Plain Barny; what I’ve learnt this year.

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.

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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┬áthree 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 ­čśë 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.

IMG_2712I 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…

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… 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Barny Winter

Our Barny Winter

Trenching

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.

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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┬áthe 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!

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Insulating sheets to hold that in place…

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… 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┬áthan I’d pictured. Maybe we’ll set a new trend in interior design ­čÖé

Work in progress – watch this space and have yourselves a wonderful Christmas!

 

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.

black windows

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

steel stairs

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).

corrugated tin roof

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.

Wester red cedar

(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┬áover 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!)