Saturday, 6 November 2010

Putting Your Foot in It!

What happens when you put your foot in it? See below!

I lost my footing when up in the loft installing the downlighters upstairs and this is the result. The only saving grace is that we're also using the plasterers to tile the bathrooms so when they come next they can hopefully put things right.

We have also had the front steps and disabled ramp built outside. Because this is a new build we have to have wheelchair access into the house not to exceed a certain gradient. This has meant that we needed to install a wheelchair ramp as well as steps as the entrance is higher than the pavement. We chose a grey granite slab with a pink fleck that is similar to the stone we have used at the front of the house. The same stone was used to build the steps too. The slabs are a bit damp in the photos so below is the photo from the website showing the colour of the slabs.

Grey / pink granite slab. Actually this photo makes it look more pink than it actually is, so it's somewhere between the 2.

Front Steps

The wheelchair ramp. We are going to put some plants in the space in the middle of the ramp.

Once we get the planting done in the middle of the ramp and round the edges of the paving it will brighten things up a bit. That will probably need to wait until next year now as it can get quite cold up here in winter time and we don't want the plants to die in the frost.

It was also Ari's 14th birthday this week and here is him sitting on the new front steps.

Also on Ari's birthday Dot's litter sister Zap gave birth to her first litter in California. 4 pups, 2 dogs, 2 bitches all black and white.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

September 2010 - Going Green

The plumbers finally turned up last week to fit the solar panels that have been sitting in their boxes for exactly a year. Pity that the summer has all but gone so we won't reap the benefit of these until next summer but the good news is that when they're fitted and we've received the certificate from the installer we should be able to claim our grant money from the Scottish Energy Trust. The grant scheme has now stopped so we were lucky to get in before they pulled the funding.

One solar panel has been fitted so far and they are coming back on Wednesday to fit the other one. They've already carried out the internal work to the boiler so hopefully that should be it.

The builders also completed the main patio area last week but it has still to be pointed and we still need to get the path laid from the patio to the driveway. We also need steps to be built up to the back door. This should be done over the next week or so and then we can finally let the dogs onto the patio / dog run outside the back door instead of onto mud in the garden. We still have to get the area fenced however before it's finally complete.

We've just about finalised the layout for the steps and ramp leading from the front entrance and we're just choosing the slabs to use. Favourite so far are granite slabs that should complement the front of the house.

Solar Panels

New Scaffold Tower

1 solar panel fitted to the roof.
This photo shows up the top half of the house that has been painted and the bottom half that hasn't

Patio / Dog Run

Drainage channel at the back of the patio
The garage will eventually lead be built at the back of the patio

Saturday, 11 September 2010

September 2010 - Where Has The Summer Gone?

It's been quite a while since I updated the blog and it's been pretty slow going here to be honest. We had a week off in August to do the processing for the Kennel Club's International Agility Festival followed by another week at Kelmarsh when we went to help out at the show, and when we came home to Scotland we had another week of holidays taken up by day trips round the Borders to places we hadn't been before. And now it's mid September and the summer is all but over!

Some small steps have been made as far as the build is concerned. The sanitary wear in 2 of the ensuite bathrooms is in the process of being fitted, 2 of the bedrooms have been painted, and the underfloor heating has been laid in the 3rd bedroom and ensuite. Next week I intend to start fitting the wooden flooring in that bedroom and then I can make a start on the main bedroom. We've also ordered all of the remaining tiles for the upstairs bathrooms.

Outside we have had builders in for the last couple of weeks working on the rear patio / dog run and front and rear entrances. The rear patio is about half finished but there is still quite a lot of work to do to complete the entrances (we only have a trench at the front so far!). New building regulations (Part M) state that we have to have a disabled (wheelchair) access into one of the entrance doors so we are also having to have a ramp built with a less than 1 : 12 gradient to connect the pavement to the front door. It'll be good to have the dog run sorted and fenced before the wet, muddy weather sets in.

Here are some photos of the build progress:

Bedroom 3

Underfloor heating fitted

Bedrooom 3 showing doors to cupboard and ensuite

Bedroom 3 ensuite with cistern and frame in place for WC, wall mounted sink and shower cubicle,

Master Bedroom

Double ended spa bath and double sinks

Frames for wall mounted bidet and WC fitted. Shower cubicle is opposite

Rear patio / dog run

Ground prepared

Gravel laid as a base

Quite a few slabs have been laid

But there are still quite a lot to go

Saturday, 12 June 2010

June 2010 - Moved in!

It's been a few weeks since I last updated the blog and things have moved on a little. The main news is that Karen vacated her rental flat mid May and we got our possessions out of storage and have moved in. OK, so we're only living in a quarter of the house at the moment but we have the essentials and the rest will come on later.

I've been concentrating on the getting the kitchen completed since it's the kitchen family room that we're living in at present. It's quite a big room (10m x 6m) so it's not quite as bad as it sounds, and it's certainly a lot bigger than the caravan!

The main essential bits that needed to be completed before we could move in were to complete the downstairs shower room and that's a tick in the box although there are still 2 walls to be tiled once the toilet and basin are boxed in properly. We'd been waiting for ages and ages for the plumber to return but he never turned up so eventually I had to bite the bullet and finish off the downstairs shower myself. The downstairs tiling had to be completed and that's complete apart from 2 walls in the shower room as mentioned above, and the kitchen is to be more or less completed including the worktop. We had hoped to get the worktop completed before our possessions came out of storage but as it turned out the worktop was fitted 2 days after the things turned up from storage. Mostly we were worried about the dust that the worktop fitting might generate but it didn't end up too bad in the end.

We eventually gave up on our plumber and found another one. He came and plumbed in the kitchen sink, dishwasher, washing machine, utility room sink and basin all in 1 day. So we went from having no real running water apart from the shower and loo to having running water in all of the places downstairs in 1 go. The utility room sink is leaking slightly though as the Swedish sink waste that came with the Ikea sink isn't too compatible with English plumbing fittings so we need to get the plumber back to sort it out, and until that happens the washing machine won't be in place. So we're still using the one in the awning for the time being. The tumble drier is all present and correct though.

As far as the kitchen was concerned we needed to get the undermounted sink fitted when the worktop was installed, then fit the induction hob and then fit the handles and plinths. The undermounted sink was supposed to fit in a cabinet 800mm wide but it didn't fit properly so I ended up cutting the cupboard so that it would fit. We bought some oak plinth for the units but in the end we didn't like them and they've now been replaced with plain black. The under cupboard lights still need to be done and also the pelmets. The skirting also needs to be fitted. I have fitted the window sills in the kitchen but I still need to fit the sills in the utility and family room.

We also found out that we need to fit at least 50% low energy lights in the house and the halogen lights in the kitchen are not low energy so we need to think carefully what type of lighting we have upstairs.

Some pictures of recent progress are below.

Downstairs shower room. The walk in shower is complete with an overhead rain shower and a hand held shower but the hand held shower still needs to be fixed to the wall.

Downstairs tiles. We have these travertine look alike tiles in all of the tiled areas downstairs - boiler room, utility room, kitchen / family room, hall and shower room

Photos of the kitchen are below

Back of the kitchen including ovens and induction hob

Double undermounted sink and drainage grooves in granite worktop

2 fridge freezers and a larder cupboard

2 leather dog beds under the island

Other side of the island. The middle unit is a 2 drawer fridge

I will start working upstairs now as I intend to get the main bedroom, sitting area and bedroom 3 completed next. That will then be half of the house complete. Then I will move onto the bedrooms on the other side of the house before finishing off downstairs as the the rest of our possessions are currently living in boxes in the lounge and the dining room is full of building materials so these will need to be the last rooms completed

Off to the Highlands for a couple of days tomorrow - first proper holiday in over a year!

Sunday, 2 May 2010

May 2010 - Front Entrance

Today we fitted the glass in the front entrance and the internal doors and cupboard doors, and the entrance hall now looks much lighter and brighter than it did with the temporary wooden panels fitted. There is still some work to complete in the entrance - tiling (due next week), electrics and painting, and of course the outside landscaping that will complete the steps to the house, but the work is largely complete.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

May 2010 - More Kitchen

More progress has been made on the kitchen and here are some new photos. The floor has been cleared ready to prime in preparation for the floor being tiled (tiling starts this week). The island has also been removed in preparation for tiling. We have chosen a supplier for the worktop (black starlight quartz) and the template is being taken next Friday. Fitting will take place about 2 weeks after that so we're about 3 weeks away from having a properly usable kitchen. They are also supplying the sink so that removes the need to source a sink, but we still need to find a tap that we like that is low enough to still open the window inwards (we have tilt and turn windows).

May 2010 - Doors and Floors

The internal doors downstairs have now been fitted (still have some of the frame work to complete and some of the handles), and here are some photos.

Door from the kitchen into the utility room (gap under the door is to allow for the Durabase tile matting and tiles to be fitted).

Double doors in the lounge (handle needs to be fitted)

Having looked at many, many samples of engineered oak we narrowed it down to an Atkinson and Kirby 22mm board that conveniently we can get through our main builders merchant, Jewsons. We ended up with about 3 samples that we would have gone with and in the end it came down to price. It's also the most convenient option for us supply wise.

Just to make absolutely sure that it was what we wanted we ordered 2 packs before putting in the main order and laid them out in the lounge. Here is a photo of the boards.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

April 2010 - Kitchen

The kitchen is starting to take shape now. Most of the units are in, and the fridge freezers, oven and microwave are now working. The dishwasher still has to be plumbed in (waiting on the plumber as usual!) and the drawer fridge that goes in the island will need to wait until the island is in place once the tiling is complete. We're currently getting quotes for the granite worktop and it seems that we will keep in budget so that's a good thing. We hope to get this sorted in the next couple of weeks. We still have to buy an undermounted sink and we have to choose a tap carefully as we have tilt and turn windows that open inwards for cleaning so we can't have anything too tall. Of course, all of the stylish ones we like are too tall! The hob will be fitted once the worktop goes in and then we have the plinth, handles and pelmets to fit and we should more or less be there with the kitchen.

2 integrated fridge freezers and a tall cupboard fit exactly into the alcove. I changed the original plans for the staircase to create this alcove with just this configuration in mind and I'm happy with how it has turned out.

Side of the kitchen. The sink drawer doesn't sit back properly yet as the plumbing for the sink is preventing it. This will be sorted out when the plumber (eventually) turns up.

Oven and microwave

Wider view of the back of the kitchen. The white microwave is the one from the old house and we shouldn't need it here. There is one more fan cupboard to fit on top of the hood.

So what's next?

Finish painting the other end of the kitchen family room, complete the electric in the kitchen and utility, fit the downlighters, fit the internal doors downstairs, fit the island once the tiling is complete (tiler starts a week on Monday) and complete the downstairs shower room (once the plumber finally turns up - sigh). So much to do, so little time ......

Sunday, 18 April 2010

April 2010 - Staircase fitted

Today the joiners arrived to fit the staircase. We've got a whole stack of things stored downstairs that are too big / heavy to go up the ladder so it will free up quite a lot of space once we can move this up the stairs.

I had spent quite a lot of time staining the staircase in the few weeks before fitting, and the last thing to do was to stain the spindles that I did earlier in the week. Here is a photo of them looking like windchimes drying in the sun!

The staircase, although custom made, still required a bit of alteration on site as it didn't quite fit as planned. There are still a few things to do, like fitting the bottom bullnose step (waiting for the tiling to complete), and fitting the spindles upstairs, but the main parts are now complete. At the moment we've covered the stairs with cardboard to protect them whilst there is building work going on. We have a straight run to start with and then a platform and then a 90 degree turn to 2 further stairs to take you to the top.

Self Build In the Scottish Borders

Self Build In the Scottish Borders
This is a blog following the trials and tribulations of a self build in the Scottish Borders