Tuesday, 31 August 2010

End of destruction, beginning of construction!

I have been promised that that's it..the last of the demolition. From now on, it's onwards and upwards. Now, that picture of a block wall may look really boring but it is the first bit of new build and therefore, to me, it looks like the Taj Mahal.

We took a week's holiday last week--and spent it at Ikea. It was really sad, we even took sandwiches with us. I did look round for a post card but for some reason, they don't do them.

But on a positive note, we have recently talked to someone with a air sourced heat pump and they were really enthusiastic which is reassuring, because it is difficult to find out independent information on these things. At this moment, my other half is chatting to a lady who is planning her own eco build, she too is struggling for information.

If you want to, do have a look at this month's Self Build and Design mag, you'll see that I've bared my soul about our project.

Off to check the next course of blockwork now!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

This is the worst it's going to get...apparently!

So, it can't get any worse, there's nothing left to demolish. Now it's a matter of building it back up. I'm really relieved because, believe me, there's not much left at all.

Check out the pic of one of our builders shovelling all our rubble into a wonderful rubble guzzler..then we are able to use all that waste as hardcore for the floors. Such environmental brownie points!

Also, you can now see how high the kitchen through to the dining room will be, I think that 'll look good ( ok, so you need some imagination, but all those in the know...husband, architect and builder look up sagely and nod approvingly)

We're spending our " holiday" going round kitchen places, having arguments about worktops we can't afford anyway and generally playing with little pieces of graph paper. My lovely ideas about posh sinks and cookers are being downgraded daily until I'll be lucky if I get a bucket and a match.

It's fun, this bit, though. At least it would be if a certain person's eyes wouldn't keep showing cash registers like Tom and Jerry.

Monday, 16 August 2010

chimneys and badly built bungalows

So the chimney wasn't keyed into the brickwork huh? So it had to come down when we took the support away. It's really good to know that when we have finished this 'ere house, it will stand for years. It does show how standards have changed. The pile of rubble is growing though.

It's really looking like a building site now..especially since the downpours last week. It's strange, I hate the whole building at the moment. I lived in it quite happily for three years, knowing that one day we would change it and I would wander round muttering cheerful obscenities against the green kitchen, the green bathroom and the green carpet, but now that it's not recognisable in any shape or form, I loathe it. I look at it with furrowed brow and clenched teeth. It was like my Auntie Ida with her knitted tea cosies--dated but sweet, and with our things in, it did have a feel of home. Now, it's more like a cardboard cut-out of a property, without character or charm and certainly nothing to do with us.

Fortunately, I think we're almost at the end of the demolition road so hopefully, it will start looking like something more interesting.

The debates re air source heat pumps, photovoltaics and water harvesting continue but in rebellion against momentous decisions, I went and weeded my veg patch at the weekend which was quite restorative and made me remember that, yes, this is my home.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

No wonder we're all confused

We are trying to our bit..we are trying to do this house in an eco friendly way, but when you read things like this.... http://www.edie.net/news/news_story.asp?src=nl&id=18533 ...you begin to wonder.

So do we put in a water harvesting system or not?

There's so little independent advice available on building in an environmentally friendly way, it's hard to make the right decisions.

But on a good note, just been to see the house and you see all that rubble? Well, it's all going to crushed on site and re-used. That's good, n'est ce pas?

There's so little left of the original bungalow now, I do wonder whether we should have knocked down the whole thing and started again. That would have saved us VAT but in this upside down world, you pay VAT on a re-build where you are saving parts of a building but if you get rid of it all and import all new stuff, then you don't. I do so love joined up thinking by government.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Day 9 of build: anyone got any info on air source heat pumps?

Mixed day: one quote on posh, modern, double glazed windows has come in . It's only a little house for heaven's sake, not Chatsworth!
Photovoltaics could make us money. We could pay off the cost in a matter of months. These feed-in tariffs are brilliant.
We think we're going for air-sourced heat pump but can anyone tell me, what happens when it goes to below minus 10? We've heard they're not at their most efficient when it's that cold..surely that's when you need the extra heat? Any thoughts welcome on this. It's hard to find the information.
LED lights. Talked to Mike at Peli Deli today in Wirksworth. He's having LED lights fitted and reckons the installation will be paid back with 9 months. Again, we've asked him for information cos it's hard to get independent advice on these things.
Maybe blogs like this are the way to go to gather information?
So, off to have a look at today's demolition work. Will post pix tomorrow.

Just one thing, we have a " death spot!"..the builder has gruesomely gathered three dead mice and a bluetit on my daughter's bedroom window sill. Too much information!

Friday, 6 August 2010

Day 5 progress

This is sooooo exciting. It's amazing how much serious damage can be done in a week to a naff bungalow. It's still hard to see how good it's going to be but I am assured by those in the know that the wreck that now stands before me WILL be a lovely little house. The little is important because this is not a Grand Design. This is a compromise project. I went up to my sister's this week to keep an eye on my mum while my sister was away and by the time I had been up and down the stairs 46 times by 10am, I realised why she is losing more weight than me who trundles 6ft along the corridor to the bedroom. But, theoretically, there is only the two of us so at least we won't get lost and I can still hoover from one plug which has to be a major plus in any woman's life.

I am using the excuse that I need to water my tomatoes to go and have a daily nose at the progress and taking the opportunity to take a picture diary.

See below or above or alongside, wherever this blog puts pix and I will keep you posted.

Monday, 2 August 2010


So, the builders have bought the tea bags, the electrician has isolated one plug they can use for their kettle and we have moved out. Well, we moved out before the builders came,

but you probably realised that and I'm still tired from the move!

We can't find anything as most things are in storage but after 3 years of undoubtedly unnecessary agonising, we are finally re building our naff bungalow into a much more tasteful and eco house. I will blog progress and let you know how we are getting on. We are intending to put in solar panels, shed loads of insulation, water harvesting and lots of other eco type thingies. We will also, finally, have a house that reflects us and our taste and, even better, no more swirly carpets, artex or gas fires with pink and light brown stone surround. Yipee!

You have to understand, dear reader, that all this is being done because of my Christmas tree.

I have struggled for three years to make that house look pretty and festive at Yuletide but I have failed. Yep, despite the individual wooden figures from Prague, despite the discrete little white fairy lights and despite the little red lanterns with twinkling candles, it has looked wrong, so wrong. I mean, if you can't make a house look nice at Christmas, what hope is there?

So now the house is being designed around my Christmas tree and I have been promised we will be in for 17th December, you can follow my increasing tension here.

The tasteful 1960s' bungalow that will be no more. This is the last time you will see it in its present state, it will undoubtedly look worse before it looks better!