House Project Update: tense times for the Stiletto Wheels Access My Home Project 2018.
A few weeks ago, we added up all the costs of our project, having finally received the building quotes, only to discover that the amount of money needed was over double our budget. In fact, the total was a rather shocking amount, close to 80% of the entire value of our – ridiculously London-over-priced – home.
Not only that, these figures were nearly three times higher than any of our London based friends, family, interior magazine projects have been stating as their achieved spend/budget projected costs on similar size/area houses. Our response: Not. happy.
Cue weeks of meetings, emails, strained conversations and agonising analysis of the whys, hows and what nows … that’s not to mention the simmering fury at finding ourselves at this point when, after the almost two years of planning including the processing of a nightmarish- finally approved – planning application, the work was meant to be starting in September.
And, yes, of course we’d discussed budgets along the way plus we’d raised concerns about some of the costs that had filtered through before the much higher than expected building quotes but we were assured, repeatedly, by our architect, that we wouldn’t be doing this project if he didn’t think we would have the finance for it.
Right. That didn’t happen. Missed it by the price of a really nice holiday home by the sea.
[Through gritted teeth] However, there’s little point in dwelling on it. We aren’t the first to find ourselves in this position, reference copious well televised Grand Design disasters. Smiles.
We must simply try to make the best of it all and see if we are able to pull together the elements that are most dear to us and get these done for a price we are willing to invest rather than a stupid amount that we are not.
I will say that part of our surprise at the building quotes was because the external build element of our project isn’t huge. Much of the work being done is internal refurbishment and rationalisation which, it seems is way more expensive than expected – who knew?
On the plus side, this does mean that a major element of the ‘love’ we feel for our project – evident in the exterior views below – will, most likely, be retained.
This allows us a little extra floorspace at the rear side to include a laundry room and extra shower areas; levelling up of all the floors on every level for wheelchair access; creating a double height studio on the top floor, with a mezzanine to look out of the gorgeous high rear windows (D’s study area); a stunning top floor eyrie with external double doors and a balcony for my study; and, increased roof height in our garden room – the ceiling, mostly glazed, at almost ten feet high.
It all looks so pretty, doesn’t it? Though we may change to a slightly different style aesthetic for the glass as part of our cost control process. It will still look fabulous and retain the functional space we’ve prioritised as essential.
So, all is not lost but we have a lot of work to do on the interior floor plans which is, sadly, likely to jeopardise our September start date.
Getting back to the drawing board right now … 😉