Picture the scene – Hannah and Andy sat in the park basking in the sunshine feeling super giddy about the fact they’d signed on the dotted line for their mortgage and were so close to being in their new home. Too cute, am I right or am I right? WRONG. I WAS SO WRONG. What is definitely not cute is watching Andy peeling back the pages of our survey to find it plastered in red ‘3’s which means serious defects are present and if we’re going to be dramatic here, the house we wanted could fall down. Scanning over key words such as ‘damp’ turned our faces sour and I’d go as far to say Andy looked disturbed. We averted our eyes away from the pages and focused our attention on each other, simultaneously thinking the same thing – ‘oh fuckkkkk’. Long story short, we made the crazy decision to stick with the house. We wanted a quirky house with character and that’s why we love it so much. There has been an awful lot of decorating and renovating we’ve done and unfortunately not all has went to plan. Here’s some of the DIY problems that have caused us sleepless nights and how you can avoid them if you’re in a similar boat:-
DIY disaster 1: When we dug up the decking at the back of our house only to uncover more bastard damp. By ‘we’, I mean us 2 were in Corfu loving life and Andy’s dad Bob and mum Sue were the grafters. What absolute lifesavers! He’s a joiner by trade (thank god) and well, she’s a domestic goddess that gives Kim and Aggie a run for their money. How to avoid: No matter how ugly that decking is, just bloody leave it.
DIY disaster 2: When the previous owners took their washing machine and we bought a new one that barely fit into the hole. Swear to god, watching Andy and Bob trying to wedge that thing made me sweat. Literally mm away from having to have a washing machine in the centre of the kitchen that we would need to hurdle over every time we wanted to get to the oven. How to avoid: Buy one of those houses were everything is inbuilt and looks like a cupboard.
DIY disaster 3: When we decided to redecorate the living room, ripped off the hideous wallpaper and found a bumpy ass wall underneath. It’d be too simple to just have a nice smooth surface underneath wouldn’t it? Using a orbital sander on every wall in such a huge room left me and Andy 99% sure we had developed asthma and I had a chandler style claw for at least a week. How to avoid: Assess the size of your room and save up for a professional to come and skim/plaster it instead.
DIY disaster 4: When we decided to rip off the anaglypta wallpaper all the way up the staircase. Andy: “Shall I just rip a tiny bit and see what the wall quality underneath is like?” / Hannah: “Babe if you rip a tiny bit, you have to whack it all off as it goes all the way up. Maybe we just think ab—–*ripping sound takes over conversation*. Oh greaaattt. Don’t get me wrong, now it’s nearly all finished – skimmed, painted 100 times, glossed etc, I no longer want to throttle Andy for ripping it off. At the time though, we were in a dark place. How to avoid: Accept that you’ll never have a modern touch to your home and will be stuck with granny wallpaper for life
DIY disaster 5: When we tried to take the radiator in the hall off ready for painting. Well, that was fun. NOT. We were complete amateurs who had no clue how to be all macho and bleed the radiator, and I kept dropping it on my own toes. We were forced to watch a dodgy youtube video of an old guy doing it who can only be described as plumbings answer to Barry Chuckle. How to avoid: Maybe just paint around the radiator, who cares anyway?
DIY disaster 6: When we had leaking pipes in the cellar and were losing pressure every 5 seconds on the boiler meaning ice cold showers became a regular occurrence. The pipes in the cellar were through a small square hole in the wall and luckily the first guy we had round was 5ft nothing and looked like he would disappear if he stood sideways on. He looked Andy up and down and said ‘er, think I better try get in this hole don’t you?’. BURN. The 2nd guy we had up in the loft to fit the boiler was built like a brick shit house, similar to professional strongman Eddie Hall. He was bouncing up and down the ladder, no wonder we had to get a new one fitted (yet another disaster). How to avoid: Why don’t you just buy a bungalow that doesn’t even have a cellar?
DIY disaster 7: When we had a damp proof man round to sort out the damage. He tried charging us £400 for an air grate to be fitted when Wickes had them for £15. Oh and he looked like Peter Pettigrew from Harry Potter – definitely could not be trusted. How to avoid: do your research!!
DIY disaster 8: When you know the guttering at the front of the house could do with being looked at, but you think it will be okay during summer. Did we forget we live in Britain? Summer here is defined by one day of sun and then it decides to retire for the rest of the month. The other day, Andy just shouted to me that it was raining in the house and I thought back to that day of getting the survey and thought WHYYYYYY DID WE STICK WITH IT. How to avoid: Check your guttering early on and if in doubt, copy Andy and create a make-shift waterslide…
DIY disaster 9: When you try to make something like what you’ve seen on Pinterest. This was another anagylpta “if you rip it, it’s ripped” situation. Andy had a hammer in his hand and there was no stopping him! Before I could even blink, the shoe cupboards had a huge hole in the middle and that was it, it was time to make Pinterest a reality. How to avoid: Don’t be silly enough to think you can create the incredible things you pin on Pinterest in a short space of time.
DIY disaster 10: When you leave the lawn to grow out of control, finally get the lawnmower onto it and then discover it is all dead moss underneath. Enter gardening expert Auntie Rose. Her and Andy were raking for hours, all was going well until the heavens opened and they were like drowned rats covered in mud. How to avoid: Why have real grass when you can get AstroTurf?
For those in a similar boat to us, you’ve bought a house that is old and has all the beautiful characteristics you love but lets face it, the ultimate life hack here is just buy a frigging new build and save yourself the hassle!