This is an update on my home office renovation. Why office I hear you ask? Last you heard about our house renovations, we were making a start on the bathroom, which we were moving to the third guestroom/my office. Well, turns out that was destined not to happen! Once we pulled up the floorboards in the old office we discovered that the beams were not thick enough to support the weight of a bath full of water, and re-doing them, plus moving all the plumbing, meant the bathroom was spiralling out of budget.
We made the decision to keep that room as my office, and to renovate the existing bathroom afterwards (since we had already ripped out the office it had to be the priority). So our current project is actually my home office renovation, not the bathroom! I’ll do a little office decor inspo post soon (that seems a long way off yet), but here’s the work that’s happened already in there.
In addition to the joists, we actually discovered quite a few surprises when we started on the room. The first thing we were curious about was the corner, which was boarded off, making the room an odd shape. The top part seemed to be solid wall behind, with the bottom being plasterboard. We grabbed a sledgehammer and knocked through the plasterboard to see what was behind it, and found to our surprise, an old fireplace in the corner of the room! It was faced with slabs of Yorkshire stone which we knocked out and have kept to use elsewhere. We also sealed up the chimney to prevent drafts, and now we actually have a rectangular room to work with.
The next surprise when we removed the plaster and board from the front wall with the window in it was that the window was evidently a late addition, and whoever put it in did quite a bodge job. The cavity walls were not sealed up where they were knocked through to install it, and the lintel of the inside wall was non-existent, meaning the top of the frame was unsupported. You can see in this photo the gap above the window in the inside wall as well as the unfinished cavities.
Ste did an amazing job adding in a new lintel and sealing the walls, and then we hired a local tradesman to come and replace the rotten wooden window frame with a new double-glazed PVC one to match the rest of the house. I really hate the look of PVC, but it is significantly cheaper, longer lasting, and more desirable when we come to sell (apparently!). And I am sure that when the room is finished and the window is dressed it will be pretty. You can see the new lintel, PVC window and new wall framing here:
At the same time, I pulled up the old flooring (a rare shot of me in action!) and we discovered some of the floorboards were completely rotten so these also had to be replaced.
Since we would be adding in a new wall to this room to separate it from the landing and make the garden access off the landing rather than through a room (the start of which you can see in the last photo in this post), we needed to open up the wall around the old doorway to that room and remove it. We also did the same for the doorway between one cottage and the other, which, whilst it had no door in it, was door-sized and meant the hallway along past our bedroom to the bathroom was extremely dark because it has no windows. We got a builder in for this work, because having dealt with the demolition in the guest room, we knew we didn’t want to do it again, the dust is just too awful! Whilst we had an expert in, we decided also to fix the bathroom door. It was previously hobbit-sized – for no known reason the previous owner decided to sink the doorframe six inches into the floor, so that Ste (and most people) had to duck every time he walked in there. Of course, he forgot quite a lot, so he is delighted with our new, full-sized bathroom door which we have had installed, and the resulting absence of bumps to the head.
In the process of knocking out the wall for the new door, the builder came across lots of newspaper stuffing various gaps, dated from July 1954, which must have been when the house was knocked into one (we knew it was in the fifties). I particularly love this hair product advert:
Here you can see the hallway looking along towards the bathroom before:
In fact, we removed more of the wall on the right to open it up even more. You can see how much lighter and more spacious it feels. Well, it does now we have plasterboarded the gaping holes in the ceiling closed! They were a bit creepy for a while. Right after this demolition mess happened, my little sister and her fiancé came to stay for the first time. The upstairs looked like this, complete with dangling electrics.
Not the ideal circumstances for guests, but we managed to hoover the dust out of the guestroom enough for it to be cosy and welcoming. The rest of the house though…well, I am sure they could imagine what it will be like when we’re done! As you can tell by now, this isn’t just a home office renovation – we are changing the entire upstairs of the house really.
Next up, we needed to remove all the rotten framing in the room and replace it. Ste has spent evenings and weekends doing this and it has been a huge job, but finally we are done. Most importantly, we now have a wall where there was none, and the door to the garden is actually now off the landing. It feels so much lighter and brighter upstairs even with this additional wall going in.
Taking the framing out from around the garden door, we also realised that had not been installed properly, and there were gaps all around it which were letting water in! So this has had to be sealed up and fixed, which was another thing we weren’t expecting to have to do.
Ste is now working on filling the framing with Kingspan insulation and then finally we can fix plasterboard onto the walls. I cannot wait for that to be done so that we can get a plasterer in and cover up all the ragged brick that is currently exposed (and not in a good way) in our hallway and landing. It all feels a bit like living on a building site at the moment, but we will get there eventually.