Week 33

The lid is on!

Hooray, the guys are in the dry. The big holes for the windows will need to be filled in, but that will be after Christmas. In the meantime, that thin sheet of Tyvek stuff is what matters. Josh and Terry are spending most of their time creating noggins for the ceilings under it, and the roofers put extra battens on which to fix the tiles over it. The guys tell me that the tiles will be on before Christmas too. Now, THAT will be amazing.

It poured with rain on Monday, but the roofers persevered and managed to get some very soggy sheets fixed in their places.

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ceiling skeleton in kids’ bathroom
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east-most bedroom
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terry cutting some noggins as the light fades


The oak frame is starting to look a little lived in, a little too lived in really with the odd bit of scrap falling from the top to the deck. So James has covered the vulnerable parts of the frames to give them some protection.

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covered frame

We’ve decided on a combination of black stain on the soffits and Osmo varnish for the facias. James has been painting, and they’ll be cut to size and brought upstairs for fitting next week.

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sheets of soffits
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Osmo Hall

A few short late-afternoon visits in the week allowed some time for some photos around the site. But most of our time has been spent at the computer and immersed in catalogues choosing stuff and fleshing out the Fixtures and Fittings schedule.

light on lofty beech branch, 5 metres up





through the vaulted ceiling at the join between two ridgelines
Hi Josh!
lit bridge on the way home


Hard on the heels of Birthday Week last week comes Thanksgiving. I remember inviting my parents-in-law down for Thanksgiving dinners in the early 90s when I first moved here and was still a little homesick. They were very forgiving about having a Christmas dinner served to them a month early for no other reason to appease their daughter-in-law, and I’m grateful for their patience. I kind of gave up doing it after a few years because I decided it’s not the turkey that’s important, it’s the four days off in a row, the travelling and travelling-related-drama, and all-American-ness of it that I missed. This week, with the kids doing their after school classes, Clinton doing Scout-y things and me driving laps around Surrey dropping and collecting children, the night kind of passed us by. So I was determined to retain a small part of the whole exercise–through pumpkin pie, of course.

It’s a weird time to be American and in the UK after the horrible election. For once the geographical distance feels huge both socially and politically as well. I don’t run around feeling “American” but I like to be part of a community. This past week has left me wondering what that community truly is, and what its trajectory might be. But the process is what’s valuable ultimately, and it’s important that the kids still connect with their American side. So to maintain that connection in a positive way, Gemma brought in a piece of the pie to her Scout “International” evening, and Gregory might be starting to grow an interest in his political side. Incremental gains.

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Tim is first at the pie





4 thoughts on “Week 33

  1. Congrats on the lid man! Looking forward to seeing those tiles go up in the next few weeks.

    What are the soffits and facias? Are we talking fireplace?

    Lovely lovely pics. Your front entry is beautiful. I forget the wood guys’ names and the man who scored that piece of wood-art archway, but he rocks.

    Well, it’s a weird time to be an American in America after the horrible election! Myself and like-minded others (read: pretty much the entirety of the SF Bay Area, especially Berkeley) are walking around in a daze like we’re observing an alternate universe only to be smacked in the face that it’s reality. After that blow to more than half the country who voted many found it especially challenging to achieve that feeling of community for Thanksgiving. There were all sorts of guides floating around online about how to politely interact with the proverbial Uncle Bob who voted the other way (if that was your goal anyway). Frankly, to me it feels like the country has been ripped apart by the election, with the ripping up continuing in the form of deep policy changes that threaten people’s civil and human rights. Now, all that said, a chunk of pumpkin pie can go a long way to suppressing one’s sighs and making one feel better, if only for a bit. Your pie pictures made me go out and get the fixings to make my own. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hope your pie was delish.

      Have people stopped wearing post-election all black in Berzerkeley? Perhaps I’ve got my head in the sand but I truly believe that although the man is revolting as a human, what he craves is power, and to retain power he can lean a little to edges of the political spectrum, but eventually center will win the day. He’s already toning down some rhetoric, so maybe it won’t be as foul as we imagine? Very hopeful perhaps–very naive defo!

      I’ve got an American friend here who is so strongly driven about this and Brexit that her personal relationships become untenable if her friends’ views don’t align with hers. Politics and Change are what she’s about. We had a great conversation the other day and I don’t get to see enough of her. But I just don’t feel as strongly. Does that make me irresponsible or ill-informed? I feel that it’s hard work and capacity for kindness that define people, not just what they say or yell from the rooftops. There’s too much yelling occurring at the moment, don’t you think? It’s incredibly selfish to be absorbed in this house project and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to ignore the alternative universe as much as poss!


  2. Didn’t know you were American.
    Still find it nice to go to other Americans Turkey Day dinners.

    Hope your building works go swiftly it is in the best interest of everyone on the road. PS do you have any kids around age 7? Also, I wonder why sips or icfs were not considered for a quicker American style build. The oak entrance is nice and similar to the one in the new house on Goldrings Road.


    1. Thanks for stopping by and having a look at the blog.

      We looked at all sorts of different build types when we started this project: from SIPPs to timber frame and even had a Huf representative come and have a chat about getting involved. We finally chose this design based on the combination of oak and windows (they’re in Week 29). In the end, solid construction won out simply to limit acoustic transparency. We also didn’t foresee so many time overruns, what with the warranty company wanting more depth in foundations, flooding onsite, windows requiring 16 weeks lead time, etc etc.

      Also, the architect we chose originally preferred solid construction. You’re right, it is similar to the one up the road–we recommended the architect to them through a mutual friend. But we’ve come away from the original design team have found another that is much more a two-way street for communication, excellent at detail, rock-solid thorough, and are generally much nicer people. So all in all it’s taking much longer with this construction technique than it would with more modern materials, but hopefully it will be worth the wait!


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