What have we done?

What have we done? I've said those words several times this week. Actually, to be fair, I used more colourful, inappropriate language... but you get the idea. I went over last week to take a few photos for this post and what met my eyes nearly floored me. If there was a floor. I stood back and thought, Oh God, what have we done. The house didn't resemble a house anymore. It was more like a barn. Or a building site. No, a building site would have more building. This was just complete destruction. All that remains of the house we purchased a few months ago is three and a half walls and mounds of muck and soil.

View of the back garden
Nothing really ever prepares you for this. Seriously, I'm not being dramatic! Friends who have gone through a renovation already were full of empathy. They said they felt exactly the same way... particularly you are standing in your house looking out at piles of rubble or staring up at the roof looking at a massive gaping hole in it. It's normal to think to yourself, What the F&%$ have we done? I was glad to hear it was a normal reaction. Once I got past the initial shock of the fact we have basically knocked down the house we bought, I started to focus on how good it will look as a result of us taking the old house to this stage. We can have things exactly the way we want them.

Welcome to our building site

Dramatic Open Space at the back of the house
The upstairs floors have been removed as have the ceilings in the kitchen and bedroom. The reason we have taken these out is because the head height in the kitchen downstairs was very low and made the room feel very cramped. We are going to take a few inches from the bedroom floor upstairs and increase the head room in the kitchen below. We will also gain a few millimetres from digging out the floor in the kitchen area. This needs to be done so we can fully insulate the floor and address the rising damp issue in one of the corners.

Digging out the kitchen floor
It is incredible to be able to see right up to the roof of your home. If the house was bigger and we had more available space (and money), a double height ceiling in the kitchen / diner would have been amazing. Alas, this is not meant to be in this house, but I would certainly give it serious consideration if we were to every renovate another property. See, I've clearly forgotten last weeks trauma!!! I'm totally fine now! lol

View Downstairs right up to Roof
As we are converting the attic to provide us with a second bedroom it makes complete sense to just take everything out from top to bottom. I am in love with the fireplace openings and am hoping to keep one in the kitchen downstairs. There just isn't the available floor space in the bedroom or bathroom upstairs.
Old Rafters in Ceiling in Attic 
Our builder Niall advised us to remove the old sheds in the garden while we had the digger. It is an extra cost and the roof tiles are made of asbestos so we decided to remove the lot and clear the site while the house was so open. It hopefully won't make a huge impact on the budget. When these go this week we should be left with a clear site.

Old Shed and "Toilet"

View into house from Garden
Removal of all the rubble is done by a truck with a large arm that grabs everything from the lane behind us. We were lucky to secure access to this lane from the Garda Station behind us. It avoids wheelbarrowing everything through the house and up the steps you see in the photo above. It works out more economical than skip hire too and the removal of the rubble is done in less than an hour. We have several more lifts before the entire site is clear.

Chimney Upstairs and Downstairs

I really am looking forward to the day when I can start posting photos of a less destructive nature, but for the moment this is how it is. Perhaps if we had really understood the extent of what was involved in a project like this, we might never have taken it on. I don't think thats true though. We need to keep our eye on the prize and see every bit of rubble that is removed as progress. Things can only get better from here, right?

Thanks for reading.


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