This is one of those gritty, true to life before posts. So beware, there's few (if any) pretty photos, but it's a state that I want to share and record, so that when the work is complete I can look back in wonder how it was ever like this. Or in reality, I'll look back and most likely see lots of the same paraphernalia (or junk) but perhaps in a different place, who knows...
The work has been a long time in the planning, and as usual it's MOH that's pushing forward to get it done and me following behind reluctantly. It's not that it doesn't need doing, it does, but it's the upheaval and the mess, and quite honestly having builders in the house.
I'm not a big fan, but this isn't a DIY project. So we've shopped around and after much to-ing and fro-ing have gone back to the builders we used to repair our front porch and on another occasion build a custom shelving unit in one of our bedrooms. I know they're reputable, we've seen work and materials they've done on another conservatory, but still... builders.
Our conservatory is rather odd. It is stuck on the back of the house, which at least gives it something in common with other conservatories, but that's about where the similarities end. There's a brick wall on the right hand side, a wall of glass on the left hand side, comprised of two large panels of glass, an almost flat glass roof and both ends have two sets of opening double doors.
There's a wooden floor, a low height radiator - both of which we're keeping, and pretty corners. But it's a space we don't make the most, even though there's plenty of storage since we added the dresser and matching bookcases, which are stuffed full of cookery books.
The trouble with the doors is, that the internal ones are a bit draughty. And there's a bit of a step between the main living space and the conservatory, which coupled with narrow doors make it a real pain to get the bikes in and out. Even though there's four doors, we only ever use one and the step takes a bit of a bashing.
Our plan is to replace the four internal wooden - and many times painted - doors with a set of three bifold doors, and to at least lower the step as much as possible. We don't know quite how much yet as the work to discover what's beneath the step hasn't taken place yet, but let's hope there's no horrors to be found.
We'll also be replacing the four large, floor to ceiling oak framed external doors. They're big old doors, and heavy, as well as needed regular maintenance. Their replacements will also be bifold doors, and both sets of doors will have a matt, charcoal grey finish. The frames will be much narrower than we currently have - they won't be super slim, but they will be narrower than this.
Which means we'll get a clearer view of our garden from inside. The frames above are bang, smack in the middle of the view and in their place they'll be glass. We're also replacing one of the large picture windows, you can see in the photo below that the unobscured glass of the right hand window is cloudy as the double-glazing unit has failed.
It's a lot of glass to replace, and so we're making a small design change here too. The window will be slightly smaller and the corner post will be slightly wider than now. That's a compromise we're prepared to make as to be honest the view of the fence we're obscuring part of is something we can live with, or rather without. This window will also have inbuilt ventilation clever things, something our current structure doesn't have at all, which gives it the other thing in common with lots of conservatories - too hot to use in the summer!
We're also keeping the obscured large window, as there's nothing wrong with it. All of the frames, and the RSJs which support the roof will be painted grey to match the bifold doors and new window. So we'll have a super smart and more modern looking space. The floor will be sanded and the wall will get a lick of paint too, at least for now. I'm not sure if that will be its final look, but that feels a bit of a way away right now.
The thing that's been tricky is sorting out what to do with the roof. We don't believe there's much point doing all this work without some maintenance on the roof, and it's not that easy. It appears to be stuck down and no one, including us, is keen on removing it, so the plan is to add some bars on the exterior over the seals which should give them some extra protection and prevent water getting into the seals, and into the interior.
The final piece of work for the exterior is to add some kind of guttering to the left hand side, the side that's a wall of glass. There's very little to fix guttering onto and so our builder is having to come up with something clever and custom-made. It's likely that this will develop as the work goes on, so that will be "fun" - the plan is that by stopping water dropping directly onto the windowsill, we'll prevent damage to the windowsill and damp in the wall below. That seems pretty important, doesn't it?
A month has been pencilled in for the work, starting at the end of April. That gives us some time to prepare mentally and physically. The freezer will be going - we moved it in with us fifteen years ago, never expecting it to last this long. It's been useful, but it's not really the look we're going for. It's full of course, so we'll be doing our best to eat its contents wherever we can, and then my challenge will be to get by on a single freezer. It should be entirely doable, but after fifteen years of double the space it'll take some getting used to.
The dresser and bookcases will return to their position when it's all done, and we've an outdoor sofa which will take the space that MOH's bike currently uses, so we'll need to find a new place for our bikes (mine has been in the shed for a while now, and that's the danger, if it's not in sight, it's not actually used - oops!), but I'm hoping that by the summer we'll have a much more usable space, and somewhere to enjoy warm summer evenings.
So if I'm sorting the space, you'll help with the weather, won't you?