Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Door & window frames

The large picture window, French window and front door frames have been fitted in the extension. Otherwise, we are taking a short pause this week as the builder is busy with other clients.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Scaffolding: gone!

The scaffolding was removed this morning and for the first time it is possible to imagine what the extension will look like when it is completed.

The window and door frames have arrived and will be fitted early next week. I have completed the first fix network and home cinema wiring. And I got the quote for the stove, fireplace and installation, which was every bit as outrageous as I thought it would be!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Progress on numerous fronts

The roof slating is now finished, with soffits, guttering and flashing for the stove flue pipe all installed. We've recently had some particularly heavy rain showers, so it's good to see that everything is good and watertight.

The scaffolding can now come down, making it much easier to work on the rest of the outside and, of course, to get a better idea of the finished appearance.

Meanwhile, the first fix electrical and plumbing work have both been completed, so we can get the floors in soon. The wooden (again!) lintel in the old master bedroom was also replaced with something a bit more robust.

All we need now is the window frames, which should be with us early next week.

Up in the loft, the walls behind the old chimney stacks have been cleaned up and rendered where necessary, the new roof-light surround has been plastered and the old hole blocked up and skimmed to match the existing roof lining.

Meanwhile, I have sorted out the LED lighting and, after a bit of hard bargaining settled on a decent (ish) price. I'll order those before long. All the components for the home cinema are now at PV and can be installed as and when the builder is ready. And I've sorted out the en-suite furniture, wet room design/fittings, hallway tiles and numerous other minor aspects.

The wood stove for the lounge turns out to be a nightmare, with all manner of new building regulations giving both me and the builder serious issues. We think we are almost there now but it's been a right old battle. I'm now waiting for quotes for the stove, flue systems and Hetas installation, the latter of which, by all accounts, is outrageously expensive. We shall see.

At least I shall have plenty of wood for the new stove. There's a growing pile of it next to the summer house!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Stud walls, electrics and yet more slates

The framework for the stud walls was built today. It looks a bit like a wooden Alcatraz and we're not entirely sure whether the aim is to keep me in or them out. The electricians have been busy as well - most of the electrical wiring is in and the structured cabling for my local area network is coming along well.

Outside, the slating continues in the unaccustomed heatwave and the rainwater soak-away has been completed.

Plumbing looms on the horizon. The builder reckons we are now ahead of schedule and better than half way through the project.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Slate everywhere!

The roofers have been busy slating the roof. The roof light that had to be moved because it was in the way of the extension roof ridge has been reinstalled. At the current rate of progress the roofing job should be finished very early next week. Then we can get the scaffolding down and will be better able to see the results.

A huge 12 cubic meter hole for the rainwater soak-away was dug, lined and filled with the bricks that were once the two old chimneys.

The old front door has been removed and the opening widened out to the full width of the hallway. New lintels have been installed as close to the ceiling as possible to ease the transition from the old hallway into the new entrance hall. And various bits of wall screed have been applied where the old chimneys once were.


Today the electricians started on the initial fit. Wires everywhere!

Friday, 12 July 2013

Aerial antics

My good friend Jim accompanied me in my flying machine today and we got some rather splendid pictures of a work in progress.

Above pictures copyright Jim Hardman.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Roof trusses erected!

Lots of progress today. Nearly all of the roof woodwork was finished.

I wasn't entirely idle - I got a quote for the en-suite furniture and fittings (eek!) and looked at a bewildering variety of tiles for the en-suite and hall.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

It's too hot!

No, really, it is! We've had temperatures in the low 30s C yesterday and today, which isn't really conducive to strenuous building work. As it happens the past few days have been somewhat less strenuously about getting ready to erect the roof and start work on the master bedroom.

So today I moved out of the front of the house and am now relegated to the back half. Space is therefore very much at a premium but it's manageable, largely because I have been able to store a lot of furniture in the summer house.

The roofers spent a hot day out in the sun sorting four tons of Westmorland green slate into various sizes ready for installation next week. And the roof ridge line was reinstated where the two chimneys were removed last week.

Tomorrow the roof trusses will be installed. Soon we will be needing to get the plumber and electrician involved as work starts on the inside.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

En suite design

I've more or less designed the en-suite layout and decided on the furniture and fittings. As with most things to do with building, it's a series of compromises but I think the end result will be good.

I'm having a wet room rather than a conventional shower enclosure. This fits nicely with the shape and size of the room and will have a more spacious feel to it.

The vanity unit will be in oak with a granite-topped basin and oak cupboards to either side, giving plenty of room for storage.

The room will have underfloor electric heating and, in addition, a tall heated towel rail which can run off the central heating or electricity as required. Lighting will be by concealed LED down-lighters. Not sure how many I'll need yet - probably two or three. I still have to decide on the tiling but that decision can be left for a bit longer.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Odds and ends

Today was a bit of an odds and ends day.

The internal walls, on which the roof trusses will rest, were built up to the required height today. Here, one of the trusses is held in place by the builder, giving a good impression of the roof line.

The useless wooden lintel over the bay window that was fitted many moons ago by persons unknown was replaced with proper reinforced concrete lintels and bricks up to the roof-line. And lots of rubble was cleared out from yesterday's chimney demolition work.

We're one month into the project and the builder reckons that we're more or less on schedule. Most of the unknowns we had at the start are now known and resolved, so cock-ups aside, we should be able to keep to the original schedule, aiming to finish by the end of September.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013


Today we broke in to the cottage, removing the radiator and bay window of the lounge (master bedroom to be). This will be replaced by doors to the en-suite and storage cupboard. Big mess!

Discovered some rather dodgy building work around the bay window in the form of a wooden lintel that wasn't holding anything up at all! This will be replaced with a reinforced concrete lintel.

The chimney stack in the lounge was demolished right the way to floor level, creating a vast amount of debris!

Tomorrow will be mainly tidying up all the debris from today's exploits. The bricklayer is also coming to finish the extension walls to the correct height for the roof trusses.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Off with the roof!

The roof slates on the south side of the existing cottage were removed today in preparation for erecting the extension roof trusses.

The old roof felt wasn't in bad nick but it's been replaced anyway with more modern, breathable fabric. New latts have been temporarily installed to keep the new felt in place so the cottage remains weatherproof.

Tomorrow we break through into the old lounge.