Thursday, 29 November 2012

What a Shower [but I can't use it yet!]

We're nearly there! Y finished work last night. Everything is in, except that we need to go and get a new loo roll holder tomorrow, as the old one really doesn't suit the room as it now is.

But the outside waste pipe has been replaced - we knew it was split, and had been leaking into the carport for ages - and we can't run any water into the top hopper until the jointing has dried ... so I still can't have a shower until tomorrow morning. 

It's a good job we were away in France last weekend, staying in a hotel with beautiful facilities, or you'd be beginning to smell us from wherever you are!!

So here are a few pictures of what things look like now ...

[We still need to get a new blind, too]

Update Friday - still haven't got the blind, but we successfully purchased a new bathroom cabinet and loo roll holder. We should be able to get them fitted over the weekend, with a bit of luck...and I did have a lovely shower this morning!! 

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

A Night on the Tiles

Just a short post tonight, to say that things are moving on. After a bit of fiddling and final fitting in place of the vanity unit - although it had been plumbed in, it wasn't properly fixed yesterday - Y started tiling. That bit doesn't look any different from yesterday, so I haven't taken another picture. 

He's done quite a bit of tiling, but I won't reveal a whole wall until things are entirely finished ... must keep some surprises up my sleeve.

Because it was crucial where certain elements went , I missed my Pilates class today, in order to be here to set him on the right datum line. 

[Don't tell my Pilates teacher, but in the end I would have been able to get there and back in time, but I didn't want to risk him starting in the wrong place, and he thought he'd be starting the tiling about an hour before he actually did.]

Anyway, there are a few more days before he'll have finished everything, but I shan't post again now until I can show you the completed room. [We have chosen our wall colour, by the way, and will reveal that at the same time!]

Edit, morning of 22 Nov., to add that the cistern leaked/overflowed in the night, so suspect he'll need to sort that before any more tiling gets done today ...

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Now Wash Your Hands...

We have a working loo and handbasin!

After collecting the new loo seat, Y went to get connectors for the new tap. Wouldn't you think all taps nowadays would be metric? Especially with a continental-sounding name like Grohe. Not a bit of it! The diameter of the hoses leading into this tap is three-eighths of an inch! So instead of being able to pick up the usual connectors to go between the isolators and the tap hoses, Y had to go to a specialist plumbing supplies to get four connectors - to connect the metric pipe isolators to a short length of pipe, and then to 'convert' that pipe to the size of the hoses feeding the tap.

That done, Y arrived here and set about actually fitting the loo. When you see a back-to-the-wall loo in a hotel en-suite, you don't think much about it. You probably notice in some of the more modern, or more recently converted hotels, a door between rooms that evidently leads to a 'service room' that gives access to the back of all the plumbing. 

When you have a vanity unit fitted, that gives a shelf above the loo, and a cupboard under the basin, you don't really think about how it will go in. The large waste pipe from the loo has to be fitted, but to manoeuvre the pan into place - after fitting the seat! - at the same time as connecting the cistern to the flush feed at the back of the pan, whilst holding the cistern and getting the cold feed into the cistern connected before the cistern itself can be put on its housing and the lid put on ... I think an octopus would have been hard pressed to come up with enough arms.

But it's in, and it works.

Tomorrow the tiling begins. 

Monday, 19 November 2012

Still Looless!

I knew it was tempting providence to say 'one more night...' In fact I thought as I posted yesterday's blog that it really was asking for trouble. The trouble started when Y arrived this morning, as when he tried fitting the vanity unit in its eventual position, the water feed pipes were too far out into the room, so he had to move them to get it back against the wall.

Then he realised that he needed to do part of the bath panelling before he could fit it in anyway, as there would be no way to get to it once the unit was in place. He's making the bath panel, at my suggestion, from vertical 'planks' of the flooring material, which will look much better than a plastic moulded panel. It will also allow a door in the panel at the tap end, to get to the isolators if we ever need any work done in future.

This afternoon I went out for a massage. After an hour of blissful relaxation I returned. Another problem. The loo seat broke as Y was fitting it. It is - naturally [!] - of a kind that needs to be fitted before the loo itself is plumbed in. 

 So ... another night of plodding downstairs ... I won't attempt to prophesy whether it will be the last. Latest photos from this evening, after he had gone. You can at least see progress! The one at top right shows a bit of the bath panelling. 
[You may need to click on the picture to get a clearer view - I've just realised this is possible!]

Sunday, 18 November 2012

How [not?]to get a new bathroom

When we had the kitchen redone about 18 months ago, the two men who did the work made such a good job of it that I asked them for a rough quote for the bathroom, ‘when I was ready to have it done.’

About a month ago, I emailed the one whose contact details I had, and 2 or 3 weeks ago, the other one rang me to say that ‘X’ [the first bloke] was now spending most of his time in France - where he’s renovating a ‘ruin’ – but if I was happy for himself, ‘Y’, to do the work, he would come and look and give us a proper quote. So on Tuesday the week before last, he came and measured up, did some sums, and his figure was within budget, so we said, 'Fine, let's go ahead.'

'When were you thinking of having it done?' says he.

'Well we're away all next week,' I said jokingly.

'Well, actually...'

It turned out there was a problem with the job he was supposed to be doing last week, so he could do us then! So we spent the next couple of days choosing bath, taps and shower, either from the catalogue he had with him, or via various internet sites and OK-ing by email various things from emailed pics. Then we zoomed up to Salisbury to look at tiles & flooring, which we successfully purchased and brought home ourselves, together with shade cards for paint.

We then spent the weekend clearing access in the loft for him to sort out the electrics for the shower, and taking down the wall cabinet and towel rails before he arrived on Monday morning, when we were setting off for a week’s folk dancing in Somerset.

The idea was that while we were away, Y would strip the whole room, and re-plaster/skim the walls and ceiling, put down new floor, fit the new sanitary ware & the shower, replace the radiator with a ladder-towel rail, tile round the bath and the window wall and - if we'd chosen the colour by then! - paint the un-tiled wall-and-a-half.

So he arrived as arranged, and we left him chipping off tiles, and the electrician he had organised sorting out the power feed to the new shower. Before we left there was already a slight problem…the plasterer he had booked for Tuesday texted him to say he couldn't come until Wednesday. So he rang another plasterer he had worked with before, who couldn't come Tuesday either, but ‘definitely’ could do Wednesday, so Y texted plasterer A back and cancelled him. And we set off to Somerset with light hearts [and bank balances, having paid him for all the materials and fittings!]

We were 10 minutes up the road when TMH realised he didn't have his mobile with him. We wouldn't normally have worried, as we had mine, but we’d given Y the number on TMH's phone, as he can’t work mine, so we turned round and went back to fetch it. We still arrived at our destination in good time, and became engrossed in the dancing that we scarcely gave what was going on at home a thought. 

Tuesday passed, and Wednesday, and we thought everything must be going to plan. But on Thursday Y rang. Plasterer B had let him down. And by the time he got back to plasterer A, he had arranged another job, so Y was going to keep trying to get someone, but he was afraid we wouldn't have a usable bathroom when we got home on Friday…

I think he was more bothered than we were. We have a downstairs cloakroom; so although it is further to go in the middle of the night, at least we have somewhere to go. And having been brought up in the days when bathing was a weekly occurrence, daily ablutions in a small washbasin is no great hardship either, for a few days at least, so we came home in a far less worried frame of mind than Y was in.

He’d done a lot of preparatory work. The new bath was in situ and plumbed in; the shower was on the wall; the new flooring was down; the largest irregularities of the walls filled. All was ready for a plasterer – and he’d found one who was willing to work on a Sunday, as a special favour. So today Y arrived at 9.30 with plasterer C, who spent the day giving us a lovely smooth ceiling and walls. Meanwhile Y replaced the exterior waste bathwater pipe, and prepared and fitted the new door.

Only one more night, now, of having to go downstairs in the middle of it; tomorrow the first thing he does will be to fit the new loo, then the washbasin, so that on Tuesday the newly skimmed walls should be fit to take the tiles. 

We need to decide fairly urgently on the colour for the un-tiled wall area, as – which we hadn't thought of before – he will need to have that done before the towel rail goes up, as we’ll never get behind it properly once it’s in place.

The before [on the left] and during [on the right] pictures will show you the state of what we came back to on Friday, and what it was like by Sunday afternoon.

The rest of the saga, and the final appearance – to follow...when it happens!