Monthly Archives: February 2013

Made it to the finish line!

We didn’t cut it quite as fine as those DIY makeover shows, but we came close. All the work in flat 2 was finished yesterday, and this morning we had the fabulous Mrs Bicimley come in to give it a really thorough clean, so that it was all ready to hand the keys over to its new occupant at noon today. There are some photos of the flat in all its finished glory below. I think we did a pretty good job! And the new tenant is very happy with it too. We all hope he enjoys living in his new home.

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What a day!

Today was scheduled to be the big push to get Flat 2 finished, but nothing ever quite runs to a schedule here, as we are quickly learning! First thing this morning we had a phone call from a resident in one of the first floor flats to say that their flat had been flooded by a leaking water heater in the flat above. A connecting pipe had come adrift so water had quite literally gushed down into the flat below. We had to fix things fast. Ian got straight over there with some other guys who were here to work on Flat 2. They managed to stop the water, but there is quite a bit of damage. I went out to get a water vacuum cleaner and a dehumidifier from a hire company, and the lads got the mess cleaned up. But we still had to fix the leaky water heater, talk to the insurance company, and get on with the scheduled work on Flat 2.

Flat 2 then became a hive of activity. We had Jez and Mark from the Fitted Carpet Company in Hawkhurst  laying the rest of the carpet (Jez is actually an old friend of Ian’s from the dim and distant past – before he met me!), Ian and Mark Punyer finishing off the painting and adding finishing touches. There’s only the bathroom to paint now, and Mark and Ian should get that done tomorrow quite easily. The whole flat is looking amazing. I will post photos tomorrow when it is all done.

Jez and Mark also laid the vinyl in Flat 8 (the planned holiday let) which will become the main project as of tomorrow when we can tick off flat 2 as done and dusted! We also got them to measure up for replacing the carpet in the communal hallway, which is becoming a bit tired, and for replacing the carpet in the living room of one of the flats. I’m not sure when these jobs will reach the top of the list, but it’s good to get the measuring up done while we can.

Hopefully we will have a quieter day tomorrow!

Rush to the finish line

Flat 2, on the second floor of Court Lodge became vacant in early January, and we have been working on getting it ready for re-letting over the last month or so. It is a lovely flat with two bedrooms and an office, that extends along the whole of the west face of the building, so it has gorgeous views over the golf course. It also has a south-facing bedroom, and a fairly large, modern kitchen. In the 1970s it was the weekend country retreat of Margaret and Dennis Thatcher. Dennis was an avid golfer, apparently, so I believe that was the attraction.

It was, however, badly in need of some TLC. It has been a victim of the leaky roof over the years, so the ceilings were in a bit of a state in places, and the windows also needed quite a bit of attention. We are currently in a bit of a mad rush to get it ready for the arrival of its new occupant on Thursday. Try as we might to get all the work done in plenty of time, it seems inevitable that we end up like one of those DIY makeover shows where everything only just gets completed in the last few minutes. It hasn’t helped that the children have been off school for half term for the last week, and I got struck down with a nasty cold over the last few days.

Most of the big jobs have been done: the windows have been repaired and painted, and fitted with new sash cords, thanks to Ed from Streetens; Ian has been up on the roof attending to the previously leaky roof (see last post!); the ceilings have been repaired, and new carpet has been laid in the living-dining room. The electrician has been round to do the installation inspection, and he also fitted a new fuse box. Ian’s been working on painting the hallway, bedrooms and living room. I put up the new curtains in the living room today, and there are more to go up in one of the bedrooms. The remaining jobs are mostly cosmetic: new carpet in the hallway (tomorrow), painting the bathroom, and the electricity company is scheduled to replace the meter tomorrow too. And then it just needs a really good thorough clean before the new tenant arrives.

While all this is going on, we’re also trying to finish doing up Flat 8, which we’re planning to let out as a furnished holiday let – more about that in a later post. In the meantime I’ll post some ‘before’ photos of Flat 2 so they can contrast nicely with the ‘after’ photos that I’ll post in a few days.

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Work on the roof

Last Friday Ian spent a long and tiring day up on the roof with the invaluable help of Mark Punyer, pictured here looking very cheerful peeking up out of a skylight. Mark has joined the Court Lodge team and will be doing general maintenance work around the place for a few days each month. Since it was a beautiful day, with no threat of rain, Ian thought it was a good opportunity to get on to the roof, see what state it is in, and start fixing up any problem areas. It was quite an experience by all accounts. They both had to be contortionists to climb through the various roof spaces. They found that the guttering that carries the rain water away from the central areas of the roof actually goes through the roof spaces, and they were chock-full of years and years worth of mud, and even birds nests – made by extremely big birds! That may explain the various leaks in the ceiling that the top floor flats have had in recent years. Between them Mark and Ian cleaned out all this mud and debris – and carried it down two flights of stairs! They also replaced about 100 roof tiles so hopefully that is the leaky roof problem fixed for the time being. Although Ian reckons the roof could use a full time maintenance person all to itself. So that’s one for the roof, several for the garden, several more for the rest of the house… shame there’s only Ian! And thank goodness for Mark’s extra pair of hands on a regular basis.

I will write more soon about some of the other little adventures that we’ve had since arriving here at the end of last year, so stay tuned…

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The Blogger’s Paradox

Since we arrived at Court Lodge at the end of 2012 we have been so incredibly busy trying to get on top of things, getting empty flats ready for letting, and generally getting to grips with the business of managing Court Lodge that there has been no time for blogging about it. It seems that when there’s lots to blog about, I’m too busy to find time to write, and when I have time for blogging it’s because there’s nothing much to blog about. Well, I’m determined to break this vicious circle! I’m going to write this blog and keep everyone up to date with all that’s going on at Court Lodge if it kills me! Having said that, this really is just an introductory blog post to let you all know that more is on the way. I’ll soon be talking about the upgrading of flats that we’re doing, planned visits to other stately homes for research, work that’s going on in the garden, and more! So please stay tuned and I promise to write regularly.