Stuff I’ve had done to my house (so far)
If you read my blog in the olden days, back in 2006, you’ll know all about my traumatic experience with B&Q when they did my bathroom. The experience was so traumatic I couldn’t even step into a B&Q for about ten years, let alone buy anything from them and, if friends bought anything from them, I felt deeply betrayed. It put me off home improvements for life.
Thirteen years on, however, feeling slightly less traumatised and living in a house that needs an overhaul top to bottom, I’ve been brave and allowed various tradesmen (and woman) to come in and pretty my house up for me. So far, it’s all gone swimmingly (I probably shouldn’t use that word seeing as, as I’m typing this, I’m using my washing machine for the first time since it’s been plumbed in to its new conservatory location).
In the last almost-two-years, this is what I’ve had done to my house, with no B&Q-style disasters (touch wood).
I live by the sea and it’s fucking windy all the fucking time (except when it’s not, which isn’t very often). This means that fences get blown down regularly. I’ve had mine fixed twice and the last panel is only staying up because I’ve got a garden bench propping it up. I thought as I was getting the fence fixed, the fence man might as well tidy the garden up at the same time. And a sterling job he did of it too.
I decided to paint the attic room myself because I thought it would be nice and simple. Wrongy McWrongface! Me, being a non-DIY type person, didn’t know that a) cheap paint is shit; and b) blue is a really difficult colour to cover, even if it’s light blue. It took me four or five coats (even after ditching the cheap paint after the first coat for a more reputable brand) and I still did it really badly and if you look closely (please don’t) you can see see bits of blue.
I wasn’t going to try and install a floor myself so I paid professionals to do it and a lovely job they did of it too. They didn’t even moan that I’d left a bit of furniture in the room (when I got my carpet in London done, the company that did that had a £25 charge per item that needed to be moved in their terms and conditions).
I am ashamed of myself. You’d think after all the trauma I had after my B&Q experience that I would never ever ever buy from them again. And I really didn’t want to but I scoured the entire world (sort of) for a bathroom I a) liked; and b) didn’t cost approximately a billion pounds, and the only one I found meeting these two requirements was in B&Q. The man at B&Q asked me if I’d bought from then before and I took great delight telling him about the time I took them to court, and won. He said ‘good’ which I found amusing but made a mental note to never employ him due to his extreme lack of company loyalty. He also said they didn’t do installations anymore and I said it was probably because people kept suing them for royally fucking it up (I used a politer phrase than that but you get the gist).
So I bought my pretty B&Q bathroom and paid a professional plumber and not some random untrained limbless brainless monkey B&Q found on the street to install it for me. The bathroom was delivered on time (shock horror) with nothing missing (ditto), the plumber plumbed it in, I got the people from the flooring company who did my attic floor to lay some vinyl flooring, the fencing man put up a new door and, although the bathroom needs finishing by way of a bit of boxing and stuff, it looks very nice indeed.
My kitchen is teeny tiny. Seriously, despite what my friend on Facebook says about it not being the smallest kitchen in the world, I reckon it is. I had originally planned to extend the kitchen by knocking into the side return and building outwards to almost triple the size of the kitchen but, because I wanted the back of it to be mostly glass in a kind of half-conservatory/half-kitchen hybrid, I realised it wouldn’t really give me much more storage – only more floor space – so I decided to have a conservatory built there instead.
It took seven days by a team of brilliantly bantery builders who I missed after they’d finished. It’s not exactly an ideal conservatory, as I’m mostly using it for overflow kitchen storage (thanks to a cabinet from Ikea that I can store my bread machine, slow cooker, blender, air fryer and everything else in) and not for sitting in, sipping tea in the sun, and since I had the kitchen done, I’ve now got the washing machine in there but it’s given me a lot more flexibility space-wise and it doubles up perfectly as a craft room/writing room (I’m currently sitting in the conservatory typing this).
Windows and front door
When I moved into my house it had brown windows and a brown front door and all the fittings were a manky peeling-off gold colour. It was minging. In an ideal world I would have lovely wooden sash windows but this isn’t an ideal world and I’m not rich so although I could have had replacement aluminium windows, I went for a nice, clean, crisp white bog-standard uPVC.
I had spent MONTHS choosing a new front door after the man in the window shop gave me two big brochures featuring lots of lovely (and less lovely) front doors, only for the man who came round to measure everything to tell me my doorway is too narrow which left me with a choice of only five. I chose the one I hated the least and coincidentally saw the very same one on a house just a few days later and hated it much less in real life.
My kitchen, as well as being teeny tiny, had obviously been put up by a DIY-er who had just pointed the worktops and cabinets in the general direction of the kitchen and told them to put themselves up with no care or attention. Had the cabinets and worktops been in better condition and put up properly, they would have been fine. However; they weren’t.
I had a new kitchen put in last week (bought from and installed by Wickes) and it’s BEAUTIFUL. I can’t stop looking at it, I love it so much. I need a new floor and I need the walls painted but then it will be done (except for buying all the new things such as cutlery and storage jars and a kettle and toaster and everything else one obviously needs for a brand new sparkling clean kitchen). I also have a dishwasher again for the first time in two years and this pleases me very much.
I can’t think of anything in all these improvements that have gone less than smoothly. Fingers crossed all future improvements go just as well.