Saturday, 30 August 2008

Week 10 - busy, busy, busy

The team were down to Matt and Kev, as Jon went to work on another job with Ging as cover for Sean who was swanning about in Egypt. But its been no less busy, in fact, its still been relentless. And its been a week of bits - finishing slating the new kithen roof, guttering, tiling the bathroom, pointing bits of brickwork etc. But the weekend ended with a biggy - the installation of the French doors at the back of the house.

The back just gets better and better. The French doors complete the windows to be installed in no.4 (the white window on the right is at the back of no.3 and will be replaced next week). Above you can also see the canopy, completely slated in Welsh slate (from the old rear roof we took off for the domer extension - the new dormer extension roof is barely visible from the ground so we've used new slate for economy). Also, the oak posts, the left hand one sporting new downpipe!

Kev and Matt completed slating (again with slate from our old roof) what is currently the new roof over our utilty and bathroom, but which will be the new bootroom (new bit on left) and kitchen/diner. The Velux windows will greatly improve the lightas this is northfacing. In phase 2 (from late Sept) the existing back door and window will be removed and replaced with folding sliding doors. The opening on the left is for a non-opening window in the bootroom.

Above, the new bathroom window, with floating mullions, with a great view across the fen. The new (ungrouted) tiles also on view.

Below, we've been busy too - decorating! The last two weekends and every weekday night for the last two weeks we've been slogging our own dear little backsides. And boy, there's a lot of prep to do when you are doing a house from scratch. Upstairs is ready for final coats and downstairs base coats are going on.

This is still my favourite view! And even better now the Fench doors are in.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Week 9 - and let there be light!

Wow! We are only at the end of week 9! Much has happened in the couple of weeks we have been back from the high Arctic. And much of it has been to do with light - the long-awaited installation of our windows and the completion of our sunpipe.

We took delivery of our windows from Dendura in February and they have been in store ever since! We've dreamed of the day they would be installed, and that day came this week.

Matt (left), Kev (centre) and Jon install the first of the gable end windows. Oh - it was a tight fit. Needed persuasion, as they say in the trade!

Above, both sets of gable end windows are in! Wow! And this is what it used to look like!

This is what things look like from the inside -

Above, the lounge. Below, the office, showing well the view over the adjacent open farmland. You'll notice that in the office skirts and architraves are in, Matt's been busy installing the new oak internal doors and we've even started painting!

Back outside, a great view of the gable end looking down the back and the first three of the six first floor rear windows have also been installed, and Josh has been busy with the paint brush on the weatherboarding.

Below, a view of the house from the field behind us. The boared windows behind no.3 will be installed in phase two during the autumn. This also gives a great view of the new rear roof - how flat does that look! You can just make out the roof window of the sunpipe to the right of the wee flue top at the left hand end. And . . . the new first floor extension has been weatherboarded! Don't it look fab!

Above, Kev has been busy slating the canopy and boot room/kitchen roof.

And below, Matt finished the installing the Velux sunpipe at the top of the stairs where there is no other natural night other than what ambient light comes up the stairwell from downstairs.

Back inside, another major event was the installation of the new woodburning stove in the lounge.

We said goodbye to Josh today who starts his a new teaching job in London. Good luck Josh and thanks.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Day 32 - plastered, pillared and plumbed

We went to the high Arctic on holiday on 24 July, leaving Jon and the guys to it. Returning yesterday, the progress the guys had made in just eight working days has been fantastic and no.4 looks little like we left it!

Above, the whole of no.4 has been plasterboarded and Matt, Kev and John are already plastering the ceilings. The nice pink plasterboard around the chimney breast is special fire retardant board which will house our new woodburning stove.

Outside things have moved on at pace as well. The new canopy runs from the parking area the length of the back of the house to the back door in to the boot room. The canopy is supported by three whacking great hunks of oak - they still smell nice, and they certainly look gorgeous! They will eventually blend well with the oak French doors which will sit behind them.

Above, the view looking from the boot room door out to the garage. The canopy will provide a great dry walking area between the cars and the house. The oak pillars will eventually get wee brick plinths.

The reverse view from the parking area to the boot room door. The two sets of French doors from the rear of the living room will open out under the canopy.

Above and below, the new canopy joins the boot room and Jon has built the boot room/kitchen roof, complete with four Velux roof windows (one over the boot room, three over the new kitchen). The canopy and boot room/kitchen roof are now ready for slating (but Matt and Kev are busy elsewhere on the house!).

Phil the plumber has been in and done first fix and Jon has started preparing the weatherboarding (below) for the first floor extension.

So, blink and you'll miss these guys! Go away for 12 days and the place changes beyond recognition. It's great! See here for our last post and what we left behind.

Interlude - for us but not the builders!

Female Polar Bear cub nr Binnebukta, Wilhelmøya, Svalbard, 30 July 08

Whilst the builders continued with the house we went on a long-awaited, once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Arctic. Steve will get a trip report with photos (like this of his above) on his Toadsnatcher blog asap.

By the way, the above Polar Bear cub was seen with its mum and brother at 'Binnebukta' which in Norwegian translates as Bay of the Mother Bear (bukta = bay, binne = mother bear).

We'll stick an update of how Jon and the lads have progressed during our absence on here asap. What an amazing difference in just eight working days! Come back soon for the update.