9 Nov: Ground Floor In

Despite the pace of work yesterday, there was quite a lot of hilarity at the Fenbilly. For starters, Duane clocked my ‘special’ gold slippers. Now the gold slippers have been along for the entire renovation ride. They’re brilliant for going to the Turdis in the middle of the night, slipping on to take Stu a quick cuppa, or stepping out the ‘van door to check nothing’s fallen off the house if it’s windy. Stu maintains that he’s going to lob them in the pond before his work here is done. I don’t know what’s wrong with them, afterall, didn’t Cinderella have some? If Stu gets rid of these ones, it only means I’ll have to buy the Daily Mail so I can order another pair 😉

Also, I’m really sorry if you’re seriously vertically challenged, and I know I shouldn’t laugh, but I find dwarves the funniest thing out. I know, I know, I shouldn’t and I’ll probably get taken to some discrimination court just for mentioning it but what’s not amusing about a dwarf? For whatever reason, the conversation led to chatting about dwarves – which didn’t bode well for the rest of the day as we’d got the telly people interviewing us about the SIPS erection. Cue much imitating ‘small people’ just out of shot. Thanks boys, it really helped. Not.

Check out the size of that door opening. Big enough to drive a telehandler through

As for progress, it’s great. The external walls for the ground floor are looking complete – or they were when I got home in the dark last night. It’s really bizarre to see something attached to the old house now. Originally, we’d tried to wangle a few extra metres in length but the planning office gave it the big N.O. I think they were probably right – if the extension had been longer, the proportions wouldn’t have been right. Don’t tell them that though…

Back door on the right. We got the extra single storey space by saying the ground source equipment was massive. It’s about the size of a fridge…

It’s incredible to finally see some walls that define the internal space. Throughout the process, you go through the whole ‘This looks big’ to ‘This looks small’ process. Now the external walls are up, I’m not sure where I’m sitting. Big? Small? Big? Small? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. One thing I do know, is that the bi-fold doors in the kitchen are enormous, we aren’t going to have to turn the lights on much. And, as the bedroom window has the same sized window, it’s probably just as well we haven’t got anyone overlooking us, it’s going to take some time to save up for some curtains!

Big? Small? Big? Small? Still undecided

One thing that tv Adam asked yesterday was about the upstairs of the extension. Rich pointed out that although we’ve had time to walk around the space on the ground floor, we’ve got no idea of what it’ll feel like upstairs. It’s something neither of us had actually ever thought about. I guess we’ll have that to look forward to today when the joists and the floor goes in. For me, I reckon the most exciting thing will be walking through from the new to the old house – owing to the increased ceiling height in the new part, there’ll be a couple of steps down in the landing from new to old. It’s a feature we were keen to build in, rather than having new and old all on one level. It’s also the kind of thing, if you’re old house people, you know would have been there if the entire place had been built at the same time. Having said that, unlike old house building practices, I’m really pleased we didn’t decide to put the staircase in a cupboard 😉

How’s that for instant house?

In all seriousness, I’m really impressed with the SIPS construction and very glad we decided to go down that route. Watching Duane, Chris and Phil doing what they do best makes me want to go and build another house entirely out of SIPS. I reckon that if you wanted to build a totally contemporary new home, with clean lines, minimum fuss and a crisp finish then SIPS is the best way to do it.

Although we haven’t even moved in yet, Rich and I came to the conclusion that if we did ever want to move house again (unlikely), having spent the past five months living in the ‘van and the last four watching our old house come back to life, we’d never buy a house conventionally again. Build, or totally restore, it’s the way forward.

Duane, trying to contain himself after seeing my gold shoes

Oh, and the nail gun. Very dangerous. Had a go and the second nail came out before I’d realised the first one had gone in. Put it down, left it to the experts.



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