It’s oodles and ages since I’ve blog-posted, so here are some snapshots of our barn to keep you updated…
Category: Our Barn Conversion
All White? #plainbarny
It was meant to be a non-decision (or decision-avoidance): “I’ll have all the walls white!” There √ One less thing to think about.
Brilliant white is a non-runner (unless we’re keen to wear sunglasses all day) so what I needed was a nice off-white (it’s white-with-a-hint-of-pretentious again) and, damn it, I’m back on that keyboard with the internet leading me deep into the un-murky world of white paint and showing me how very beautiful my house could be if I just concentrate.
Ultra-matt, flat-matt, sheeny or shiny?
Wipeable, washable or guaranteed durable?
Trade, artisan or posh-bird?
Cool-whites, warm-whites or neutral-whites (eh)? Oh, hang on, apparently it depends which way my windows are facing…
I’ll be needing two whites then: Warm tones, ‘based on reds and earthy-browns’, for those north-facing, cold rooms, and cool whites ‘based on greens, greys or blues’ for my south-facing sun traps…
…or possibly three – tepid tones (based on sludgy non-colours?) for those indecisive, open-plan rooms which face every-bloody-which-way. And what about east and west?
Just when I think I’m on my way to resolving this dilemma I start picking up paint charts and find there are hundreds, nay, thousands (nay, millions?) of whites out there. And, even when I’ve worked out that posh-bird paint would cost almost as much as the windows, Dulux Trade promise they can match every single one! Oh, joy.
I tried typing ‘make the decision for me’ into Google, but alas, Google was as confused as I. I bought tester pots based on whether I the name of a paint caught my fancy (frankly, some of those paint manufacturers play fast and loose with the word ‘white’) and I painted bits of wood to test in various locations.
Then the builders needed the paint, so I panicked and ordered 60 litres of two completely untested shades which had been recommended by an unknown interior designer on some random blog I’d read weeks ago.
Flat matt (I don’t like shiny)
Wipeable, washable and guaranteed durable please (farmers, dogs and wet Essex clay). I’m making the right decision here, aren’t I?
Trade (an actual non-decision. Glory be!)
They were right about taking account of which way the windows face though:
This is ‘Timeless’:
And this is ‘Clouded Pearl 3’ (that number must be important.)
Two paints, a multitude of shades and I fink they look all wight!
Interior Design by Google #plainbarny
Last week saw me deep in the trauma of a bathroom tile dilemma which resulted in my being blacklisted by more than one supplier for abuse of ‘order a sample by post‘. I’d already had a similar run-in with a certain manufacturer of engineered wood flooring.
Interior design by Google means a world of choice, literally at my fingertips, but it doesn’t make me an interior designer. So many choices and so many beautiful pictures of stunning interiors created by others but no one to tell me exactly what to do.
I have invented an acronym for the too much choice/not-enough-inherent-style syndrome I am presently suffering from:
(Fear of Uncool Copycat Utilising of Pinterest)
‘Order a sample’ seems to have become my knee-jerk reaction and I have sourced sufficient samples and swatches to decorate a modest bungalow, whilst not actually making any decisions at all.
Now I’m asking the world wide web which doors I should buy.
“Hey, WWW, which interior doors should I buy?”
… and I’m back on the cyber-cycle; surfing from Pinterest to Google with a swim across to Download our Brochure and a dip into Best Interior Design Blogs: ON-TREND IN 2018! (Velvet and variegated houseplants, in case you’re wondering.)
Is being on-trend a good thing? Will we be off-trend in 2019?
I only ask because this is costing us quite a lot of money and … Ah! Order a Sample. Yes. That must be progress.
Only oak is too oaky, ash is too yellow and ‘Scandi Horizontal’ is too on-trend. ‘Sand’ is grey (who knew?) and Maple is actually pink in real life. The Farmer won’t let me have plywood (the builders were so disturbed by that suggestion they couldn’t even dredge up a scathing comment).
Maybe I’ll just go white.
Now, should that be Pure Brilliant White, or White with a Hint of Pretentious?
Hey, I’ve got a paint visualiser app on my phone… I can point my camera anywhere and test a thousand different whites… Chiffon, Timeless, Clouded Pearl, Bleached Linen…
Hmmm, maybe. Order Tester Pot
Plain Barny; what I’ve learnt this year.
1. It takes a hell of a lot of pipes and wires to feed the desires of a 21st century lifestyle.
Honestly, you’d have to see it to believe it. There’s barely a foot of internal wall that hasn’t got services running through it.
There are pipes to the multiple bathrooms with their twin-headed showers, heated towel rails, baths, bogs and basins. Underfloor heating throughout; a water softener to extend the life of machines which will wash our crockery and smalls. There will be iced water piped from the fridge… and boiling water on tap. A proliferation of flushing, washing and draining that must all be carried away (through even more pipes) to a 21st century, biodigesting sewerage tank (no mains drainage here on the farm) with a pump (electrically powered) to aerate our sewerage and encourage the growth of shit-munching bacteria.
Funny old world. Nice segue onto electrics.
We’ve got three double sockets in each of two offices and a kitchen that’s wired to cook up a banquet. Pendant… wall… recessed… and outside lighting with two-way, three-way (and four-way?) switches. There’s TV cable to all of the bedrooms (although we’ve never, ever watched telly in bed – future proofing for laziness), Ethernet cable to multiple rooms and USB sockets littered throughout the building to enable the charging of gadgets. There will be pumps for the showers (essential given our water pressure, or lack thereof) and illuminating bathroom mirrors (becoming essential given our middle-aged eyesight, or lack thereof).
This all must have come as something of a shock to our water-less, powerless, little old 19th century barn (it came as a shock to me and I planned it). I guess 19th century farmers must have just downed their tools in the dark days of winter. There’s progress for you 😉 Goodness knows how they charged their phones.
It seems the complexity of wires in our build is even getting to the electrician. He thinks he saw a kangaroo outside.
I imagine he’s regretted saying that out loud, the piss-taking has been ruthless.
2. The dog likes to eat plaster.
Who knew that gypsum was a canine delicacy?
3. Stairs are complicated
That 15k quote has begun to make sense. The Farmer and the Engineer carried out endless mathematical calculations. They drew diagrams, built models, welded, tweaked, sweated and swore over stairs Mk I…
… before dismantling them and starting again.
But stairs Mk II are looking good! They’ve got as far as being tested in situ and, yes, they fit!
Impressive, huh? Still to be fine-tuned and some rough edges for smoothing but the dog and I are very much looking forward to losing that bloody ladder.
January Sales – Plain Barny
I love a bargain (don’t we all?) and I missed Black Friday and Cyber Monday (not by conscious, ethical decision. I was probably busy… or forgot what day of the week it was.)
All the more reason to hit the new year sales hard. But where do you even begin to start when you need ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD for a brand, spanking-new house?
Aha, I thought, I’ll start with a plan! So I did extensive research, making a list (and checking it twice). I trawled through a hundred reviews of integrated appliances, range cookers, tumble driers… (there are three different types of tumble drier. Who knew?) and, somewhat boggle-eyed, I finally achieved my whittled down selection of wise buys.
Damn it, not one of them was on sale.
Undaunted, and re-invigorated by Victorian Plumbing’s dynamic advert, I surfed on over to their site to check out the bath tub and taps I’ve been coveting for months (whilst watching the price and waiting for that special deal). Now VP are promising me A WHACKING 70% OFF! Yipee!
Alas and alack (and rather contrarily in my view) said bath, which has been discounted by 5-10% the entire time I’ve been watching, has returned to full price for the sale. Ditto my shiny, wall mounted taps and shower.
Right, I thought, you’re going about this in an arse upwards manner. What you should do is hunt out the bargains and then buy what you need…
… pink furry boots, jeans and a nightshirt, apparently.
Oh bugger. Strike three.
I may not have been looking in quite the right departments 🙂
p.s. Not much has happened over the Christmas break, but the plasterer made a start…
Look – a proper room!
Happy new year to you all.
Our Barny Winter
A video for my Auntie D who’s asked to see the Thunderbirds trencher in action…
… quite a machine, isn’t it? Although it was at this point that it suffered a setback tussle with the farm’s buried history.
Maybe it tumbled across the brick and flint of an old farm building, or the remains of a WWII runway.
No matter, it was soon repaired and back in action.
Just-in-time windows, insulation… and snow!
A huge sigh of relief that the windows fitted and, we think, look great.
We’ve got doors AND keys to get in now!
So we’re snug and watertight, just ahead of the snow which fell prettily, hiding the mud and rubble of our building site. A perfect photo opportunity.
Time to get indoors
There’s a mountain of rock wool to be squeezed in the walls. Not the nicest of jobs (sorry team). This stuff is ITCHY!
Insulating sheets to hold that in place…
… and, finally, plasterboard – we’ve got a room!
Those pesky stairs
Caught between eye-watering quotes and rein-it-in compromise, we may, at last, have found a solution to our staircase dilemma…
The Farmer and The Engineer are building them!
I have been warned that they might be more, how can I put it, agricultural than I’d pictured. Maybe we’ll set a new trend in interior design 🙂
Work in progress – watch this space and have yourselves a wonderful Christmas!
Plain Barny – WINDOWS!
Delivered and offloaded on one of the windiest day of recent weeks.
If you’ve got the sound turned on you’ll hear me squeal when the pallet starts rocking!
Busy barn… plumbers, builders, electricians, fitters and 23 windows looking for space out of harms way.
The first windows going in 🙂
And a room with a view…
Just a few pictures this week because it’s been all about the belt and braces stuff; essential, but not thrilling, unless you’re into this sort of thing…
Cutting a trench for electric cable (with Barley big-dog supervising). The builders hum the Thunderbirds theme tune when The Farmer slides back the barn doors: He’s got a weapon for every job.
Upstairs walls. I found 360° mode on my camera and made myself dizzy turning circles so I can’t remember what rooms these are.
A view down to our vaulted hall (Lords of the barn); a frame to hang my loo from (airs and graces) and mocked-up stairs (could they be made permanent if the budget runs out?)
Sorry, that’s all I’ve got (apart from a mountain of insulation which is currently blocking the tractors in and doesn’t warrant a photograph despite what it cost). I did warn it might not thrill, but hang in there for the next instalment when I hope to bring you (DRUM ROLL & TENSION BUILDING PAUSE…)
Plain Barny – It’s a kitchen ‘sulk-off’!
The Farmer and I are at a stand off over our kitchen cupboards. He doesn’t like my suggestions and I doubt I’d like his very much (I can’t be sure of that, I discourage input on his part. His primary role vis-à-vis interior design is to look at my ideas and reject them.)
Healthy debate isn’t unusual for us, and we can resolve the trickiest of dilemmas with a robust ‘sulk-off’. He/she who sulks the hardest wins the day. Although sometimes he wins by default, like when something exciting occurs and I forget I’m sulking in my eagerness to share, or (and this is the worst) when I’ve been busily sulking for days before it dawns on me that he doesn’t actually know we’re having an argument. He’s not a talkative bloke at the best of times, you see, and that one’s a double whammy because by then I’ve used up my sulking reserves ahead of the actual battle.
I guess sulk-stamina is a reasonable strength-of-feeling gauge, and I’m willing to give it my all in a kitchen sulk-off. It will be a sulk to the death… Or it could be if I was certain of what I wanted myself.
It’s all too confusing: Scandi, urban, rustic, industrial… Frankly, there are just too many choices when you spend as much time as I do scrolling green-eyed through pinterest.
I need help.
Below are four choices. One of them is my favourite and has already been rejected by The Farmer [that doesn’t rule it out yet :-)] another is my best guess at his choice (I haven’t actually asked him… that would encourage interference) and the other two are liveable-with compromises.
Do feel free to voice your choice of favourite. In a best case scenario I’ll have extra ammunition for the impending sulk-off ahead: Worst case scenario… it’s possible you may not hear much from me over the next few days.
Barny Update – another comparison shot
I missed this one yesterday but it’s too good to leave out (so many pictures to trawl through – the joys and tribulations of trigger happy digital photography).
The before picture in this one was actually taken in 2012 when the barn was in use storing hay for the horses (who had also kept the grass in the paddock trimmed!)
Hmm… we might need a horse or two in that paddock again 🙂