Elldrew Exhales, Planet Elldrew

Grand Designs: Week Three

13th November 2012
home renovations week 3

Week 3 of Elldrew’s Grand Designs and we have a kitchen! Well, when we say we have a kitchen what we actually mean is that we have 30 sealed packaging crates dominating the living room waiting to be installed. What that also means is that Elldrew have been relegated entirely to the Guest Suite as there is now no floor space remaining on the ground foor that is not either being used for storage, or a health hazard due to a lack of floorboards. 

Aside from the rather exciting arrival of the kitchen, Week 3 has also seen heavier deconstruction with the kitchen wall finally being ripped down…good times. Week 3 however was also the week where Mr Builder called us chuckling away to himself about a big amusing surprise that he’d discovered during the wall removal process. Mr Builder wouldn’t disclose the surprise so Elldrew rushed home from work excitingly, anticipating the treasure that awaited us…could it be the Heart of the Ocean (that beautiful Sapphire allegedly lost on Titanic), a stash of 1930’s men’s magazines hidden by a previous owner, or the lost toys from a kiddies secret hideout? Alas, Elldrew searched high and low for this intriguing surprise, but with no sign of anything we resorted to calling Mr Builder who dutifully informed us that the surprise was that the load bearing wall in fact bore no load. Oh how we laughed! And then how we cried as we straddled the now redundant 15ft RSJ steel beam currently clogging up the entrance hall and tearing a small unnecessary hole in our rapidly emptying wallet.

In other news, Week 3 saw the arrival of many of our carefully pre-selected lights. Like floor choices (see Week 2) and paint choices (see future episode) Elldrew approached their lighting selection with our usual fastidiousness. We are now regulars in many of London’s best lighting stores, and have spent many a happy hour googling away at the thousands of lights available. Our journey has taken us from restored Tiffany lamps, to Swarovski chandeliers with minor stops en route to visit Donald Trump’s lighting collection (alas not available for UK wattage), reclaimed vintage industrial lighting and Australian Edison bulbs.

Weeks of research later and now arriving light by light are the final choices…paying homage to the 30’s, with reference to the Hamptons look we love, whilst still retaining an industrial feel, we have decided on a collection centred around Prismatic Glass. Previously unknown to us, Prismatic Glass is a cleverly faceted glass which casts a wonderful light that will take centre stage throughout the “public areas”, with the pièce de résistance being a grand hand blown Prismatic Glass lantern in the entrance hall.

All sorted and as each piece arrives we eagerly anticipate the time when we can free them from their polystyrene cages and hang them in their rightful place. That is until our fabulous dramatic entrance lantern arrived with a fanfare yesterday, in a box several times larger than we expected. Being somewhat concerned Elldrew cautiously sliced through the Fragile tape…hoorah amidst a mountain of packaging was a smaller box…this is maybe more what we were expecting. Through another layer of packing tape we go, and then some bubble wrap and then…there’s the top of the light! It looks amazing but Elldrew are concerned that the box is still nearly waist height and there doesn’t seem to be much more packaging. We slowly ease the light carefully from the box until its full enormity is revealed. No wonder it weighs several kilos for this light is more suited to the entrance of Downton Abbey than our humble London semi. It’s huge; it’s almost a metre high and that’s without the chain it needs to hang from. But Elldrew love it…so Drew carefully holds it in place for Ell to view in situ. We swap positions. The taller of us tries walking underneath and nearly gouges out an eye. Elldrew suddenly realise we loved the picture on the web but in a moment of blondness we ordered it without even looking at its size. Whoops! Grand feature light is now back in its box on a van and making its way back to the shop to be exchanged for a more sensibly sized, but perhaps, less dramatic light.

As Week 3 draws to a close Elldrew write this from the relative sanctuary of a damp garden as we have a house full of mini builders hastily plastering. With the demolition out of the way, construction is now underway and Elldrew hope, that by next week, the dressing room will be complete and we may be seeing signs of real progress. Lesson of the week is to remember dimensions and not be sucked in by the pretty pictures on internet shopping sites!

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