Kevin McCloud Would Be Proud, part one

We love watching Grand Designs. It’s a television addiction, in which we regularly partake. Each week Kevin McCloud, the host and our hero, takes the viewer on a home building journey, a Grand Design, born of grit and determination and sometimes, sheer lunacy.

As with any TV program, there are certainties:

  1. Everyone wants to be in his or her new build by Christmas.
  2. Everyone has a vision and a wildly underestimated sense of budget and timeline.
  3. It seems just for extra drama, the people building have no experience and take it all on by themselves usually after they’ve fired an architect or their builder has fled the scene.
  4. For good measure, the couple building their grand design – exhausted, stressed, broke, living in a leaky camper van, etc. – somehow end up pregnant. This part always seems implausible. Honestly, how do they have the energy to have sex after all that stress and work?

With our bathroom completed, I’d like to say to Mr. McCLoud, “I think you’d like what we’ve done.”

  1. We didn’t have an architect, but we had a part time builder for the stuff we couldn’t do and was clearly beyond our skill set;
  2. We avoided fixed deadlines (several Christmases came and went) and hence stress. We were not good television material, unless watching us contemplate with templates made with boxes just where the tub, sink and toilet would be located.
  3. We stuck to a tight budget.
  4. We sought green credentials in as much as we could, given that we live in an old stone building run on a generator.
  5. Nobody was fired or got pregnant during this project. That said, our builder friend and his partner are expecting a baby. Oh well.

Basically, we’d make for boring, boring television, but who cares? Here are a few pictures of before, during and after. It may have taken nearly three years to complete the downstairs, and there are still decisions about where to hang art work, but we’ve done it. Hey Kevin, have a look!

 

The bathroom when we moved into Crockern.  Damp carpeting on the floor, no insulation, damp walls, and that toilet wobbled....not a fun thing!

The bathroom when we moved into Crockern. Damp carpeting on the floor, no insulation, damp walls, and that toilet wobbled….not a fun thing!

 

The shower stopped working in our first few months of being at Crockern.  The end wall grew moss.  The entire room smelled and was cold.

The shower stopped working in our first few months of being at Crockern. The end wall grew moss. The entire room smelled and was cold.

 

For months, we had the bathroom fixtures in the bedroom, while we finished the plumbing work and installed the slate tiles.  We also raised the floor, put in damp proofing and insulation, and ran electricity for lighting.

For months, we had the bathroom fixtures in the bedroom, while we finished the plumbing work and installed the slate tiles. We also raised the floor, put in damp proofing and insulation, and ran electricity for lighting.

 

Building the raised floor.

Building the raised floor.

 

Slate tiles and plumbing complete, just awaiting the installation of the tub, sink, shower and toilet.

Slate tiles and plumbing complete, just awaiting the installation of the tub, sink, shower and toilet.

 

Heading into the finished project.  This is the door we refinished.  I found it at a salvage yard and it was under several layers of paint.

Heading into the finished project. This is the door we refinished. I found it at a salvage yard and it was under several layers of paint.

 

New sink and groovy mirror I found at a flea market.

New sink and groovy mirror I found at a flea market.

 

Ta Da!   A few things left to do:  hang towel rack and hang some art, but we did it!

Ta Da! A few things left to do: hang towel rack and some art, but we did it!

Next posting, the finished bedroom.

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42 comments on “Kevin McCloud Would Be Proud, part one

  1. Ann Lu says:

    Wow! Looks awesome! Miss you guys! Would love to see it in person.

  2. Anja says:

    It looks fab! Well done!

  3. Sue M says:

    I’m sensing a water theme here…this is your third blue bathroom?

  4. Catherine that’s gorgeous, adore the slate, the bath and shower, and the beautiful blue. Worth the time I’d say! x

  5. annette hope says:

    Congraatulations! Even with one ‘a’ it would be heartfelt. The bathroom is a dream, how will you get people out of it?

    On a different note, do you have goldfinches? (I guess not – they seem to like where there are reeds. But if you do, I have a BIG bag of the tiny seed they like, and a feeder, waiting for a home. I once saw a goldfinch in our basement area, and, enchanted, I immediately ordered seed and feeder. That was six months ago, and I have to accept that bird had been misadvised by the tourist office and never came back. So… if you are coming up by car to Lewes… Love, Annette

    • Thanks Annette. Getting people out of the bathroom may be a problem, but we’ll have to see how that plays. As to the Goldfinches, we do get a few each year on the thistles, so I will happily relieve you of the big bag of seed and feeder. Thank you!

  6. Rosie's Dad says:

    Amazing transformation Catherine, good work!

  7. Very nice job! Suddenly reminded of helping a friend-of-a-friend install a new cook-stove in an old mill he was renovating – somewhere Lake–District-y . . . Kendal, maybe? So long ago, but I do recall thinking this guy had years and years of work to do!

  8. Susanne says:

    I love everything about this room, especially the sun pouring in over the shower!
    You guys are very inspiring.

    • Yes, the sun pours into this room, even on a rainy day it is bright and cheery. Good way to have a bathroom. I think once I get a few plants in there, they’ll enjoy the mist from the shower and the sunshine, too!

  9. Gwen says:

    I love it! Good job!

  10. jllevitan says:

    Finally! The pictures I’ve been waiting for. Fabulous! I remember very fondly your blue tile bathroom in Hoboken that reminded me of a swimming pool (at least I think it was your bathroom). Does the water splatter everywhere when you use the shower? I’ve never seen a shower without a shower curtain. Well done and worth the wait. Congratulations!

    • Yes. Sorry it took so long but it was a slow project. There were blue tiles in Hoboken. And the water splashes a little but not much. It’s great to not have a curtain too. Feels somehow very lush and tropical. Funny feeling for the centre of Dartmoor.

  11. vuchickens says:

    Nice work! Love the shower and tiles!

  12. Ann Dawney says:

    I love Grand Designs too! Your bathroom is wonderful – well done! We may well be down your way looking for a berth in mid-July, when I have a reading or two at Dartington again, so be warned!

  13. Yay! Looks fabulous. Well done 🙂

    However, I fear you haven’t used enough glass or concrete in your build to please Kevin but sexy George Clarke from ‘The Restoration Man’ would definitely approve, of that I am sure 😉

  14. RobP says:

    I bet you really like using your shower now 🙂 What a transformation! It shows that hard work pays off 🙂

  15. Paul says:

    No deadline, I notice, for that next post. Very wise.
    Karen’s new favourite show is called Treehouse Masters. They basically build houses up in trees.
    Looking forward to seeing you next week. The youth have a play about Northern Ireland to perform and you’re the special guest.

  16. atkokosplace says:

    Beautiful work. Inspirational! ❀

  17. Carol Hynes Assmann says:

    I see I’m not the only one who recognizes that shade of blue! Well done, my friend.

  18. joe ozga says:

    Congratulations. Very beautiful. We just did a remodel of our 30 year old bath. Great feeling isn’t it.

  19. […] Kevin McCloud Would Be Proud, part one […]

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