Wednesday, May 4, 2016

DIY Princess Throne

The extension is almost finished.  But a slight tangent.  Our youngest just turned four.  And for her birthday she asked for a throne.  In my mind, I thought something like this:

When I searched for what we could afford, I found a Disney plastic throne.  Which she would have loved.  But I just couldn't deal with it.  We have so much plastic already.

I hunted high and low for a chair that we could use to make some sort of throne-ish seat.  The specific requests from the kid were that is needed to be white, gold and have a cushion.  I looked all over gumtree, ebay, charity shops, second hand shops, normal stores, and came up empty handed.  Getting one chair, preferably a carver (with arms), for less than £30 was no easy task.  Niall went on the hunt with me and we finally found one!  Someone was sitting in it...but they let us buy out from under them.

With chair in hand, I bought an arsenal of gold leaf.  I primed the chair, and painted it all white.  I watched lots of youtube videos on how to gold leaf.  I'd heard it was better to paint the area to be gilded with gold paint, and I'm really glad I did.  The gold leaf was fun, but a complete mess.  Then used modge podge on top.  The result has been rather amateurish, but Elizabeth gave it her thumbs up.  Also, we agreed on a blue cushion for the seat.  I sewed in piping and a zipper.

And here's finished product.  

Her Royal Highness.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Side Extension: Flooring and Roughcaste

Hallelujah!  The extension is so close to being done. And here is the truth.  I am mentally worn out from this latest project, more so than I've been previously.  I think it's because I feel like we have had a lot less control on this project and because I haven't had a strong understanding of some of the technical details so have just had to trust the builders, architect, etc.  Also, the extension is pretty much an added luxury.  It's not like we're homeless or desperate for the extra room.

We would like the extension as a family room, which includes TV and internet.  The wi-fi doesn't extend into our kitchen (lathe and plaster + thick old walls=great barricade) and certainly won't extend into the new room.  So I drilled a hole in living room floorboards, bought way too many meters of ethernet and TV cable, crawled under the house, and pushed the wires through the (former) exterior wall.

One of the cost saving measure the builders proposed was the floor.  In the early days, we wanted underfloor heating, but it was way too much money.  Then we were going to have an insulated floor with a screed on top.  The builders suggested a concrete pad with the insulation underneath, which is what we did.  Then a board and batten floor on top.  Going this route meant we could run pipes and wires on top of the pad, that the floor would have a little give, and saved about £1000.

It also meant that we could run the internet and cable along the floor and up the wall.  The builders drilled a hole for me and we did a crazy bit of threading with a chopstick, wire hanger and some tape.  And now the cables are in place.

Here's the flooring frame.

And the floor base on top.

Also, we wanted a cat door but did not want it cut in the glass door.  We opted for a cat tunnel in the wall (maybe I'll do a post on it later), which the cat has been using and seems like a decent solution.

Oh, and a comment about the paint.  I ended up using 15 L to paint the walls and ceiling, but that was on fresh plaster that sucks up paint like a sponge.  We got 10 L of mistints from Dulux, their Diamond brand which is supposed to be hard wearing and scrubbable.  Then I paid for a 5L tint of the same color, which was about £65.  It's a lot more than the paint we could get off the shelf at B&Q but hopefully it will wear better!

The flooring was a saga that I'm trying to forget.  We finally decided on a solid oak, and it got delivered and acclimatised.  I will say that I love the look of darker woods, but our experience has been they scratch in a heartbeat and can't handle heels, let alone kids.  I tried to convince Niall to go with a rubber or some other synthetic that the kids could beat to a pulp, but he wanted wood.

Once we finally got the floor fitters round (also a saga, but it's done now) the building site suddenly became a playroom!  The girls have been playing in there ever since, treating it as a running track and stage.

There are still a few more things, like skirting (baseboards), second fix electrics, and the stairs, but it's  already a room that needs toys tidied so that means it's being used.

Here's the view out to the garden.  We opted for a matwell with coconut carpet because, honestly, there is going to be some serious mud and dirt tracked in.  (We're already glad we made that choice!)

The dwarf wall from the pitching looking out to the extension.  We need to do something with that shelf on top (it's only plasterboard on top of the brick wall, so it needs some sort of protection.)  We've got the leftover flooring up there now, as well as a bunch of electrical and DIY stuff still in use.    I'm tempted to put up barb wire just to make sure it doesn't become another dumping zone.

The front of the house is supposed to get wood cladding.  It's Siberian Larch that has to be special ordered and treated. (I already have the product, it took two weeks to get and was also a special order.)  The elevations have changed because the hardcore from the foundations are there, so I had to dig a trench out so it was clear where the actual levels will be.

And the rest of the extension got pebbledash.  It's kind of hard for me to write about it, because I don't love pebbledash.

I searched high and low for a good match, but it became apparent that there just wasn't a way to match the 90 years of weathering the existing exterior already has.

I loved how the render looked before the rock got thrown on it, with a smooth finish.  But Niall wanted pebbledash and it was what we had planned, so pebbledash it is! 

Apparently the pebbledash looks fine?

Now that we're pretty much out of money, we need to figure out how we're going to finish the garden.  But that's another post for another day.

In the meantime, we've got to put some furniture inside.  We got a corner sofa yesterday...

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Side Extension: Plasterboard and Plastering

The extension got a nice boxing in this past week.

I've tried to take note of where the timbers and wiring are so we can drill things into the finished walls.  Under the window on the right is where the cap flat is, but in this photo it's boarded over temporarily.

Niall really wanted a pitched, open roof.  And it looks like he got his wish!

I realized, perhaps a bit late, that we're missing some connectivity in the extension.  The wi-fi doesn't reach, nor does the TV cabling.  We'll most likely use Apple TV, but just in case I wanted to have the option.  I ended up crawling under the house and running some more cabling, before everything got boxed.  It was, uh, interesting but dirty!

The kitchen has looked like this for the past week.

But the plastic keeps falling down!  Once the plasterboard was up, the plasterer came in and skimmed away.  He was fast and did the whole thing in two days.

And since the plasterer was on site, we got him to skim the front room.  One of the walls has blown plaster, and we while it looked okay at first glance, it wasn't going to last.  So we covered the floor and bookcase in plastic and started pulling it off.  The girls thought it was a game!

There was some plaster that was stuck to the wall, but most of it pulled off.

And now we have a freshly plastered wall!  The girls were eager to touch it, and it's slowly drying and waiting for paint.

The plastic in the kitchen came down today, and I finally faced the task of cleaning up the debris from knocking through.  They used water when they were hacking through the wall, so there were splattering of black dust that dripped down the wall.

And...painting in the extension has started!  The builders wanted me to paint behind the radiators before Monday.  So I painted there.  The plaster isn't quite dry throughout, so we tried to paint where it was.

Also this week...we got a roof!  But forgot to take pictures.  Next week the second fix of electrics and plumbing.  Hopefully I'll finish off the painting, and we'll get a floor!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Side Extension: Blockwork, Propping and Knocking Through!

The extension is moving full steam ahead.  The french doors went in (these ones actually need to be changed, they are backward, but they do for now.)  Originally we had fancy concertina doors, but the budget lead us to UPVC french doors instead.  They should do just fine for little kids opening and close many, many times.

The brickwork has gone up this week as well. Originally the extension was going to be all timber, but Building Control wanted bricks for added fire protection  It meant we lost some internal space, but it made the Council okay with the design.

The whole external wall (facing our neighbours) is going to be rendered.  So breeze block has been used.

The front aspect of the house will be clad in timber, so it isn't being blocked with bricks.

When the brickwork was completed, they decided it was time to knock through into the house.  I didn't realise they did external walls in two phases, but our builders said it was the norm.  On Thursday, they propped up the house and took off the first skin of bricks.  (External)  We have caviity wall insulation, which is what all the weird grey stuff is in this photo.

The skin of bricks came down, and the first RSJ (Reinforced Steel Joist) went in.

On Friday, the final layer of bricks came out, the RSJ went in and the extension and house were locked together.

Did I mention we're having a cat door built into the wall?  Yup.  It's kind of a high entrance on the outside, but works on the inside.  We'll perhaps put in a step when things are finished.  The cat has managed to use it as is, though.

A few more pictures of the hold in the wall.

The builders have been boxing in the room, with insulation and plasterboard going up at a pace.

The french doors (installed backwards) with the glass.  The cat door is currently covered in plasterboard.

Just as an FYI, we knew knocking through the wall would be dirty, dirty business. We  cleared everything out of the dining nook and put up some very thick poly sheeting.  

And for good measure we duck taped around the boiler closet.  The tape will probably take off the paint, but I'd rather repaint than deal with all the dust.  I taped the plastic to the floor as well, plus covered the light and the outlets, and it worked pretty well.

Here's a view of the hole from the kitchen (in front of the plastic.)

Here's a view of the hole from the kitchen (behind the plastic.)  There is still a lot of dust settling and, though insulated, the extension doesn't have a proper roof (or flashings) or radiators, so it's quite cold.  The plastic doesn't keep out all the cold or the dust, but it sure does a better job than nothing!  It will probably stay up for at least a few more days, while the guys hang more plasterboard and knock about this and that.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Side Extension: Timber Frame

On Monday, the joiners were on site and things have moved pretty fast.  Within a few hours the wall frames were constructed.

We're going to have a window in the front.  And french doors in the back.

The next day the roofs started.  And a lot of conversation ensued.  

I got lost in all the technicalities, but here's the summary:

-We were going to use cement tiles for the roof, but our local roofer cautioned against them (weather and winds) so we switched to a slate tile.
-Roof pitch had to be slightly adjusted (from 19 degrees to 22 degrees or so) because of the change
-We were going to have a warm roof design (I think) but the builders and roofer made a compelling argument to switch to the cold roof design.  (Apparently better for the slate and Scottish weather.)  

The joiners kept at it all week, adding the rest of the timber for the roof and prepping the timber frame for the wall of blocks Building Control is requiring for fire control.  Here's a picture from the back.

And a photo of the extension from the rear/side.  The extension juts out about a meter from the original house.  We're putting in a window on this aspect to introduce more light.

Towards the end of the week the guys were prepping the roof for the slates.

And putting in the two new roof lights.  Niall keeps talking about how we'll be able to sit in the extension and look at the stars.

Apparently the extension is moving full steam ahead and the brick work, windows, roof and knocking through the wall between the kitchen and the extension are scheduled for next week.