The house in December - more or less as it has been for months - now with windows but minus arches.
We're trying to restore an accurate Victorian frontage to the Worst House. Some of that has been relatively straightforward - the wooden sash windows have been easy to get hold of, for example, and went in months ago without any trouble. We have really struggled with the stone arches above the windows though, as they're not used very often any more and have had to be specially made. We've had them on special order since at least Sepember/October 2007, and Thursday has become a sort of red letter day in the Worst House, as it's the only day of the week the supplier delivers. For literally months we've been told they'll be arriving this week, only for them not to arrive and to brusquely be told on the phone that it will, after all, be next week. Believe me the novelty palls after the third or fourth month.
There have been various explanations for their non-arrival, one of which was that they had actually been made three times but had been broken each time they tried to get them out of the moulds. Beats me how those Victorians managed to make thousands of them then... It had got to the point where my husband and I refused to believe that they actually existed, and I had emailed the architect last week to insist we cut our losses and find a new supplier. (All this time the front of our house has been held up on metal posts - not a pretty sight, not very safe-feeling and not great when the house painters have more or less finished everywhere else!)
I had to rush out to the car mid toddler nappy change this evening to grab some baby wipes, and noticed a black Vauxhall Zafira had pulled up. A very unassuming looking middle aged man got out and walked into my house - I'm so used to this these days that I didn't even question him. I found him again in the hall and he said, very casually, 'Oh, I've got some window heads for you.' And there they were, wrapped in a dust sheet in the boot of his car. I'd been expecting them to arrive on a great big truck. I could have kissed him, and told him so there and then. ( He backed away a trifle nervously and I don't blame him!) So all is tra la la happiness in the Worst House tonight - even my five year old tore himself away from the CBBC website to come down and inspect them, and one of the neighbours going past got treated to an early preview. If they're the wrong size or get broken while they try to brick them in I fear there will be violence...or at least very strong language. This does actually mean that the front of the Worst House could be completed this very week!
While I'm on I'll squeeze in a couple of extra photos. The glass splashbacks arrived for the bathroom today so it could be finished this week too. Here's a 'before and nearly finished' set:
Notice the lack of loo
Now with the thankfully working loo and a controversial white rubber floor but without shower, glass splashbacks or radiator. (Controversial in that my husband really wanted it and everyone else told me it woud be a nightmare..!)
I know I'm not exactly striking a blow for feminism with one, but I am so thrilled with what I rather grandly call my laundry room. Actually it is a cubby hall by the old tradesman's entrance, with a washer and dryer and a few cupboards, but after what I've been through it's currently my favourite room in the house!
I'm 39 and married with two children aged seven and four. I'm fatally attracted to house renovation projects, and this is our third in the last seven years, my personal fifth since I bought my first flat in 1996. I think we might have bitten off more than we can chew with the Worst House.
Our architect recently commissioned photographer Joel Knight to take some photos of the Worst House in its finished state. Have a look on his website at joelknightphotography (The Worst House is in a couple of pictures on his Architectural page under 'extensions'.)
You can also see some very scary photos of the Worst House under construction on our architect's site -architecture wk. (The Worst House is under selected projects/residential/Morley Road.)
And photographer Carl Pendle took some pictures of the Worst House in January for Real Homes Magazine - watch this space...