18 Mar 2015

Bathroom installation

With 2nd fix now fully underway we had moved from the 'fabric' part of the build into the decorative part of the build and I was now in charge of subcontracting.  

I approached four different tilers for a quotation.  The prices varied by quite a considerable degree and in the end I choose Stewart who is SWC Flooring.  He came in with a competitive price, had provided two good references for me to speak to and could start within the timeframe allocated (not a lot, as schedules were out the window and Andrew never gave me much notice!) and seemed a friendly and helpful bloke.

It was herringbone pattern all the way, and Stewart reported dreaming about herringbone whilst on our job!

First was the bathroom tiles (for more info see Bathroom tiles - sourcing).  Stuart was brilliant about drawing up a template first so that we could check the position of the tiles around the corners and when they met edges, this gave us a cleaner final look.  In the main bathroom we have a window above the bath which lets in loads of light but needed consideration for water protection.  Tiling around the corners would spoil the look and make it too fussy so we decided to tile up to the edge and then line the window walls with metal sheet instead.  

I also decided that I didn't want the tiles to go up to the ceiling - water was never going to get up there.  I preferred the more restrained and simple look of just keeping in line with top of the window- all these tiny details!

Andrew and Stuart made sure that my attention was drawn to the edge of the tiles.  Our Fired Earth Forecast tiles are quite thick and made of terracota this left quite a visible raw edge.  They wisely advised me to use an angle at the edge and we found a nice non-shiny brushed steel profile.  It was a good call, and one aspect I had totally missed, and makes the whole thing look more finished and elegant.

Simpson's Ten Hinged Bath Screen

Once the tiles were in place our plumbers, Cotswold Green Energy could install all the Crosswater brassware - beautiful!  

Simple lines - Crosswater Central Shower valve

The grout colour chosen was a gentle grey, a tone or two lighter than the tiles.  Too dark a grey looked like public toilets and a cream colour just looked too cottage-like.  Detail, detail, detail.

Crosswater's Central Shower Kit

I've got plenty of extra tiles left over - perhaps too many, but one at least came in handy when the drill cracked the tile during the installation of the shower screen.

For more info about the bathroom fittings we chose see Bathroom love.

9 Mar 2015


The painters/decorators arrived.  

We had chosen Little Greene paints - see my earlier post Choosing Paint.  So all paint colours mentioned below are from their range.



I was so excited to see the colours go on - they were absolutely beautiful.

A 'Juniper Ash' colour block in the sitting room on a elegantly soft and warm 'Tusk' wall wash.

More 'Juniper Ash' in the downstairs hallway.

I was so pleased to see how a last minute colour choice worked out so perfectly.  'Gentle sky' ceiling and colour panel on a 'limestone' wall wash.  The 'gentle sky' colour goes up all the way to the top of the skylight to meet the sky.

Kitchen installation

Sustainable Kitchens were ready and waiting to install the kitchen.  Charlie O'B (so identified due to the extraordinary amount of Charlies we have had on this project!) arrived and set to work.  The units had all been made in the workshop but the countertop had to be measured and templated onsite.  Only then would we have the exact dimensions needed to fabricate the stainless steel countertop.

Charlie was supposed to have had the place to himself but with the plumbers and electricians busy with other jobs and trying to squeeze us in where they could, it meant that everyone was on site at once.  It was very noisy and busy and meant that everyone had to do a little more jiggling and juggling to not be other's way.  NOT ideal, but there was a lot of jolly camaraderie.

It took only three days to install the units and then it was immediately covered in board to protect it while all the other trades continued. 

By now we were in the first week of August, and had been planning to move in at the end of this month!!!  Doubts were beginning to seed...  My presence on site was really limited due to the fact that we were full swing in the middle of school summer holidays and site was really not safe to bring the children to visit.

A few weeks later the steel was ready and Joseph came along with Charlie to install.  This was far from a straightforward task.   But Sustainable Kitchens handled it with a cool and professional head.   

Steel, unlike wood, is an unforgiving material.  Wood can be planed and eased to fit like a glove.  I had also asked for an experimental aspect which concerned the edge detailing- normally the steel wraps around the ply base so that you see a metal edge (we have since discovered why, as it hides a multitude of sins).  I had asked for the edge to be exposed so that the steel just looked like another layer in the ply.  I wanted the lighter feel that this would give to the metal countertop. 

This meant that the front edges had align perfectly or be cut/sanded so that they would be.  It also meant that the bonding of the metal to the ply base had to be perfect as the edge would expose any gaps in adhesion.  This aspect would normally be disguised by the wrapped edge.

A bit of head-scratching but Charlie figured it out calmly and with a smile, always up for a challenge with my experimental kitchen design!  The wires you can see in the wall are the for the LED lights which have been recessed into the Dinesen Douglas shelf which wraps around the kitchen.  The moveable island was finished in the workshop and wrapped in the wobble-sanded steel.  It was kept out of the way and delivered the day we moved in. It is so beautiful.  I'll share finished photos soon.