When it’s a concertina.
I bought this flat because a) it was cheap b) it was crap and c) it was in central Gib.
My philosophy on buying houses is to buy cheap and crappy that needs tidying up rather than pay more for something that has been done up, because it will never be to my taste anyway. And it would seriously gripe me to rip out something that didn’t need to be ripped out just because I didn’t like it. But I do try to buy in good areas.
If that doesn’t make sense to anyone else, no matter, because it does to me.
I should add that nothing is cheap in Gib. Apart from Both Worlds and Ocean Heights. Both Worlds is a strange complex on the eastern side of Gib in the middle of nowhere. One side is open purchase, the other is for people aged 50 or over.
Ocean Heights was one of the many buildings in Gib originally intended to be a hotel. I used to stay there when I came to Gib to look for a property to buy, and it suited me fine as a rental apartment for a few nights. We had a friend who lived there and paid £3000 a year in service charges. This is because there are no separate meters for each apartment – remember, it was intended to be a hotel. Similarly Both Worlds has communal services such as a laundry that is included in your bills so you might as well use it.
I would rather pay low service charges than fund someone else’s extravagant electrical lifestyle through communal utility bills, thank you very much. (Electricity is expensive in Gib).
For comparison, our service charges (for block maintenance) are around £400 year. Our water and electricity is £600 or slightly more. I can never understand their bills actually. But anyway, the total cost is not £3000 a year for a one-bed apartment.
Over on the dog’s blog there are pix of our grotty flat when we first acquired it.
It was one of the many posts imported from Blogger so the comments were lost, and the pix are small, however they do enlarge. Slightly.
So the two blocks mentioned above have flats for sale for less than £100K. But elsewhere you are normally looking at £100K plus for a small one-bed flat, unless someone is desperate to sell. You can pay more for a ‘decent’ (the term being relative) one-bed flat than you can for a larger two-bed one. Premium price properties tend to be the ghastly new-build ones or the expensive conversions, or something off Main Street. People frequently fall over when a) they find out we own our own flat, and b) they discover we are just off Main Street in the Jewish quarter.
Assumptions, assumptions. People see a decorator – actually they probably consider him a painter – and immediately assume he must be renting somewhere. What they don’t see is more than 40 years of work in the same trade, running his own business in the UK, me with a well-paid job, and us owning a few houses in our previous life. As I learned on my MBA course, ‘Never ASSUME anything. It makes an ASS out of U and ME.’ It might be old and clichéed but it is certainly true.
Back to our cheap, cheerful and grotty flat. Or the dog’s kennelflat as I called it, because really, it is not much bigger than a kennel.
When I first viewed the flat, well the only time actually, the estate agent said how delightful the internal doors were. Personally I thought they were vile and kitsch in the extreme with some appalling attempt at stained glass in the top half of the doors. I put them on my get rid of list. I like proper doors and these are foldy back doors, presumably because the flat is so small. In fact as we never shut them we don’t even need them.
A few weeks ago, Partner was asked to revarnish some doors for a customer. Inspired by this, he promptly decided our front door needed doing. Fine by me. Looks crap anyway so it couldn’t look any worse. He fished out an antiquated tin of Sadolin in dark something or other and set to work. Exterior went fine. Interior did not.
The following day it was still tacky. ‘It’s because you cook all the time,’ said a neighbour helpfully.
Er yes. How else am I supposed to eat? Microwave junk from the supermarket? I don’t think so.
In fact, it was only when he said that, we realised there are no other food cooking smells in the block. Goodness knows what people eat. There used to be a tomato sauce smell sometimes, but they obviously moved out. So now I am the only cook in the block!
Anyway, the offending tacky coat was taken off and the door treated with dissolvente (can’t remember the English for that).
No problem after that. Three coats on both sides and frames.
Fired up with this success, he then started on a windowsill, this time using a medium oak stain and varnish. Another good result, so he started on one of the concertina doors. Even they started to look tolerable.
The one advantage about sleeping on camping mats on the floor in the bedroom is that it gives you space to put up a trestle table and work on the doors. There is enough space for him to sleep on the floor and I have stolen the dog’s sofa. Normal sleeping will resume when the door has been rehung.
I don’t actually like varnished doors of any type. To me doors should be solid wood and painted in white eggshell, or possibly a colour – black or dark green, never red! – if they are on the outside of your house. But it’s amazing what a few coats of well-applied varnish can do.
Oh, and it smells wonderful. Totally addictive. I can’t wait for him to start today’s varnishing work.
And from the woman who is always cooking, a couple of casseroles.
One is a veg goulash and the other is a French style daube/bourguinon with croutes. Yum.