Tag Archives: self build blog

On the verge …

You might have noticed that new posts on the house are few and far between at this stage. This is due to pretty much, utter exhaustion! By the end of the day I’m ready for one of two things, bed or chocolate. Chocolate wins out most days and I’m extremely fortunate to work in a shop that sells some really yummy samples! Though I must admit, the nutritional therapist in me is grieving for my poor adrenal glands!

On the house front! We will move in this week. I have a day off work next week, so I’ll have 5 uninterrupted days to settle! To help Josh settle and to hopefully let Rob rest. We have had a large pile of boxes in the living room for about a week now, gathering dust. But over the next few days, that pile will slowly filter out around the house and find home in their new rooms.

This morning we received the last of the glue for the floor, a tub that we’ve been waiting on for the last three weeks. The stairs received the last finishing touches today, and so we are now just about ready to have the architect come and do his final inspection!

Reaching this point has been interesting, and when people now say that moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do, I completely understand. We’ve been in the odd limbo of living with my parents for over 5 weeks now. It has given us a gentle introduction to living in the country, but its just not natural to live with ones parents, especially when you’re married with a child of your own! I can’t thank my parents enough for all they have sacrificed in having us here.

I look forward to moving around in the new house.. already i feel myself longing to be there. I had a mini breakdown a few days ago, when the pressure of the world was just a little bit too much. Dad and I walked down the lane in the dark, with my fluffy green dressing gown blowing in the wind, my pajama pants stuffed into my welly boots. I cried all the stress away.  I walked into the house and cried some more because I wish I could give the builders more than I can. I feel so blessed, but so tired. I’m noticing that my reaction to a lot of things at the moment is tears.

The upstairs of the house has lovely carpet but no beds, so in my mind I will lie down on the warm floor and sleep.. while the rest of me will get a cup of tea and watch Grey’s Anatomy, and no I won’t eat chocolate… most likely!!


Posted by on April 17, 2012 in From the Heart


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Day 242 Sunglasses required! Shedding dust!

The painting is pretty much all done! Larry has done a beautiful job! He even cleaned our most inaccessible window while he was painting around it!

As I walked in the back door, Florence, looking for something, looked as though he needed a pair of sunglasses more than anything else. I found the slight squint in his eye a little amusing! The paint is such a dazzling white its takes a second to adjust to the brightness!! Truly lovely! The whole house is the same colour and I love it! The blank page excites me, and its the same with a perfectly smooth, white room! A canvas onto which you can paint any picture. The imagination runs wild when faced with a clean white surface!

I was delighted to see that one of Florence’s previous houses has been featured in another architectural / selfbuild magazine. Though I didn’t get a chance to read the article, the pictures did the house justice!

Today was light on light on light. We also got the news that we have received planning permission on our temporary entrance!  I’m so glad we didn’t have to take the original route. It was more expensive, more difficult.

Our bathroom and utility room tiles arrived today, and the carpet is ready to be fitted. I also finally ordered the Chinese bamboo flooring, which will hopefully arrive early next week (from England!!).

It was also a gloriously sunny day today and the daffodils are out in full bloom. I brought the first boxes to my parents home (so moving house seems a lot less daunting). Rob’s driving instructor was happy with his progress and I got a lovely gift of earrings.. I have yet to pierce my ears, but I’ve been wanting to for weeks, so now I have something to wear when I do!

All in all its been a lovely day! Tomorrow is our fasting month, so like the clean, white, house, I hope this next month will see a little soul spring cleaning. I need to polish my mirror and shed a little dust (a lot of dust).



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Day 190 – Screed in the Sun!

It’s always fantastic being in the house when the sun shines. Here are a few photos of the screed, slowly drying out!! Hey I know, fascinating stuff!!!


Posted by on January 9, 2012 in Screed, Underfloor Heating


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Day 93 – Follow your heart!

This morning as I turned on the computer and warmed up to today, the news struck immediately that Steve Jobs had passed away. I was lead to a youtube video of a commencement speech he did at Stanford in 2005. I’d never seen it before, but it was an incredible moment of confirmation. That following our hearts, no matter how challenging it is, is the right thing to do. He spoke about ‘connecting the dots’, that really we can only connect them in hindsight, and that in the moment, when we are faced with a decision, we need to trust that the decision we make, based on our talents, capacities and passions, will lead us in the right direction.

It made me want to cry! Following our heart and passion is so difficult. Because we run the risk of failing at something that we have put our heart and soul into. The thing I have to keep remembering, is that we never fail, as long as we never give up. Any ‘failure’ is just a stepping stone to the next experience that will bring us forward in our learning.

I wish I’d known more about Steve Jobs when he was alive.

Here are some pictures of a very exiting development in the build!  Roof lights and tiles. This is a busy week though because the plumbing and heat recovery ventilation is also being installed! Seeing the roof lights go in is fantastic, the whole upstairs in being opened up now! Truly lovely!

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Posted by on October 6, 2011 in External Finishes, From the Heart, Windows


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Overdue Update!

I can’t believe I haven’t posted anything in over a week. It’s been that crazy. So the most recent update is that we’ve had to change solicitors as the old one was not working out for us. After considerable stress and bursting into tears after a phone conversation, I realised something had to change in that regard. Thankfully now we are working with a more amiable person who is more familiar with property law!

I was at the site three times this week, but forgot the camera twice.. I took a few pictures today of the progress over the last few days but too tired to upload them.

This week has seen the labourious and dirty job of applying the external cement board. Its a dusty unpleasant job which still isn’t done, as we’ve been waiting on another contractor. We also saw the battons which will hold the roof tiles go on. The roof tiles (the wrong ones, which have to be returned) arrived, as did some of the sanitary ware. A shower tray, a toilet bowl and a sink!!!

So the builders worked all week in miserable weather, but got lots done. I’m not going to post pictures today, cos I’m about to collapse with the tiredness..

So far I think this has been the most difficult week of the build. I think because the difficulties with the solicitor coincided with Josh teething and just a busy week generally. Lots of life had to happen this week and it all seemed to come at once. But its done now and hopefully next week will be brighter. Of course this week we were also promised a heatwave and we got non-stop rain instead.. bummer!

Keep on swimming, keep on swimming, keep on swimming 🙂


Posted by on September 30, 2011 in Timber Frame


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Day 1 – Clearing!

So, I believe it now! We have officially started! Here are a few photos to see work done so far. We had ‘digger driver’ as he is called by our builder, scrape away a motorway of an entrance into the site! A few branches were cut to make way for the heavy machinery, and work began measuring out where the house will be. The top soil was cleared to make way for the foundations! Looking at the yellow pegs, marking the boundaries, it looks like a monster of a house!

Dad, chain-saw happy in the background!!

This driver, is apparently one of the best in the business. It’s a pleasure to watch him work. He’s quick and clean and will butter bread for you with his scoop if you’re nice to him!

Motorway, day 1 ... The M1

Work on the field begins, clearing off the top soil.

J decides he's had enough for one morning so powers down the lift!

Let's get some lunch!

Before work began this morning, the neighbors cut and bailed the grass and carted it off! It made a huge difference to have the grass short!

After lunch a little more was done to clear the site!

The digger driver will work a good 12 hours before he’s done for the day, so no doubt it already looks different!

I can’t believe the speed at which it all got started. I arrived on site just before 10 and already they’d been working for two hours. Walking over the bare soil this afternoon, it truly felt like the beginning of something huge… huge amount of work, huge house, huge money, huge responsibility. But it’s all relative! It’s huge compared to anything I’ve ever done, bar having a child, try passing one of those and the word ‘huge’ will cross your mind a few times!!


Posted by on July 4, 2011 in Ground Works


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Never Give Up!

Photo taken by my sister A.

Recently my husband and I received planning permission to build my dream home. I have to say ‘my’ dream home, because it really is my dream, and I’m incredibly lucky to have a husband who is so supportive of my dreams.

After we got permission I was on a dream-home-high. I dreamt of walking across the hardwood floor in my bare feet, of gazing out the large window toward the stream, of opening the skylight over our bed contemplating the stars… It was blissful.

Then I went to the architect and it soon hit home HARD… my God is there a whole world of work to be done, and as it is my dream, I am the director. My husband has taken on the role of producer. He says he’s happy for me to take the lime light on this one!! So I make the decisions, I negotiate, I investigate, I have the last word on how it’s going to look. Except for the kitchen!

As I walked in the misty rain the other day, my son Josh sleeping in the buggy, I thought back to when I gave birth. It reminded me of the planning process and where I now find myself, permission in hand, lots of new decisions to make. Naively, I thought that the pushing part of giving birth was the easy part. Once labour is done, the cervix is open, and little baby comes sliding out with the help of a few well timed pushes. What could be simpler!

Little did I know at the time that my 84 hours of labour (yes you heard right), was the easy part. The 90 minutes that followed felt like the previous 84 hours, all squished into one awfully difficult collection of shouting (not by me), dilemmas, desperation, hopes and expectations. I managed to push out my son, with the help of an episiotomy and sheer determination. But I can’t help wondering, has the last few months been the ‘labour’ part of our building experience? Am I now naively falling head first into the hell that is – building our home. Will the next 12 months be a collection of painful memories, that I had hoped and prayed would be serene, peaceful and joyous?

As I lay awake in bed last night, trying to shake off the shiver of dawn, I sobbed, “I can’t do it, I’m never going to be able to cope with all this, I’ll have to cancel my life for the next 12 months, I won’t be able to do any yoga, I’ll have to shut down my business”. Well I went on like that for a good 30 minutes before I finally fell back to sleep again. Josh turned in the bed and woke me a bit later on, only this time I was warm and cosy, I was surrounded by the softness of the bed covers, lulled back to sleep by Josh’s gentle snoring. I realised how much I love Joshua, how every moment of labour, pushing, sleepless nights, poopy nappy’s were worth all the inescapable moments of pure and utter joy that he brings to me EVERY SINGLE day!

I met a friend today and he reminded me to never give up. I thought to myself that If I can get though labour and birth, I can build this house. I will face this head on, and though I might cry in the night, and sob into my pillow, I will reap the rewards of a wooden floor underfoot, and the happiness of knowing that it was something I helped to create.

There are moments in our lives, many infact, when it can all feel like a little too much. Where we wonder, really search and ask ourselves, can I really keep on going? These can be desperate times, filled with moments of pain and turmoil, tears and heartache. But there is always relief, whether it comes from the smile and support of a friend, the kiss and hugs of a baby, or the frothy delights of a yummy hot chocolate. There is ALWAYS something that reminds us to keep on going…

to never give up…

I hope I feel as peaceful sitting in our home in this field, as I do just sitting in this field!

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Posted by on June 27, 2011 in From the Heart, Pre Breaking Ground


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