It’s been a great week for the house.
Neil, Neil, Chris, Will, and Paddy, the oak frame guys, arrived onsite early Monday and started straight away in putting their giant Lego pieces together. They’ve got the world’s most itsy bitsy crane to lift the pieces, and it’s so small it can drive around the back of the house too. They were all incredibly relaxed and made it look easy.
Chris the Farmer was in charge, and started by unloading the rear frame onto the forecourt.
Along with the full compliment of brick layers, the oak team and James made eleven on site most of the week.
The guys kindly replaced one of the front top horizontals because we felt it had too many wains. Not sure if I spelled that correctly, but these are gouges along the corners where the tree wasn’t quite perfect. It makes the finished beams look more rustic. Only a little doubt from us and it was swapped. This involved shaping another piece back in the yard, bringing it to site and chopping the necessary mortice joints and shoulders out of it in the back of the van. Neil and team want it perfect. So do we!
The windows will fit in the rebates on the long sections of the frame. The little sections will be herringbone brick to block out the first floor floor panels. Designing the details between the bricks, leadwork, and bronze windows took many meetings between Dave, Ben, Richard from the warranty company and us. We’ve got some weird epoxy mortar coming for the brick slip panels, and lots of compriband will be fitted. The main thing is to prevent water getting anywhere near the insides. It will have to be bomb-proof especially since the prevailing wind is out of the southwest–right smack on the side of the house with five panels.
Neil the owner of the oak company is ever so calm about the whole thing. Even when there was a query about one of the floor beams in the front structure, and there was a morning hanging around for the oak engineer to give some details, they waited patiently and simply got busy moving the rear structure to the back of the house piece by piece. He says he specialises in large timber and ships stuff all over the world. The big corner sections on this job are 250 mm square. Big. He’s been to France most weekends racing classic cars in September and off to a wedding in Romania this weekend. On parting today, I wished him well in Romania and said something like “Have fun!” and he replied, “That’s my job. It’s what I do.” It’s not just all fun though–the guys are taking meticulous care with putting the structures together, and by next week, it will be all sanded down and looking gorgeous.
We managed to put down the brochures and colour charts and extract ourselves from the internet for an evening to wander up the road to our lovely neighbours who had the whole estate around for drinks. I have to be honest and say that we arrived trying to conceal our trepidation at seeing all our neighbours after all the planning drama and objections we had at the beginning, and all the complaints about the road now. It would either be a lovely evening, or we’d have to go on the defensive. But everyone was overwhelmingly complimentary about the build, and waxed lyrical about how gracious the building team has been over the occasional lorry in the road. It was a pleasant surprise! I think having the wood go up this week made a big difference. It does look excellent.
Next week it’s steels and more up, up up!