My first pre-move-in thoughts on what had to change in the house were these. Now we’ve done the dream list, got the initial estimate, had the stiff gin, and I think now have a workable, and vaguely affordable plan.
Phase one – Watertightness
We need to replace the three windows on the front of the house ASAP – the leak in the right combination of wind and rain. The leak because the there are gaps along the mitres of the original aluminum windows. Because the two upstairs windows are in the two small bedrooms – we also need to replace the other window and sliding patio door in those two rooms, other wise it will just look silly. Once we do that we can get rid of the gawd-awful wooden Venetians (yes even on a full length sliding door – was someone insane?). Oh and the rooms will be a helluva (technical term) lot warmer and quieter.
Estimated price :NZ$8000
The front door leaks too – it’s got the “wrong sort of jamb” – which allows water in. Quite a lot of water, no idea how to fix – so far we’ve been quoted about $2k for a new door – not sure that would actually fix the problem.
Phase Two: Insulating the Cathedral Ceiling
Although we’d love a big deck – we don’t need one. Higher on the list is putting some insulation and a false ceiling in the cathedral ceiling. I spent much time and effort trying to get the Heat Pump to work effectively – until I finally figured out that it, and the log burner, were trying to heat the all of the night air above our roof! Having a cathedral ceiling and a log burner without installing a ceiling fan to move the hot air back down to the people in the room, is dumb. Having a cathedral ceiling with, apparently nothing but a single layer of chip board and building paper before the roof tiles, is stupid.
Phase two: Kitchen, Bathroom, Laundry
This is about replacing every last piece of dux quest plumbing. This is an unfortunate era of black pipes which are known to become brittle and split with age. Luckily for us all the plumbing is along one wall of the house – and if any of it fails the water will end up under the house or in the garage, better than destroying a room underneath.
The wall that separates the dining from the kitchen is still coming down. That maybe the only major structural change. It was too fiddly to fit a second WC, or even a separate one, we’ll settle for one hidden behind the door (rather that right in front of it). The laundry is moving downstairs to the back of the garage – where most Kiwi laundries live- that frees up the laundry space upstairs to become a walk-in pantry/scullery – details to be figured out.
I’ve given up the walk-in shower – to stay within the existing bathroom footprint. I’ve also given up the outdoor spa- about 6 weeks ago when the cold hit – I figured I just wouldn’t be that keen leaving the house in my birthday suit – or returning, wet! The good news is that we can fit in a spa-bath. And it’s a little cheaper than a spa.
Prices – still TBD – but it’s pretty ugly – all I can say thank goodness for flexible mortgages.