Scaffolding is (nearly) all down!

Barn 3 now is ready for it’s final bit of build now that the scaffolding is down. It feels like nothing much has happened, but actually quite a lot has been going on as the roof has been finished and the chimney flues installed. The flues were quite a big job as there were two for barn 3 (log burner and boiler) and log burner for barn 2. Note the plastic coated bonfire in the garden ready for bonfire night!

The flue liners from the bedrooms. Unfortunately, they stick out a bit more than we wanted them to so there will be a bit of rearranging required for the internal walls to make sure everything fits in as we want it to. We thought that the plans should have taken care of all this but there seems to be more 'seeing how it looks’ going on as the build progresses than anticipated. No matter how hard we tried to get all these things fixed in the plans, we didn’t get quite as much input from the ‘eco’ installers as we had hoped. The plus side is that they are local and responsive to the fluctuating timescales, and much cheaper than a couple of the bigger national companies we approached for quotes. It all adds to the fun (or stress) depending on how high your spirits are!


The next step for barn 3 is windows and doors, and of course to finish the gable to the dining room and put on the roof, install velux windows and solar pv panels, so not quite there yet! But anyway, these are the barn style doors ready for installation. On the positive side, we have ordered a garage door and when that is installed we can have the boiler fitted and then………heating for barn 1……hoorah.

Last night we had our fourth……..yes, fourth…..bonfire party at the barns. Every year we say ‘well at least next year we will be living at the barns and it will be so much easier to do’. Well again we had to do all the cooking at the flat and transport it with the slow cookers and kettle and drinks……well, everything really. We set up in the ‘hall’ of barn 3 as this has a roof and a good view of the garden, and it was really weird as this is where we set up for our first bonfire party, but that was in the original building. The layout of the hall is almost exactly how it used to be in the old building (by design of course), but it looks much sharper and straighter than before, thank goodness. Despite all this, we had a lovely time. The bonfire was fantastic, the food was fine - I mean who doesn’t like a hot dog, and the fireworks across the valley at the Midland Railway Centre were superb. Also, we continued our tradition of sparkler writing and eventually, with a bit of practice, came up with Happy Joel (our littlest member of the family)!

Barn 1 Kitchen

Wall painting is almost finished and the kitchen is underway. As seems to be the case with most things, the kitchen installation has not gone quite to plan with some measurements being incorrect and damage to the work surface. The work surface is really huge and had been damaged on one edge and has therefore had to be re-ordered which will take around 5 weeks!. It’s looking really nice so far though! I’m looking forward to playing in the kitchen - there’s even a warming draw which is very bake-off!

Before the kitchen fitting work started, we quickly arranged for a sliding pantry door after discovering that there would be a big enough space at the end of the kitchen units. You have to look on the bright side of a measuring cock-up! It really finishes off the pantry nicely!

Interior design - barn 1

It feels like there is quite a lot of blogging to catch up on as there has been a constant steady progress on site in September. Inside barn 3 it is nice to be using our own electricity and thank goodness for our neighbours allowing us to use their electricity and water throughout the build so far.

Richard has decided to do all the interior painting, partly because the kitchen is being fitted in October and it seems that no timely painting has been scheduled in by our builder……(*grmf* mmmrff builder). It also means that he is on site every day in case of deliveries and questions from the lads. Notwithstanding all the great reasons for doing it himself, it is a bit of a monumental task. Fortunately for me, I have to do the 9-5 to earn our daily mortgage so have managed to avoid all painting thus far.


In the meantime, I am trying to do my bit by organising the internal lighting scheme for all 3 barns. On one hand it is great fun to have an excuse for shopping, but on the other, there is a limited budget (as ever) so it is really time consuming to come up with a scheme that I like and can afford. Such is life.

I’m also working on prototypes for some designer roman blinds that will fulfill the limited budget criteria whilst still looking nice……..errm I mean chic and expensive.

Fan Fare and Drum Roll - We now have electricity!


It’s surprising how the mundane can be so exciting when taken in the proper context. After first applying for electricity a year ago and much stress and anxiety in between, we finally have our own electricity in barn 1. The electrician arrived last Friday and installed the consumer unit and some electric points. He then announced that he probably wouldn’t be back to finish everything off until after Christmas…….oh my gawd, the saga continues. We are hoping that a sob story and violins will persuade our builder to schedule time for the electrician before Christmas. But, it seems that everyone wants to be in for Christmas.

Electricity connection underway!


Whoop Whoop........our electricity connection is finally underway.  I know it doesn't look like much, I mean we are talking a trench with a tube and cable, but for us this is epic progress! Western Power are coming next week to do their bit and then EON will come to connect to the meter. The next step is to get the electrician back to finish inside, slow down, take it steady. I think I mentally moved in for a moment.


Site Progress

What else has been happening whilst we have been waiting for electricity? Around the site there has been steady (if slow) progress.

 Panarama banana shaped barns......but just look at those clean and neatly stacked bricks!

Panarama banana shaped barns......but just look at those clean and neatly stacked bricks!

Brick finished!!!! After a herculean effort by Richard and to a pressing deadline, all the bricks are cleaned and stacked, or have already been built into barn 3. It's not been a fun job and friends and family have all chipped in (geddit?), but the vast majority of it was done by Mr Brick himself. I think it would be safe to say that he would never want to clean another brick in his life. The front of the barns has been cleared of bricks and looks much tidier, and the bricks are all nicely stacked onto pallets in the courtyard.

barn2windows- courtyardview.jpg

Windows in barn 2 are installed and make it look so much better. The 'barn' doors are also fitted in both barn 1 and 2. These look like half timbered barn doors from the outside but from the inside just look like a window. The idea was to preserve the appearance of stables and cowsheds but without having a load of long glass doors and windows.


Barn 3 is almost ready for the roof. There is some final brickwork to finish off the apexes and then the felt, battens and tiles will be added. The bricklayer is back with us next week so we are hopeful of some speedy process in the good weather.  We already have residents in the kitchen - I startled a baby blackbird yesterday which had fledged from it's nest in the floor joists. The tell-tale droppings in the middle of the kitchen gave it away. At least it has time to grow up and leave home before the roof and windows go in!

Electricity update


It's getting very close for a final go ahead for electricity.  We thought we had passed the finish post after all the documents were signed and we had paid a kings ransom for the privilege and had a date from Western Power for installation in September. However, after instructing our builder to start the groundwork it has now transpired that we haven't had the final go ahead and there a more bills to pay. Funnily enough, starting the work seems to have prompted some action. Talk about a tortuous (and expensive) process. It has been a traumatic time with a 3 way solicitor exchange and deeds discussed and signed by board of trustees at their quarterly board meetings. It has been beyond a joke, but we are looking forward now to completing barn 1. We may actually move in this year!!!!!!