Barny Update – Then and Now

Barny Update – Then and Now

Midway through (our budget at least) I thought I’d share a few ‘then and now’ pics of our barn conversion.

All this has happened in the last six months…

We’ve kept the door on the left (an upcycling project maybe, any suggestions?) and the Sister covets the nifty (temporary) sliding doors for her shed.

The beautiful bricks are insulated now (and waterproof too!)

Almost unrecognisable! The inside has changed a bit too – upstairs…

… and downstairs.

But it’s the outside that knocks me for six every time I walk past it.

I can’t wait to see what the next stage brings.

Barny Update – Interior Design

I’m not getting ahead of myself. This isn’t me adorning my 3D designs with cushions and trinkets (though I might confess to having played that game. Once or twice).

No, the plumbers have to know where to run the pipes (all 400 m of them) for my bath and everything plumbery (including the kitchen sink) before the floors are laid. The electrician will thread cables through our walls ahead of plaster-boarding (I think they call this the ‘first fix’. Get me, learning the jargon.)

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It all feels rather premature, but I need to decide what I’m having and where I’m putting it all. Right now.

What fun! Let’s crank up the 3D designer.

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The 3D design of my bathroom had everything slotted in, but it was quickly pointed out  by the experts that I’d altered the room’s dimensions to suit my intentions. Apparently, that doesn’t really work.

Back to the drawing board.

This is when those quirky features I thought were so cool come back to taunt me. Like the full height vista of rolling fields I’d imagined myself enjoying while I steeped in my bath with a view. What I hadn’t imagined was a garden table below a picture window which beautifully framed my upstairs toilet.

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We played ‘puzzle-my-bathroom’ for several days, me and the builders. We shifted a couple of walls (the builders’ idea, not mine. Bless ’em, they’re learning). They even made plastic templates of basins and bogs and bath tubs in an effort to hasten my decision making. I’d love to show you a photograph of the ‘hallelujah’ templated bathroom but no sooner had I said “That’s it!” than they ripped up the temporary floor to start shoving the pipes in.

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Do it quick! Before she can change her mind!

And so… on to the kitchen.

I’ve found a nifty online kitchen design app…

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… and I’ve cautioned the builders that my initial ideas may not take full account of the room measurements.

Another bloody great window. Sockets to place. A feature wall and feature stairs to accommodate and the wishlist is long. I might need more templates… dishwasher, fridge, cooker, sink, island, larder unit, microwave, spice rack…

Hell. And I thought the bathroom was tricky.

 

 

 

 

Barny Update – Weatherproof by Winter?

Barny Update – Weatherproof by Winter?

With the days drawing in the push is on to wrap our barn up snug before winter arrives. Waterproof, windproof and hopefully a bit more comfortable for the builders who will be working away in there through whatever the dark months throw at us.

I got up close and personal with our beautiful corrugated-steel roof this morning.

That meant scaling this ladder…

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… and taking lots of photographs because that climb was only happening once.

Except I forgot to take my camera up.

So I had to do it again, to gather proof that I’d braved the scary ascent.

Here’s me scampering about like I was born to be off the ground.

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I wasn’t and thankfully they didn’t photograph me trying to get back on the ladder. Coming down is the worst. I’ve promised the builders they won’t have to nurse-maid me up there a third time.

BIG TICK – roof finished and conquered. (NOTE TO SELF – chase guttering order while the scaffold is still in place.)

The gutters are going to be galvanised steel as well, and we’re slightly concerned that we might have gone a bit too cheap rustic with them…

 

… but, hey,  this is meant to look like a barn, right? (And have you seen the price of cast iron or aluminium gutters??) At £5 per meter for steel versus £27 per meter for ali or iron, they’ve got to be worth a shot.

Next BIG TICK, the gorgeous, feather-edge cedar has been delivered to clad the external walls. Our most expensive single purchase so far, but just take a gander at this:

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The barn is stacked to the rafters and it smells like an evergreen forest but the builder’s aren’t getting much chance to appreciate that. They’re masked up and spraying all 1118 linear meters of it with a weather protection oil. And it’s all got to be done twice… front and back. I feel like I should be apologising.

By the next barny update I should be able to show you some on the walls. 🙂

But it’s a BIG (angry) CROSS for the windows. After six weeks of chasing with no encouraging response from the suppliers (they were “very busy” and it was “mad there”) I finally got my order confirmation with a delivery date 7 weeks later than originally promised. Which takes us to the end of November. They’ve allowed me a generous 4 days to confirm the nitty-gritty or risk losing that slot…

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… measurements, colours, handles, trickle vents, fire escapes, transom and mullion alignments (no, I don’t know either).

So that’s probably what I ought to be doing right now, instead of writing a blog post. I do hope that winter holds off. (NOTE TO SELF: order scarves and gloves for the builders.)

 

 

 

Barny Update

Barny Update

I realise it’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted progress on our barn conversion and I’m not sure why, given that it’s steaming ahead and I’m rarely thinking about/talking about/looking at anything else!

I was hoping to do a ‘poll’ on here to ask readers opinions on a few of the crucial design decisions I’ve been grappling with, but the technicality of WordPress plug-ins beat me so I made the decisions myself (which is probably what I would have done anyway.)

So… we’ve opted for black for the interiors of the window frames (which still feels nerve-wrackingly brave!) Windows ordered, so no going back now.

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… and black metal stairs (if I can source some we can afford).

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After veering away from a tin roof in fear of noise and heat a last-minute U-turn returned us to traditional corrugated steel (also ordered).

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And those of you who follow me on Facebook or Twitter will know that we’ve chosen gorgeous Western Red Cedar for our exterior cladding.

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(Only ours will be horizontal feather-edge. God, doesn’t cedar smell gorgeous!)

Our house won’t be as trendy as those in the pictures, we don’t have the flair or the budget, but I’m still collecting ideas-above-my-station and pictures of stuff I can’t afford over on Pinterest.

I’m trying to design the kitchen now, ahead of electrical wires and plumbing pipes being laid through floors and walls, and I thought I’d settled my bathroom but I’m in a dilemma over whether to place a freestanding bath in front of the window or offset to the side (first world problems, I know):

(Yes, the glass will be clear but there are only fields out there. I might provide a blind for the coy). Your opinions are welcome (but please know that I’ll probably ignore them).

Back in the real world, the builders are hard at it creating partition walls, inserting noggins for plasterboard and crafting beautiful lead-work…

They’re about to start wrapping the whole package in a breathable membrane and scaffold for the roof work arrives in a fortnight.

Our little Chaff House is forming (and hasn’t the dog got big!)

 

 

Trusses and purlins and joists… Ooh, look at that view!

Trusses and purlins and joists… Ooh, look at that view!

We’ve got them all in the barn, but I struggle to pinpoint exactly which one is which.  The line “Run that by me again…” has become a response that I use to delay while I try to work out which bit of the jigsaw the builders are talking about.

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I do know that the wood is beautiful. I just love the symmetry of it, the airiness and the different views through the lines of the structure. Craft with purpose. It was sad when the plywood went up, screening the skeleton of the building from sight.

But the barn does begin to look more like a house.

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And with the arrival of those mahusive steels that I told you about…

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… the big build reached first-floor level. The builders are eyeing the roof now and the timber discussions are becoming ever more complicated. Trusses and purlins and joists, lintels and collars and plates…

It’s a relief to talk about bricks for a change.

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I know what they are, they’re Cambridge Whites. I knew the barn they belonged to as well. The Farmer probably had a den inside its walls, back in the eighties, before the building was demolished.

We had to move this beast to extract our bricks from their 30-year hiding place:

And their reuse has justified The Farmers belief that you should never chuck anything away (damn it).

My bricks are beautiful too, but nature wins the day and it’s the views out of our soon-to-be windows that really take my breath away.

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Plain barny – Grand designs, less than inspiring vision

Plain barny – Grand designs, less than inspiring vision

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).

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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.

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Oh well. I can see through them. The Farmer may have to limbo.