Week 17


All hands on deck.

Russell and Chris the Farmer (gotta love spellcheck; he’s a Framer) came to site to check it out for delivery, progress, etc etc. The poor dog was left in the car, but we checked him at regular intervals. We should install a kennel during the build! Dave and Paul came up for their monthly architectural check and also to give Paul the opportunity to have his first look at the project. Dave said he hadn’t been on site when it was sunny yet–the last time he was here, the place was a swimming pool on that torrential day with fire trucks and neighbours getting flooded. Of course Nic, Ben and Justin were there too, so donuts were bought, the sun was shining and we (they) sorted out a few rough edges to fitting the oak frame.

This included lots of hemming and hawing about connecting the existing brand spanking (gorgeous) new brickwork with the oak in the rear bay. Any little change has enormous ramifications on windows and roof, then with steels and oak as well. So it’s good to have as many eyes as possible checking the build to ensure no Grand Designs moments.

The structural oak should go up in the first week of September. That implies the build will be up to roof level. That’s a lot to do in four weeks! We took Russell up the road to pick his brains and have a good look at the larger new-build with a similar design. He pointed out a few good things like some shifting and splitting at the peg holes. It’s comforting to know that he’s doing his best to avoid these things. He said that our structure is a self-supporting piece, and this is different from the facade that is on the larger house. It’s a design departure with a few more chunky bits of oak sticking around, but it is a more honest approach to what the building actually does. Kinda goes with the ethos for the rest of the house.


A cheeky evening visit to check on what can happen in a day.

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We’re missing a few super-specials, but Nic will track them down
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going up in the study
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have finally chosen the fireplace so the guys can carry on with the blockwork
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front on garage side…
… and the plans
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the first door in the study at the back …
… and the plans

It’s great to see the first dummy doorframe up!


Really? Week 17? The original timescale was 36 weeks. Everyone agrees that was optimistic, but still, we should be almost half way there in theory. Reality is a little behind, but the gap is closing. The biggest landmark is: The Windows Arrive 5 December [capitals necessary]. This is a line in the sand, and I wouldn’t want to get anywhere near messing Martin around! They go in close to last because he doesn’t want to get any plaster, paint or damage on or done to these bad boys. Neither does anyone else I’m sure.

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rear bay up to plinth

This week is a great week for progress as the brick work is getting up to the plinth which is one of those details that are not cost effective, require a bunch of extra effort and expense, but which make the house really special.

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a lovely set of jointing

The jointing is slightly different in the special bricks to avoid any water collecting and freezing and finding its way into the building.

We’ve got expansion joints in the brickwork too. And you can see the insulation panels pinned to the brickwork using the red pogo-stick ends. These joints sit behind the rainwater pipes that sit in the brickwork nooks and run through the plinth. Complicated brickwork or what?! We’re really pleased with the choice of bricks, and I’m sure the skill in laying all these brings the whole thing to life.

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expansion joint in nook

In the background it’s a whirl of decisions. Everyone says this and I didn’t quite realise that it’s as relentless as it is. A real Surrey-Struggles moment I know. Ben, Dave, Justin and Nic are being super patient with our general slowth. It’s serious Scout season as well and half the family was awol planning the trip last week and is currently roaming the wilds of Dartmoor until Saturday. So, just to make myself feel better, we’ve done roof and hanging tiles, a bathroom schedule, preliminary M&E design, garage door, and fireplace (finally, hooray). We’re almost ready to close out the design of the drawing room, the kitchen contractor, and the flooring and joinery schedule including the front door. Just keep swimming.

Been learning Sketchup to get a handle on the fireplace options. We are doing none of these:

3 thoughts on “Week 17

  1. Wow whirlwind is right. Let’s hear it for the first dummy doorframe and awesome looking plinth brickwork! Total progress being made here folks, including the mega behind the scenes decisions. We all hope the pace meets the Dec 5th Martin day. Yup, just keep swimming…!


  2. “The devil is in the details.” And there are so many many details! But so far so very good! The brickwork looks fabulous, and the allowances they are making for what’s routine in doing it right to them but “oh, I get it, of course” to us are fun to learn. If you have a few seconds to reflect on what’s been done and to project how it will look in the end, you should be pleased. Let’s hope enough work is completed so the windows can arrive on time — good thing there’s a Martin there for the window folks to reckon with.


    1. I have lots of those “oh I see” moments too. I love asking questions and learning how it’s all done. Martin IS the windows guy.

      This is taking a total village to build. We must be well into multiple tens of people building our house and probably closer to 100. Humbling!

      Liked by 1 person

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