Our Building Journey – Month Four – Oct

Now, I know I left the last building post on quite a cliffhanger and I guess I’ve left you waiting long enough to find out the answer to whether or not we got the vaulted ceiling in our bedroom, although if you follow me on Instagram you’ll know the answer by now…

They did it! They found a way to raise the ceiling so we had a high vaulted ceiling without compromising the living space downstairs. We were ecstatic. We had to have extra steel fitted but they found a way to contain it to the ceiling of the bedroom only and as soon as this was made and delivered they got to work.

Monday 1st October

The steel for the master bedroom vaulted ceiling was delivered this week and they finally got the bedroom ceiling finished. And that was pretty much the story of the week lots of roof work. They also built the structure for the mono roof over the kitchen and started fitting tiles.

By the end of the week we had all three new roofs fitted and tiled. We were completely watertight and it was really taking shape.

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Monday 8th October

The week started with the builders removing our kitchen roof!!!! By far the biggest and most invasive job of the build so far. Not least because we had to empty out the kitchen. Half of it went into the office and whatever we couldn’t fit in their went into my studio.

Our current kitchen roof was a mono pitch and this had to be removed for the new master bedroom floor above. We headed out for the day as the work was going to be loud, messy and we wouldn’t have any access to our kitchen. But by the end of the first day they had the new joists in and had fitted the floor boards above. Job done. It was so strange coming home to a flat ceiling in the kitchen. The thing I loved most about the kitchen was the vaulted ceiling and beams and it was now all gone. For a long time I actually resisted the idea of a 4th bedroom over the kitchen for this exact reason but it made perfect sense. We had the space, we were already doing a lot of work to extend and actually the bedroom we designed is beyond anything we thought we’d have here so some sacrifices have to be made to realise the bigger picture. I still miss those beams but I am so glad we made the decision we did. Having a new master bedroom with en-suite has given us so much already. I can do yoga by the window, looking over the garden, we have dance parties in there, train track masterpieces. It brings us so much happiness.

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By the end of the week we had the velux windows in the kitchen fitted and the first window on the back of the house too. We also had the first coat of rendering on the outside.

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Monday 22nd October

Progress seemed to have stopped the previous week and no work was completed but the next couple of weeks more than made up for it.

This week they finished the outside of the house. The final coat of render was applied and the hardiplank fitted too. All that remained to finish the outside was fitting our bedroom window and the bifold doors but we knew that wasn’t going to be for a few more weeks yet. The doors were being manufactured so we were on a lead time and the only way to access the new upstairs rooms was to go through the master bedroom window, until they had knocked through the doorways. Knocking through to the guest bedroom required a new hallway being built before this this could be done and that meant dividing up our current bedroom to form part of this hallway. While this didn’t pose any issues they wanted to keep us in our own space for as long as possible and with the exception of the kitchen roof, we hadn’t yet started making any internal changes. Up until now it had been all about the build and the outside. The master bedroom couldn’t have a door knocked through until the large overhead power cable has been removed and this was completely out of our control. UKPN kept cancelling our appointments and until they had done their job we couldn’t fit a window and knock through the doorway.We’re lucky the builders found a workaround otherwise work would have been delayed for months. I still get angry thinking about how UKPN treated the job. It cost us thousands and no one else can do the work and the service was simply horrendous.

The electrician also started work. We spent hours designing the lighting plans. The bedrooms were fairly straight forward. I’d designed furniture plans for each and we knew where everything was going. We knew that in the guest bedroom we wanted wall lights fitted and it was a simple plan. For our bedroom we wanted fitted bedside lights too but I wanted something a little more grand and so we opted for hanging bedside pendants. We also planned for a large centre pendant and wall lights to light the vaulted ceiling. We went round every room marking out where every socket, switch and light would be fitted. The downstairs space was much more complex. There were tears, late nights and a lot of drawing and reworking but it was worth every second spent. Getting the right lighting plan for any space, especially the kitchen, is a game changer. He started upstairs and by the end of the week I think all the cables were in place.

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Monday 29th October

The scaffolding came down and what a difference it made! We could finally see the house in all its glory. But all of a sudden we needed to get the paintbrushes out to start painting the exterior to weatherproof it before the colder weather arrived. We were going on holiday the following week so there was a lot to do in a very short amount of time. Stress levels were particularly high and even the builders commented on my change in chirpiness. It just felt like we were at a very pivotal moment, made worse by the fact we weren’t going to be there so all these decisions had to be made before we left. We had to make some last minute changes to our lighting plan in the kitchen, this caused the biggest headache of all. We had to empty the whole kitchen ready for walls to come down while we were away. We had to mark out where all the units would be. And we had a whole house to paint. All on top of normal working days. Everything felt a bit much, these would be the final decisions, it had to be right. But I tried to remember how lucky we were. Lucky that up until this point we had experienced little disruption, that we were even doing this.

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Thankfully, this was all on us so the builders were busy working away regardless. One morning they knocked through to the guest bedroom AND I could finally see what had been happening behind the scenes. They had almost completely finished plaster boarding the room and it would be ready to plaster while we were on holiday!!!! We finally had a room that resembled a room. The hallway was built the same day and upstairs was taking shape. Not only that, but they had also started plaster boarding the master bedroom. In just a couple of days, it felt like huge progress had been made. In fact, when we look back at September, HUGE progress had been made in the last few weeks.

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The plan now was for us to head off on holiday for a week and when we returned upstairs would be finished and ready to decorate!!!!! Downstairs they were hoping to level the flooring, have the underfloor heating fitted, screed down and internal walls knocked down. They were going to be pulling long hours to try and get it all done. I was hopping with excitement and the worries of yesterday soon forgotten.

We managed to complete all our jobs before holiday and packed up and left home, excited to see the progress when we returned home, not realising at the time we wouldn’t return for another five weeks until the build was complete!

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