We got fitting the bathrooms included as part of the build on the basis that you can survive with a basic makeshift kitchen but that really doesn't apply to bathrooms as they need to be properly plumbed in and made waterproof.
We had kept our fridge, dishwasher etc, so if you pop them in a room with a bit of storage and a table then you've got a workable kitchen. But our very basic old bathroom, with 1960s coloured sanitary-ware, had to be ripped out during the build so we would have no bathroom.
We knew we needed at least one working bathroom. And because we wanted to rent out our spare room, to get some funds in to cover the build costs, we needed to do the spare room en-suite too. So once we decided we needed to do the two en-suites, we decided we may as well get the rest fitted as it would probably be more cost effective getting them all done at once.
We had to fully kit out two en-suite shower rooms, a family bathroom and a cloakroom. We didn't know where to turn, especially during lock down when we couldn't visit showrooms. You always think these things will be fun. But when there's so many choices to make (and you're going to have to live with the results daily for a very long time), for rooms that haven't even been built yet and with a tight budget... it all seemed like a massive, overwhelming task.
Fortunately, just at the right time a local acquaintance, Andreas Wood, tweeted about his work at commercial bathroom suppliers Neville Lumb, so we thought we'd ask him if he was able to help us. He said that he'd be happy to, so we sent over our plans and a brief. Andreas' product knowledge and understanding of our requirements was so comprehensive that, when he came back with a tentative initial proposal, it was so spot on we ended up going with 90% of it.
And to say we are delighted with the results would be an understatement!
With bathrooms sorted, the only other big decision we had to make was flooring. Originally we didn't intend to get flooring included, and to live with just the sub-floor until we could afford a covering. But we realised there were such huge common sense advantages to getting flooring installed before we moved in that we decided to stretch to get the flooring done.
We kept costs down by only choosing two flooring types for the whole house - one wood, one tile. Thankfully, we managed to find budget friendly products that we really liked. As well as having cost advantages (in terms of less wastage), having just two floor coverings fits in with our preference for pared back Scandinavian design simplicity.
All our tiling was done by Fred at FMV Tiling in Reigate and we thoroughly recommend him - we;re absolutely delighted with the quality job they did. They were extremely reliable and professional including pulling out all the stops when we needed something done with a tight deadline.
The major compromise we made with flooring was in our living room. Before the build our cottage living room had oak parquet (herringbone) flooring which we presume had been fitted when the previous owners bought it in 1960.
I really loved the look, and set my heart of the absolutely stunning zigzag herringbone range from V4Flooring that we'd seen on Insta. We popped in to our local supplier, FTS Flooring where Richard helped us choose the Smoked Oak (below) and suggested that we visit V4's showroom on the other side of Surrey to see more of it. As we were in between lock downs we did, Rebecca showed us larger displays and it confirmed how much we loved it.
Unfortunately, as well as being fairly expensive product that also costs more to fit, it would additionally cost us £1500 just to have a latex sub-floor applied prior to fitting. We just couldn't afford that, but by that stage our hearts were so set on it that we decided to cope with no flooring in our living room for now (it's just boarded over) rather than compromise on something we weren't in love with.
When we're all settled in and the boxes are finally all put away we'll put some rugs down and I'm sure it will be lovely and cosy. And one day we might get our parquet!
So that's pretty much where we are now. We have an absolutely stunning house sat surrounded by rubble and debris. It has flooring in every room except the living room. It has absolutely stunning bathrooms but only a makeshift basic, albeit fully functioning, kitchen. It has bare plaster on the walls and bare, untreated wood everywhere. We have a huge task in front of us but we are absolutely delighted to be home and prepared for a lot of hard work over the years ahead.
Check out Scandiwegians@Home if you're interested in staying at The Gingerbread Cottage!