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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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!!

Every Tuesday (where practical) I pop down to site for a visit, disturb Alan for half an hour or so and generally get in the way! I’m the go between for Alan and Tom, relaying messages and trying to sound like I know what I’m talking about. Today I was very glad I did – Alan and Michael managed to finish the roof off yesterday in the pouring rain!

There are Velux windows in and one of the dormers is in too. When I left they were working on the atrium window in the kitchen and the second dormer.

Today I really started to feel like this is our home. And it’s actually going to be finished soon. 😊

We are getting closer to the elusive “wind and water tight” with every day!

Half of the roof is on and, with the wind (and rain!) in our favour we should have a whole roof on by the end of the week.

For wind and water tight Alan and Michael only have to finish the roof and pop the final windows in but that’s no mean feat! The atrium window in the kitchen is ready to go but the bifold doors are heavy and time consuming so that’s a big job. The arch window (anyone else immediately thinking of Playschool??!) has to be formed and then fitted which is another big job. And then there are about a million velux windows to be fitted too. However, the rest of the week looks like it’s going to be dry which is positive.

Having even part of a roof is fantastic. Here’s to the other half happening soon!

Today was the first time I have been to the new house in AGES when it hasn’t been raining! It was sunny, calm and gorgeous.

We have had a few issues getting the rigid board insulation for the roof and this was starting to threaten to hold things up. Who knew there was a worldwide shortage of rigid board insulation??!! We do now! However, Tom got on it and, with some help from the architectural department at work, managed to find an alternative to the stuff we had hoped to use. Anyway, it got delivered today.

The blacksmith was also in today to finish off the steelwork in the big vaulted window in the kitchen. It’s beginning to take shape and looks ace. I had to leave before they finished.

The roof trusses are finished and sarking boards and insulation is going on tomorrow. Once the Velux windows have been delivered we’ll be wind and water tight. Hoorah! Alan and Michael started on the roof above the bay window too.

We’ve been taking pictures from the same spot on site from day one. It properly looks like a house now. 😊 🏡 Our very own home. ❤️

……to being dry and cosy! The guys have finished the trusses for the roof and they’ve started on the huge window in the kitchen.

To be honest, that’s about all there is to see – those were big jobs. It shouldn’t be long now before we hit the major landmark of being wind and water tight. We reckon the sarking boards might go in the roof this week (but haven’t spoken to Alan since last week so we could be completely wrong!).

Hoping to get down to site this week and then I will have more news!

I mentioned the roof in my previous post. Nearly all of the trusses are in place which has given a great sense of scale for the upstairs bedrooms. And the kids’ bedroom window frames at in place which has been good to see.

The boards are on the garage roof too.

Looking GREAT!

Loads has changed over the last week. Most of the roof is on and most of the downstairs windows are in. Apart from the Biggies. They’re going in last to make it easier to things in and out.

Sliding doors are looking fab…….

…..they also have a lovely sliding action!

The tall windows in the family room also look great……

We have aluminium clad timber Rationel windows from Architectural Doors & Windows and we love them. Beautifully made and from the outside they’re going to look very striking.

We also have a front door and a back door. These were from Moray Woodkraft and again they are such brilliant quality.

I’ve been very much looking forward to seeing all the windows and external doors go in and it didn’t disappoint.

Today was a big day in the Young Family – Finlay’s first day at school! So I took the opportunity to go to site and sit around watching for a bit!

I had a chat with a lovely gentleman from Home Energy Scotland who was assessing the house for an interest free renewables loan of which he has deemed us suitable! Phew! So we are green for go (excuse the pun!) for our solar panels and air source heat pump.

Meanwhile, the roof trusses are almost all up. The upstairs looks ace and is very spacious. It’s awesome seeing the view from upstairs, something new again this week.

And from the back it looks great, too!

Come back soon for a proper roof!

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