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Home review 2008

Hiya! Been a while. Everyone survive Christmas?

Traditional as it is, I thought I'd do a quick review of the stuff we've done on the house this year. I know I've got most of the entries under this category, but nice to see it all in one place I think.

I think the first thing to happen this year was the cavity wall insulation going in. Not perhaps the most exciting thing ever, and not a great visual impact. What was immediate was the way that the house felt much more evenly warm. Not so much right now, but that's because we're being tight on the heating. Still, the cavity wall insulation was the first change to the house made in 2008, and it was good.

Next up was obviously the fire. I can whole-heartedly say I love the fire. Oh yes.

fire 11 in situ

It is much more aesthetically pleasing (to us) than the old gas fire it replaced. It has been going strong all winter, allowing us to leave our heating on pretty minimal times even now, when the temperature is struggling to hit 5 degrees. It seems to have helped my mood (which is *ahem* variable in the cold dark months) no end. The ash is going in the compost and on the garden, but really for the amount we're burning there doesn't seem to be much left. We've made paper logs which are great as fire-starters, and next year I'll make many, many more (hopefully).

Along with this, GG built a log store. I think the log store is actually quite attractive on the front of the house, which is a plus. The cat nextdoor seems to think it's the best sunbathing spot ever, and I think I can see why!


We've finally found a kettle with a folding handle that will just about fit, and GG's parents bought it for us as a Christmas present. We can't quite get it to boil, unfortunately. But it takes about 30 seconds to finish off on the hob, so that's not too bad.

After that, as I was finishing up my dissertation my Gorgeous Girlfriend decided to replace the floors in the kitchen and bathroom. They were nasty lino. Now they are lovely 'Canadian maple' effect laminate. It's made an enormous difference to both rooms, much more than we expected. They are easier to keep clean too, which is definitely important in a kitchen that gets my bike wheeled through it twice most days. She also painted most of the kitchen white, which I think has made it feel brighter.

The other change in the kitchen is that the inbuilt fridge and freezer have gone. The freezer started bleeping at us regularly to tell us it wasn't cold enough, which was a bit rich. Particularly irritating in the middle of the night. And the fridge was a pain in the arse to get things in and out of the veg trays at the bottom. Plus it was too small, so we had a second fridge at the other end of the kitchen. Oh, and not enough cupboard space, so all in all not brilliant. We've now replaced both fridges and the freezer with a single, freestanding fridge-freezer, put cupboards where the in-built units used to be and everything is much better.

(What do you mean? That was fascinating...)

Oh, and the lights in the living room got changed out! The 'lovely' brass fittings with pink flowers all over are no more. And I wrote what may have been my most excited blog post ever (and exciting!) about fixing the stair lights.

I think that's almost it. Other than totally stripping out and redoing the spare room, which GG finished laying the carpet in at about 7 pm on Christmas Eve. I should actually just say that most of what's been achieved this year was not achieved by me. Frankly, I'm a bit rubbish about most of this, and prefer to talk about it rather than actually get on and do it. If it were left to me, we'd still be warming ourselves around a gas fire, thinking how nice a wood-burning stove may be one day. The spare room (and half of the stuff we did last year too) would be far down the list while I vacillated hopelessly on the sofa about what to do first. Without my Gorgeous, hardworking, try-anything Girlfriend, this house would not be anything like as nice as it now is. She rocks.

(And yes, the curtains are still not finished. I hang my head in shame. Still, there's always tomorrow next year!)

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