Tuesday, 26 June 2007

The extension starts to become reality.

So much seems to have happened over the last few weeks that my feet have hardly touched the floor, let alone my fingers touch any keyboards. We finally got our planning permission through for the extension and, after a little wrangling with the planners, we haven’t got to “drop” the roofline so that it is subservient to the older part of the house. Hurray! Our architect has been an absolute gem. He is from Kington and has done other work in the village, and he has just taken away all the stress of the negotiations. Wish he could just wave a magic wand so that the extension would be up by tomorrow, but now it all begins in earnest.

As soon as we knew we had permission, I started sourcing some materials (just can’t help myself, I’m afraid) and got our first eBay bargain of the project. We’d set our hearts on flagstone flooring in the new hallway and through into the kitchen but original flagstones would be a) too expensive and b) too thick to match up with current floor levels. The alternative was reproduction flags and there they were on eBay! An over-order at a house not too far off the M4 near Bath and, as luck would have it, we were off down there to visit my uncle for Sunday lunch. The lady was so lovely and took us in to see the finished product laid in her kitchen – all sealed and looking fantastic. They were from Classical Flagstones of Bath originally, so we had a nose on the website and were chuffed to bits when we found that our £100 would have been just over £1,100 if we’d ordered from them!

We’re now trying to sort out the bricks: we need between 5 and 6 thousand red bricks and would prefer reclaimed so that they blend seamlessly with the original part of the cottage. But the problem is quality – so many reclaimed bricks are very rough around the edges and damaged where they have been cleaned. However, reproduction “old” bricks can still look too new, unless the colour match is just right. Oh, what to do! We could probably build the extension just from the samples we’ve got already in the yard! And we need blue highlighting bricks for around the windows, doorways and along the corners, bull nosed, cant bricks and all sorts of things I’ve never heard of! We rummaged around Wye Valley Reclamation on Saturday and came away armed with lists and prices and heads buzzing with ideas.

And then there’s the roof tiles! Same thing all over again, but we’re 99% decided on new “brindle” handmade clay ones as they are such a good match and we had a few new ones mixed in with the originals when we did the roof 4 years ago.

The mess is going to be mind-blowing. I’m psyched up for it but reality is another matter totally. I’m off down to Devon on 20th July with my parents whilst Jimmy knocks down some of the existing structure. We didn’t get our pre-work break together due to unexpected orders for bookmaker’s brollies and so Jimmy insisted I get away to escape the dust and initial mayhem. I found it hard to agree because I know I will hate missing out on anything but I guess this is the boring bit, and at least I’ll be around when the new bits start to go up.

Today is our 9th wedding anniversary - I can't believe how the time has gone. Jimmy came into my life after much heartache had made me very cynical, and he won me over with his easy smile and vast capacity for love. He changed my life the day we met and this morning I lay in bed with my customary cup of tea, curtains and windows wide open to the fresh air and birdsong, and felt the calm and serenity of our home ease me into the new day. Make the most of it, my girl, the builders will be here in a few weeks; there’ll be skip lorries clanking along the lane; concrete mixers whirring; scaffolding and male voices shouting instructions over the radio which will, no doubt, be balanced precariously on a pile of a rubble. We are entering a new phase in our life together : we'll be eating beans on toast as we try to save every penny; we'll be living in chaos, but we'll be doing it together - I can’t wait!

Photo is of the floor as laid in the kitchen of our eBay seller– carefully stored in anticipation in a friend’s barn!


ChrisH said...

Lovely to read what you've been up to - you sound very happy and the flagstones look very promising, good find. Good luck with all the building work, keep my fingers crossed that the weather improves too.

Suffolkmum said...

The flagstones look great Woozle, Brace yourself my dear for the weeks ahead - but it will all be worth it! We're on a beans on toast economy diet too. I keep missing your blogs - have no idea how/why - but I managed to miss your tag one. It's great - hugely impressed with Ozzy - my husband is a huge fan of his and I do think he is very sweet, if a bit dazed and confused (like me, except mine is age, not too many drugs!) I always get a chocolate orange in my stocking too! Lovely photo.

Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary! Obviously so blissfully happy, here's to another nine years and a lot more besides!

I've never had an extension on a house and can't imagine the mess. We're having a new kitchen at some stage, things have been put on hold for the time being, but apart from having that can't wait to get it finished feeling, I'm actually dreading the work starting! Does that make sense?!!

Crystal xx

toady said...

Good luck with the building work, envy the extension, don't envy the mess.Toady

Inthemud said...

Fantastic! We got our planning permission just before I got ill, so haven't done anything yet, but was looking at Classical flagstone catalogue and horrified at cost!

Our council wouldn't let us have what we wanted and our extension is to be very subservient to main building , ridiculous!

Lovely to read about yours and all the sourcing. I must get on to it now!

Exmoorjane said...

Oh Woozle, all sounds so exciting and what a bargain! I'll be following in your messy footsteps in a little while....dreading it and looking forward to it in equal measure. Lovely flags.....clever you!

snailbeachshepherdess said...

When I feel a bit more sort of enthusiastic I've got to go searching for reclamation bricks to finish our building project off! We started in 2001 and after 6 months of living in the bedroom the enthusiasm sort of paled! I will do it ....one day and who has got the Calpol...you might need the odd swig...shall we share a bottle?

Preseli Mags said...

What a bargain! It's going to be such a beautiful floor and I bet you can't wait. Building work is always a pain, but in the scheme of things it's a (comparatively) brief nuisance for a great result. I hope everything goes smoothly and that you are soon looking at your own version of the floor.

The Country Craft Angel said...

Happy Anniversary. I hope you had a lovely evening last night.

That floor looks wonderful!!

Will just have to have another trip over to see me soon-will take you to Craven Arms-Shropshire reclamation yard-hundreds of bricks!! Well, it's an excuse to get together again!!
...and I haven't even met you yet!

Bye for now
Chicken Angel

PS-had missed your blogs!