Our first big DIY project in the house (other than shelving and painting and hanging a few pictures) was installing a heated towel rail in the bathroom. Today it is lovely and sunny outside and nice and warm, but thinking back to when we did this in February (on Valentine’s Day actually – isn’t there some saying about couples that DIY together staying together?! Or did I make that up?) it was really damn cold around here. Snow and minus temperatures. Not fun at all, and definitely not in the mornings running soaking wet from one end of the long, very cold bathroom to the other for a warm towel after a shower. So a solution was needed.
I saw a towel rail on eBay for super cheap, and Ste bought the pipes and fittings necessary, and we set about plumbing ourselves in some warmth. Well, when I say we, I of course mainly mean Ste, but I was on hand to pull up carpets, hold torches, tighten screws, and prevent cats from getting lost under floorboards, as well as keep the tea and pork pies coming.
This was the first of a few short-term fixes for the bathroom. As a whole, it is fine, so we plan to live with it for a while and instead focus on some of the more awful aspects of the cottage decor, such as the woodchip wallpaper everywhere. The other thing that we need to do in the bathroom is remove the Grecian murals which are absolutely horrendous (you can see them in these pics). Luckily. the two murals only cover six tiles, and we found a whole bunch of spare plain ones in the cellar, so we have already replaced two of them with plain tiles under where the towel radiator is, and have the larger mural still to remove. Once that is done, I can happily leave the bathroom as is until we are ready to redo the whole thing, though we do need to get new flooring because the carpet in there is very old, and carpet in a bathroom is just wrong anyway. Since we will eventually change the layout of the room quite a bit, we’re not going to tile it, but some inexpensive lino will certainly improve things for now.
Ste had already installed a filter on the central heating, as well as moving the overflow pipe, so I knew his plumbing skills were good, but I had no idea how good until we got started on this project. It took a while to pull up the layers of carpet, underlay, ply-boards and ancient floorboards (I was hoping for beautiful ones, but they are gappy and patchy. Sad) and we were amused to also discover the second staircase (from one of the two cottages knocked together to form ours) still there under the shower, descending into blackness. Creepy. Ste managed to connect pipes to the existing system that brought the water over to the side of the room we needed, and then connect up and fix the radiator to the wall. It took most of the afternoon, mainly because figuring out what goes where and which pipes are actually connected to anything took time. There are two separate plumbing systems (again, left over from when it was two houses) and neither of them is logical at all! The whole house needs re-plumbing and re-wiring at some point, to make it slightly more coherent, but that is a huge job and an expense we cannot afford right now.
Eventually it was all done and we had towels warming on our brand new radiator.
Ste then joined me for our Valentine’s Day meal (wild boar pasta accompanied by a bottle of Moët) and we toasted our first successful proper DIY job. Or rather, Ste’s. He is awesome, and I am very lucky that his idea of the perfect Valentine’s Day is the same as mine – working together on our home and then sharing a meal and a bottle of something nice. We ended the evening with a cheese board and a sneaky little Scotch before retiring for a nice hot shower, dried off with lovely fluffy warm towels afterwards! Bliss!