- Written by Merry Albright
- Published: 29 September 2015
The house is complete…..almost
I can now confirm that the last 6 weeks of any self build project are MANIC. There seemed to be a crazy rush of trades (all coming at the same time and sometimes in the right order), an endless stream of deliveries and a paperwork mountain the size of Hay Bluff. We spent a long time searching our HQ stores for the perfect black screw and some elusive bathroom fittings - the missing flush plate eventually turned up at the suppliers 30 mins away so an emergency driver was dispatched to collect it before the plumbers ran out of time.
Of course it is a bit stressful and at times I yearned for a dark room - but it is also thrilling and satisfying to see everything come together and for ideas that were once just scribbles on paper finally become reality.
It probably feels stressful because all the 'small' jobs and decisions pile up towards the end - and theses are collectively more troublesome and draining than the big jobs it seems. For example it took three of us to find the right fixing for a curtain pole.
But these endless little jobs are often the most visible parts of the house and getting it right is crucial - especially when you are aiming for an exceptional finish. Finding the perfect piece of beading for the stair case or the tiny brass handles for the pantry doors may well be small fry in the grander scheme - but they are very important and elevate the ordinary to something more unique - more 'Border Oak' .
Admittedly some of my ideas needed a bit more energy and explanation than conventional approaches - I will concede that the builders gave me a few odd looks when I asked them to fit some towel hooks made of real tree branches to the back of a door. And my reclaimed oak ledge and concrete sink for the downstairs WC is certainly a 'marmite' feature (some people really REALLY aren't sure about it!) but gradually we ticked the jobs off the list and stopped adding new ones.
Some parts of the house are not yet complete - for example we need to fit the interior of the pantry (pretty shelves and reclaimed marble we're thinking) and we will add to the furnishings and art work as we go. But the only biggish jobs left incomplete as I type is the drainage connection which is still held up by paper work and missing certificates from the legal people (how many times can they tell you 'it will be complete in 6 weeks'?) and the landscaping work (we can't do this until they dig the drainage trench). But other than that we know have the most lovely oak framed cottage in a great spot - looking better and working harder than we had expected.
I thought some very basic facts about the project might help give some perspective:
Build Time 8-9 months
Construction Cost £288,000 (approx. £1500 per m2)
Construction method Oak frame with SIPs, faced with render with glass and weatherboard
And finally here are some of the professional images we have just taken of the cottage - I really hope you like it. We will also do one final diary post to give you some background on the performance of the cottage as early indications show that it is out performing our expectations with regard to insulation, heating and heat loss. Keep an eye on our website, Facebook etc for 'open days' and events in the coming months as we would love for you to see it in the flesh - the first are set for 2nd and 3rd October and the 23rd and 24th October (please call the office to book a slot).
Thank you all for reading the diary over the past few months, I hope it has been informative in some way - we are always really grateful for your lovely comments and your continued interest in what we do.