This time last year we were expecting our fourth (yes fourth) child and we realised that we needed to stop talking and actually make our plans of extending our current 3 bedroom house a reality.
It wasn’t an easy process by any stretch of the imagination. Don’t be fooled. For some the planning process is an easy and straightforward one (not at all jealous!) but for many its not and can take months to agree. We submitted our planning application in January, queue 4 months of dispute with the council about our shared boundary which (very) long, stressful and highly emotional story short, finally resulted in us agreeing to meet half way and at the beginning of June we got the green light to go ahead and build.
Luckily for us we were in contact with the builder we really wanted to complete our work throughout the whole process and also our case officer at the council (who gave us a heads up when the application had been sent to be signed off for approval which gave us a 2 week head start) and we only had to wait 6 weeks from the planning being officially granted before we could start.
So we’ve known for 6 weeks a rough start date but when the builder rang to confirm he would be starting in a week, we hadn’t even begun to be ready!
(yes it is July & yes they are christmas lights! & no we are not growing illegal substances in the front bedroom, they are blackout blinds for the 10 month old!)
Our house has a flat roof extension to the rear which a previous owner had built to move the kitchen, increasing the ground floor space. Our plans are to extend out sideways and knock this extension down so we can increase our garden at the same time. Mr Smith (who loves to demolish) agreed to take this extension down before the builder started, to save them time and us money. This has meant we have had to move our reasonable size kitchen into our rather small dining/playroom, constructing a temporary kitchen which will have to see us through for the next few months. Even thinking about it gives me anxiety! I can just about cope with a camping kitchen for 5 days, maybe a week max but this is going to be a lot of weeks! I’m constantly reminding myself how amazing it will be when its finished, if me and Mr Smith haven’t killed each other by then!
We’re not entirely new to renovating. This will be our third time in this house alone although nothing before has come close to this. 10 years ago we initially reconfigured the bedroom layout to enable us to move the bathroom upstairs. We coupled this with a new boiler, radiators and a new kitchen. We lived at home throughout but with only 2 children is wasn’t too bad and was completed in a matter of weeks. The next renovation (not even a year later) wasn’t planned and unfortunately was the result of an electrical fire (fridge…quite common apparently) and meant the whole house had to be gutted. What hadn’t burnt, was damaged by smoke and apart from the walls everything was ripped out leaving us with a shell. We moved out for 8 weeks while the work was completed and moving back was like moving into a new house.
That was 9 years ago. 2 children later and the house is not only in need of a new lease of life, we are in need of more space!
So now with only days to go before the builders arrive the excitement (and nervous anticipation) in the house is almost at a fever pitch! My phone is constantly notifying me that our eldest daughter has added yet another pin to her ‘my bedroom’ board in pinterest and our son is excited to have a bedroom back in the house and not in the loft where he has been living since the now 5 year old arrived.
The kitchen units have been removed, with help from my dad, the water and electric have been isolated from the kitchen and Mr Smith is finally wielding the sledgehammer he has been dreaming about!
Its hard to believe that finally we are at this point but its happening. Its really happening.
I hope you’ll join us on our journey.