Blog Challenge 2.1 -Renovation Update

6 Month Renovation Update

In May, my family and I were given the keys to our new property in the South of Scotland. This was such a big opportunity, especially for me as it was something I had never done before. My mum and dad had renovated a couple of smaller properties in the past but this one was going to be a learning curve for us all.

We are now 6 months into the project and to follow on from my blog challenge that I did back in May, I am now doing another challenge to celebrate. I will upload this blog every Friday for the remaining 3 Fridays in November to mark our 6-month point!

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VICTORIA HOUSE PROJECT

This first blog is just a recap of what I had outlined in the beginning and comparing it to what we have actually achieved so far. Starting with…

The Bathroom

Here are some pictures of what I was aiming for in regard to the bathroom, I got a lot of my inspiration from Pinterest.

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After we moved the position of the door, I really stuck to the green and white colour palette, but I decided to keep the original wooden boards around the edge of the room after I found a picture with something similar and thought it looked really nice. We did tile a small part of the wall behind the shower, just for practicality really. I incorporated a small line of patterned tiles to break it up slightly, if you look closely you can see a little shiny blue tile that has a little swirl in the middle which was the main reason I chose those tiles because I thought it was fair cute.

The bath suite that we chose was a P-style bath, mum and dad wanted a free-standing bath, which I liked but I preferred the P-style because I just felt it fitted the room better and was cheaper! Win, win.

The Bedrooms

At first, we believed that the bedrooms were all going to be plain magnolia with the original skirting boards and doors painted white. We mostly have stuck to this, but we are going to wallpaper one wall now.

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The Chosen Wallpaper

Additionally, due to the actual struggle of stripping the really thick, embossed, floral wallpaper from the middle bedroom, we decided to leave one wall covered. After painting over it I am soooo glad we decided to leave it because it blends in so nicely with the room, it’s so subtle and just adds a bit of a feature to the room.

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Now most of the work upstairs is complete, bar a bit of painting and wallpapering to do, we moved to the downstairs…

The Kitchen

Whilst we were working upstairs, we were waiting on the plans coming through for the downstairs. If you have read my blog 6-months ago you will have seen the draft plan I made for the changes to the layout of the house, where we planned to knock the kitchen wall down to create a kitchen/diner, I also planned on creating an ensuite upstairs but we decided against it because it just took up too much space and made the bedroom sizes quite awkward. We have put an additional toilet room downstairs in the utility.

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Currently, we have had the planning permission accepted and the wall knocked down with a supporting beam in place. As well as this, we have bought the kitchen from Homebase, French Shaker style in an eggshell blue colour.

It’s going to look lush when it’s built, just waiting on the boiler to be installed before we assemble the units completely.

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The Utility/Lean-to

We settled on bricking up the porch and put in a back door and window, so it’s came together well. Next to the porch is the utility room and like I mentioned previously, we decided to use the space to install a small toilet and sink area. In the remaining space, we have a couple extra kitchen units to put in.

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Sitting Room

This room needs very little work, we have been using it as a bit of a storage room until we complete some more of the work downstairs.

Overall, we have completed most of the major work, except the boiler which should be done in the coming weeks, and then we just have painting and decorating left to do! On Friday I will be uploading my next blog which reviews our budget. Thank you for reading this update, there are more pictures in my website gallery and on my Instagram page: @huntersparkdesign

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Summary of Scope & Project Definition

This weekly upload is going to be a study blog, written to help me revise my course, Project Management BSc. Hopefully, it will also create a good overview for anyone else looking to study the same thing.

According to the APMBoK 6th edition, “Scope comprises the totality of the outputs, outcomes and benefits and the work required to produce them”. Simply put, the scope is the entirety of a project, from the beginning to the end of project, what it comprises of and the benefits realised after its completion.

Scope management is the process that is used to control the outputs and outcomes and identify the benefits. “Scope management is the process whereby outputs, outcomes and benefits are identified, defined and controlled (APMBoK 6th)”  

Without scope management, a project is at risk of scope creep, whereby the project exceeds its intended criteria and therefore increasing in cost, time, disputes, quality, etc. and can ultimately cause the project to fail. 

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Instagram -@huntersparkdesign

There are 6 steps to defining a project: 

  1. Requirement management – this involves assessing, capturing and documenting the needs and objectives that are required by the stakeholders.
  2. Defining the project scope – to do this you need to confirm the key aspects of the project, such as, project objectives, deliverables, milestones, technical requirements, limits and exclusions and reviews with customer.
  3. Determining the Priorities – essentially you will need to establish what areas within the project are critical and which can be compromised if necessary. E.G. time, cost or quality. These priorities should be made clear within the development phase but can change throughout the life cycle. 
  4. Create a Work Breakdown Structure – a WBS is a hierarchical outline (map) that identifies the work elements involved in a project. This is a helpful way to plan a project because you can use it to break down the scope. It also helps manage plan, schedule, and budget as well as defines communication channels and assists in coordinating the various project elements.The lowest level in the WBS is the work packages.
  5. Integrating the WBS with the Organisation – You can use an Organisational Breakdown Structure (OBS) to do this. An OBS shows how an organisation is going to manage its work responsibility within the project.
  6. Coding the WBS for the Information System – this highlights the levels and organisational levels of the WBS, it’s work packages, and budget and cost elements.

 

The Responsibility Matrix

Using the WBS and OBS you can construct a Responsibility Matrix, RAM. A RAM is used to allocate the work packages to people, organisations or 3rd parties. A RAM can include information such as who is responsible, should be consulted or informed about certain tasks.

https://www.apm.org.uk/body-of-knowledge/delivery/integrative-management/organisation/

Thank you to the continued support on this blog series 🙂

 

My Experience – Buying a House at 19

Buying a House at 19

“Buying a house is kind of like catching a train, it’s probably going to get delayed.”

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At the beginning of 2019 I made the decision to invest in a renovation project, I was inspired by my parents who have bought and sold properties in the past. I had been feeling a bit useless and life was at a standstill working a full-time job just felt like I was living the same day repeatedly, I needed something to fulfil my goals and regain my energy. Although, I didn’t want to undertake this huge opportunity single-handed, so I came to an arrangement with my parents, this deal being that they would loan me the money to buy and renovate a property, with their help, they would get the entire loan back and any profit would be split between us dependent on different factors, such as:

  1. Time spent working on the house
  2. Work effort
  3. I contributed around 5% of the overall budget, therefore, my share of the profit will be considerably smaller

Fortunately, they were in the financial position to buy the house free of any kind of mortgage or loan for me which saved us a lot of time and hassle meaning that we could jump straight into house hunting. Regardless of my parents help, I made sure that the house was put in my name, I am so thankful for everything they’re doing it was such a big deal to me because it felt like the beginning of something positive in my life. We viewed multiple properties in our local area but none of them quite buttered our bread and we left most viewings feeling rather flat. This being said, it was a blessing in disguise as if it was not for these shortcomings, we never would have found this house

We went to view this house after seeing it online, it simply ticked all the boxes and going to view it was the icing on the cake. My dad in particular just loved everything about it, and so did I! We didn’t hang around, as soon as we finished, we were in the solicitor’s office putting in an offer. Sadly, this offer was at the top of our budget and got rejected, but it didn’t knock us, we wanted this house so badly that we dipped into the renovation budget to accommodate a slight rise in our offer which, thankfully, bagged us the house!

Since then, I have been in and out of the solicitor’s office. I honestly don’t like it, something about walking into a room of extremely wealthy, old people just feels daunting, like they’re totally judging me, and I can definitely feel it sitting in the waiting room. In the office isn’t much better either, I like my solicitor, she is friendly, of course she is (we are paying her…!) but she just talks with so many words that I have to pretend to understand, she could honestly be talking another language and I’d still sit and agree with her as if I was fluent! I’m glad to have my parents sat on either side of me, I hope they’re more clued up than me. One thing I did understand however, was that there was a discrepancy with the plans, which means we have a problem.

Whilst we waited for the sale to process, I decided to start up this blog. I thought that it could be a clever tool to track the progress we make, as I hope to do this again in the future, it would really benefit me to have something to look back on and help me to make better choices in the future. Adding to this, it’s a way to keep me entertained and most importantly, focused, while I haven’t got any jobs to do. It has been harder than I had thought it would be, keeping views and likes consistent and thinking of things to upload has been like a job in itself, not to mention that Instagram is a dog eat dog world, one minute I have 100 followers the next 90 and 80, and so it goes on! It’s hard to keep up sometimes, but overall, I enjoy it a lot. @huntersparkdesign

Hunter and Spark, Family Property Development since 2019

We were updated by the solicitor that they were resolving the issues with the plan and that it should not be much longer before the keys are in our hands, it’s annoying that we didn’t get them a week ago like we had first thought, I can tell my dad is eager to make a start, but as is life.

Aside from my blog, in the meantime I have been making budget plans, drawn some pictures, a spreadsheet timetable (currently with no jobs or times on it yet but I have the layout!) and looking at home inspo on Pinterest to get me prepared for the big day! I think that we will possibly be looking at another week before I can pick the keys up but that’s okay, good things come to those who wait, blah blah. As soon as those keys are in my hands, I’m going to be in there measuring it up and taking photos, I can’t bloody wait.

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Also, another thing I am buzzing about is that summer is almost here!!! 🙂

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Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Week 4 – Property & Final Blog

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I have decided to set a little challenge for myself this month, I have uploaded a blog per week for a month and this, as blog number 4, will be the last. Currently, I am really excited to begin this new project so it isn’t much of a challenge but more of a time killer until my parents and I can get into the house. When I upload this blog, we should have a 12 day count down to the day we get the keys! #happydays I do plan on keeping this blog updated throughout the renovation progress because I think it will make for an interesting little project.

So far, I have written about the structural changes we aim to make, our design views, budget, personal challenges and goals. In this final post for my blog challenge, I am going to share the pictures we have of the interior of the house taken by the estate agents and expand a little on the garden and lean-to on the back elevation of the house.

Garden

The garden at the back is definitely on the smaller side but it still a really good feature to have. It will probably remain mostly grass but we would like to replace those slabs with a nicer looking patio. The gate that is left ajar in the photo above leads into the neighbouring garden which as far as I’m aware holds a shared access. All in all, we will not be doing any extensive work on the back garden but definitely a bit of scrubbing up.

Looking at it from the other side you will see the back of the house.

Back-of-house

Our lean-to is a bit of a nuisance as it sits in the garden of the next house, but it is our property as the utility leads into it. We plan on bricking it up and having a little sky light in the roof of it, just build properly from what is already in place. I think that it is a very ugly addition to the back end of the house so let’s hope it’s easy to resolve.

We don’t have any concrete plans for the garden or lean-to at this moment, we will probably discuss them more once we have come up with a more conclusive plan for the other rooms. It is extremely difficult to draw up anything conclusive at this time as we don’t have access to the building and any plans that we have got lack substance due to missing measurements and such. Even since I wrote my first blog post we have changed our minds and developed our initial thoughts so this whole process is going to be interesting, especially with all the changes.

With the day of entry getting close now I am hoping to start coming up with a bit of a work schedule, possibly pulling together a small Gantt chart but I’m unsure as to how useful it will prove to be because we don’t exactly have time limits or goals to meet. I believe that it would be useful in terms of keeping us focussed and also would be a fun thing to do to track the progress each week.

Speaking with my dad, it seems that the first task will be to get in and measured and then from this, drawing up some actual plans for the building work, getting it all checked by the professionals and submitting these for approval. Although, if you were to ask my mum, she would tell you the first job is to give it a good old clean!

I have attached below the pictures of the interior from the estate agents page!

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Week 3 – Goals & Finishing Touches

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I have decided to set a little challenge for myself, I have been uploading a blog a week this month, and this is blog number 3. After this post, I will upload one more then I should be getting the keys to our new property, so exciting! In this post I am going to write about my personal goals that I want to achieve throughout the duration of this project, what my ‘role’ will be and also expand on some of the little finishing touches I would like to incorporate into the interior of the house.

I am already aware that working with my parents is going to be the biggest challenge I face. We have entirely opposite views on pretty much everything so finding some kind of common ground is going to be tricky. I understand that when it comes to actual maintenance work, there will be no arguments because I am in no position to question any of that work, however, the kitchen, bathroom and new layout are, even now, causing a bit of friction… But it’s to be expected in any work place, different opinions are to be celebrated and accepted, the only problem is finding a compromise, it will just take patience. Another challenge I think I will have to really work against will be fatigue. I have a 40-hour job beside this, and I worry that I will struggle to find the time to really give it my all, but I do desperately want to, I feel exhausted just thinking about it… Other people in the world have it way harder so I reckon that I will just have to channel my inner grafter and get on with it (fingers crossed). My main goals are currently:

  1. Learn to tile
  2. Keep the paperwork in a consistent order
  3. Learn to wallpaper
  4. Learn a little bit about the plumbing
  5. Keep it simple!

In terms of my actual role within the project, I am eager to turn my hand to most things. The professional and more kind of laborious work I will just leave to the professionals and my dad, but I think I will if not willingly, be forced by mum to help with tasks like tiling, painting and decorating. Also, I was quite good at woodwork at school, so I think that I’d be able to lend a hand when it comes to measuring and fitting things like doors, blowing my own trumpet slightly so I hope I’ve not jinxed it, it’s been a long time since school, potential for a disaster…

Furthermore, doing the job that I do has led me to be quite regimented with paperwork, so I am going to take the lead on keeping on track with receipts, paperwork and of course, the budget.  Additionally, this will help with keeping this blog updated on cost and progress. Having a paper bank of all the updates and expenses will assist me in the future when I start to embark on these projects singlehanded because it will give me a clear insight on how much work costs and experience with dealing with specific trades, bearing in mind that every house will require different work. Not to mention, my mum always loses the damn receipts and we have to endure a few days every year turning the house upside down on a proper mission to find everything, if I can avoid us having to do that, I will be very happy.

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The Budget Chart

In regard to the finishing touches I would like to make, I personally think that every house needs to have a little something about it. I understand that it’s safe to paint it all magnolia and have everything very ‘Plain Jane’ but I still think that giving it a subtle personality is important. In all the houses my parents have done, they’ve wallpapered one wall in the house. If it was my house, I think I would have the whole sitting room papered, that is the done thing in these more classic interiors, a soft pattern all the way round. However, this is not my house so we might wallpaper one wall in the sitting room to give it some life, or we might just leave it for the people who would move in. Although, for small bedroom I spied a beautiful cream wallpaper that would be barely noticeable if the room is to be magnolia like the rest, but it has animals like elephants and zebras etched into it in gold; how beautiful would that look in the sun, just a plain bedroom but with the light shining on to a gorgeously drawn design, I think it would be perfect.

As for the rest of it, we will probably steer away from any kind of personality as it might hinder it in the selling process. I was thinking of framing some art to hang up on a wall or 2 just to brighten the place up a smidge but I’ll see how much time I get. I’m also on the hunt for a big gold mirror and a glass frame for those pressed flowers for the ensuite I wrote about in week 2, I think I am getting a bit giddy, but I am awfully excited.

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The wallpaper that I like for the bedroom

https://www.homebase.co.uk/boutique-jungle-animals-cream-wallpaper_p491743

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