We are on the second to last leg of our 10-month build and lots of progress has been made since my last blog. We now have a completely weathertight building and have received the sliding doors for the kitchen and the hardwood double glazed sash windows for the remaining windows. These were supplied by Fytons and are fantastic quality.
We have, unfortunately, had issues with the glass doors from another supplier, which has been frustrating. They are seven metres long, with three panels, and are heavy and hard to open, so we are trying to resolve the issues with the supplier.
As you can see from the photos, this phase of the project includes creating a link between the main house and cart lodge. This connecting building will be timber in construction, with an inclined roof. We are considering a couple of options for this roof as it will be visible from a number of different locations in the wider building. One option will be a green, living roof. I’m also looking at different finishes, including copper for the front aspect, and birch plywood for the internal walls. The flooring will likely be polished concrete, with underfloor heating.
Moving onto the main house, all second fix electrics have been done for two new bedrooms and two new bathrooms. They are also tiled and painted. Downstairs, the underfloor heating is being laid for the 50m² kitchen-dining room. We are looking at two floor finish options, one being screed and then engineered wood, the second being poured and polished concrete flooring. Both are coming out pretty much identical in terms of costs, so it’s a tough decision.
Continuing with the kitchen, we eventually decided against Ikea, for two main reasons. One, they have stopped doing home visits, and I don’t think you can be expected to accurately design a kitchen yourself using their software. Secondly, the labour cost we were quoted for putting it all together was high. In the end we went with a local branch of Howdens, who almost matched Ikea on price, and we get a properly pre-made and fitted kitchen, with a warranty.
Given the size of the kitchen, I’ve taken the bold move to have NO wall-mounted cupboards at all. I’ve also hidden the hob into the corner. This allows us to have a four-metre high, five-metre long wall with just draws, worktop and a large blank wall with no clutter or extractor hood. This wall is being clad in oak veneered MDF with a golden, illuminated with angled downlights, and bronze finished for a Mid-century look. It should look fantastic, hopefully!
In the existing house, our living room, as you can see from the photos, is still a wreck…but it is finally coming together. The chimneybreast is out and the steels are in. This allows us to connect an existing living room with a horrible boot/laundry room to form one large double-length living room. We are cutting holes for two large sash windows into the side of the original 1899 house, and the room also has a large double sash bay at the front, so it will have a lot of natural light. This room is again being finished in a Mid-century style, with floor-to-ceiling 305cm black walnut MDF panels, with no skirting boards or cornice.
We are also having a new fireplace, which I designed myself. This will be in herringbone brick, and a separate floor-to-ceiling course of brick, one foot from the chimneystack, that can be filled with wood. The builders are making me a large concrete hearth that overhangs across the whole fireplace as part of the design. The brick will be painted white to contrast with the walnut panels.