Open Sesame

Before and After

For quite a while now we have been wishing to replace the French Doors on the Dining room. We have obtained quotes but they were astronomical to get a set of wooden doors that would be similar in character and kept the glazing. After some consideration and many google image searches later we came up with an alternative.

Here are the original doors; single glazed, open inwards, very low security and as they are NNE facing let in limited light and we did not get to benefit from the coloured glass.


At the same time we were deciding what to do in the kitchen. The original back door was on the side and narrow. So we made that into a window leaving us with no back door. Solution was to cut through where a window was and create a new back door at the end of the kitchen.

The Rip Out






Build On

Knock on through, new backdoor opening and door framing for WC.

New backdoor opening where the rear window was. Plus a new door frame for the downstairs cloakroom.
New ceiling joits for WC to include hatch to get to fan motor


New lintel in what was an internal window but now is the shower shelf

New Loft Hatch

WC ceiling finished and Kitchen end wall plastered.

Smart Watt

So before the kitchen goes in with the 10kwh induction hob we had better upgrade the mains power into the building. We currently have a 60 Amp mains fuse which could probably power a chocolate teapot but no Tesla.

So who do you contact to get this done. Your energy supplier, nope. UK Power Networks. They supply you with a form that goes into a lot of detail but also lays out the process in detail. All I need is a new fuse. Good news is they will carry out a survey and then let you know watt the cost is. I think the form is more for when you are building  house to upgrading the power bandwidth.

Electric Cars

We are not far away (7-10 years) from cars being electric as standard. I think just this change is going to have a massive knock on effect. If you want to charge your car up either you need to have a good solar array and batteries or your mains feed needs to be capable of higher amperage. So we have requested the max on a normal single phase connection 100Amps.

Small Smart

There is me worried about the future car purchase when the current electric smart meters can’t support more than 80Amps or 19Kw. They are pushing these hard and fast. I think they are going too soon and this will be a bigger upset for the energy suppliers later on.

Therefore we can only install 80Amp fuse for now.

Survey Day

So after all the form filling, UK Power Networks arrive to carry out the survey. When they have a look they say we can just swap it out for free, right now. Fantastic!

However, I asked for a 100Amp fuse, but the tails (cables out the mains fuse to the meter) are only rated at 80amps. So they fit an 80 Amps fuse and also leave a 100 amps fuse so we can slot it in later. Result.



Kitchen to Bedroom

Six months without an update, seems standard right now. Trades people are in such high demand but our Builder likes going on month-long holidays so Feb was completely knocked out for us. Given we still did not have heating on the ground floor the plaster in the kitchen was taking forever to dry. So obviously we did not host Christmas this year again…. Maybe next???

Get some heaters!!

Sure, the best thing to remedy this situation is get some heaters in there and dry out the kitchen. However the kitchen was running off extension leads and with electric heaters, hot plates and washing machine nothing ever seemed to stay on for long.

Specification and Responsibilities

Both Sarah and I have jobs where we have to specify what we need doing, in an accurate and timely fashion and to budget or target. But hey when it comes to doing that on the house it seems like the last thing we can do on the sofa…

This was compounded by us both having the biggest workload / projects either of us has ever had. So remember earlier where our Builder was going away for Feb, well we missed that deadline to provide him with spec’s before he went away so he could book us in. Unfortunately for us this meant that we had two extensions to be built before he could get to us so we could unlock all the next jobs on the house.

Updates at last

So after having the Kitchen temporarily in Bedroom 3 it was time to move the temp kitchen down to the Kitchen! This meant we could at last decorate bedroom 3.


Before and After’s

Beagle Slippers

So Victorian’s built with timer floor structures with lots of circulation to ensure the wood would remain dry. With a fireplace in every room and carpets on the floor. Now in post Back to the Future land we want exposed wooden floors and effect heating to help with energy bills and that 1.5C global warming target agreed in Paris.

After reading up on how to make Victorian houses more energy effect two solutions come top. 

Block Foam Insulation

The idea here is to lift up all the boards, add battons in parallel to the joists, then cut foam board to width and slot in between. To finish off you need to seal with expandable foam around the edge and then lay a dark moisture barrier over the top. This is to reduce condensation while also removing the glare from the silver foil board covering.

Rockwool and Chicken Wire

The other option is to lay chicken wire across the beams and then roll out the insulation before fixing the floor boards back down. However, this is not an option in Beagle. The floor boards are 5m long, have very few nail heads showing and ripping up the floors will disturb the finish. Maybe a whole Kitchen delivery currently sitting in the lounge and the Dinning room full of furniture and our only living space. This required a solution.

So luckily we have a basement / crawl space. Problem is the crawl space in not large but I am. So armed with an industrial staple gun, goggles, lamp, mask and gloves I headed down there. It took 3 weekends to complete but the warmth and change in sound levels has made it worth doing. And yes, to get to the front of the house I had to get through that tiny brick opening, it was hard to get the insulation through as it was.


Hanging Fireplace 

Rounding out at the top of the house will be a shower room in what was our initial kitchen 18 months ago. Problem is, on removing the fireplace it seemed as though the chimney was hanging from the top of the wall. The left hand side was about a brick think and not tied into the house wall. Luckily when we replaced the roof this was the only chimney we removed. So a solution was required yet again.

The rest of the room is as coming on with pipes and electrical points.



Plaster Fallback

You may remember we had a bit of an issue with the screed pour being pulled late on a Sunday. We were able to get in touch with Bill to say our plans had to change. Even though I took delivery on the Saturday of a tonne of sand and 9 bags of concrete, the pour could not happen until we knew the pipes were not going to need to be accessed again. So plan is at 16:00 on a Sunday to get another room ready for plastering. The only room close to this was Bedroom 3. However, this room had 1 of the only 2 fitted and working radiators. This will be a job, never taken a rad off before and I’m on my own as Sarah is out. 

Rad off
Looks like the plaster has blown. Hmm seems like the wall needs some TLC also.

Now I just need to prep the walls for plaster.


So after all that rush job on a Sunday evening, Sarah decides to lock the house up fully so Bill is 1 key short to gain access to do the plastering. He can’t do the screed either but ends up moving all the material around the back for the next day.

Soil pipe Saga

So you’ve seen the kitchen floor being laid but the problem was there was about a six week delay in getting that screed laid. The new WC at the end of the kitchen is where the old shower was in a wet room. However the original toilet was in this location. So was the old soil pipe connected still? Was the wet room toilet still connected? Did the soil pipe need a vacuum vent? Was the new toilet we had ordered going to fit the “work around”. Here are a few picks before it was resolved.

Option 1 but would not fit WC

Option 2 would be to use the existing vent and then box it in as a cooking book shelf in the kitchen.


However on closer inspection this was not even connected to the soil pipe anymore as the connection was totally smashed. Therefore  had to remove all this pipework from the ground to give us a good base for the screed. So after discovering this on a Sunday afternoon we had to postpone the screed pour on the Monday until we had the go ahead that the WC did not need the vent.

Final solution