What is it about boys that makes them enjoy breaking things so much?! I have watched over the past two weeks as Will, his son Jack and Jack’s friend Will C have bashed out ceilings and walls, smashed up old furniture that we no longer want, ripped up floors and generally had a great time wrecking things! Better still for Jack and Will C they have been paid for doing it! Will has employed them as labourers on our project.

Will C is on his university summer holiday and Jack has just graduated. Like many young people leaving university he isn’t sure what he wants to do and jobs are hard to come by. When Will suggested that he come to work for us Jack jumped at the chance, especially as Will has offered to put him on some building courses to develop his skills. He’s off in Croydon this week doing a carpentry course so that he can really help us when it comes to building stud walls! A worthwhile investment in our view. We were calculating the other night how much it would have cost us to get contractors in to strip out the house compared to doing it ourselves – we think it has saved us at least £3k. Having Will and Jack both capable of putting up stud walls, plasterboarding and so on will save us even more.

The boys have really got stuck in over the past two weeks – despite the soaring temperatures. We needed to rip out the bedroom which had previously been built into the attic – it was never done properly or with any building regs as far as we could tell. It was just a stud wall box with no insulation so it was freezing all through last winter and no-one used the room as a result. The “staircase”, if you could call it that, was more of a glorified ladder which wobbled in a slightly worrying way whenever you walked up or down it.

As the ceiling joists in the bungalow were never designed to take the load of a first floor we have to strengthen them all before the roof conversion can take place. This has meant not only removing the “bedroom” but also taking out all of the ceilings to expose the joists. Over the past two weeks the house has steadily become more of a “shell” – it’s rather like building in reverse as we strip back to the stud walls downstairs and open up the roof space.

What’s great is that we can now start to see the space that we have to work with and to get a better idea of the real potential of this old bungalow. Although it is rather disconcerting to stand up in the attic now – being able to see right through to the ground floor makes me feel quite ill! – it’s amazing to see the place stripped back to its bare bones.

So what have the boys done so far?
• Stripped out the old upstairs “bedroom” and cleared the roof space.
• Taken down the ceilings throughout the whole bungalow (They tell me that removing the old fibreglass insulation was a real treat in the hot weather!)
• Taken down the wall to the old 3rd bedroom to create the space where the new staircase will be and removed the floor so that our Groundworks team can dig the foundation for the staircase.
• Ripped out the old kitchen – this will form part of the new living room.
• Ripped out the old bathroom – this space will become the new entrance hall and we can really see how spacious it will be now.
• Taken the wall down between the lounge and kitchen leaving only the old chimney breast (which will come down next week when we demolish the chimneys).
• Stripped the walls between the kitchen and bathroom, and between the bathroom and bedroom 2, right back to the studwork.

In addition to this the Groundworks team have demolished the old front porch which ran across the entire front of the bungalow, the two rooms which had been attached to the garage and the old back porch.

Take a look at the pictures to see what they have achieved….we really feel that the project is making progress now. Who would have thought that breaking things could be so positive! Great work Lads!

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