Check out these pictures of our recent structural reconfiguration project in Great Dunmow, Essex!
Our renovation Project: External works included tidying up the gardens at the front and back and some fence and garage painting. Internally the property was gutted, re-plastered and decorated. A new kitchen and bathroom were fitted. The property was re-wired and new carpets and flooring were fitted.
This property is situated on the popular Fairview Estate in Braintree, Essex and was purchased by DKM Developments Ltd for renovation. Our target homebuyers are downsizers and young families. The local primary school has just been rated highly by Ofsted so appeals to the latter market. We aimed to create a light and spacious, cosy, low maintenance family home.
The garden was overgrown, wisteria covered the garage and had grown through the roof. This was cut back and disposed of to prevent further damage to an otherwise intact roof.
We carried out further garden clearance works throughout the project. It was originally planned to remove the greenhouse to create a larger area for play space for children. The greenhouse would also be an added benefit to potential buyers interested in gardening and there was still quite a lot of space left with it in place for a children's play area. After much debate about the fate of the greenhouse we decided that it should remain in place.
The garage, covered seat, gate and fences were all painted to freshen them up and the old paving slabs were jet washed. Once the raised beds and borders had been weeded and shrubs were cut back a low maintenance shingle and bark chipping area was created next to the greenhouse. We found some large slate rockery stone while clearing out the garden so these were used to create borders for the established plants.
To flood the house with light, particularly in the living room, the overgrown Magnolia tree was cut down to a stump. After a weed and tidy up the edges were covered with Geotex ground cover and bark chippings to reduce maintenance and create a neat and tidy appearance at the front of the house.
External windows and doors
We carried out a survey of the existing double glazed windows and front door and found these to be in good working order - draught proof and lockable for security. As a result we decided that these would not need replacing or updating.
The conservatory at the rear of the property was also in an excellent condition so this would stay. As this joins the kitchen it would become an ideal dining area. It was in need of a good clean, nevertheless.
The house was originally constructed in the 1970s as part of the Fairview Estate development in Braintree, Essex. It seems that the original builders had an aversion to plastering. They also had a penchant for artex - every ceiling was covered in the stuff.
We meet quite a high demand from our clients for replacing artexed ceilings so were ready for the challenge of a re-plaster. After a few hours of scraping the artex off to a flat level and generous coatings of PVA adhesive the ceilings were ready for plaster skimming.
Once the ceilings were prepared for plaster skimming we removed all the wallpaper from the walls in the house, including bizarrely, the kitchen! This showed the apparent aversion to plaster skimming. The wallpaper had been hung straight onto fresh plaster board. Taking wallpaper off plaster board, even carefully, takes strips off the paper coating the board as well as chunks out of the board itself.
We are skilled plasterers so decided to skim all of the walls once the ceilings were completed.
A high quality finish was achieved by decorating the freshly plastered walls and ceilings using Dulux Trade Pure Brilliant white emulsion paint. This neutral white also gives potential homebuyers a blank canvas to put in their own colour scheme once they move in to their new home.
All the existing door liners, architraves and skirting were sanded, undercoated using Dulux Trade White fast drying undercoat and top coated with Dulux Trade White Satinwood. Satinwood was chosen as, unlike gloss, does not yellow and provides a softer finish for internal woodwork.
After much consideration it was decided to leave the toilet and bathroom as separate rooms. Whilst knocking the two into one room would have created a much bigger space the inconvenience factor outweighed this. Imagine relaxing in a nice warm bath after a hard day at work when there's a knock on the door. It's someone who needs to use the toilet.
We stripped out the existing bathroom suite, wall and floor tiles. The floor and walls were waterproofed with 6mm hardibacker cement board, re-tiled, grouted and a subtle mosaic fitted. We finished this off by re-fitting the existing bath and sink with new polished chrome taps and a new electric power shower. The floor was then tiled to match the toilet floor and grouted using Bal jasmine colour grout.
Internal doors and furniture
The old plain brown hollow core doors with brass handles simply had to go! We replaced these with Howdens Dordogne doors complete with polished chrome handles, latches and hinges. We chose a fully glazed door for the kitchen as this allows light to flood in from the living room.
Once we had cut, planed and hung the doors we fitted the handles and latches and checked these for smooth operation. We then removed the door furniture and decorated each door with 2 coats of Dulux Trade White satinwood. Having the doors supplied ready primed and undercoated is a huge time saver and contributes to a much flatter and smoother final paint finish.
To prepare the doors for hanging we used a Makita mini router to give tight and precise hinge and latch depth cuts. The recesses for the latches, plates and hinges were then finished by hand using a chisel:
The old kitchen was stripped out and replaced with a Howdens Clerkenwell White Gloss kitchen. This included sink, electric ceramic hob, oven and grill, extractor and hood, integrated dishwasher, integrated washing machine-dryer and integrated fridge and freezer. The worktop colour was chosen as it works well with the oak laminate flooring we fitted throughout the ground floor and kitchen.
The consumer unit (fuse board) for the property was an old bakelite unit. We had budgeted for its replacement with a new, up-to-date consumer unit as well as a complete re-wire.
As it turned out we did not need a complete re-wire, just 2 new ring main circuits. We also had mains wired smoke detectors on the top floor landing and a heat sensor fire alarm in the kitchen to meet current building regulations.
We had polished chrome down lighters fitted to the new downstairs lighting circuits and switching in both the kitchen and living room. We upgraded the switches and ceiling roses and fitted low energy bulbs in the bedrooms and landing. The bathroom and toilet also had down lighters fitted.
For the stairs, landing and bedrooms we chose a neutral tone of hard wearing carpet. For the downstairs (entrance porch, living room, kitchen and conservatory) we fitted a hard wearing Howdens professional fit Oak Laminate floor.
All of this was completed in just under 3 months from completion to market. We are now looking forward to embarking on our next project on a house around the corner from this one.