Week 45

Early birds, these guys. On my way to meet the electrician at a lazy 7:30 am, I saw that they’d already had a delivery that was just departing down the lane.

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oak cladding in morning light

More oak arrived late yesterday via Neil and his Land Rover with trailer; it’s always a pleasure to have him onsite. These pieces will cover the steels in the master bedroom, a design compromise that sits a little uncomfortably only because for the rest of the house, the wood is structural, and this isn’t. But with Neil’s skill in fabricating, and Josh, Terry and James’ skill in installing, I doubt we’ll be able to tell any difference between the cladding and the real deal at all in years to come. It looks very fresh at the moment when put up next to the stuff that’s been up for six months. Neil clearly spent ages on the comprehensive installation manual for the guys too. I’m sure they’re grateful!

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instruction manual
Terry’s not putting it up on the wonk, it’s the lens distorting the angles
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curved beam to match detail in the hallway

Meanwhile, work carries on around the rest of the house, and it’s crowded. Plasterers, roofers and electricians have been in all week, and I’ve been interviewing fireplace experts, interior designers and joiners.

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fitting plasterboard from the vaulted section

The best bit of the week was our topping out ceremony. We, well, Tim really, decided it would happen when the last ridge tile went on. Originating in Scandinavia, this is an event that usually happens on bigger projects and usually involves chasing out evil spirits with branches of evergreen plants, and blessing the building for its future occupants in some way. Rather than inviting a random druid priest around or sticking the odd sprig of fir tree up the top of the scaffolding, we tried to keep it simple.

Our solution was that we signed the final ridge tile.  We got out our white pen and scribbled as a family, then got Tim, Ben, James, Terry, Josh, and Spencer to sign as well. So Spencer carefully left the last space empty for us to fit on the very front of the house. Excellent! It was a two-part event with fizz and sausage rolls on the Thursday as Clinton couldn’t be there for the actual fitting on the Friday. Everyone from the roofers to the tackers were there. Matt, Gillian’s boyfriend even joined in. Clinton said a few words of thanks, we armed Tim with the camera for some family snaps, and then we tucked right in!

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Gemma setting up the buffet
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builders buffet
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it IS Oxshott after all
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thanks, guys…
… from all of us
underside of the ridge tile
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future residents
Gemma and fake fizz



we even had waiting service


The A-Team: Ben, Jackson, Tim, Clive, Blake, Dave, Mike, Josh, Terry, James, and Spencer

So it seemed only fitting that after all these festivities and thank-yous that we actually got the signed tile on the roof.  The girls, Matt, and I spent a lovely sunny morning in Roofing School with Spencer (well, me watching them more than doing anything constructive).

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up on the scaffold


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Spencer prepares the area for the final tile
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Gemma lays the tile

Can’t say that our efforts contributed anything special, but it will be lovely to think that at least we had something tangible to do with the build as we look up at the front gable forevermore. The layers of cloaking look great, and the rest of the roof is just about there. Next week will involve Spencer doing a little tidying with other, lower, ridges, which leaves the scaffolding coming down Thursday or Friday!


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final tile in place
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cloaking closeup
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“How are we going to get the leaves off THAT, Mum?”
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can you spot the venting tiles?

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roofing signature






5 thoughts on “Week 45

  1. What a wonderful event! This is my favorite post yet, and that’s a high bar. Congratulations on having such a special lid on the place. Very thoughtful of Tim and Spencer and the rest of your team. Terrific pictures of all you attractive peeps too!

    Looking forward to seeing what you’ve been up to with the fireplace and design folks…


    1. You’re laying on the pressure, you and your high bar! There should be a manual about designing fireplaces, just to pick the one on page 38 would be hard enough. I suppose it’s right next to the volumes on how to raise a child and how to be happy in life.

      We enjoyed it too! Glad you caught that vibe. We’re very lucky to have such a great team. Quite humbling.


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