Sunday 25 February 2018

On the Move: Getting our priorities in order and saving for a special bath

Katy McGuinness
Katy McGuinness

Katy McGuinness

We have, says my architect - who, regular readers may remember, also happens to be my husband - reached the tipping point with the new house. Everything we have spent money on so far has been remedial in nature. We've sorted out the roof, got rid of the bad timbers and the crumbling plaster, and completed the first fix of the plumbing and electrical work. We have done nothing that wasn't absolutely essential, so in effect there have been very few choices to make. The issues with the house had to be dealt with and that was that. The money had to be spent and we have cut no corners.

Now is where it starts to get interesting.

In common with the majority of people who embark on a restoration project, our eyes are bigger than our pockets. We are not going to be able to afford to do everything that we would like to do before we move in, and so we are going to have to cut our cloth, and prioritise the things that are the most important. We need to start making decisions about the things that can wait, and about what we can live without, pending our imminent Lotto win.

I feel as if we are starring in our own episode of Room To Improve - a programme to which I am addicted, but my husband at times finds almost unbearable to watch. He has nightmares about that family with the triffid-like fungus growing out of the walls, even though I keep telling him that Dermot sorted it all out in the end and they lived happily ever after.

So far, we are in agreement. The bathrooms and tiling have to be done, because there's no point installing the sanitary ware only to have to take it out again when it's time to fit the tiles. (I have a secret fund going for the bath that I want, a rather splendid bateau-style number called The Usk, as I fear I may not be able to swing it through cost control otherwise. Any unexpected windfalls, and the proceeds of random freelance commissions, are being diverted to the said fund, although regrettably it is still some way away from target.)

The basic landscaping and planting of the garden has to happen because it will be too mucky to do that later on, as the new place has no rear or side access and everything has to go through the house. We're going to do as much of that as possible ourselves, so there are a few muddy weekends ahead.

We're going to cover everything in a coat of white paint and live in the house for a while before we make any decisions about paint colours. That seems sensible. And we've decided that we'll bring our kitchen appliances with us and operate a temporary kitchen until we can install the one that incorporates the Lacanche range that features in my dreams these days. The carpets will be our Christmas present to each other. In about 2018.

Sunday Independent

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