In hindsight, maybe I should have learnt how to read a plan before we started building.
We went window hunting last week. The Farmer and I scaled the east on a mission to source our glazing. I’ve seen Grand Designs (and Building The Dream and The House That 100k built… Restoration Home, Big House, Little House… I could go on. I fear I do.) so I know that windows take an age plus a month to construct and I’m not intending to get caught out by that little build-stopping trick. Clever ol’ me.
Next job, measure the windows for a quote (I need to shave 70% off that dashed Crittall dream).
Taking careful account of the changes I’ve made (I’m holding my hands up to that) and the lintels/steels/trickle vents that the structural engineer and building control seem to think are essential, I set to work with my scale-converting ruler. (We’re four weeks into the build and I’ve only now discovered that scale-converting rulers exist. What joy!)
Or maybe not…
I’ve seen Grand Designs (did I say that already?) so my wonderful plans include all the modern essentials – patio doors and wide-portal vistas, Juliette balconies, en-suite wet rooms, open plan living and corner windows on (almost) every angle. (Those windows are giving the builders a headache. I’m told that ideally, every angle should be 90°. They aren’t in our tilting old barn. So the builders are jacking and propping, bracing and levering… or something like that. I tend to tune out when they start talking technical at me.)
I’ve got my ruler.
But this can’t be right.
Our architect has drawn patio doors opening off the master suite (Grand Designs talk for ‘biggest bedroom’). Building control notated these glorious doors as a ‘means of escape’ and demanded a Juliette balcony.
The structural engineer wanted mahusive steel beams (to span the open-plan living) and mahusive lintels (to span the expansive glazing).
With the girding beneath and above it, my bedroom wall appears to have shrunk to a measly 1600mm (that’s 5 little feet in English).
My patio doors are hobbit height.
Not exactly the grandly-designed, awe-inspiring vista I am envisioning.
Oh well. I can see through them. The Farmer may have to limbo.