Sabotage Times, We can't Concentrate so Why Should You?Sabotage Times, We can't Concentrate so Why Should You?


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Knocking Through: The Middle-Class Approach To Home Renovation

by Mel Moss
30 March 2013 2 Comments

Waitrose customer? QI fan? Don't believe in telling your kids off? If yes to all of the above then this DIY guide is most definitely up your quiet, moderately trendy street...

One of the most important things you can do to say you’re Middle Class is to Knock Through. The problem many Middlings are now encountering is that the house they have just bought has already been Knocked Through. On the surface this may appear to be good news, but actually it’s very disappointing and it is hard to resist the urge to Knock Through just a little bit more. At this stage the house falls down and it is time to ring Kevin McLoud.

So says the Middle-Class ABC by Zebedee Helm and Fi Cotter-Craig, along with all kinds of other words of cringing wisdom. It may not relate entirely to what we’re doing as we don’t actually own the houses we’re knocking through. We live in a semi detached cottage in the Cotswolds, not far from Oxford, which we’ve rented for the last three years and which we absolutely love. We have two children under 5 and they take up an extraordinary amount of room. So, we thought about moving but moving is ridiculously expensive and a great big hassle and then, something wonderful happened; our immediate neighbours decided to move, leaving a lovely 2 bed thatch cottage just on the other side of our downstairs loo. Suddenly we’re getting all the extra space we need without any of the hassle of moving. We’re just spreading out a bit. As well as all the extra windows to look out of and of course the dream of being a detached house, it means we have a whole load of new rooms to fill and do up. I love my house to be interesting, comfortable and welcoming with lots to look at and a bit different from the norm. I have a particular love of fabrics and bed linens and quilts and cushions. I love colour and pictures and tins and containers to put things in. I like houses with fresh flowers and I like to be able to see my children’s toys but to also be able to put them away sometimes. I like things for the kitchen and I like curious things hanging from ceilings. My husband likes all these things, as well as Star Wars, kitsch tapestries, dinosaurs, toys and books. Together our house is a bit of a jumble but it inspires us and makes us happy and that, I think, is the most important thing about a home.

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So, over the next few weeks I am going to share the plans and ideas for these new rooms which will soon be ours through a hole in the wall.  Our budget is virtually nothing so it will certainly be imaginative and it will probably involve some skips, junk shops and lots of eBay.

  1. Just one of 12 Vintage American Crate Labels. Ebay.com. United States. (£2.50 each)

  1. First new house buy: Indian Quilts eBay. Prices ranged from £22.50 to £30 each

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Colonel Willowby-Gore St. Johns 4:57 pm, 30-Mar-2013

Cull the middle class in concentration camps, and do us all a favour.

TFP 9:51 am, 5-Apr-2013

Painful reading. My wife has been totally suckered in by this by brainless rich housewives met through NCT and so on. When buying a house recently in SW London, nearly all the ones that we looked at were Victorian terraced houses with large ‘side returns’ at the back and hence fairly narrow kitchens. My wife became obsessed with the idea of knocking through the external wall of one of these kitchens and building a single storey sideways kitchen extension to make the kitchen really huge. There was also some talk of loft extensions if needed. We were looking at one such place and talking about its potential. We both agreed that it had at least as many bedrooms as we’d ever need & therefore that a loft extension would not be needed. My wife was totally in agreement with this. Discussing the kitchen of this particular place I noted that it was far bigger [measurably so in square footage terms] than a typical kitchen for the area, & as such that I wouldn’t countenance the idea of knocking through into the side return. At this my wife visibly panicked & insisted that, as compensation, she’d have to be allowed to build a loft extension as some kind of compensation for for not being allowed to do the kitchen.

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