Finished Views

Over the last couple of weeks, the groundworks team have leveled the back “lawn” and finished the drive. The drive has settled in well with the woodland with a covering of autumn leaves. Meanwhile, we have contributed by painting 3 sides of the garage, but are waiting for some more paint to finish it of.

I thought it was time for a photographic walk round the outside. So through the gate and pass the garage on the rightDriveup to the front door.North FaceAround the East face
East End and around to the south.South Face

Apart from some site tidying up and a couple of minor tweaks, we are now finished and plan to move in on the 7th November. So a big thank you to every-one in Mike’s team and to all the other people who have made our dream house possible.

Tree Moving

The groundworks team have been here this week and started off with moving the Liquidambar and the Persian Ironwood trees. Work has been carefully taking place around them for the last year, but they were too close to the house to remain where they were. We had hoped to move them last winter, but by the time the leaves came off the surrounding area was a totally quagmire. As the plan was to smooth the earth outside the house this week, it was time for the them to go, even though it is a bit early in the year. Trees Before
First to be moved was the taller Liquidambar, which came out of the ground with a neat block of earth and no cutting of big roots. Liquidambra MovingBefore being gently lowered into place in the new orchard. Liquidambra Planting
Next was the Persian Ironwood. This proved to have shallower roots and unfortunately several largish roots had to be cut. However hopefully it will settle in.Ironwood Moving

Some more photos

As we come to the end of time with Mike and his team, we thought you would like some up-to-date photos of the house. Starting with the front entrance.Porch
the kitchen with its worktop
Kitchen worktop
Followed by a view of the internal wall of the “pod” with the library shelves
Library Stair
and finally a view of the landing with the glass balustrade panels which were put in last week.

Photo update

Looking back over the photos in the blog, I realise that some views are missing. Now the scaffolding is down from around the pod, you can get a good idea of how the pod sits in relation to the house.House from pod
The garage cladding is complete.Garage
And inside the house the painting covers have been removed so that you can see the oak corner seat which will house our CDs and DVDsCorner Cupboard and the upstairs bathroom.
Bath Room

Second Air Test

Whilst we were on holiday the second air test was performed on the house. This came back with the extremely impressive figure of 0.13 ach ( air changes per hour), which is well within the passivhaus requirements of 0.6 ach. In fact this is the lowest that Mike and his team has achieved and is even more impressive given the house is not a single rectangular unit. This would not have been possible without the attention to detail by the whole team – so a big Thank You and congratulations to the team.


Outside, the garage now has its windows and the cladding is progressing. Inside the house, all the rooms have now had a couple of coats of paint, but as the floors are still covered up we have yet to see the full impact. However we have seen the shower room floor uncovered for the first time, which is a black limestone with the surplus tiles cut to produce a very neat skirting. The photo is of the basin on its birch stand.Shower RoomThe plumbers and electricians have also been back to do some commissioning, including testing the heating system for the first time.
The builders have recently see the need for the intricate insect mesh that was installed behind the wood cladding, as a swarm of wasps decided to make a home about 2m inside their long work bench in the photo. Not that I am a great one for killing wildlife, this was a case for Pestkill.Work Bench
Most things have gone smoothly with this build, except we have had a couple of teething problems this week. The shower-room light came with a diffracter that gives alternating dark and light bands around the room and a white garage door was delivered instead of the grey that was ordered.

Oak Doors

Another busy week with lots of people on site including painters, plasterers and plumbers. Work on cladding the garage has continued, along with finishing touches on the outside of the house. The pod roof has its balustrade and the concrete for the porch floor has been laid. The pod has been painted black so you can see the striking effect of the red front door against the black paint – no missing which door is the front one. Front Door
Inside the oak ledged doors have been hung, continuing our mix of modern and traditional.Oak Door FrontOak Door BackAnd don’t you just love the latches from Hollow Ash
Oak Latch

Revealing the house

This week marked a significant stage of the house build with the scaffolding, which was put up last December, being taken down as shown in this video.

This revealed the full impact of the house for the first time.Back View Both from the back and from the front.
House FrontThe areas which are not painted grey are awaiting their coat of black paint. We also saw how it will look from the upstair’s bedroom of the existing house.From Helen's room
Other activities this week have included installing the worktops in the kitchen, polishing the tadelakt in the shower room and putting a oak top to the living room window seat.


Your first question is most probably what is “Tadelakt”? Tadelakt is a polished plaster based on the original Moroccan plaster meaning ‘to rub’ or ‘knead’ in Arabic and we are using it to give a waterproof finish to our shower room.The main ingredients are natural hydraulic lime, selected sands and marble powder with a pigment to give it some colour.Tadelakt IngredientsOnce the coat of plaster has been applied it is sprayed with an olive oil soap and is polished with a stone. The olive oil soap chemically reacts with the lime to form calcium stearate, which results in a surface that is both water resistant as well as hard and durable.
We have chosen the parchment colour, which starts of as the bright yellow pigment in the previous photo. The inset photo below is nearer to the colour it will dry to. What the photo can not show is the beautiful smooth texture of the finish. Nor does it show the final subtle colours that come with the final polish.Tadelakt

Landing Cupboards

The upstairs’ cupboard doors arrived last week in kit form, so the first task was working out which door was intended for which space as most were slightly different sizes. Cupboard KitThe doors are ash veneer with oak strips between the doors. After hanging the built-in wardrobe in the main bedroom looks like this. Wardrobe
The landing cupboards run the full width of the house the cupboard at each end being 50cm deep as opposed to the narrower section of 30cm in the middle Landing Doors