To Paint or Not To Paint – Part 19.0.1

This house visit was not just the usual site meeting, it was a whole weekend. And the story of this house visit comes in two parts: The painting saga and the IKEA expedition.

But before we get on to either of those, let’s take a moment to appreciate the progress that has been made on the house since our last visit. The temporary heating system needed to test the underfloor heating finally came, and the tilers were at work when we arrived. Almost all of the floor tiles had been laid. It is almost a year ago that we chose our floor tiles, and I was a little bit anxious about seeing them in place for the first time. But, they look great.

Build week 55: Temporary heating system to test underfloor heating

Build week 55: Wood effect tiles

The tiler had lots of questions for us about the bathrooms and the outdoor tiles on the balcony, as well as some decisions for us to make, and a shopping expedition for us to go on. We found ourselves, once again, at the tile shop to pick out finishing strips for the edges of the steps - things we never knew we would need or want.


The painting story begins in the weeks before the meeting. It occurred to us that it might be best to paint the sliding doors before they are installed, and we started gathering up the necessary supplies so that we could paint them after the meeting. In the meantime, we learnt that paint has a recommended temperature for application. We are barely out of winter, and the temperature here is still way below the paint recommendations, so we put the idea aside.

Fast forward to the site meeting, and the project manager tells us that yes indeed, it would be better to paint the doors before they are installed because they cannot be easily taken down again. Also, they are likely to be installed in the next two weeks. And with that, painting was unexpectedly back on the agenda for the weekend, to somehow fit in around all the other things we were there to do.

First, we had to go around the hardware stores buying the rest of the stuff we needed, including the paint itself. It was late in the afternoon by the time we got back to the house with our supplies. We started to set up the doors to paint them, only to discover that one of them was damaged. It looked as though it had been dropped on its corner. The project manager is sorting it out, but for now the doors are unpainted.

Build week 55: Spring snowdrops


A planned IKEA trip was the main reason for spending the weekend at the house. We needed to go and buy the bathroom sinks and base cabinets.

The nearest IKEA is about an hour’s drive away. Keen to avoid both Friday peak hour traffic and Saturday IKEA craziness, we decided to do it as soon as we could after the meeting on Friday. Thinking that we also needed to get back to start painting the doors, the pressure was on to make it an efficient trip. We had chosen what we wanted in advance, so all we had to do was go in and buy it. We’ve never been in and out of an IKEA so fast. It took us longer to pack everything in the car afterwards. We actually wondered for a moment if it was all going to fit in our tiny rental car.

Build week 55: Assembling IKEA furniture

It was after the on-again-off-again painting saga that we decided to open up the sinks and have a quick look before heading to the hotel for the evening. Two pristine, white, ceramic sinks… with odd black marks on them. Oh, they’ll just rub off, I thought to myself. Nope. Maybe if I lick my finger and try again. Nothing. Maybe I can scratch them off. Still nothing. On closer inspection, they looked like they were probably baked into the enamel.

And so we left that evening, after a very long, and not particularly successful day, envisioning a Saturday morning trip back to IKEA to return the sinks.

On Saturday morning, as we planned our day over breakfast, I decided to go to the supermarket around the corner and pick up scouring sponges (you know, the yellow and green ones). I wanted to try removing the marks one more time, this time armed with something more appropriate that just my finger. I wasn’t optimistic, but it was worth a try before embarking on a 2-hour round trip to IKEA and back.

The marks scrubbed off. They changed so slowly at first that I wasn’t sure if they were actually coming off, or if I just wanted to believe they were coming off. But, bit by bit, they disappeared. It took hours. During that time, Graham built the accompanying base cabinets. So, all our bathroom fittings are ready and waiting for the plumber to install them when he does the rest of the bathroom.

All-in-all, it was a rollercoaster of a visit.

Build week 55: New floor tiles laid

Watch the video for this visit.