Thursday, 27 August 2009

Roof Update

Mum and Dad went to site yesterday evening and took some photos of the roof in progress. Not a huge amount done in two days (if you don't count yesterday because it was raining).

Sunday, 23 August 2009

More Walls

Yesterday Darran and I spent the morning starting to put up the rest of the internal walls. We have decided that we will do it over the next two Saturdays. We can only work until 1pm so it's just right at the end of a week at work.

Here is what we did; this is the bedroom wing showing the bathroom and en-suite walls.

We've got the sitting room / kitchen dividing wall to do next Saturday and to finish putting a few studs in and the noggins.

When this is complete it means that both the architect and the structural warranty inspector can finally sign off the timber frame stage.

Here are some pictures of the slating in progress.

Not too much had happened as one of the chaps had been 'off sick' apparently. I know we shouldn't be so suspicious of people but you do wonder sometimes! Anyway, they are back on it in full swing this week and the main chap knows we're back up next weekend so we hope to see a big difference.

Thursday, 20 August 2009


We thought we'd do a post reflecting on our experiences so far with the build, a bit of an insight in to what goes on behind the blog posts.

There is no denying that it has been exceptionally hard work so far and a struggle at times. From first agreeing the purchase up until today, really! It's not just the physical aspects, they're the easy bits by comparison, it's the organising and dealing with the contractors and suppliers that can be so frustrating. For instance, how many times do you think you'd need to tell a window manufacturer that you would like stained wood windows and not white? Four. And then to add to your exasperation you receive a revised quote and one of the windows is still white! And, if you received a letter instructing you to erect scaffold on site and ready for use by the 3rd August, would you do it ready for that date? The majority would, but as in our case the firm thought we wanted it erected on the 3rd August. Where in the letter did it say that?! Point to it and show us!

Is it rewarding though? Absolutely. Without a shadow of a doubt.

As soon as we step on site the feeling that we are building our own house and will eventually live in it is a mixture of excitement, achievement, and if I'm being really honest slightly pleased with ourselves that we are doing this and have come this far (with the added bonus of still speaking to each other!). We promised ourselves we would enjoy the build and not turn it into a chore, we've clung on to this promise with our finger tips at times, it has been stressful, pressured and we have been slightly short sighted on occasions. Taking two weeks to put the frame up was physically exhausting, but then Darran beat his personal best by standing the roof trusses in a week (with a little help!).

The more the build progresses the more it is easy to get overwhelmed by the enormity of what is ahead of you and what's to be done. We've done some of the hardest bits physically (apparently!) but there is still a lot more to go. We're now looking at each bit individually and ticking them off as we go (lists, I love lists!), breaking things down in to bite sized chunks. This is all very well but you still need to have an eye on what's coming up next and getting the next step in the pipeline. What we have learnt is that you don't need everything, including the shape and size of the heated towel rails, in the pipeline at the same time!

You can read all the self build magazines, go to seminars, watch Grand Designs, read so called 'self build bibles' on the subject, but none of these prepare you for what you're taking on. The only way to learn how to do it is to take a deep breath, close your eyes, jump, and hope the bottom isn't too far down!

We've got a lot more to come, there will be more struggles and frustrations and a lot more excitement. But above all we're both still very happy we made this decision to own our first home together this way.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Roof In Progress

Mum and Dad went to take some photos for us at the weekend of the roof so far. Looks like they have most of the felt and battening done. Darran spoke to the main chap on Saturday and he said they had slated the back elevation.

We're going up next weekend to start to put up the rest of the internal walls so we'll see a big difference then I'm sure.

Monday, 17 August 2009

What's In A Name?

Deciding on what to call our house has been very difficult. We know the address, but we also want a name to give it a bit of identity rather than just being a number.

Severn Trent Water are now ringing fairly frequently because they want to bill us for our water usage but can't at the moment as they need a registered address. They have given us to the end of the month!

Options we have had......
  • Dundealin and Needle Cottage because of what was found here (you'll be pleased to know these were never considered seriously).
  • Berry House due to how much my Blackberry has been used to build the house and the fact that we plan to grow berries in the garden.
  • The Garden House because it's built in the garden of the main house.
  • On a bad day it has been just No. 3 which is it's number in the courtyard.
  • The Hideaway, because the house is hidden away.
After much deliberation we have decided on The Garden House. This seems the nicest and the most suitable.

Now we have to write to the Council who then register it and send the details to whoever needs to know. We'll also be putting a post box on the security fence at the weekend for any thing that finds its way to us by mistake.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

A New Home

Look what Gramps has made for us!

A lovely bird box which is already up in the Silver Birch tree ready for the first occupants. We decided to put it here as the front bedroom is going to be our office/study and we can see it from the front window.

Thank you Gramps xx

Saturday, 15 August 2009

First Signs Of Life

We said here that the foundation contractors had found a maple tree when they were clearing the site for the garage. They replanted it near the back fence. When we were building the timber frame the leaves were brown and crispy, it had a bit of a lean and it didn't look well at all.

But now look! Life!

It's hard to tell from the picture but the leaves are red which will be lovely. There is a lot of new leaves, even at the top, so we're sure the tree has taken in its new spot. Nice.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Finished! Phew!

The roof is finished (with a little help from our friends!). Darran worked so hard to get it done in a week, and what a week it was! Here are some pictures of it complete and ready for slates.

Darran spoke to the roofing contractor yesterday and they were hoping to start on Thursday. Some of the slates had been delivered yesterday but there had been a mix up with the hire of a fork lift and one hadn't arrived which meant the slates spent the night roughing it on the pavement! Mum and Dad drove by this morning to see more being delivered so we hope the fork lift is sorted out!

Next on the list for us is to sort out the windows and doors and place the order, and to finish putting up in the internal walls in order to get the timber frame stage signed off. We also need to erect the sample from our brick slip supplier so the Council can give the final nod of approval. We will probably do this at weekends for a while to get back to some normality at home for a while!

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Roofing (with Mother In Law!)

Site took on a different atmosphere today; Darran not only had me as a helper (well, more of a sitter and supervisor today), but Mum too. It was apparent that a 'mummy' was on site as a pot of Carex hand wash and hand towel appeared at the stand pipe.

Mum was up on the scaffold with Darran painting the rafter feet (the ends) in Weathershield paint. She was soon promoted to helping to stand the trusses which was a great help.

(Getting instructions - above!)

They got on really well, and we now have a roof that is almost finished.

(The black bits you can see here are the rafter feet that Mum painted.)

It's hard to get the true feel of it as all the scaffolding is still in place. There are still the hip-ends to finish (where the roof slopes down to the end wall) and ply to put around the bottom of the trusses to aid the roofers, who should start next week.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

All Trussed Up

Now Darran and I are in the same part of the world, we can post the latest photos of the roof that Darran has been working on this week. And wow, we now have part of a real roof!

It's been a slow start but there is a system going now so it should start to flow. Darran is still hopeful to have it done by Sunday; tomorrow is judgement day on whether he will or not. Mum is helping tomorrow and we're painting the rafter feet and some ply wood to go around the bottom.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Raising the Roof

This morning Darran went up to the plot to start to stand the roof trusses. I spoke to him at lunch time and it was all going well and the trusses were coming in batches which made them easier to manage. Unfortunately the van driver was a bit of a wimp and although the manufacturers had told us they could get the van up there, the van driver decided he couldn't. So, this meant Darran had to carry them up to the plot (with the help of a chap who was working on the house at the front).

The scaffolders hadn't quite finished so were also on site doing the garage.

The house seems to have faired pretty well in all the wet weather, although there is water stood on the slab. The sooner we get the roof on and covered over the better.

I go up on Thursday for a long weekend, I'm not sure what I've been marked down for, painting was mentioned yesterday so perhaps that.

In other news, gossip from site is that the Council received a complaint from one of the neighbours that the house was too big. A planner was on site last week measuring, but we assume everything was fine as we weren't contacted.

PS - the photo is a bit of a long shot as I was struggling for something appropriate, hopefully we won't have pigeons on our roof.