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Last year we’d been keeping one eye on a home renovation around the corner for a few months. The complete transformation of a semi-detached house that had fallen into disrepair caught our eye every time we passed. We then asked a couple of people about the builder working on the house and got really positive recommendations. You hear these horror stories about builders taking months to do simple work and still making a complete hash of it. Needless to say, we wanted the work we were thiking about starting to be well done.

We’d been talking about opening up our living space and transforming three rooms into one for a few years. At the end of last year we set the wheels in motion to begin.

 

The heavy lifting

AMD Services took care of the majority of what we have achieved since the first week of May. We had to handle the kitchen and flooring by ourselves which I’ll talk about shortly but, most of the other details were taken care of by Alex and his team.

AMD Building & Maintenance Contractors is a local building contractors firm offering unparalleled levels of service to all of our clients.

 

Our knowledge, skills and experience, gathered over years of practice, allow us to continuously seek improvements in the services we offer. Our aim is to offer each client an exclusive service with specification tailored to their own needs and expectations

amdservicesni.co.uk

The work carried out in the first two weeks of May was fantastic.

Stripping three rooms, taking down three ceilings, knocking out two walls and fitting a steel beam took a couple of days.

A COUPLE OF DAYS! Sometimes I take a couple of days to decide on three or less colours for a website design!

An electrician came next to re-wire for new lighting, switches and sockets. Then the ceilings went back up and the walls and ceilings were re-plastered. This was quickly followed by some plumbing to move two radiators and fix a couple of other issues.

And hey presto, three rooms were made into one and the space was ready for flooring and kitchen installation within two weeks.

I can’t speak highly enough of the work carried out by AMD Services. They have done the ‘heavy lifting’ on this project.

I used to work in an electrical wholesaler in Ballymena and have met some weird and difficult ‘tradesmen’ before but, I have to say that all the lads who’ve worked in our home over the past 10+ weeks have been brilliant, friendly, obliging and very professional.

Floor

We went to Village Floors in Ballymena because we wanted to support as many local businesses as we could. Kenny and Aaron were really helpful in the shop and, we liked the floor options we saw on our first visit. In the end we didn’t visit anywhere else or look at any other floors.

We have over 19 years experience in the supply of major brand wooden flooring to the trade and consumers. We have a wide range of wood floor products     We specialise in Supply and fitting of Hardwood Floors, Solid Wood Floors, Laminate Floors as well as Porcelain Tiles and Vinyl Flooring.

www.villagefloors.co.uk

I was a little concerned about the floor because the three rooms we had merged into one were at different heights but, Ryan from Village Floors did a terrific job. Ps: the fumes from the self-levelling cement [that’s probably not what it’s called] had me high as a kite. Great fun! The floor was never going to be 100% level in every single corner so we were amazed at how it turned out given the circumstances. We love our new floor.

 

 

Kitchen

We designed our kitchen with Johanna Montgomery Designs before we had officially decided on anything else. The kitchen was key to how our new space would look and how it would function. The kitchen was really important. We wanted to get it right.

Dedicated to excellence in bespoke kitchen design. From conception to completion let our award winning kitchen designers guide you through the process and to help you make your dreams become reality.

www.johannamontgomerydesigns.co.uk

Johanna was great. Alex [AMD] had recommended her and, we literally just wandered into their showroom one afternoon… now… we had to book an appointment and go back but, that was fine. Johanna was super easy to work with, professional, friendly, enthusiastic and excited for us as we decided how we would re-shape our home.

Her ideas helped us visualise the space with more clarity than we had imagined. We really enjoyed this part of the project. We are generally good at making decisions quickly together and managed to nail everything down in two appointments with Johanna’s help. And now, we have a kitchen that we love.

 

 

The appliances

Once we had our kitchen designed we opted to go to Basil Knipe Electrics in Ballymoney for the appliances we needed.

Basil Knipe Electrics is the only independent retailer in Northern Ireland that trades direct with all four of the big TVs brands Panasonic, Samsung, LG, and Sony.   We were also recently appointed main agents for the premium German TV brand Loewe.

www.basilknipe.com

What a great retailer. Again, I used to work in retail and in wholesale in the electrical trade and, I’m really glad we took the recommendation and went to Basil Knipe. No fuss, great showroom and range of appliances, knowledgable and organised. They delivered when they said they would and their after-sales and communication has been superb.

 

The tricky parts

There’s always a point in any building project when work slows down. Or perhaps you hit an unexpected snag that halts work completely. We understand. Cherith worked as an architectural technician for long enough to know how this world works. Once the space was ready for the floor and kitchen installation, the floor went down super quick. And then things started to slow down. The kitchen installers were flat-out busy which, we understood but then the local company supplying the work-tops for the kitchen were really really slow… busy but very disorganised. I understand busyness but it’s hard to be patient with organised chaos. They were not really very pleasant to deal with either.

We also had a bit of difficulty with the local company supplying our wood burning stove. They were also very disappointing to deal with. I worked in a few small local businesses before being self-employed and, I recognise the fall-out and consequences of mis-communication, poor planning, sloppiness and bad management. A poorly run operation. It is what it is.

I’ve decided to not name and shame these local businesses though. If you ask me, I’ll tell you but, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not a big deal. We just wouldn’t recommend these people.

 

Everything else

We are really thankful for a relatively stress-free project. I thought that working at home would make it far more difficult but in truth, it wasn’t so hard after all. We found out Cherith was pregnant the day before work started so as it happened, we had other stuff on our mind… lolz!

We have now finished the space with some furniture from Made.com who we love but, oh my goodness… their delivery service to Northern Ireland is garbage. Their communication isn’t great either but, we have persevered to get the furniture that we wanted.

We also love Dunnes Stores homeware department right now, they have some great stuff. And of course, Ikea. 

We are 99.9% finished. If you want to see more photos, I have been updating regularly on my Instagram  @supers1mbo or you can see the transformation on my Pinterest board here.

 

 

In conclusion

We’d been talking about this project for a few years before we tackled it and we’ve lived here for almost eleven years so it wasn’t rushed or impulsive. Also, we haven’t shared the progress of this work to be boastful or showy about what our house looks like.

I’m certainly not about to start an interior design blog either, other people are waaay better at that kind of thing. But, we are really thankful for what we have been able to do, for our baby news and for the brilliant people mentioned above who we got to work with as we transformed our home.

We wanted to document the progress as well as celebrate good honest local businesses who we believe are worth recommending.

Got any questions about any of our work? Drop us a message on social media, we’d be glad to help if we can.

Footnote: When carrying out this kind of work it is important to check structural work with your local building control office. Because of Cherith’s working background, she had drawings of our house and knew what was required for a steel beam, smoke detectors etc. A good builder will be able to advise you on these issues and ensure you adhere to current regulations.

 

Update: Cherry’s post – The Boring Bits