Apologies for the delay since the last post. It’s been too long but Karin and I have been busy with the house and other things. So, as we sit here on a Sunday night we thought it was time to write an update.
We have just driven home through a biblical rain storm, which got us thinking about a title for the blog. Being very knowledgeable about the bible and all things religion – not – I resorted to the holy site of Google to find an appropriate reference for this latest post. Hence the title, taken from Kings 6:9
“So he built the house and finished it; and he covered the house with beams and planks of cedar”. Please note, before Karin says something, that in this quote “he” can equally refer to “she”……
Well, the house isn’t yet finished by any means, but we certainly seem to have more than our fair share of beams and planks. Sometimes it feels like we’re building an ark, not a house…..
So as you can see, the last blog may have been about concrete and bricks, but this one has the flavour and scent of wood. Lots of wood! The brick facade has been built up and the house really started taking shape, as the roof steels went on followed, inevitably of course, by the wood.
The steels required another visit from the crane and the expert crew who made everything look so easy.
The other large quantity of material that came on site, and onto the building, was tile. As with the bricks, we were keen to source locally as far as possible. After much research, mainly entailing driving round taking photographs of roofs, Karin alighted upon The Tudor Roof Tile Company based in Lydd, Kent.
Tudor was only relatively recently founded in 1986, but with the aim of producing authentic, hand-made tiles. All the tiles are hand moulded and fittings are cut individually from the “lump”. This traditional process, combined with specially developed firing techniques, imparts the unique character to the tiles that we were looking for, mainly that the house was to look established and not brand new. Hand made product helps us create this look.
The tiles are being used on the roof of course. Karin also had been trying hard to avoid what seems to have become the standard window sill of stone or simple brick, and she had researched, or “spied and copied”, a different type of window sill made from tiles and bricks. At every stage of this build we have learned about new techniques or terminologies – and here is another one as the sills required us to use Creasing Tiles, which had no ribs, holes or cambers. What was a simple idea, turned out to be rather harder than we had thought, at least for one poor bricklayer, Steve, who had to make several trial attempts to get it right before he was satisfied and prepared to sign off the technique, ensuring the windows would sit flush. But we think it was worth it, as they look perfect in the context of the design and are a little different from the norm.
The task of getting the tiles onto the roof, then laying them, turned out to be long and time-consuming. But it was another step that meant the building started to take shape as a house, rather than just a project.
The other feature that started to enable us to see our future home, was something we had been excited about from the beginning – the chimneys. We have always enjoyed real fires and have suffered from withdrawal symptoms for many years, especially in our current home where we have no real fireplaces at all. So, from the start, we have planned traditional fireplaces and wood burning stoves. We have therefore ended up with 6 chimneys, which will give Karin capacity for sufficient hearths and cosy scenes on a winter’s evening, and me enough opportunity to satisfy a man’s desire to build fire…. The chimneys that the team have created are works of art, so much so that one is currently featured as the photo on the home page of my iPad. Karin did her usual research and “stealing of ideas” and our faithful architects, nicknamed Frank and Lloyd you may recall, did the rest. We love the result and they are one of our early, favourite features.
So that all took us to September. We were lucky with the weather, which was generally warm, sunny and pleasant with very little rain. This meant that Bob the Builder and his team actually got ahead of schedule, although Karin is reluctant to admit it yet. The build is now some 60% complete and we’re feeling good. Fingers crossed. Can it last???