And they all lived happily ever after

So, a year on and how did we do? Around the time of my last post everything was hotting up with Stan’s building team putting the effort to get us in for the end of July, and with us moving house from Manchester for the… Continue reading

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Finishes – a sneak preview

Blockwork? Garages? Concrete? But what about nice things? Read on! Continue reading

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Underfloor heating

Now we’re getting to the really interesting part, the point of no return with the floor! Putting in the underfloor heating is a job involving three different teams from Stan’s building firm, and slowly (quite quickly really!) the inside of the house takes on another guise. Continue reading

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Anywhere there’s an opening in the walls, there’s got to be a lintel to take the weight of the wall above. Some lintels are larger than others – pictures. Continue reading

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External blockwork

Blockwork on the back wall round the kitchen window

Now the timber frame has been allowed to settle for long enough with the roof on, time for the outer walls. Continue reading

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Fitting the solar panels

Bruce and Brian on the roof

Getting the solar panels up on the roof on a baking hot day. Makes up for all those cold April gales. Continue reading

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Finishing the dry lining

Hand finishing the lined walls

Johnny and Nick arrived to finish off the dry lining they started last week. Just the job for a hot spring day! Continue reading

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Dry lining the walls

Finished plasterboarding

Three weeks after they started, Pete and Ali put the last plasterboard piece onto the walls last week. So now to fill the gaps. Continue reading

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Progressing steadily

Partitions in the roof

It’s been quiet for a while on the website but things are still happening on site here. The main job still in hand is the internal joinery. Pete and Ali have been working away every day, and we’re making progress. Continue reading

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The Roof – Part 2

The North Face of the house from the summit of Mount Topsoil, a little known peak in the Borders. Showing how the slates flow round the Velux roof lights.

The planners had mandated a slate roof. Judging from the job Brian and Chris are doing they were right. Continue reading

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Insulating the walls

SES turned up last Friday. Their mission was to fill the downstairs exterior walls with 140mm of shredded newspaper. Continue reading

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Sample finishes approved

All the finishes

This week, as well as getting all the windows in and the first floor boarded out, we also overcame the final two planning hurdles. Continue reading

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Looking back from the east end of the house

And now we have an upstairs. Continue reading

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Sarking boards fitted

Unloading the windows off the lorry was the nerviest bit of the build so far. How did we do? Continue reading

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The Roof – Part 1

Nearly there with the roof trusses

After the lightning fast construction of the walls, we were expecting the roof to be up in hours. It hasn’t worked out quite like that … Continue reading

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Started on the walls

Despite the weather, the walls go up. Continue reading

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Pouring the concrete slab

Poised ready to pour

This weekend we saw a gap in the weather which would enable us to pour concrete. Nearly let down by the concrete suppliers, we just managed to get the job done. Continue reading

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Installing the sewage treatment plant

Last Monday, we had planned to pour the concrete to form the slab floors for the new house. Sadly we were thwarted by freezing -6C temperatures and 2 inches of snow. But that didn’t stop the delivery driver for the sewage treatment plant. Continue reading

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Sorting out the electrics

While we’re pausing to let the weather catch up with us, here’s an update on progress on some of the services we need in our new house. We’d been warned that it could take months … Continue reading

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Spoke too soon!

Well, despite all Stan’s efforts to win a bit of breathing space, the weather is definitely not getting with the programme. But that’s not stopping the timber frame manufacture. Continue reading

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Ready to pour the slab – after only 2 weeks

Stanley Brash and his team of builders have moved unbelievably fast this last 2 weeks. Foundations are done and approved. Drains are done, tested and approved: “Perfect” no less from the building inspector. So now we’re ready for the concrete to be poured for our… Continue reading

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Digging the drains

Digging out the drain trenches

Uninteresting and eventually invisible? Yes, but critical we get them right since they’ll be buried beneath more than 2 feet of compacted hardcore and concrete. Continue reading

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Purifying planning conditions

There’s a faintly moral tone to some of the terminology surrounding planning applications and permissions. Maybe it’s a Scottish thing. Anyway, when you get planning permission to build a house, there are often conditions attached to the permission, and you have to formally apply to… Continue reading

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Pouring concrete and building foundations

The building team has done well this week. Trenches dug Tuesday, concrete poured into them on Wednesday and walls built up to floor plate level by the end of Saturday. It’ll be tough keeping up with them. Here’s the concrete in the trenches. (click on… Continue reading

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Digging the foundations

Things moving ahead quickly today. Stan and Brian got busy with tapes and string and set out the house foundations. This looked like so much fun that Alan from next door and I got stuck in. In the end there were four of us with… Continue reading

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And we’ve started!

The works start

Stan, our builder, arrived this morning and with very little to-do started stripping back all the top soil ready for the hard core that arrives tomorrow. Continue reading

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Building Warrant Approved

We’ve cleared the last official hurdle before we can start building. Our long suffering architect Andy Black who not only designed the house but also acts as our agent with the local Council rang me this morning to let me know.

Building Control at the Scottish Borders Council have asked their last question and got their last reply, they’ve applied the rubber stamp to the building warrant and now there’s nothing to stop us going ahead. Continue reading

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Clean country living

Being out in the country has its benefits. Wildlife and a quiet life being just two. What you can’t do though is assume you’ll have access to mains services like gas, electricity and water. Gas we can live without, electricity is just a matter of linking in to the nearby network. But water, that seems to be a challenge. Continue reading

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Almost ready to build!

Just over 12 months after buying our plot of land, we are nearly ready to start building. After a tense January waiting for builders to get quotes back to us, we have now selected our builder (or has he selected us?). We have agreed a start date of around the 25th February. It’s really great to get going at long last. Continue reading

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Surveys, geology and boreholes

With a new build the greatest area of uncertainty is underground. Foundations need to keep the house up, and when like us you have no access to mains drainage, you need to be sure that the foul drainage is going to work too. Whatever you do try and uncover problems under the surface, there’s always the possibility you’re going to be surprised when you come to build. Hopefully we’ve covered that! Continue reading

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Budgeting for our self build project

Pinning down the costs of a self build up front is notoriously difficult. There are just too many variables, starting at the very beginning with the purchase cost of the plot, and then the ground works, and don’t talk to me about hedging! Continue reading

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Edenmouth on the maps

Looking back over the old maps, even though it might appear like a quiet rural backwater, things never stood still for long around Edenmouth.

Since Edenmouth appeared on maps in the 18th century, the settlement has steadily increased in size as more houses and farm buildings were added. Now there are plans to add three more houses, including ours. Continue reading

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Design finished, now for quotes

tender detail elevations

This week we managed to finalise the design of the new house and get the plans out to our candidate builders for quotations. We still don’t know quite what its going to cost to build this place but in a couple of weeks all should be made clear. Continue reading

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Land contamination

Aerial view of Edenmouth OS aerial view with sheepwash

Well, the good news is: the sheep dip won’t kill us. And much more importantly, it won’t kill the salmon in the Tweed either!

The bad news was that the Planners wanted us to prove it. So when we got our planning application approved, among the many conditions attached to it was the requirement “to identify and assess potential contamination on site.” Our hearts sank – another thing almost designed to add delays to the project. Continue reading

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Designing kitchens

You’d have thought we would have had SOME ideas of what to do with a clean slate. After all, we’ve spent the last 20 years considering the failings of our last attempt at designing a kitchen. Surely we must have learnt at least something from that? Hah! No chance. Continue reading

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Garage approved!

Edenmouth site plan

Today we heard that the Border Council Planning Department were “content to approve” the planned garage, subject of course to the usual raft of conditions. Continue reading

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Just for the front door

To help us with our choice of door colour, our friendly windows supplier sent us a colour swatch. We’d tried looking at the brochure, and we’d looked online but it really isn’t a safe thing, choosing colours like that.

We thought we wanted Anthracite Grey. We knew we wanted Anthracite Grey. No, in fact, we were adamant we wanted Anthracite Grey Continue reading

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Decisions, decisions

RAL palette

Right now there seems to be a steady stream of decisions to be made. This is definitely a good thing – too many things left until the builders get on site mean rushed choices later on. And potentially a bigger bill as a result. Anyway today its the turn of the external doors for the Prior/Ambrose decision making process. Andy the architect is pressing us to make a decision, any decision, and so we do with our usual trepidation. Continue reading

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Building control progress

Graf Klaro treatment plant

This week we felt we made a couple of big steps forward. Borders Council responded with some queries on our building warrant application. Easy things like what stove were we planning to install and does the access road support 14 tonne fire tenders. (Of course it does!) Continue reading

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Picking a design

Firefly Wood's Moraig house design

Like everyone on a budget with a dream of building their own house we started off looking at timber frame kit manufacturers. Pretty soon we cobbled together some basic decision parameters. They were:

Large rooms rather than many rooms – we don’t need lots of different rooms but those we do have must feel generous.
At least one bedroom and bathroom facilties on the ground floor
Scope for nice views across the garden
Oh, and no bloody dormers. Continue reading

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How we started

Our plot at Edenmouth

We often wonder how it was we decided to build a house! We’d been living in a pretty ordinary 4 bed detached house on a development on the edge of Oldham and now here we are, about to start building a beautiful, modern well-insulated house out in the countryside in the Scottish Borders. Continue reading

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