Monthly Archives: March 2013

Victorian fireplace tile

Written by stephen gale

When we removed the fireplace from No. 10, the fireplace was full of a lot of rubble – about 10 wheelbarrows of it!  Amongst the rubble were some lovely rich blue Victorian hearth tiles – a sort of long oblong shape.  Most of them were smashed and all of them were painted over.  Presumably, the rich peacock blue colour had fallen out of fashion at some point and it was then fashionably to paint them over with beige paint – yuck! 

I saved some pieces and scanned one in (see below).  I then thought I would do a quick search on the internet and see if I could find an image of a similar tile in situ with it’s original cast iron fire surround.  Well, imagine my surprise when I found the EXACT same tiles on sale London Mosaic Restoration– the image is identical (see below). What an amazing coincidence!

I did manage to find some images showing similar tiles in situ.  I think the ones in the cottage are not going to be quite as fancy as these, but you get the idea.

In the rubble behind the fireplace in No. 10, there were a number of peacock blue tiles.  They orignially would have been in a Victorian fireplace surround.

In the rubble behind the fireplace in No. 10, there were a number of peacock blue tiles. They orignially would have been in a Victorian fireplace surround.

Tile from London Mosaic Restoration - it is identical (apart from mine is only a bit of a tile!).

Tile from London Mosaic Restoration – it is identical (apart from mine is only a bit of a tile!).

Workshop space in the outbuilding

Written by stephen gale

We saved some of the kitchen units from No. 10 and have installed them in the outbuilding.  We have put the units along one of the drier walls leaving the back wall to fully dry out over time.  It is a bit of snug fit, but it does mean that there will be somewhere to store tools etc once the main building work starts.  It is also a fairly good place to settle from the elements, although a tad drafty!

We saved some of the kitchen units and have moved  them to the outbuilding.  Once building work starts in the main cottages we will need somewhere to store tools etc.

We saved some of the kitchen units and have moved them to the outbuilding. Once building work starts in the main cottages we will need somewhere to store tools etc.

Conservatory – completely removed

Written by stephen gale

The conservatory has now completely gone, just leaving a concrete based.  The lino went in the skip and the ply wood floor went on the bonfire.  There is a manhole set into the concrete for the drain, although goodness knows how you would have got to it without cutting a hole in the lino!

The stone from the outer wall has been stacked in the field out of the way and the pea shingle reused on the outbuilding.  There was a surprising amount of work in clearing up what was left of the conservatory once the uPVC frame and glass had been removed.

There was a lot of work involved in removing the brick base.

There was a lot of work involved in removing the brick base.

Stacking these stones neatly in a pile uses less space.

Stacking these stones neatly in a pile uses less space.

Damp on the back wall of the outbuilding

Written by stephen gale

Now the outbuilding has a new roof, our intention is to use it as a log store and a sort of site office.  The main problem with it is that it is a single skin building that has been built directly onto the earth.  It was probably the way everything was done back when it was built around 200 years ago.

In order to reduce the amount of damp coming in through the back wall, we have dug along the edge of the wall and filled it with pea shingle.  This means that there will not be damp earth up against the wall.  We will also fit a rain water gutter and down pipe.  For now, we will put up a plastic gutter and down pipe.  We may well change it later to something that matches the rest of the building, but for now our first priority is to try and get the outbuilding a little bit drier.

The fascia board has had a coat of black gloss paint, before the rainwater gutter is fitted tomorrow (weather permitting).

The fascia board has had a coat of black gloss paint, before the rainwater gutter is fitted tomorrow (weather permitting).

We have dug along the back wall on the building and filled it with pea shingle.  This should help reduce the damp penetration. The pea shingle was originally around the conservatory and has been re-used.

We have dug along the back wall on the building and filled it with pea shingle. This should help reduce the damp penetration. The pea shingle was originally around the conservatory and has been re-used.

Removing the base of the conservatory

Written by stephen gale

This took a bit more effort than we expected.  The wall base was very well constructed – cinder blocks and bricks on the inside and stone on the outside.  Rockwool had been inserted into the cavity for insulation.  We reversed the pickup onto the rear garden and used it to remove all of the rubble. 

The stone used on the outside of the conservatory wall has been kept.  We have taken off the sand and cement on the blocks and stacked them in the field.  The cinder blocks and bricks used on the inside have been put in the skip.

The stone used on the outside of the conservatory wall has been kept. We have taken off the sand and cement on the blocks and stacked them in the field. The cinder blocks and bricks used on the inside have been put in the skip.

We reversed the pickup onto the back garden and used it to remove the rubble from the base of the conservatory.  We stacked the old stone (shown in the back of the truck), but the material from the inside wall went into the skip.  We simply reversed the truck up to the skip and threw it in.  Simples.

We reversed the pickup onto the back garden and used it to remove the rubble from the base of the conservatory. We stacked the old stone (shown in the back of the truck), but the material from the inside wall went into the skip. We simply reversed the truck up to the skip and threw it in. Simples.

Even in the snow it is easy to drive this around.  In fact, there is slightly more traction with the weight over the rear wheels.

Even in the snow it is easy to drive this around. In fact, there is slightly more traction with the weight over the rear wheels.

Removing fence posts – the Top Gear approach

Written by stephen gale

Well, if you have some fence posts in the garden to remove, how do you remove them?

Easy, you put a chain around the base and attach the end to a 4×4. Engage 4 wheel drive and give it some “welly”.  Paddy and Jonny have been working on the house for the last couple of days.  They both have 4x4s.  We have our new (old) 4×4 pickup.  So it quickly resorted to a competition!

First attach the chain to the bottom of the post

First attach the chain to the bottom of the post

Then attach the other end to a 4x4

Then attach the other end to a 4×4

Then give it some "welly"!

Then give it some “welly”!

It's not just the post, but the concrete base that is the challenge

It’s not just the post, but the concrete base that is the challenge

My go!

My go!

Jonny at the wheel!

Jonny at the wheel!

The fence pulling team!

The fence pulling team!

Conservatory removed

Written by stephen gale

We were quoted £1500 to remove and dispose of the conservatory.  We advertised it on Freecycle (www.freecycle.org) and got a lot of interest.  We probably got in excess of 12-15 people who wanted to take it.  Today the new owners of the conservatory turned up, dismantled it and took it away.   

We still have the brick built base to demolish, but effectively the conservatory has been removed at next to zero cost courtesy of Freecycle.

Just the brick base of the conservatory remains.  The outside wall had not been plastered, but plasterboard had been attached. This is a result as it is easily removed and should leave little trace.

Just the brick base of the conservatory remains. The outside wall had not been plastered, but plasterboard had been attached. This is a result as it is easily removed and should leave little trace.

Just the brick base left.

Just the brick base left.

It is surprising how much more light comes into the lounge now that the conservatory has been removed.  Only the brick built base remains.  And the lino!

It is surprising how much more light comes into the lounge now that the conservatory has been removed. Only the brick built base remains. And the lino!

Sunday – and more snow!

Written by stephen gale

Well, we tried to dig out part of the farmyard yesterday.  But there is no sign of our hard work today as it is covered again with snow.  And then some extra snow on top.  Just for good measure!

The forecast for the week ahead is cold, but that we have seen the worst of the snow.  We decided that now would be a good time to dig out since it will only freeze if we don’t.  If with the new Pickup, we had to dig some of the bigger snow drift from the front of the yard just to allow us to get off the road.  There were drifts all over the place, although there was generally only about 9 inches of snow on the ground.

Digging out the snow drifts from the front door

Digging out the snow drifts from the front door

Turning the pickup around in the top field

Turning the pickup around in the top field

Splitting the building work into phases

Written by stephen gale

A few weeks back we took a first look at the proposed schedule.  This had been updated after we had received planning permission as well as a little more detailed added.  When we first started talking to the architect about the work, we had in mind that the building work would be complete by Christmas 2013.  At the time, we were surprised how long it was going to take.  Well, you can imagine how surprised we are when the latest completion date is April 2014!

Don’t get me wrong, the plan is what the plan is.  It just seems surprising that we aren’t going to start any building work until August.  Particularly when the existing cottages are already 75-80% stripped out.  If the stripping out work is finished by the 1st May, then it means building work effectively stops for 3 months.  The delay is due to the detailed work required for building regs, preparing tender documents and deciding on the main contractor.

In an attempt to reduce this delay, we have decided to split the building work into 2 phases:

  • Phase 1: Renovation of the existing cottages. This means re-roofing the existing main building, making the new internal openings, installing flooring (ground level and first floor) and installing new windows.  There will be no “first fix” for the services, insulation of the walls or roof, or doors installed.  This will all be done as part of Phase 2;
  • Phase 2: Extension of the barn plus refurb throughout the entire building.  This will ensure that the internals and services are all installed as one as well as reducing the overall cost.

 

By splitting it this way, we can start on Phase 1 while all the final details are being worked out for Phase 2.  And by doing all of the internals as part of Phase 2, this should reduce the chance that later changes need to be made to work completed as part of Phase 1.  At this point, I am not sure if this approach will reduce the overall length of the project – it feels as if it should – but we will have to wait until the detailed planning is complete.

Each of the phases will go out to tender and the intention is that we should be in a position for a main contractor to start work on Phase 1 during May.  For this to happen, the tender documents need to be ready the week after Easter.  There is still work to do on all the drawings, but there is still some work to do inside the cottages in preparation for the building work.

Gutters and down pipes

Written by stephen gale

These all need to be replaced and ideally in cast iron.  Surprise, surprise, we have found that there is a cast iron foundry in Holmfirth (just down the road).  J & JW Longbottom Ltdrain-water-shoe seem to produce a wide variety of traditional gutters and rainwater pipes.

The major issue with cast iron is going to be the cost, but it is something that we need to investigate before discounting it.  There are other alternatives such as cast aluminium and plastic, but it would be good to use a traditional material if possible.  It would also be good to make sure that the gutter put onto the outbuilding matches that used on the main house.

This is just another thing to go on the list of things to do!