Our Building Journey – Month Three – Sept

September started with a buzz. On the first of the month, a Saturday, our builder turned up to prep the site ready for the construction of walls starting on Monday! HOORAY! The moment we had been waiting for. Before leaving he asked us to start thinking about the position of the bifold doors and to mark them out. Joking with Jamie that there was some wood off cuts on our driveway if he fancied mocking them up to see the size and layout. Jamie relished the opportunity to get his wood saw out and start making something! For someone who once got his head stuck in his workbench when building it I was more than impressed with his efforts. We positioned the ‘doors’ where we wanted them, checking against our kitchen plans, furniture layout and determining the best size and then stood back in our derelict garden, with the sun on our backs,  gazing at the small cottage with its out of proportion 3m ‘doors’ imagining how it would soon look, as we often did these days. Nothing could prepare us for how it would transform over the coming month.

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Monday 3rd September

Routine as usual, the week started with food shopping first thing Monday morning and to my surprise and utter delight the first wall was upright before I returned home laden with shopping bags. They had started measuring and constructing walls as I was leaving but I was amazed at the speed in which they were erected. I thought maybe by the end of the day we’d see one wall in place. But by the end of the day we had the side wall in position too. They weren’t wrong, timber builds sure were speedy to build.

By the end of the week all the walls were in place and the scaffold was up ready to move onto the first floor.

After weeks of seemingly little progress, we had seen some huge progress in the first week of September and it was only going to get more exciting as the month progressed. I was elated.

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Monday 10th September

Monday saw a glance of what was to come, it was very noisy on site! Steel was being cut and fitted into the extension and the ceiling joists were being fitted ready to move onto the first floor extension, where the guest bedroom was being positioned.

On Tuesday we were evicted from the house for the day, thankfully we had playgroup in the morning and made plans to go to the farm for the afternoon. The builders were working inside our current kitchen, digging large holes and fitting steel for the first floor extension being built above, the master bedroom. I’ve already mentioned in previous posts how strict building regs had become and our cottage wasn’t to take any weight from the new floors above so that meant a lot of extra steel work being fitted. The guys were quick with their work though and extremely tidy. Not only did they manage to fit all of the steel inside but they also had two first floor walls, which would soon become the guest bedroom, erected.

By the end of Friday all the first floor walls had been constructed, including changes made to our master bedroom walls after I realised that the window wasn’t at all what we wanted. Following some quick measuring and drawing on my part they re-built the window wall with a larger opening and delivered what we were asking for. We also had the second scaffold lift in place ready to start work on the roof. What an incredible week.

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Monday 17th September

This week the focus was all on the first floor guest bedroom and the outside of the build. The outside was prepped ready to be rendered the following week and fitted with the first window at the front of the house. We had two windows from our existing kitchen that weren’t being used so we decided to recycle them and use them at the front of the house, the main reason being that they were in perfect condition and we wanted the front of the house to completely match, while the back of the house would be more eclectic, with the bi-fold doors and large master bedroom window taking centre stage! This did mean that we were in complete darkness in the kitchen now as the windows were removed and boarded up!

Chipboard was laid in the guest bedroom so you could now get in the room and move around and the timber frame for the roof completed. The easiest of the three different roofs being completed for the build. Aside from roof tiles, this room was completely constructed! Unbelievable. At a later date it would be divided as part of the guest bedroom will be sacrificed to become the ensuite for the master bedroom but we had lots of thinking and decision making to do before this happened!

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Monday 24th September

The priority now was to make the build watertight, especially since the rain was becoming more frequent. Speaking of rain, the outside rendering had to be postponed due to the rain so it was likely to be October before this job was started. However, the second window was fitted to the front of the house and they moved onto the master bedroom roof, leaving the tricky mono roof, over the kitchen, with velux windows until last. Progress was going well… until I checked in on the progress one afternoon towards the end of the week to see that the vaulted ceiling in the master bedroom was not as we envisioned it. It was far too low and it felt like a devastating blow as this was such a huge feature for us. One quick call later, it turns out that they couldn’t achieve the height we were after without a lot of work and steel in the kitchen and living room, compromising these two spaces. Which we already knew.  There was a very long in depth conversation between us all beforehand but it seems there was miscommunication somewhere along the way. We knew that in order to have a full vaulted ceiling we would need all the extra steel work and we decided we didn’t want our living room to house the steel required so opted to lower the ceiling BUT it was never clear that it would be this low, we were practically at a standard ceiling height! They weren’t sure what could be done but knowing how important this was to us and realising they hadn’t communicated all the information effectively, they went away to try and resolve the problem. We had all our fingers and toes crossed that somehow we could push the ceiling height upwards and create the vaulted ceiling we’d dreamt of. Only time would tell.

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