We had a quiet week this week for once. Not much new actual activity occurred, but a lot more planning was finalised.

One reason not much happened was purely due to scheduling. Our builder couldn't help us with the final piece of demolition (removal of the interior wall between the front living area and the dining room) until this coming Saturday. And secondly our electrician wasn't able to begin work on chasing the walls and rewiring until the middle of this coming week.

The second reason not much happened was that our free time on Saturday was reduced by helping Adam's sister get packed for a move. With two small ones that needed distracting, a busy week ahead, and a deadline of one week before the move, she needed physical help and moral support, so the house took a back seat.

The third and least important reason was simply that the walls needed a chance to dry out pretty thoroughly now that the damp course is preventing any moisture from rising up.

Despite all that we still managed to get some things done. Some of the more minor (but still important) things that happened this week were:

  • Finalised our quotes and decided on a builder to complete the remaining work - a lot of our planning has evolved and refined as things progress. Our initial ideas have needed a fair bit of refinement as we really got into the renovation, so the quotes we got up front needed to be revised as well. Once we had our choices narrowed down in terms of work we got finalised quotes in writing from our two builders and we pretty much just chose by price alone, since we were pretty happy with both options otherwise.

  • More or less finalised our budget and financing - this was probably the most painful part of the planning process, since we went about 50% over our initial desired budget. Ouch! Thankfully we have some resources to fall back on for loans since we used up almost all our savings for the house purchase (we were only able to cover the cost of the damp proofing).

  • Choosing new a new picket fence- We're not particularly fond of the weird round-topped fencing currently along the front porch. Adam's mum Penny kindly went out and found some samples in a couple of styles we preferred. We got a "Windsor" style sample and a "Saxon" style picket (the latter of which looks like a playing card spade and is currently the preference).

  • We had a hand at using a bolster and pound hammer to smooth out some of the uneven mortar on the walls in readiness for rendering. We also started removing a few bricks from the side of the wall that'll be removed next Saturday. These are heavy tools and it was slow, sweaty going (see below for before & after photos).

  • We went to our new favourite store, The Natural Paint Place, to find out more about some less toxic options for paint stripping. We were lucky to score a returned tub of their Bio Paint Stripper for half price. Our initial tests were OK, although using a scraper after applying hasn't been as effective as we want, so we are looking into using steel brushes or steel wool instead.

  • Adam Strips

    While we worked hard to continue to remove as much old paint as possible, Adam did a few more paint samples in our chosen exterior wall colour for confirmation.

  • Since the renderers will start the week after next, we have started looking into options for cornices and ceiling centres. This site has a pretty cool "Virtual Showroom" where you can try different combinations out to see what works well together.

The plan for this coming week:

  • Electrician to start work for rewiring the house and updating the fuse box.
  • Planning and organising a "renovation party" to see if we can bribe or trick a few friends into helping us out.
  • Organise a skip to remove the demolition waste (we really should have done this earlier, but it hasn't been an urgent issue).
  • Our builder will install a lintel on the wall to be removed so we can knock it down next Saturday.

Here are some before & after shots of the cleaned up brickwork (thanks primarily owed to Adam on these).

Fireplace - Before Cleaned up the fireplace
Clumpy mortar Tidier