gas pipe also went to the pool up the back). It took them 5 days to do this because 1) it was pouring with rain on half those days 2) they accidentally cut through garden lighting up the front, so had to get their electrician 3)  they couldn't get full staff all of the days 4) the digging was all manual 5) they laid half the gas pipes then realised that the the gas pipe had to be lower according to state regulations, so had top big another ditch a foot to the left and deeper 6) the last day was a public holiday (Melbourne Cup Day). While they cost a lot and were nice, I am so glad we got a quote beforehand. I suspect that the cost actually reflected the amount of labour and conditions and pipes that were needed, but at least they didn't end up overcharging us.

Not quite the Halloween we wanted.

Sorontar, who also got a new hot water system out of it.
Sorontar, Captain of 'The Aethereal Dancer'
Advisor to HM Engineers on matters aethereal, aeronautic and cosmographic
http://eyrie.sorontar.com

Sir Henry

Quote from: SeVeNeVeS on August 25, 2022, 11:09:00 AM
Quote from: Synistor 303 on August 25, 2022, 12:51:46 AM
Just so you know... it never ends. There is no 'fix' you can do to your house which results in you never having to do any work on that bit of your house ever again.

Welcome to home ownership...  ;D

To a certain extent I agree, the main problem is trying to add and modify what is already installed then problems arise, I gutted my place and replaced everything from electrics, central heating, boiler all plumbing and drainage to try and future proof it as much as possible, the only thing I have to keep bodging is a 20 year old combination boiler that now and then decides to play up, my theory is if you do it right in the first place and not try to tag onto other peoples work, it will be OK and last a long time. But yes, there is always something that needs attention. ::)

I've owned 6 houses over the years, all of them needing work, but in the vast majority of cases it was largely cosmetic (replace kitchen, take out partition wall, that sort of thing). This is the first (and hopefully last) time that I've had to do root and branch improvements. The current state of affairs isn't much of a surprise as we knew that all the services (and the roof) had to be replaced to futureproof the place, but the amount of work to make it barely livable is definitely more than expected.

The only really bad/sad part is that none of it would have been a problem five years ago, but the abusive, gaslighting relationship with our ex-housemate has destroyed all my self-confidence, making everything ten times harder.
As someone said on another thread recently, I need to believe in the me that believes in me. Or something.

But it will all work out and in a year or so I'll be savouring that famous A-Team quote.
I speak in syllabubbles. They rise to the surface by the force of levity and pop out of my mouth unneeded and unheeded.
Cry "Have at!" and let's lick the togs of Waugh!
Arsed not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for tea.

Synistor 303

I will admit - the benefits are sooo worth it. We knew we would have to do a lot of work on this house, which we did. It is now a really comfortable place to live, so much so that when we thought of downsizing (the garden is huge and a lot of work), we just couldn't find a house that had a layout that we would have been happy with. So we are staying put and will worry about the garden when we are too old to tend it.

Hurricane Annie

Quote from: Sorontar on August 19, 2022, 07:23:11 AM
Our house is more relaxing than our previous one and a bit further from being in suburbia. We named it "Solitaire", due to the sense of solitude and a few other connections it has to something that happened in the year it was constructed.

Sorontar

That is a rather evocative name for an abode