12 Feb 2015

2nd Fix

With the floor installed and then protected with a floor covering re-cycled from another site,  it meant that 2nd fix could begin in earnest!  

2nd fix is when all the final finishes are installed, everything above the plaster layer; switches and light fittings, sanitary ware, flooring, paint, tiling etc. etc. It's busy, busy, busy and seems to go on forever!

The house was filled with trades - plumbers, electricians, tiler and kitchen fitter.  Andrew and Paul focused on making all the internal joinery. 


There is a lot of internal joinery as most walls are actually bookcases.

I had designed these door handles so we experimented with where to position them.

Interestingly rather than taking turns to be on site everyone seemed to prefer to be there while the other trades were there too.  There was a LOT of banter - all good, so good in fact neighbouring builders were known to pop-in for lunch.  Not sure how to feel about that, I'm choosing to believe it's because we've got such great group of people who are working hard in a really productive and creative atmosphere and who wouldn't want to be part of that group...!? 

The basin and sink are from Bathstore, the tap and waste from Crosswater.  For bathroom info see here

The elegant Bauhaus Edge Towel Rail in Anthracite.

Simpsons Frameless Ten Bath Screen and Crosswater Shower is installed. 

It goes without saying that it has not been all plain sailing.  But mostly it has been fine.  This has also meant that I have needed to get to site a lot more often as lots of decisions still have to made and things checked.  Mistakes have been made and most people are on day rates so ultimately those mistakes hit my pocket! It becomes a case of coming to terms to living with the mistakes, because to redo would cost too much and take too much time.  Must remember to channel Wabi-Sabi (the Japanese philosophy of embracing imperfection) and remember that everyone is human and everyone makes mistakes, including myself!  

The plant room comes to life!  Our gas boiler is installed.  As we have minimal space heating demands it doesn't make sense for us to go for a more eco alternative here as the payback would take exponentially longer for us.  Our largest demand will be hot water and the plan is to eventually install photovoltaic panels to address this demand.

We have a boiler!

Charlie, the plumber, was bemused by my excitement at unwrapping the taps - it was like Christmas!

This is the point in the project where it was always going to be an issue about being a mother to 3 young children and building a house at the same time.  Dimitri always said that he would go on site at this stage of the build to supervise however it rapidly became clear that interiors and detailing was just not something that he was confident with.  So we've done the best we can and hopefully the majority is good and we will soon not notice those small issues...! The problem is that I've very tuned into detail and notice things without even wanting to and so even though no one else notices I do and they BUG me everytime I see them!

Andrew created oak cases to house T5 light fittings, then we figured out how it would work, more on lighting here.

These T5s will be hidden by a false ceiling panel so the lights should just give a glow at the edges.

Just one foot in front of the other...

5 Feb 2015

Choosing the colours

In Stroud we are lucky to have Bailey Paints - a wonderful cornucopia of all things paint-related.  It was to them that I turned for everything to do with paint.  As I was quite overwhelmed about choosing colours I took advantage of their Colour Consultation Service.  Jane Peckitt, an experienced professional furniture painter and decorator, came for 2hr site visit and I couldn't have done it without her.

Little Greene's Colours of England & Colour Scales, and Grey Collection

Jane arrived into the chaos of the building site, with about 8 or 9 contractors also on site.  Her secret weapon was a file of nearly A4 size colour samples of the entire Little Greene colour library (for more info about why I chose Little Greene see here).  What a difference they made to job of looking at colours.  At that size it was so much easier to see what the colours looked like in situ and to see how they related to other colours.  

My tester pot samples

We started upstairs, peeled back the protective floor coverings and took a look at how different colours worked with the floor.  Jane listened carefully to what I what I wanted to achieve and used her amazing knowledge of colours to guide me through the options.  She was great at knowing which colours looked complementary together, moving expertly between different shades completely.  Jane was also able to flick quickly between the samples to lay her hands on samples that would offer me a brighter or more sombre option of any colour combo.  

We ended up choosing one of the colour scales from Little Greene's Grey Collection; flint, tusk and limestone.  These gave a lovely soft graduated background and then chose accent colours for my colour blocks.  I wanted to do something interesting with paint and between Pinterest and Remodelista I had been really inspired by painting just a block of colour which doesn't go up to the ceiling and also wraps around corners.  

I have fallen in love with Little Greene's Juniper Ash, a gorgeous rich warm blue, which will be used upstairs and downstairs.  And for our bedroom I've chosen the beautiful Bone China Blue which manages to be both blue and grey and ever so calm and elegant. 

I felt really excited as I was delighted with the colours and my design rules (see here) were all being ticked!