A post long over due!

So, 2017! With it being the first day of the new year I thought it only fitting to write the post that I’ve been meaning to write for a while now, and look forward to what this year brings in terms of the build/renovation at our little stone cottage.

It’s all become very exciting recently, and we’re so proud of the work we’ve managed to get done so far. We’ve got to a great point with the first extension just before Christmas, getting it more or less water tight before we had to stop for the holiday. We were relying on materials to be delivered before Christmas, that still haven’t arrived, so we were forced to stop anyway until normal working hours resume.

I realise I haven’t posted any photos of the extension, so I’ll do a quick run through of various stages of the build, up to where we are currently.

 In my previous post in the summer, you will have seen that we had started digging out the bank to create the foundations for the extension. Because of the bank and the need to support it, our structural engineer drew up some plans for some reinforced steel foundations, and here they are. The rebar was made to order, and although it’s not clear from these photos, was angled to sit at three different depths. Once the rebar was in and the drainage, we could pour the foundations in and we’re ready to roll!

 We then started getting the supporting wall up, again with reinforced block work (you can see the rebar just coming out of the block work). This was very tricky as there is so much stone in the bank, and it actually collapsed on the block work at one point which nearly made our hearts stop. 

Supporting internal wall, tanked.
After tanking the supporting wall, Serafin then worked his little socks off even more and spent a couple of days in the pouring rain getting the block work up to ceiling height. To keep some character in the new extension, we had decided to add two oak beams, that would run the width of the house. This meant that they would run through both the cloakroom and the porch, and we would raise the ceiling into the pitch to gain complete exposure of the beams.

The beams were so large that it took a lot of help to lift them in (thanks guys!) but they are all settled in now and will look fantastic once sanded and treated.

 The guys worked so hard that day to not only get the beams in, but also cut the roof timbers. It was so exciting to see these going up, as we really started to get a good sense of the size and shape of the build. 

Now that these were up, we wanted to try and get watertight as soon as we could. Serafin continued building the block work up, felt and battened the roof, and then tiled as much as he could before running out of materials. 

So it shouldn’t be too long until the tile delivery arrives and we can finish the roof. It’s looking fantastic and I’m so proud of all the hard work Serafin has put in to get it to this point. 

Because of the Article 4 Declaration on the cottage, and the fact that none of the windows are standard sizes, our new windows for the whole house are being bespokely made to the approved plans. We will use this small one in the extension as a sample for the council to view and discuss the finish with them, before we give the go ahead for the larger windows and sashes.  We have received a photo this weekend of the progress, and this little one looks stunning.

Like I said, we will discuss the finish and glazing with the council, and once decided will work on the finish ourselves (whether painting or staining).

So I think that’s where we are currently.

The plan is to get the window in, run the electrics and get the internal walls boarded. At that point we will probably start the groundworks for the second extension, and will use this one as a temporary kitchen whilst we rip everything out of the other part of the house. We’ll get that up, knock through, and then do the internal work and finishes throughout at the same time. Easy right?

I’m sure that plan will change!

Doing this small extension has made us realise that although it will take us longer, (with us both working full time) we will do the larger one ourselves too. We can do it, and although we will be living in a building site for a while, it makes so much more sense financially. It’s also a great feeling to renovate, extend and create our home together with our own hands. 

Hopefully they’ll be many more updates this year!

Have a great 2017 everyone, look forward to speaking soon.

Serafin and Emma x


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