The Unglamorous Side of Renovating

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The last few days chez Boo and Maddie have been a little bit stressful – as well as looking after my Mum’s elderly Labrador since Thursday whilst her and my Step-Dad are away on holiday, we’ve had what’s felt like a resident electrician here for four days, trying his best and thankfully succeeding in dragging our 1930’s home into the 21st century.

Electrics are one of those funny things, lots of people are perfectly happy to have a go at most jobsย themselves but really apart from changing light bulbs and fuses, there’s very little that novices are actually meant to do and no matter what your competency level, building regs changes in the mid-2000s mean that most significant electrical work needs to be carried out by a certified tradesman to comply with the regulations, be fully certified and ensure you don’t have any issues with insurance in case the worst happens. Anything from installing a new socket upwards should ideally have a certificate of completion just to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s and we’re big lovers of doing things the right way rather than cutting corners, after all we want to be safe in our home and able to sleep at night.

Fuseboard before

This rather grainy shot that I thought I should capture for posterity is the fuseboard before

fuseboardafter

fuseboardafter

Whilst I really hate the idea of spending so much money and not really having anything to show for it, our very clever electrician got so much done and managed to repair so much of the cowboy work that’s been done over the years. Here’s what we’ve completed over the past few days:

  • A new fuseboard – the old one was about 30 years old with so many different circuits and switches it was a nightmare. We had to basically guess what each fuse did whenever we had a problem and every time the washing machine went on a spin cycle it fused the kitchen
  • Replaced the downlighters in the first floor bathroom which were non-compliant
  • Tested every single plug socket in the house and replaced missing earths
  • Fixed a light on the outside of our outbuilding at the bottom of the garden so that the sensor now comes on when Maddie goes up there at nighttime
  • Removed three redundant fuses and switches in the kitchen and patched up the wires to replace with two new switches to work lights outside the back door
  • Tested all the electrics in the outbuilding and replaced the fuseboard
  • Fitted new lights outside the back door
  • Replaced a faulty socket in the garden which means we can now use it for mowing the lawn instead of running an extension lead into the house and hopefully should be able to replace the hideous lanterns that currently sit out there

newkitchenplugs

You can see here where the three redundant plugs were in the kitchen – removed and all tidied up

Overall of course we’re happy the work is done and it means once we’ve paid that bill and saved up again we can look at replacing the ceiling in the living room which wasn’t possible before the electrics were made safe but my goodness, houses really do feel like money pits sometimes!

Do you struggle to appreciate the grunt work like me? What’s the most unexciting improvement you’ve made to your home?

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26 Comments

  1. March 23, 2016 / 11:52 am

    Ah, this brings back memories! We had the exact same fuse box replacement job done when we moved in, as well as a lot of dodgy previous electrical work corrected. I’m like you though – it’s hard to appreciate spending all that money when you have nothing ‘on the surface’ to show for it. The smoothness of just flipping the switch back when a fuse blows though is much appreciated! #HomeEtc

    • Lins
      March 28, 2016 / 8:01 pm

      YES! This is so true. It’s a joy to run our washing machine now without having to wonder when the kitchen will fuse and being on hand for it. I know I’ll appreciate it more in time X

  2. March 23, 2016 / 12:35 pm

    I have had to do this with a couple of houses and it really is a must xxx

    • Lins
      March 28, 2016 / 8:00 pm

      It is isn’t it? I know in the long run it’s so worth it but it does feel frustrating! Xx

  3. March 23, 2016 / 9:00 pm

    Oh god I feel your pain with regards to the old electrics in a 1930s house, there’s nothing you can do but sit back and let someone else get on with it. Our old fuseboard was identical to yours- I wonder if houses in our area were built by the same people as would have been at a very similar time?! x

    • Lins
      March 28, 2016 / 7:59 pm

      Ooh most likely! Ours had already at least been modernised by previous owners but unfortunately I think they did a lot of the work themselves which caused so many issues. I do love the idea they’re old enough to have stories though, the first owner of ours was a lady who paid a few hundred pounds X

  4. March 23, 2016 / 9:45 pm

    It’s definitely not the glamorous side is it, but a job well done! Electrics and plumbing are the worst. But now you can get on with the nicer bits, well done for getting that out of the way. #HomeEtc

    • Lins
      March 28, 2016 / 7:57 pm

      Thank you Molly, I can’t wait to get stuck into something more exciting, hopefully it won’t be too long to wait X

  5. March 23, 2016 / 10:06 pm

    Like you say it really is must to get someone that is qulaified to do it for you otherwise it can be so dangerous. I never understand anyone who takes the risk just to save a few pennies :-/ #HomeEtc

    • Lins
      March 28, 2016 / 7:57 pm

      Me neither, and least of all it will probably all look pretty shoddy too! I hate spending money on things like this but peace of mind is so important X

  6. March 23, 2016 / 11:31 pm

    Some DIY stuff is just so boring isn’t it? Boring but necessary and important but still very much boring! x

    • Lins
      March 28, 2016 / 7:51 pm

      YES!! Incredibly boring! I’m consoling myself that this year is all about structure, next year will be about pretty X

  7. March 24, 2016 / 7:25 am

    I feel your pain! We had to fork out thousands for a re-wire – but for me it made a huge difference. Growing up in a really old house we only had one socket per room – it still frustrates me now when I go home to my parents and struggle to find a socket to charge my phone! So the joy of having more sockets than I’d ever know what to do with (in the lounge I got 10 double sockets installed! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ ) was quite nice.
    I think the one project I have most resented spending money on was installing a steel lintel above the lounge window as all the brickwork above had dropped and it wasn’t possible to open the window. It does not add value to the house, it does not look nicer, and it makes no difference to the function of the house so that was a frustrating one!
    Enjoy the new electrics ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Lins
      March 28, 2016 / 7:41 pm

      Oh there’s so nothing worse than spending money on things that you may never really see a clear benefit from ๐Ÿ™ Our next job is getting the house re-rendered, again fairly unglamourous but at least it should make a massive difference to how it looks from the outside! X

  8. March 27, 2016 / 4:24 pm

    Feel your pain! It is not all glamorous although you always show the nice end result ๐Ÿ™‚

    We had a complete rewiring of our new house, and gosh was it a lot of work and damn expensive! It wasn’t just the electrics, but the rest of the work, as we had to patch the walls and then plaster and paint too on top of it all. Ah. But now we won’t have to worry about it for another 20-30 years I hope ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Lins
      March 28, 2016 / 7:34 pm

      Oh gosh what a huge project!! But something that’s either so worth doing or is totally necessary. Fortunately someone before us had done the main rewiring just not a brilliant job which we’re now having to go through and patch up. Keeps us out of trouble ๐Ÿ˜‰ Xx

  9. March 28, 2016 / 11:27 am

    Snap!! We’ve done this a few times! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Oh the glamour. All done though. Thanks for sharing & linking up again lovely, good to have you! #HomeEtc

    Jess xx

    • Lins
      March 28, 2016 / 7:30 pm

      Ugh I’m never doing this again, we’ll be in this house forever definitely!! Thank you for hosting ๐Ÿ™‚ Xx

  10. March 28, 2016 / 11:57 am

    Aaargh โ€” it drives me bananas. This is the WORST kind of thing to spend your hard earned cash on isn’t it? But so, so necessary. We’ve got roof and window repairs to do this year โ€” that’ll be nice ๐Ÿ˜‰ What an exciting was to blow a few thousand pounds!! Thanks so much for linking up with us Lins ๐Ÿ™‚ #HomeEtc

    • Lins
      March 28, 2016 / 7:29 pm

      Yes it really is, SO depressing. The only saving grace is at least these fundamental things – electrics, windows, roof last for ages and once they’re done you can move on to the more fun things ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for hosting! Xx

  11. March 29, 2016 / 4:20 pm

    Ah electrics and plumbings are just the worst so expensive and feel like you have nothing to show for it. At least its all done now and safe and you can move on to prettier things soon! xx

    • Lins
      March 29, 2016 / 9:53 pm

      I’m so glad it’s done now that the stressy side of having someone in your house 12 hours a day and the spiralling costs have been dealt with. Onwards and upwards!! Xx

  12. March 29, 2016 / 7:30 pm

    Do you know, up until this afternoon, I would have said definitely not. HOWEVER, a house has just come on the market in the absolute perfect place for us. It’s an awful, awful house but in the right location with the most amazing footprint. We’re viewing it on Saturday!! I might be coming to you for advice.

    • Lins
      March 29, 2016 / 9:55 pm

      Oh Rachel that sounds SO exciting. I always imagined we’d buy something similar to what we were renting before – a two bed little terrace with a lot of charm, a nice extended kitchen and a small patio garden. I’d never imagine that we’d end up with a renovation project and massive garden but wouldn’t change it for the world. I’m really keeping my fingers crossed for you Xx

  13. April 1, 2016 / 12:27 pm

    Oh yes, these kind of jobs are the ones I hate having to spend money on but you are definitely right. It is far better to have it done properly.
    We know since we viewed our house the first time that it will need a new heating system soon. So far the one we have, though old, is ok. But I dread the day when it siezes up and we have to get it replaced. I am hoping to convince The Bavarian that a stove would be great in the sitting room and get that done at the same time as the heating. More expense but at least something nice to show for it!

    • Lins
      April 3, 2016 / 9:23 pm

      Absolutely and it makes so much sense to get both jobs done at the same time! I hate spending money on these types of things but definitely know it’s worth it in the long run X

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