The long road….

Its FINALLY happening! We’re about to start building our house! Well, I say we but actually its a very lovely man called Alan Lorimer, our builder. I have waited a very long time to say that.

We started our self build adventure nearly 3 years ago in April 2014 when we decided to sell our house. We had outgrown our home and needed to find a house that suited what we wanted for our family.  We loved living rurally so we looked around south Aberdeenshire but there was very little for sale. The downturn in the oil industry was resulting in fewer people selling up while they waited to see what would happen.

Tom had always dreamed of building his own home some day.  We had even gone so far as to look into kit houses several years previously.  So, given our failure to find anything suitable, we changed our search criteria in the ASPC (Aberdeen Solicitors Property Centre) and started looking for suitable plots.  This would be the defining factor as affordable plots were also very difficult to come by.  We soon came upon a plot of land being sold by a farmer near Kinneff, 7 miles south of Stonehaven.

Tom is a civil and structural and at the time was an associate in Arch Henderson LLP (he’s still there, he’s just now a partner) and this was very useful for designing our house.  We used one of the in-house architects at Tom’s company, a lovely gentleman called Scott Ewen, to design our house and he did a great job. Tom sorted out all of the structural work and we felt confident that we would be building summer 2015. However, after a year of searching for a builder that fit in with the finances we had in place, it was clear that in Aberdeenshire the cost of such a build was going to be far greater. Unfortunately our building society was not able to help us with this (we couldn’t get them to agree to a reasonable final valuation) so we remortgaged with Ecology Building Society.  We found our builder (Alan Lorimer from Inverbervie) through word of mouth recommendation and once we had our new mortgage in place everything started to move quickly.

Which brings us to the beginning of April 2017 and the real start of our big self build adventure!

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Yup, that’s right – it’s moving day!!

This has been 3.5 years in the making. That’s a long time. And it has been worth every single minute.

What maybe you don’t realise is that it has been 3.5 years of waiting and patience for us but also for the people who love us. You see, they have gone through the ups and the downs, the highlights and the low points, the celebrations and the disappointments with us. They have given us support, helped us with the hard questions and stood by us even when they thought we were totally crazy. So to myMum and Dad, Tom’s Mum and Dad, our 4 sisters (Nicola, Lynne, Frances and Laura) and their lovely other halves, and to our best friends in the whole world, Alistair, Kate, Martin & Rebecca, thank you for never letting us give up and for putting up with YEARS of house talk. Maybe now you’ll get a break from questions about flooring and tiles! It really did take a village to build this house – we are so lucky to have such a wonderful village around us.

Now for the big move. Loads of photos to follow!

12 days and counting! We are sat in the midst of dozens of boxes, the removal company is booked and we have handed in our notice in our little rental house. It’s really actually truly happening.

This is the back of the house (the chimney has been finished and rendered since this photo was taken) and this is the front……..

However, my personal favourite view is the side…….

Soooooo much has happened since last I blogged. We have the new facings (they were worth the wait), bathrooms are finished, kitchen and family room are finished (apart from final paint job), stoves are in and the stairs are in at last!

Pleased with the stairs –

And the family room and kitchen are gorgeous!

We are in the home straight now (pardon the pun) and I’m feeling equally excited and stressed. There’s loads of organising to do for the change of school for the children which has been smooth so far but I still have to be in top of it all.

Money’s tight (as we knew it would be) but we have paid our last rent payment so things should improve!! This was always going to be the tough bit but we’ve ridden it out and I’ve tried not to worry too much!

The heating is working well (underfloor downstairs and radiators upstairs) – even with it switched off for 2 days it was still up around 17 degrees which shows that all the insulation was worth it (thanks again Michael!).

We’ll soon have the green tech commissioned which means we can get our loan from Home Energy Scotland which is great. Again, that’ll have been worth all the paperwork and hoop jumping in the end!

I will try to post a few more pics in the next 2 weeks but next stop is moving day!! And I’ll post on the other side 🏠💕

The house is looking amazing – even if we do say so ourselves! The bathrooms upstairs are pretty much finished and they look fabulous.

The utility room is done apart from the floor and the appliances.

The doors have all been fitted upstairs, however this is where the story gets a little muddied. Unfortunately, Deeside Timber, who have provided all our beautiful doors, have delivered the wrong door facings and so the whole of the upstairs is going to have to be redone ☹️. This is probably going to cost us another week which is putting our move in date back. This was a bitter pill to swallow this weekend when we were so excited to see the amazing progress the builder had made. Unfortunately the skirtings don’t sit right with the facings so we have to have them redone. The skirtings aren’t actually correct either but we can live with them!!

We also have heating at last! The air source heat pump is working well and it’s now a balmy 18 degrees in the house. Air Source 1 (the heat pump people) weren’t the easiest of companies to deal with, their customer service and communication leave a little to be desired, but their product so far seems to be good. Although it has only been a week!! Loving the underfloor heating!

Downstairs bathrooms are looking awesome too. Well the tiling is.

So excited about the progress – if it hadn’t been for the door facings being wrong we’d have had the upstairs finished (apart from carpet) by the end of this week. It’s probably about 2 weeks away now but that’s still very soon all things considered!

………over a kitchen! In my defence it’s a beautiful kitchen and I’ve been imagining it and dreaming about if for nearly 3 years!

The house is well into second fix and the changes and decisions have been many and varied!

The garage door is on:

The final render has been started and we are thrilled with the colour. There’s also timber cladding round one of the dormer windows.

And then, of course, Alan has started the kitchen. This is my pride and joy! (I know it’s not finished but it’s a thing of wonder to me!)

It’s a Howdens solid wood kitchen in stone with a fantastic island. Should be getting the Granite workshop fitted in the next couple of weeks!

Then of course there’s all the paint. Happy with all our choices so far – except maybe for Eve’s room! The lovely pale, understated pink I THOUGHT I had picked turned out to be rather more vibrant than first impressions! But, as I said to Tom, if this is the only bad decision we’ve made then I think we can be happy!

I know what you’re all thinking – so when are you moving in?? (It’s the question du jour at the moment and it’s MUCH better than “So have you started the house yet?”!!!) and the answer is 6-8 weeks and HOPEFULLY the first weekend in March.

So if you believe in the power of prayer please pray for us, that we will have everything we need to be finished by March, and if not just keep sending us all your love and support and keeping asking us about our fantastic new home!

Hello! Well now that’s Christmas is over I have time to give everyone a house update. December was a bit mental so apologies for the lack of communication.

The house is now fully plaster boarded and the tapers have been in taping and plastering which means some of the walls are actually ready to be painted!

Alan has worked flat out to make sure that the kitchen walls were finished by Christmas so that he can start fitting the actual kitchen cabinets in January. The tiles and bathrooms will be done in the first couple of weeks after the Christmas break.

(Bathroom tile sneak peak! Thanks Kate!)

The exterior of the house is looking stunning. The stone around the arch window is finished (actually all the stone is finished) and the cladding has been started. We’re using larch cladding from Russwood and it looks wonderful. Because it’s larch, the colour will change and grey so it will settle as the house does.

The render has been started on the back of the house too although we’ve only seen the base coat so far! The render will come all the way around the sides of the house too.

Alan and Michael have built in our wardrobes and the walls are up for the WC downstairs.

And today we’ve been buying lighting and furniture. Which makes me giddy with excitement!

This week has been all about the upstairs. We went from this………..

…………to this.…….

And now all the walls are up!

Bedrooms are a great size, the master bedroom is so lovely and bright, we’re delighted.

We can see where the showers are going to go in the bathrooms and we’re really pleased with how spacious the hallway is!

The stonework is nearly finished too. And we have finally chosen the colour of the render which should start soon.

Firstly I have to apologise because it has been a very long time since I last blogged. I blame the October holidays!! So since I last blogged we’ve had a lot of changes.

The skates are finished on the roof.

The floor screed is down which means we now have the finished floor level (minus the actual flooring).

All of the insulation is in upstairs (big shout out to Michael in particular because that has been an enormous job and it’s pretty boring!).

The ducting is mostly in for the MVHR and lots of pipe and cabling has been put in place.

And the brickies have started on the stone cladding which is looking beautiful.

Some of the stone cladding is the stone that was on the site when we bought it – the old byre and Cottage. Especially the corner stones.

The next few weeks should see the internal walls going in upstairs and the plaster board going in. Tom and I need to choose some tiles for the bathrooms too.

Oh and the fancy Velux window is in too – this is in the master bedroom.

I’ll try not to leave it so long next time!

This week the solar panels went on the roof.

This means the slating can now be finished – it has been started on the garage roof and the slates look fantastic.

The inside is beginning to take shape too (sort of) with insulation in the walls, wiring everywhere and the underfloor heating pipes in place. The screed for the floor is being poured next week.

The outside of the house has been given a coat of bitumen paint before the different types of cladding go on.

Where the batoning is there will be larch cladding and the wall with be Arch window will have stone cladding, as will wall to the right of the Juliet balcony.

We have been given a more realistic entry time of the end of January which means once we have enjoyed Christmas 2017, we will be packing up this house and looking forward to the next one in Rowanwell House!

Apologies for the very cheesy title!! I ran my first half marathon at the weekend and had to get it into my blog somehow!

Yesterday I had my usual Tuesday trip to site and it was the best since the timber kit was delivered.

The best window in the house is IN! This is the window in the kitchen dining area and I cannot begin to tell you how much I love it. I have been imagining this window for 2 years and it still took my breath away.

The large window across the front is bifold doors so on the occasional sunny day ☀️ we will be able to open them right up onto the patio (or mud as it is just now!).

More scoring news is that the Arch Window (I feel it requires capitals) is also in! Woohoo!

Alan has done such a splendid job of both windows. Plus the floor is down upstairs, the dormers are in and the facias and soffits have been started.

The next step is for the plumber and sparky to start laying pipes and wiring and there’s lots of insulation to be fitted. And Alan said I can help!!

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