Christmas is coming!ย 

So it’s been a long autumn here at Hey There, House, although it does seem to have flown by! We’ve made so much progress that it seems weird looking back at pictures from the summer – being so busy has meant I haven’t updated for a while and having a new job has taken up a lot of my brain power. Oh, and there’s the little business of an RSC production….

  

 

But we’re counting down the days until Christmas, but instead of awaiting the arrival of a small Jewish baby Messiah we’re awaiting the arrival of some bathroom furniture. Not as exciting for humanity but pretty exciting for us. 

The walls were done, and the roof was put on. I naively thought putting a roof on wouldn’t be too bad – Lord knows why when I’ve already lived through a new roof at Mum and Dad’s. It arrived like a giant Mechano set with instructions and everything. It looked enormous in our drive but once it was on it was amazing how normal the house looked – like it was missing it all along! Over a couple of weekends and with the help of various family members we got it up, felted and secure. 

  

However, it happened to be during a couple of storms. We had water in places. In the freshly decorated bedroom. In the hall. In the spare room. The coving made a run for it. 

  

After what seemed like an age we were able to get up and start fibre glassine the flat roof part. As it was a half-hipped roof, we had to allow a section of flat roof on the top which can’t be seen from the ground. Andrew was able to pull in some expertise from his work and we spent a weekend of sun on the top of our “landing pad” painting on layers of fibreglass and resin. The finished result is finally watertight and pretty sturdy!
As soon as the roof was finished we knocked out a wall or two and put one up.  As we were extending the bathroom we removed the original wall and moved it a couple of feet out, giving us two decent-sized rooms. We bricked up the odd hallway window and fitted the new bathroom window, and the set to preparing the floors.

  

The damp-proofing bitumen was not nice. It smelt. It was sticky. It ruined everything. I’m hoping this bodes well for our floor. And that it doesn’t eat through  the insulation….

  

 Our plasterer came one evening to screed the floors level. It’s amazing what a difference a flat floor can make to a room!
Since then it’s been all-hands on deck again. We’ve chosen our bathroom and we’re getting ready for it to arrive, plaster boarding walls, plumbing in pipes and booking in Matt the electrician for our lights and mirror. Fingers crossed, we might be in by 2016… 

   
 

The build: laying the foundationsย 

It’s been a while, but we’ve been busy! 

This summer has been a bit of a blur of digging, ripping up and more digging. The conservatory came down, the trenches were dug and the old drains were removed. Then we found that our house was built on pretty shoddy soil (which also made it very hard work to dig!) and so the nice easy foundations we had planned turned into a fancy steel raft. We had some much debris in our ground that the raft will keep the new part of the house nice and stable. 

   
I came home one day to find the conservatory pretty much gone. The house looked so strange with its exposed yellow walls and vinyl “patio”! 

 Next began the hard work. Andrew got his money’s worth of the Titan ripping up the thick concrete drive and pad. 
An important planning meeting! Papa T and AP discussing where to put the new drains (which will hopefully actually work!).  You can see the first trench dug. This was the day we were told we needed a steel raft.

Getting stuck in! We had to dig two new trenches beside the existing walls for the steel to sit in.    
The trenches didn’t have to be as wide for the steel, so AP created some shuttering from the old conservatory roof. Clever! You can see the loo waste pipe here (nice). 

 

The steel was delivered. We bent 70 pieces; 35 into a “bucket” and 35 into an “r” shape.
   
Here are the “r” pieces ready to go! 

Goodbye toilet! It’s buckets from now on as we removed the waste pipe.

   

 

The bent pieces of steel get attached to the straights to create a frame. The same happens to the bucket pieces. 
   
  

Polystyrene is stuck to the existing building to give a crushable zone should anything move.

  
The frames are put into the trenches. They were pretty heavy! 
  Once all the frames are in around the edges, four mesh layers are added over the top. Spacers are put underneath to ensure the mesh doesn’t touch soil; it should end up embedded within the concrete.  
The pieces of steel are cable-tied together. Now we await the concrete!