Week Four ~ Things are finally happening, but what on earth is that smell?
After a subdued weekend things were not good at Scatterbrook Cottage. We were still waiting on various tradesmen; we didn’t bother chasing up the AntMan again as we seemed to have got those under control for now, but it was my turn to start contacting the DampMan. On top of all that we still had no broadband and the daily conversations with Sky were becoming more and more fraught.
So I had high hopes of the meeting on Monday with our final architect/building company. We’ve seen five altogether with varying degrees of success. Mostly the issue is it’s all good while we’re talking design but when we mention project management they all fudge the issue a bit and it seems most will do administrative stuff but won’t actually manage the projects for us. Not being builders, and having never undertaken any large building projects ourselves, this is quite important.
On Monday we met with Stuart from Bespoke Norfolk Group; we’ve had to wait a while longer than hoped to meet him but we had a feeling it would be worth it, and it was. We liked him straight away, he was very warm and forthcoming, especially with ideas and he also uttered the magic words “well, if this were my house I would …”, which we had failed to hear from anyone else.
We had a fairly well formed brief of what we wanted to do, but I wanted to know if we could do it better and now we know (survey pending) that we can. We appointed them the next day after we received their initial quote. A massive win from them already - turning up, turning up on time; getting an initial quote to us within 24 hours and already arranging for a survey. None of the other architects wanted to think about commencing building until next spring, however we now think we might actually be able to get started in the autumn, which is also a big plus for us impatient pair. We’ve seen their signs up around Norfolk and I’ve been checking them out on Instagram for a while. I’m really looking forward to seeing their initial plans given what they’ve already come up with, and will share them as soon as we know.
On Tuesday we finally managed to get a written quote from the DampMan, who in turn had passed our details on to RoofMan, a friend of his, as we have also discovered a small amount of daylight peeping through into the loft! It’s just a small issue, where a few tiles previously replaced weren’t done properly so now there’s a small hole in the roofing felt. Miraculously no water has come in but we want to get it done before winter obviously. As I write this, my study window is obscured by a scaffold tower. As for the DampMan, now we wait for him to tell us when he can actually come and do the work.
On Wednesday our friend Michelle from Kitchens by Design came to investigate our bathroom and ensuite for us. We have worked with Michelle previously on two kitchens and two bathrooms so we really trust her and she knows what we like.
Our main bathroom is a treat! It’s a fine example of 80’s bathroom decor, the toilet cistern isn’t attached to the wall so we dare not use it (it was seemingly stuck on with No Nails at one point). There is a shaver point over the … toilet. Yes, the toilet, because we know men shave over the toilet every morning. I risked a bath last week and amazingly it did not fall through the floor, however it has one of those old taps where you lift the lever to send the water through a shower head, so in reality water just trickles out of both.
Needless to say we want this sorted as soon as possible, and as this isn’t reliant on the other work we thought we could at least make some progress with it. The ensuite isn’t too bad (or anywhere near as old) at first glimpse, but when you look closer you realise that the shower is plumbed in incorrectly (hot for cold etc), the radiator is rusty, the drawer under the sink doesn’t open, and the waterfall tap is more of a fountain - stand too close when you turn it on and you’re drenched. We might have to hold off on the ensuite until the big work is done because the room underneath it is going to be almost demolished but we will wait and see what the guys from Bespoke Norfolk tell us when they come to meet with us again next Tuesday.
The big news, though, is that on Wednesday we at last returned to the real world with working broadband.
So all in all it’s been a really productive this week except… wait a minute… what’s that smell?
When we first moved in the house smelt really strongly of a sickly air freshener and we eventually found a plug-in behind a stack of pictures, which we duly removed and thought that was the end of it. Then we noticed that although everywhere else was beginning to smell normal, the dining room, despite having been freshly painted still had a really weird smell. So last Friday I had a local carpet cleaner come and give it a once over. It smelt lovely after he’d been - the filth in the water he emptied out was grim so it had definitely needed it - but by the following morning the smell was back - and worse. We still can’t find what it is, and this is a room that will be changed as part of the extension so we don’t want to get the flooring replaced only to have to change it again soon. Any tips for getting rid of smells ( not masking them, and not involving Zoflippinflora) will be gratefully received.
Lastly, on Friday, we could officially call ourselves Scatterbrook Cottage again. The previous owner, the one who left us all her crap, thoughtfully did not leave us the name plaque on the front of the house. Ever since we’ve moved in we’ve had a nice cardboard sign in the window, but on Friday, after a bit of a wait, our beautiful Welsh sign arrived.
I think it’s a bit of a hint of what’s to come, traditional materials, with a contemporary twist. Just like the house will be when it’s finished.
And yes, the sign is level, the wall is not!