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The Extension

I read a post recently by Florence and her anger at some advice received about installing a shower that didn’t fit in with her requirements. She decided her husband could install a shower on the landing. It got me thinking about my own situation. Many years before my diagnosis, we converted our small bathroom and toilet into a sort of wet room. The door is not wide enough for a wheelchair and can’t be widened due to the position. We live in a very small cottage style bungalow and living space is “comfortable”. These days I can still manage to shuffle around indoors with a rollator. On a bad day, husband wheels me about in my manual wheelchair. Negotiating corners and tight door widths is difficult. I’m not going to get better. Anyway, with the help of a local councillor, we are applying for a home adaptation grant. Well, having had builders here who have done similar work and really know their stuff, I am amazed at what the requirements are to meet the rules and regulations. We are now looking at adding a sizeable extension to the side of the house! A bedroom with an Ensuite toilet/shower room and access through an (extended) kitchen. There’s a long way to go yet, reports from ot and gp then a visit from the engineer, before approval will be given. I’m not thrilled about the idea to be honest. I love my little house as it is but my progress has been rapid in the four years since diagnosis. I have to be realistic and think of the future. If anything happened to my husband, I simply could not manage alone. All scary stuff. Just taking it all one day at a time. First get drawings done… Watch this space.

hi poppy please keep us up to date i have my first meeting with the council next week for adaptations to the house what happens at first meeting thanks paddy

That sounds brilliant Poppy. With the right imaginative people and a bit of luck you will be chuffed with the new space in your home.

Good luck

Mick

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Hi Paddy. I will do. We only had dealings with the council two years ago when we were given a grant for the ramp to the back door, replacing the two steps. It was very straightforward. Don’t know where you are but here in Kerry, you fill in the application form, gp does her part of it and ot writes a report, explaining the need for the proposed work. Two builders quotes and rough drawings and send it in. Thenan engineer from the council visits to view what the plan is. Fingers crossed all will be agreed. Thanks Mick. Of course I’d rather not be having this done in the first place and I’ll lose the magnificent view from the side of the sitting room, but I’ll still have it from the kitchen window. I’m still a little in denial as to my progression. I am managing with the rollator, for now and with difficulty, but I know it’ll be fine once it’s done. II’ll be grateful if it’s done and we get the full 95% grant. Gotta look on the bright side.

I can understand your feelings Poppy. Facing up to the reality of increasing disability is bloody hard. And having to make serious changes to your lovely home is hard too.

But honestly, future proofing your house will make life so much easier. Having a good wetroom that you can easily get into and wheel around in is great. And actually you’ll end up with greater independence once the work is done.

When you sort out what goes where in your new kitchen, think about what will make your life easier so you can still use it. For example, I have a breakfast bar which we had lowered so I can sit there in my wheelchair and do preparations for dinner (as well as eat my breakfast!). My lovely husband does the cooking, but honestly, he’s pandered to like he’s Delia Smith, with little bowls of all the different cooking ingredients - so he comes off as the most brilliant chef. I’m known as the Sue Chef.

Sometimes I just sit there with a glass of wine while he’s doing the actual cooking. It’s perfect for us. And he’s now quite the chef. Some of our friends are envious of the way we manage to work together in the kitchen.

Then theres the bathroom, we had it reconfigured, the door moved and widened and turned it into a wetroom, but with a long row of cupboards with a worktop. I can do a reasonable amount of cleaning in my wetroom now (I’m a little teensy bit OCD about the bathroom being clean!) When it’s all shiny and clean, I feel a real sense of achievement. (He still does all the floors, windowsills, bits I can’t reach!)

Living through the work won’t be easy, but you’ll cope, with good humour and just the occasional fit of irritation and fury at your disability and the workmen always being there!

Sue

Sue chef. Hah. I love it! Yes, I’m telling myself it will be wonderful and to focus on the positives. We have the room to extend and can gather the rest of the funds for the work. The Council will pay up to 95% of the cost, depending on circumstances. It will be fine I’m sure. The measurements that the builder showed us (to meet the required standards) are huge! Love the idea of the breakfast bar. I’ll keep that in mind. X

Oh dear lord above and all that is holy. The very patient, helpful young builder has been back to us twice. Each time with drawings of what we jointly agreed was a suitable, budget friendly plan. Mr Poppy however keeps coming up with further “supposing we did this” ideas. My poor shrinking brain and it’s lesions is quietly fried! Bearing in mind that we live in a shoebox size house, the extension in mind was to consist of a bedroom with an Ensuite toilet and shower. Since the initial talks we’ve now gone on to extend the kitchen a little further, to allow easier access to the proposed new build. Then Mr Poppy thought perhaps to knock down the wall in the sitting room and incorporate the passageway to the current rooms. This would be great and give us a decent sized room to lounge in. Then the realisation of the mess and disruption dawned on us. Living amongst the building site will be bad enough with the work going on on the exterior. However, the thought of it going on inside the living area is perhaps a step too far. Just now he’s announced that “selling up and moving to something more suitable”, might be another option. No, no no. Just NO! I’m feeling the stress before a sledgehammer has been swung. Where will I hide the body?!

Mr Poppy needs a dose of reality. Or a good slap. You can’t live in a building site for all the time it will take, bad enough with the extension, new bedroom, wetroom and kitchen. If you do the living room too, you no longer have the lovely little house that you love. Instead you have a ‘Grand Designs’ / ‘DIY SOS’ house. Yes it will look wonderful when it’s finished, but how long will you have to live in a building site? And how easy is that supposed to be for you? Will you just live upstairs for the weeks (or months) it will take?

I do see the point about moving to a house that doesn’t need all the work. But you love your house. And the location. Moving is almost as much upheaval as living on a building site! And wherever you found to move to would probably need a load of adaptations as well!!

Poor Poppy. All she wanted was a downstairs bedroom and wetroom. Remind Mr Poppy of that.

Sue

Spot on Sue. I’ll go along with the slap at the moment. We don’t have an upstairs! It’s a little cottage style bungalow situated down a lane in an acre of ground. The views of the surrounding countryside are stunning, from every window. Moving is NOT an option. I think he has just “lost the run of himself”, as they say here in Ireland. I’ll chat with him later and bring him down to earth again. X

Have the chat, make him feel like he’s come to the decision that doing more than the planned extension for the bedroom, wetroom and kitchen would be silly. If it’s ‘his’ conclusion, then you’ll both be happy.

I suspect it’s one of those ‘oh while we’re doing this much …’ Men sometimes get carried away, then get over it. It won’t happen!

Your cottage sounds wonderful. An acre of land! We’ve got an average size garden, but it is looking very pretty just now, blossom out on our lovely tree, clematis in full bloom and bluebells proving that it’s Spring.

Sue x

Moving to the “cottage in the country” was my dream Sue and this much land…! My modest 45 ft garden in the UK was a stunning cottage garden complete with wildlife pond, created by me in the fourteen years we lived there. I was to be found in the garden at any time of the day or night. I was beyond ecstatic to get this place. Now we have to pay someone to cut the grass with a ride on mower, and another man to keep the shrubs tidy as I can’t do it. He and I will be having a chat later on.

Maybe if he has a look at the budget it might force a dose of reality?

Well, things have settled down in the Poppy house again. No blood was shed but I took back the reins. I reminded him this whole project began as a potential wheelchair accessible toilet wet room with a bedroom. The thought of extending the kitchen a little made sense for easier access. I can live with the mess where the majority of the building would be happening outside, until such time when the connecting doors would be widened and the kitchen wall taken down. Anything else is just unnecessary and too much for one time. Happily he has agreed and the possibility of enlarging the sitting room is a thought for the future. And all is well.

Mr Poppy knows that keeping Poppy happy is best for all in the household. Sensible man.

Sue

I’m with Mr Poppy on this one - what he is planning sounds brilliant and will put a lot of value on the house. Perhaps he was thinking of your needs primarily – how much better and more convenient a bigger extension would be for yourself. Why not take yourself off somewhere for 3/4 weeks whilst the major alterations are sorted - you can return and supervise the minor alterations/decorations/ fittings etc.

Nice thought krakowian, but the possibility (and cost) of swanning off somewhere (wheelchair friendly)for a while is not going to happen. We’ll have to find the money to decorate, lay new flooring,curtains and blinds etc as well as paint the exterior. We will be unlikely to match the paint in the new part, so this will mean repainting the whole exterior, and probably paying someone to do so. Once the work is done we will consider this further improvement in a year or two. I know people will think,why not now while the upheaval is happening? . I know I can only cope with so much at a time. Once everything is cleaned up and decorated we’ll be ready to consider the rest.

Poppy - some lovely B&B’s here on the Brecon Beacons ………!

:wink:

Good heavens! Was it really so long ago I began this thread?

Well, for anyone interested, let me give an update.

The final drawings and application went in in July.

Four months and many phone calls and emails later, we were told planning permission would be required as it was to the side of the building. Advised this would be a lengthy and frustrating period of time and told to extend to the rear of the property, which no permission would be necessary.

Back to the drawing board. Literally.

New plans drawn up by the wonderful, patient builder for the rear of the house and submitted. A local councillor putting pressure on the department on my behalf. Long and boring story short, today the engineer visited… the man from Delmonte says yes!! Approval given and hopefully the formal offer letter and Grant amount won’t take too long.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, we chatted with the builder about “the Wall”. He and his team of four can have it down, made good th replastering, wiring and floor laid within two days. The cost is reasonable too so we are going ahead with this. It’ll be done before the extension begins.

So all is well at the end. I prefer the new plans, it’ll be spring when work outside begins and hopefully, weather will be better. The Poppy house is a happy house… :wink:

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Sounds positive Poppy. A long and tedious process, fingers crossed that things move forward more rapidly now.

M

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