At the weekend, we converted a bit of the bottom field nearest to the house into a vegetable patch. It is only 6ft x 6ft, but more than big enough to grow some spuds – the first lot are already in. However, it did take some time to tidy up this piece of land and move a couple of tons of top soil into place.
Since we had an 8 ton excavator on site to relay the top soil in the top field, it seemed like a great opportunity to increase the size of the vegetable plot. Well, it is now 6ft x 40ft!
The original vegetable patch was 6ft x 6ft and at the far end. Since we had an 8 ton excavator onsite to relay the top soil in the top field, it seemed like a good idea to make it a bit bigger. It is now about 6ft x 40ft!
Now all the building work is complete, it is time to replace the top soil on the top field. This was removed when we put the pipework in for the ground loops. While we replace the subsoil, we left the top soil in a pile. Otherwise, it would have got everywhere.
We are going to have the local farmer re-seed this field for us, but first we need to get the soil back down.
The time has come for us to put the top soil back down. It was taken up when we installed the ground source heat pump. We haven’t put it back down until all the building work was finished, otherwise it just sticks to everything and gets everywhere. There was probably a few hundred tons of topsoil here.
The topsoil is deposited in to heaps across the field. We then used the digger to level these heaps out.
It looks as if we might have turned a corner on the installation of the kitchen. Fingers crossed.
Although all the cabinets and appliances are in place, the worksurfaces are still waiting to be installed because the sinks have not arrived. The sinks are made of granite (actually, it is a man made substance called Silestone), like the worksurfaces, and are bonded to the underneath of the worksurface so it looks as if it is all made from one piece of stone. The problem is that the sinks are coming from Spain and the overflows have been installed 40mm (yes, 4 cms) from the bottom of the sink – you can’t even get enough water in the sink to cover a mug! I am not quite sure of the rationale here, but I am told that this is how they do it on the continent!
The good news is that sinks manufactured for the American market do not have an overflow at all. So the solution is that we are having to import 3 sinks from the US. Unbelievably, these were manufactured in Spain and then exported to the US. And now we are bringing them back to the UK.
The good news is that 2 of the sinks have arrived in the UK. They are being bonded to the worksurfaces today and are due to be installed on Thursday. With any luck, we can get the sinks plumbed in and the hob installed before the weekend.
The one remaining sink is due in next week. So hopefully, we will have the worksurfaces on the island installed next week.
While it is not entirely finished, we have moved in. We are keen to start living in the property so that we get a sense of what might need to be changed (while we still have some opportunity to change it!).
In July 2012, we thought the end date might be around March 2014. At the time, I remember adding an exclamation mark as I thought it was such a long way away (see here on the About page). Well, I guess it was at the time.
We still have the master bedroom to finished as well as the two attached ensuites, but the other bedrooms are finished and there are working bathrooms too! The ground source heat pump seems to be settling down and we have heat and hot water (most of the time). We have lights despite having a shortage of light switches. However, you can always revert to an iPhone or an iPad if you can’t find the switch (but this does get annoying rather quickly!).
The kitchen is still a bit of a challenge. The granite sinks haven’t shown up yet, so we have no worksurfaces. And this means no water (hot or cold) or hob. However, we seem to be managing for the time being although I am guessing that this will soon becoming frustrating.
Of course the outside is still to do, but there again it isn’t the summer yet!
All the timber flooring was finished yesterday and today it was the job of sanding the floors and applying the final coat of varnish. The timber boards had already had a couple of coats of varnish before being laid, but the final coat seals the floor and all the joints between the boards. It takes around four hours to go off, but it is best left overnight.
Once the varnish has set, we will fit the skirting boards. These have already had one coat of paint. They will need a second, but at least one coat speeds up the process. The varnish is a satin matt. It only looks glossy in the photo below as the varnish is still wet!
The timber boards already have a couple of coats of varnish on them before they are installed. Once the boards are laid, they are sanded and then a final coat of varnish (polyurethane based) is applied using a felt pad. The varnish is poured into a plastic bin bag in a crate. This enables them to dip the pad fully into the varnish before applying.
We re-built the old coalhole that was on the end of the building. It had to be re-built as it was damp and very dark. We finished the flooring in here yesterday and once the varnish has gone off, it will be time to install the skirting boards.
It is a great space – a little quirky – but it just adds character to the room.
Adding skylights and increasing the size of the window has increased the light here as well as increasing the sense of space.
We added these skylights to the coal hole to bring in extra light. We also doubled the size of the window to the left for the same reason. This space is now much lighter – it also feels much bigger than before we rebuilt it (even though it is exactly the same size). It is amazing what difference the light makes.
This room used to be the old coal hole. The door to the left leads to the outside. The steps have been built using flagstones that we reclaimed from the kitchen. The door to the right leads into the main house and I suspect that this used to be the original door into the property. It ceased to be used as the front door when the coal hole was built – the coal hole is on the 1768 map, so this doorway pre-dates that – the steps are original (the bottom step forms part of a foundation stone) and show significant signs of wear.
We finished the timber flooring in the hall yesterday including the flooring that covers the step for the stairs to sit on. The staircase that we are currently using is temporary while the finished staircase is being built.
We weren’t sure about the step when it was first built. It seemed a bit out of place, but now it is clad in timber, it looks better. We are still not totally convinced, but we are going with it for the time being. The addition of the LED lights (front and back) make it look like it is there on purpose (and not just covering up some pipework!).
This is the timber step that the new stair case will sit on. The temporary staircase has been removed so that the platform can be covered in timber flooring. The LED lights that are in the step have been snipped off – the wires have been fed through the holes and will be reconnected to the LED lights before being put back into position.
There is a floor box in the centre of the hallway. This has a couple of electrical sockets plus an ethernet socket and a controlled light connections. This means that we can put a lamp on a table in the centre of the room without cables laying across the floor. Since the light is connected to the Loxone kit, it can be controlled in exactly the same way as all the other lights in the house. The cover of the floor box is covered in timber flooring to match the floor.
The platform that the new stairs will sit on is also covered in timber flooring and this means that the temporary stairs need to be removed. You can see them on their side upstairs. The bulbs for the LED lights have been snipped allowing the cables to be fed through the holes in the timber flooring. These will then be re-jointed and the LEDs put into position.
Another view of the platform for the new staircase.
With the tiles in the kitchen laid and grouted, it is now time to turn our attention to the boot room and utility room. We are using the same tiles as in the kitchen and the tiles will be laid as a continous run. John made a headstart on tiling the utility room last week and today the boot room has been tiled. We are still waiting for the shower tray for the boot room – this will be used to wash the dog and wellies – but hopefully it should be ready to be picked up today.
We are using the same tiles as in the kitchen. In the far room, the boot room, there will be a showe to the left for washing the dog and wellies. The underfloor heating has been turned off in here while we are doing the tiling.
There is a shower tray to go in this position for washing the dog and muddy boots. Our guess is that we will use this entrance most of the time. We have picked a shower tray with a cup that allows us to remove any silt that might build up. The two white pipes are the hot and cold for the shower attachment.
We have used the same tiles in the boot room and utility room. These still have to be grouted.
The timber flooring is all done now in the lounge. There are three rooms with timber flooring and we managed to get 1.5 done today. The rest will have to wait until next week. We are now in a position for the skirtings to be put on now that the floor is down. There a few cables left over here and there, but we are almost there.
The new timber floor is down in the lounge. This was all installed in a day (together with making a start in the downstairs study).
Now the carpets are down, it is time to start on the timber flooring. There will be timber flooring in the lounge, hall and study. Since the lounge is on the same heating zone as the kitchen, the underfloor heating has been turned off for the last week or so.
We are using engineered Oak boards. Solid oak boards were shrink and twist with the heat from the underfloor heating. The oak flooring should match the oak in the exposed oak trusses. Once the floor is down, it is sealed using a
The flooring is being installed by CJ Flooring in Huddersfield.
The timber flooring has to be made from engineered boards rather than solid boards. This is due to the underfloor heating. The boards are glued onto the concrete screed. This helps with the heat transmission through the floor.
We have started putting the timber flooring down in the lounge. The underfloor heating in here has been off for the last week or so since it is on the same zone as the kitchen where we have been tiling the floor.
The timber flooring is glued to the cement screed. This helps transmit the heat from the underfloor heating. The glue goes off in about 4 hours, but in practice you can walk on it straight away as long as the boards are tightly fitting.