Thursday, 24 March 2016

Raising the Brickwork

Mike had been a bit concerned about the height of the cooker hood in the old fireplace opening:

 It wasn't much of a problem for me but because of  his extra height we decided to raise the opening and finish off the brickwork surround by reclaiming the old bricks. 

Once finished, it looked fab:

We had noticed a damp patch on the external wall, and as this was going to be a cupboard later on we thought it would be a good idea to introduce an airbrick into it at this stage, so we did:

We also had the flue installed to the old bread oven:

Meaning that we could test it out:

It had great draw up the chimney and will be the ideal pizza oven when we move into the kitchen!

Laying Laminate and an update of Solar Thermal

Gaining in confidence recently, I was keen to lay the floor in the teachers en-suite bathroom. 

So, after securing the mash and mess of floorboards underneath, I applied a space age looking underlay for troublesome floors and sealed up all the gaps:

Next it was a case of laying out the boards so that they had a good mix of pattern and clicking them into place:

A few pipes to cut around and test out my precision (which has never been that good)

But I was really pleased with the finish:

So by the time the bath went in - it looked like a proper room!

And whilst all this was happening, we had the solar thermal tubes installed:

They were filled and tested and looked neat against the Solar PV:

A few more tests with the header tank and soon we were producing 60 degrees heat from the power of the sun - brilliant! 

So with this system, the wood pellet boiler and the PV, we're pretty much relying on nature to heat us and apply us with electricity to power each system, which really is fantastic!

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Replacing the Windows

After some of the storms recently, we've had a few of the top windows of the house flapping open on their own, despite being locked! After heavy rain, they have also been leaking and with the seal going a couple of them too we thought it would be prudent to replace them before causing anymore damage. 

So, having been impressed with the job that Clearview did on our main bathroom, master ensuite, teachers bedroom and on the cider barn windows, we employed them again to replace the top 4 bedroom windows. We had opted for the Victorian Slider range and altered the arrangement of the astragal bars, so as to allow more light into the rooms and ultimately more of a view.

The house looked really peculiar once they had removed the old windows:

But once the new ones were in, we were really pleased with how it complimented the rest of the frontage:

Around the back of the house, we spent a bit more time getting the windows right for the kitchen, where we opted for wooden ones to compliment the exposed beams in the roof. 

 We used the same joinery who had made the replica cider barn door, and after measuring up the openings, the new windows arrived in iroko ready for oiling:

And, after a few days fitting, we were really impressed with the end result:

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Unexpected Drain Works..

Having scheduled the fitting of a drain liner on to the pipe underneath the new kitchen floor (it had blocked before Christmas) we were very surprised to hear that since it had been unblocked, it had collapsed in on itself. This wasn't great news, but gave us an opportunity to look at taking the main drain outside of the house. Therefore bypassing the need to cut up the kitchen floor with the new underfloor heating installed (not really an option in our eyes).

A chat with Patrick put us at ease about it all and we looked at taking the new drain around the outside of the kitchen, through the courtyard and attach it back into the existing system to run off into the septic tank. 

We removed the old water tank from the courtyard so that this could happen:

it made a right mess:

And before any new channels were dug out, we had to find the pipe we wanted to connect to
 - this was quite the task! 

Having been advised from John that the old drain ran off along the side of the tennis court, Philip on his digger had a good hunt around. 

Firstly by an obvious chamber:

Then following this up towards the court:

After a long morning's dig, they found the pipe:

So the new route was dug out towards the courtyard:


The courtyard was dug out 

then followed through the house into the downstairs bathroom:


which was then connected to a new manhole the otherside:

Before filling the main trench in we decided, that whilst this was being dug, it was a good opportunity to put in some armoured cabling for any future electrics we might want outside. This ran along the length of the trench and will be connected up to the fuse board for future works.

The manhole the rear side of the courtyard (in the walled garden) was established:

The pipes in the courtyard laid:

Then filled in and finished with a top coat of cement:

The new chamber by the court was constructed:

The earth around the site flattened:

And then we were all back to normal (ish)

So an unfortunate situation but one that has made us completely robust with a new plastic uncollapsable drain pipe and the opportunity to introduce electrics into the garden without having to dig it all up again!

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Six square meters of finished house!

To move the plumbing along, we have been prepping the areas behind radiators recently, to get them ready for installation. It's been a bit frantic to be honest, having to decide on the finished colour of each room ALL AT ONCE, but in some way it has made us commit and just make a decision so, here are our first 6 square meters of completed house!

teachers ensuite:

main bathroom:

teachers bedroom:

games room (well, this one was easy - let's just leave the stone exposed!!):

During the process of deciding upon colours we have been in and out of DIY shops, so as a distraction (which will become a neccessity) we found some wallpaper we liked for the dining room wall (to compliment the reclaim timber wall):

and some samples for the master ensuite shower:

we're thinking black slate effect..

Here's hoping the rest of the decorating wont be as hectic, and now with an army of colour samples, deciding on the colours for the barns should become a breeze!