Category Archives: The house renovation

We’re done!


At least, the builders are done – we still have to finish the painting which we will no doubt put off for a while until the temperatures cool down a bit. We don’t fancy painting in 35°, especially if we aren’t getting paid for it.

Yesterday was a last push for the finish – four guys here again in the afternoon until leaving at 8pm. There were a couple of mishaps – Lone Builder broke our outdoor light on his way down when he fell which we’ll need to replace and the big slab of stone that will be our new front door step also broke as it was being put in place. Abilio will come back at some point to replace that and do a final check over once the pointing/rendering has dried more, but the step is serviceable in the meantime.

We spent this morning sweeping & cleaning and putting everything back where it should be.



We’ve finally got our sink in place – we bought it three years ago and it’s just been sitting in the garden since. Rather than having a waste water pipe, we just have a bucket under the drain hole so we can reuse water on the garden. It hasn’t rained since the middle of June and we need all the water we can get.

We’ve been pleased to see that our wildlife seems unperturbed by all the goings on. Juta disturbed a ladder snake in the garden yesterday – they are harmless but a decent size (about 1m) and its hiss gave her quite a fright. Once she was out of the way, it took itself off through a hole in the garden wall. We had geckos on the house wall bug-hunting last night and when David started sweeping out the dog kennel this morning, he found two young toads under the timber flooring so he decided to leave them alone (good excuse not to sweep out the dog kennel if you ask me). Abilio had asked if we wanted the walls of the garden, annexe & wood store fixed up but we are going to leave them just as they are – they provide homes for all kinds of creatures that are perfectly welcome in our garden. Just not in our house.


Day 5


Another 35° day so just a 12 hour shift today. But we are (just about) done!! And we’ve been drinking beer with the builders but haven’t eaten yet so photos are just going to have to wait until tomorrow!

Day 4


We were wrong about there being a delay because of yesterday’s accident. In fact, today was busier than any other day and at one point this afternoon there were four guys working on the back wall. It was only 35° today, so they just did an 11 hour day.

The electrician came today too to do the wiring for the extra power points in the kitchen. I hadn’t realised it is possible to work with wiring while the mains is still switched on but apparently it is. We were working away, waiting for him to say he needed to turn the power off but he just told us he was finished. We’ve checked, all the power points work. Not sure how that is possible, but then we aren’t electricians.

So, most of the back wall finished today and a huge amount of cleaning up. A channel has been dug/ground/hacked out of the wall ready to take the new pipe for the outdoor tap and the plumber (who is also the electrician) will be back tomorrow to finish that. Then our outdoor sink, which we bought three years ago and has been sitting in the garden ever since, can be installed. Nearly there!




Day 3


Day 3 was cut short after our lone builder fell off the scaffolding mid-morning. You can see from the photos that it isn’t very high so he didn’t fall far, but he did twist his leg as he landed. He carried on working, but after returning from his lunch break he told us that he was going to finish up and go to the doctor – his leg was pretty badly swollen and he was having trouble bending his knee. He came back to finish rendering the collar and clean up all the cementy stuff – we told him the collar could wait and offered to help with the clean up which he refused, although he did let David help carry some bits out to his car. Lone builder had spoken to head builder Abilio to let him know what was going on, so we’ll wait to see what happens tomorrow – lone builder seems to be the stonework expert (he worked on the interior of the house three years ago too) so we might have a delay while he recovers. We’ve waited long enough to get this work done, a bit longer won’t matter.



Before – the sequel


Welcome to this week’s exciting instalment of ‘before, during & after’ posts!  After a stinky, sticky hot few days it’s a bit cooler – it’s only heading for 33° instead of the 37/38° we had over the weekend – so much nicer for the builders to be working in.

Our neighbours are delighted with the new view of the front of the house and we’ve had lots of lovely comments from other people in the village and other visitors like the bread van man. Our neighbours are so delighted in fact that they gave us a load of veggies on Saturday – several kilos of potatoes & courgettes, six cucumbers and a couple of lettuces.

The builders have moved on to the back of the house so, in time-honoured fashion, here is what it looked like last week.



Day 6



We waited until this morning to take the photo, hence day 6. The work was actually done on day 5 though – apparently it is very important that I make that clear.

The door way doesn’t look as obvious as we had feared which is great. The interior wall has been plastered and the electricity, water & waste reinstated for the washing machine, we just need the electrician to come some time next week to do the wiring for the new power points we are having above the bench top. Isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing? Why we didn’t put power points there when the kitchen was being built, I don’t know.

We’ve had our bottom step extended too, for two reasons. Firstly, it will be nice to have some pots of something colourful and, as you can see from the photo, the lane slopes quite a bit making the placing of pots a bit of a balancing act involving little wedges of rock and reminders NOT TO TOUCH once it was stable. The extension gives us a flat stone shelf either side for pots but is also there for a second reason – to make the fact that we have a step a bit more bloody obvious so that people (naming no names, Albertino’s friend) don’t bash into it twice with their van, knocking the corners off. He did a very neat repair even before we knew the step had been damaged but it would be nice not to have it bashed again. Hopefully something bigger, with pots on it, will be enough. Of course, now that we have our nice new stone extension the original steps look awful, so they are being replaced as well. We got a wry ‘thought so’ smile from Abilio (head builder chappy) when we asked him to do that.

They’ll be back on Tuesday to do the back and then paint the bits we can’t easily reach. Which Abilio had forgotten about, which is why the scaffolding was taken down before the painting was done even though we had discussed him doing the painting of the high bits while the scaffolding was up. Hey ho.