Yes! After a teeny tiny three months of DIY, OPDIFY (Other People Do It For You) and TABFDIYBILST (Taking A Break From DIY Because It’s Like Super Tiring), Albion is finally finished! In the way that only a boat can be finished, which is not at all, ever.
There’s still a million things we need or want to do but installing new solar panels, refitting the entire kitchen, getting new reclaimed wood counter tops and floors, and generally tidying up the boatman’s cabin will all have to wait until we’re able to Bring Out Another Thousand.
Still, everything we initially set out to do is done and we now have a proper bedroom, a freshly painted and decorated living room, and a completely new bathroom. Which doesn’t sound like a lot of work now but it WAS.
Although we had a bedroom in the back cabin, it had a fold-down bed that we didn’t think was very practical for the two of us on a daily basis. Not wanting to waste the huge space under the tug deck, we decided to turn it into a little bedroom den. And when I say ‘we’, I mean our amazing builder Robbie did it. (Although Ed has just reminded me that we did do the varnishing. So that fresh woodsy vibe you see is allllll us).
The living room was already pretty nice so all we had to do was paint it white, decorate it, and install a sofa.
This took about three weeks. We painted it nine times. Nine layers of paint that still peel off at the lightest brush of a limb. As I mentioned before, never buy cheap B&Q paint.
The bathroom was the hardest room in the whole boat (and that’s counting the living room and its B&Q anti-paint). First of all, apart from building the bedroom from scratch, this was the only room that we completely ripped out and started again. It hadn’t been touched for about 20 years and needed new EVERYTHING.
Second of all, there was no sink and no space for a sink. We had all manner of problems with the sink and where to put it, at one point considering fold-down caravan style options or just having to brush our teeth in the shower. Eventually we decided to chop the top off the existing cupboard and turn it into a plinth. This involved gently coaxing our builder into drilling a new waste hole in the side of the boat. I can guarantee you, there is no more unpleasant aural sensation for a boat owner than hearing a drill go through your boat’s hull.
…Apart from the ‘uh oh’ that came afterwards. (Luckily it was just because our tough tug hull had snapped the drill bit, rather than because we were, you know, sinking).
Third of all, we had to rip out part of the kitchen just to get into the walls to fit the new shower.
Fourth of all, we chose the most beautiful but most impractical boat tiles ever. Not only were they so thick and huge that they were nearly impossible to cut, they were so heavy we had to put concrete blocks under the bedroom floor just to stop us capsizing.
Fifth of all: sanding.
Just so much sanding. Endless hours of sanding. I have new muscles just from sanding. There was dust in places dust oughtn’t to be. I once lost Ed in a cloud of dust.
The problem was the traditional scumble varnish that was all over the walls. We quite like it in the living room but we wanted the bathroom to feel fresh, bright and clean. This meant we had to sand all the scumble off. Five million years later, it was ready to varnish, tile, and decorate.
During (of which there are many, many pictures because it took us so long to during the hell out of this bathroom):
Et voila! It is done. For now.
N.B. A foreword to anyone coming to visit our boat: There is blood in the varnish, sweat in the grout and there are tears in the wall paint. We will not accept anything other than effusive and adulating praise for all our handiwork. We are especially unreceptive to comments such as “Missed a bit!” or “Oops that’s a bit wonky!” This is the best boat interior renovation you have ever seen and will ever see in your lifetime and all of the lifetimes following. Trust me. I have a new axe.