Week 62

Welcome to Week 62 in our 36 Week project…. It’s all about finishing now.

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bathroom niches have their lights
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tiled flooring is down in the bathrooms, but no shower screens yet
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fiddly short tiles cut to finish the floor, but no mirror
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master vanity unit has been moved, but no lights
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Rich tiled the utility splashback ..
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.. and started the tiling in the kitchen

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looks much more kitchen-like; requests for moral support go unheeded…

Lots of pressure to Buy Things like… doorbells. Have you ever given much thought to them? The button bit can be a nice design piece, and there are many many different types to choose from. But the ringer, chime, sounder, whatever you call it, has three flavours: school bell, electric programmable with a bijillion different “songs”, or an antique from eBay. We went for a chrome schoolbell in the end. Boring, but necessary.

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doorbell: brick mounted or doorframe mounted?
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garden getting cleared gradually
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tiling and water butt
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thinking herb garden thoughts
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more herbs: got a recommendation or favourite to share in comments below?
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horrible scary crack filled
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security lights installed
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oak beam in lieu of bricks to support garage installed

There was an area on the back porch where the supports under the structural oak were slightly shy of the windows leaving a 20 mm gap. There was 10 mm tolerance generally for windows abutting to structure in the specification, and the guys managed to put it all on one side, making the 20 mm of air. The windows were installed just after Christmas, and this gap had been glaring at us ever since. One transgression for the Quirky House Police, but it’s filled now and looks much better.

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Paul filled the gap with surgical precision
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plinth splits for guttering downpipes restored

The bricklayers elevate their work to an artform. I hope that they’ve enjoyed working on this place, because they’ve had a lot to think about. Mind you, this week’s daily quizzes were mostly about war films which really tested my memory of dates, battles and geography. Oh yeah, ….. and what is the only airport in the States with an actual airplane in it? And whom is it named after? But check out the symmetry around every wall and detail as you look at any photo with bricks in. Genius.

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study is finished with flooring and electrics
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massive patch panel in the utility room to centralise all the data points
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fireplace with temporary buildout, but the room looks miles better with a coat of paint
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colours look alright in the kitchen into family room — Dulux Trade is A-OK
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master bedroom detail
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wardrobe rails in
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electrics are getting there one socket at a time, but not sure about the labelling…

We’re moving in on the Thursday of week 63. In theory. Kitchen commissioning on Monday morning, air permeability test in the afternoon. Tuesday is the contractor’s last formal day on the interior. Wednesday is cleaning, and Thursday we’re in.

When we first started this project I had visions of the finished product being presented in a more defined way. I kinda expected a ta-da! moment. I thought we’d have some time to think about the job, to go around with the contractor in a logical way to see if anything was overlooked, to snag it, to rectify the snags, and to move in with a huge smile. As it is, it’s rushed, the project manager is on holiday, the electricians are still (incredibly shockingly and disappointingly) not finished, snagging hasn’t started, the air-test is going on unsupervised and might fail our SAP calcs for us, and there is still a ton of work to do outside both within and outside the contract. Like, there is no drive and no lawn, but these will be done by others. There are no curtains, yet. And, strangely, there is no TV aerial which somehow counts as AV equipment which was conveniently client-specified but not highlighted until now.

There have been many parts of this project when we’ve seen our naive decisions come to fruition, and some have worked out just fab and the product is marvellous. But mostly, I really just haven’t wanted to look at bits and pieces in case we’d made a poor stab at something. I feel far more fear than excitement or pleasure at moving in just now. Maybe it’s just the fact we’re coming to the end of a period of exam hell with the kids and staffing challenges with the business all at once conveniently coordinated with the week we’re moving in. Maybe it’s because it’s the hottest week of the year. Maybe it’s that the budget is starting to burst at the seams. Maybe in five years’ time this feeling of unease and self-doubt will have morphed imperceptibly into something more comfortable, settled and positive. I hope my future self laughs heartily on reading today’s momentary dip in my attempt to retain a consistently high level of relentless positivity throughout this long journey. This future self will be enormously grateful and very happy in our family home that we’ve had built the way we wanted and was intended to provide the centre of gravity for the six of us at least for many many years to come.


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