The badly sagging lounge, dining and kitchen ceilings were the first to go and it was a real advantage having an able carpenter who was able to install level ceiling battens before fixing new ‘gib’ board,” Malcolm says. “Amazingly, we filled almost 40 rubbish bags with the old loose-fill insulation which fell out of the ceiling when the ‘gib’ was removed.”
As most of the house had been previously wallpapered, the McLagan brought in professionals to remove all of the old paper. This took two full days and, says Malcolm, was money well spent.
Next came the reconstruction work. New walls were built and gib-stoppers arrived to skim existing walls and plaster the new walls and ceilings. A plumber was employed to replace most of the existing pipes and install supply to the new en suite being constructed.
Being real fans of gas, Malcolm and Lesley also had the house piped to supply a new instant hot water system, a gas log fire, wall panel heaters and a free-standing cooker. Having enjoyed gas cooking in their previous home they wanted to retain the advantage of instant heat they found so practical and efficient.
“The house had not originally been supplied with gas so we were pleasantly surprised when the gas supplier didn’t charge us for laying the new pipes from the road to the house,” Malcolm says.
re-wire the entire house. Glaziers were also employed to replace all obscure glass with one uniform pattern. Over the years window replacements had resulted in a number of different patterns being used, just one of the many smaller issues the McLagans had to deal with.
When it came to planning the new kitchen, bathroom and wardrobe organisers Lesley’s design skills came to the fore resulting in new layouts, hardware, materials and a streamlined finish in all these areas.
“When we first looked at the house, the kitchen and laundry were about the same size,” says Lesley. “With two compact spaces it made sense to knock down the dividing wall and incorporate the laundry into one end of a new and bigger kitchen. This has given us a really decent size space to work in.”
The McLagans front-loading washing machine was slotted into a cupboard with a dryer hung above and vented to the outside. A bench top runs across the top of the washing machine and includes a stainless steel bowl to one side plus extra cupboard space
“Not having a separate laundry is a compromise but I think the trade off is worthwhile to gain extra space in the kitchen,” Lesley says. “As a kitchen designer I’m often required to think outside the square in order to make the best of limited space or budget.”
As with the kitchen, Lesley was able to custom-size the bathroom vanities and wardrobe organisers to exactly fit her requirements. “Just as we don’t expect clients of Jag Kitchens to work with a standardised system of modular kitchen cabinets, nor do we expect them to purchase bathroom vanities in a set range of sizes.
“Rather, we sit down with them and develop the look they like, then manufacture both kitchens and vanities to their exact size requirements. Interestingly, customers expect to pay a premium for a custom-sized product, when, in fact, at Jag they are generally no more expensive than buying standardised units which could be a unecessary compromise.”
With all of the structural work complete the next jobs to tackle were paint, tiling and fitting of the kitchen and bathrooms – more on that next time.