No. 34 bad news

Thursday, 30 September 2010
Well, crossing fingers didn't work. Our little first time buyers have been frightened off by their surveyors report (they should have seen the one we got 15 years ago - subsidence, asbestos, lead pipes and damp - none of it relevant of course as we have had no issues in that time). Unfortunately they were so scared that they wouldn't re-negotiate nor would they discuss the issues. Bizarrely for a house that's in such "poor" condition the surveyor valued it at 180k. I really do feel that this process is very wrong as the surveyor cares only about whether he is sued by his clients if he misses something. Only winner is him, he got paid. We lost our buyers and they think their dream home is some sort of hell hole.

So now we have no buyer and we need to have a rethink. S is away all week so not easy to talk this through.

There is a silver lining to every cloud though as we will be able to stay here for Christmas, rather than being in rented accommodation. I must be a bit weird but I felt a certain relief that we don't have to pack up just yet! :)

What Is Going On

Tuesday, 28 September 2010
Unfortunately, my working life often means that I am away from home and these past two weeks have seen me away from home almost exclusively! It is therefore very difficult to provide a progress report when I have no idea what is happening.

As I write this, I'm sat on a train heading to London Euston station after having spent a couple of days in Birmingham - you can see how it would be tricky for me to take photos of a house being build many hundreds of miles away.

However, the rafters are on and progress is good. As I understand it, the bedrooms upstairs won't have ceilings in the traditional way - they will be exposed right to the apex of the roof (or as near as we can get). This should give the rooms an even more spacious feel. Interestingly, though, the drawings might actually cause some confusion by showing "something" resting on the supporting beams but my belief is that these lines are "arrows" pointing at the underside of the roof. It's easy to see how mistakes could be made and that drawings can be interpreted incorrectly. I had to stare at it a couple of times!

I keep getting asked when the house will be water-tight. Unfortunately, I still don't know. I'm hoping it will be soon. I'm sure it will be soon.

Dizzy Heights

Tuesday, 21 September 2010
So today I managed to climb some ladders without falling off. I used to be OK with ladders. I used to be OK with heights. But I think I'm now very aware of my own mortality and I don't want to die - climbing ladders takes may a step closer to death. Or at least falling and hurting myself. Which may result in death.

Anyway. Today, I was a brave little soldier and climbed some ladders!

And where did those ladders take me you may ask yourself. Well, they took me up to the first floor of the new house from where the views are absolutely spectacular! The views, however, were not the reason why I put my life at risk. I wanted to see how progress was going 16 feet above ground level - I know, it's not really that high!

The result:

This it the view from what will be Rachel's bedroom towards the Master Bedroom and as you can see, the joiners have been at their work today.

So the roof is taking shape now which is excellent - in four weeks time, the dark afternoons will have returned and we will be entering winter after all !

No. 34 update

Tuesday, 21 September 2010
As of last Friday, we have a buyer for No. 34. First time buyer, so no chain AND they want to complete by end October! Thanks to Granda Jim we also have somewhere to stay until the house in Carnhill is complete. So, it's all systems go. An emotional time for me but it is what we want, no pain, no gain as they say. Fingers crossed that all goes according to plan!

Chim Chiminee

Monday, 20 September 2010
It would be fair to say that we didn't leave too much of the original house in place when we started to extend. So it came as a surprise to find that one of the few remaining parts of the original house was going to cause us some grief.

It seems that the original chimney stack has no lead tray in place - whatever that is. Actually, I do know what a "lead tray" is now after having asked enough questions. It has something to do with stopping water getting into the house. That's all I need to know. Well. That and the fact that it would be a good thing to take the chimney stack down a notch or two, whack in a "lead tray" and rebuild the stack. Which costs money. And that's the bit that really interests me.

When I visited the site today, there wasn't much activity going on. In fact, I felt quite alone until the nice man from Building Control turned up to take a "look-see". He seemed very pleased with progress and stated that we were in good hands with our builders - W&R Moore. So that was good news, eh?

Number 34 Update

Saturday, 11 September 2010
The painters have been and gone and no. 34 is looking a lot better. S has been out and power washed the cement, scraped the drive, mowed the lawns, strimmed and removed junk. J has been on a never ending cleaning/tidying spree, diy, school runs and looking after the kiddies. We have had 6 different viewers and one second viewing in the one week we have been on the market. Some guys are supposed to come and clean the external PVC. Still waiting....

Imagery Update

Saturday, 11 September 2010
It's Saturday morning and the sun is shining. I therefore don't have time for words, so here is a bunch of photos instead:

Scaffolding Is Up

Friday, 10 September 2010
It rained this week. Cecilia Daly told us that it would rain. And my favourite weather girl didn't disappoint. In fact, the rain was really quite Biblical at times. Building homes in the rain is no fun; building in a monsoon is practically impossible.

But there has been progress this week. The joists are in place across the entire house and the extensions no longer has that open-air feel about it. The steel beam holding up the landing has been "refitted" and we're now ready to take the block work up another few courses.

The scaffolding is now in place to help the bricklayers get up to the dizzy heights required to build the first floor. I say dizzy when really what I mean is that if I had to climb up to a height of 8', I'd feel dizzy. I'm sure the brickies shan't keel over after a bout of vertigo at those meagre heights.

The next floor should take less than a week to put together then we are in a position to put the rafters in place (I guess) and the construction phases will be almost at an end. At that point, we will have the long-drawn out affair that is the kitting out. (Again, I'm guessing...)

And finally... our first bill has arrived from the builder. It gave me that vertigo feeling!!!


Tuesday, 7 September 2010
Rooms are only rooms when they have four walls, a floor and a ceiling and up until now, we have been bereft of what one might call a ceiling.

Today, however, we got some ceiling action. I say ceiling when really what I mean is some timber work spanning the width of a room above head height:

For some reason, I thought the brickwork "upstairs" would be completed before the timbers went in and that holes would be cut into the brickwork to accommodate the timber. Obviously I was mistaken.

The weather forecast for the rest of the week isn't great:
  • Wednesday: Rain
  • Thursday: Sunshine
  • Friday: HEAVY Rain
  • Saturday: HEAVY Rain

Busy at No. 34

Monday, 6 September 2010
The rain is bucketing down and the painter (for no. 34) has failed to turn up - behind schedule due to the bad weather. He has been booked since the start of August. We are doing the viewings anyway although I don't think the house is being seen at its best. Viewer number 4 is coming tomorrow. There have been positive comments via the estate agent and one of the viewers is coming back for a second viewing later in the week. It is hard work to keep the house presentable and deal with the usual chores and the kids needs too! On positive side the house has never looked better!

Five Weeks In

Sunday, 5 September 2010
Five weeks have passed since the start of work at Carnhill and of those five weeks, the past week has seen the least amount of dramatic change (from a visual perspective).

It's clear to see that the timbers have turned up for the joist work and some concrete has been poured into the sub-floor for the hall, guest bedroom and study. And two huge steel beams have been hauled into place - the beam in the hall looks like it could do with being levelled (or maybe my eyes are wonky).

So after four weeks of pure drama, this past week has been quite sedate - which coincided with me working away from home in Oxford, thus the lack of update this week.

In other news, our existing house went on the market this weekend and three viewers arrived before the house was even advertised on the internet or the local Property News paper. An encouraging start to the process and we have noticed a significant number of people stopping outside the house and staring because the For Sale sign is up!