The Dreamer stops dreaming!

The Dreamer

Distinguished Member
...and starts building.....

This is going to take quite a while, and we're not sure we have the budget to complete everything we want, but we've started on an extension. This will become a kitchen/diner, with a small amount of AV (Sonos, TV on/in wall).

If the budget allows, then our present kitchen, dining room, and utility room will get knocked about a bit to provide a gym and........ (drum roll).......home cinema!! :smashin:

Hope to utilise a lot of gear that I already own (and indeed, the budget dictates this) - the priority is to get a high quality finish to the extension and new patio area - the rest, whilst secondary will be done to the best standard our funds will allow.

Not going to go into too much detail as to what's planned, I thought it'd be nice to let the pictures tell the story as we go along.... :D

So, we're now 4 days in to the build, and the pics so far.....


Patio already gone.


Section of stone wall gone for access.


Conservatory all gone. Topsoil and turf gone. Foundations next week!

The Dreamer

Distinguished Member
So, the foundations are being dug and this is the first problem....


Doesn't look like much, just a hole in the ground, but the gravel area is surrounding a drain. We knew beforehand the drain would be in there somewhere, but the exact location puts it directly underneath one of the supporting steel uprights. Cue a call to the building inspector!

Solution, brace over the top with a couple of small RSJs - sorted!


Here's the drain uncovered, but now with some reinforcing beneath, which gets covered in concrete up to the side of the shuttering. RSJs get laid on this and then covered with the rest of the concrete foundation.

So, on to today, and, with all the prep work done, it's time to pour the concrete!


The lads use a couple of these mini dumper trucks to ferry the stuff back and forth.


Bit of a squeeze, under the cherry trees.


Easy does it!


And we're there!

A few hours later and....


Foundations all in and set. (Panoramic stitch, the two visible walls are at right-angles to each other)


Another panorama stitch, showing where the building work is taking place relative to the house.

A second problem encountered is that the structural engineers drawings don't match the architects! Another few phone-calls, and all is sorted, we can order the steelwork tomorrow!

There's going to be a patio outside, unfortunately, we have a deep layer of topsoil before reaching anything hard enough to build on; plus the floor level is about a foot above the garden. Means a lot of digging out, then infilling with hard-core. Rough estimates are 110 tons of the stuff will be needed - gulp! :eek:
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The Dreamer

Distinguished Member
It's been a while now, so thought I'd better do an update on the build.

Waiting for the steelwork to arrive, we had hoped it would be ready and in this week, but it's not getting delivered now until Monday.

So, what's been happening?


Mini digger comes inside to dig out floor.


Retaining wall for inside floor almost complete.


Likewise the patio retaining wall. We've had to downsize the patio somewhat - my "ideas of grandeur" exceed our fiscal situation - i.e. we can't afford over £20K for a patio! :eek::D Maybe one day?!


Needles in to support gable, while new window opening made.


Garage window and door blocked up. Supporting columns for steelwork built up. Office window blocked - leaving an alcove either side - this side to house kitchen/diner AV gear, the other side, power sockets for the gear and RAKO lighting controls.


Ceiling being removed. This section of roof will not exist in it's present form - it's going to be opened up and glazed.


New TigerLoop installed. The oil feed needed to be re-routed.


Roof stripped back.

The Dreamer

Distinguished Member

Whilst it's been windy, at least the rain (for the most part) has held off.


New lintel and sill installed in new window opening.

Phew! Steel work arrives 08:30 Monday morning, so should see some major changes then.

Now to unwind over the weekend....


My lad practising his roll tacks!! (Not AV related at all - but a great way to switch off from thinking about the build for a while!) :)


Oh, all right! Just to keep it AV related!


"My Precious!" - quietly waiting for phase 2 to kick off! ;)
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Distinguished Member
Love your house seems very idyllic and peaceful location.

The Dreamer

Distinguished Member
Yes, it was part of the original farm steading that belonged to the hall - which is now the golf club. Whilst we have our own patch of land, the club maintain the surrounding 1000 acres, which we then have access to - which is rather nice! ;)

The previous occupants were keen gardeners and 'rabbit-proofed' the entire 1 1/4 acres - for us this means it's also kid proof, so little one can't get out. :smashin: Which is handy, as he's severely disabled, and would quite happily wander into the middle of a busy road, totally unaware of the danger to him.

Been here just over 3 years now, having moved from only a couple of miles away in the local village, but the transformation in our lifestyle has been immense (sadly matched by the transformation to our bank account! :eek::devil:)

Still, we're lucky to live in one of the least populated areas of the country which is great, as I don't enjoy city life as much as I used to. .........must be getting old! :)

The Dreamer

Distinguished Member
...and another update to the build.....


Steelwork arrives!


Brackets welded in wrong place - so pad stones have to be reduced in height by a couple of inches. (The brackets have been placed the same distance from the top of the beam as the brackets on the posts - but on the beam they should have been centred.)


Uprights loosely in. The galvanised post was outsourced, and not as high a finish as we might have liked - it's getting painted later!


Easy does it!


The cross beams are 500mm out! - Luckily only used for bracing, so they can be moved, but in the present place would cut across the rooflights. (We think the manufacturer measured from the wrong end, as they would be perfect if the beam was turned through 180 degrees! - doh!)


All up.

Next is putting in hard core and levelling, finishing block work to floor level, then we can measure and order the bi-folds and windows.

Typically, I've got to go back to work as the interesting stuff starts and various questions will need clarifying.:rolleyes:
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Distinguished Member


Active Member
Great to watch yours going up, looks as though you're going to have some serious space to play with.

Don't you find this bit agony? You can see the potential but can't yet play with the toys :D

The Dreamer

Distinguished Member
Great to watch yours going up, looks as though you're going to have some serious space to play with.

Don't you find this bit agony? You can see the potential but can't yet play with the toys :D

Absolutely! This is the first time we've attempted anything like this - we had a conservatory built on our last house, but that was pretty much turnkey, as we just agreed the price and absolutely everything else was handled by the company - which was dead easy.

This project is throwing up issues every few days which need sorting. The working drawings don't match the elevations for a start - no wonder the architectural technician we used was cheap! :rolleyes:

Luckily, we've definitely made the right choice of builders - a cracking team with a wealth of experience that find good solutions to the problems and then get on with it! We watched them do our neighbour's extension last year and knew they were good, methodical and tidy. You'd hardly know they were here!

It's all very exciting, but worrying at the same time - I know there are going to be lots more issues as we near completion, with decisions on finishes yet to be finalised (we think we've got the kitchen sorted!) I'm ordering some of the stuff myself, bifolds, rooflights, flooring (internal and external) and just getting the lead times right, so the build can move on is a juggling act. It makes my head hurt! :facepalm:

My lad is going to be jealous of your fishtank, I know he wanted one - but then, just with any pets, it'll be mum & dad that'd have to look after them! :rolleyes:

Good luck with your build, I'm keeping an eye on it!

The Dreamer

Distinguished Member
Been away for a while, as my elder lad was competing at the RS Tera World Championships at the WPNSA.

Sorry, couldn't resist the photo-op! (photo Steve Greenwood)

Back on topic....

One of the builders took the same week off, so progress slowed slightly, though I'm still impressed at what has been achieved. It's difficult to show exactly in photos, as a lot of what has gone on is prep work, sorting out levels and the like. Anyhow, here's what's been happening......


Lots of wood going into the steelwork now.


The framework has to be strong enough to support what is, in effect, a dwarf wall overhanging the bi-folds.


Underneath the polythene is a new roof. The left hand side was planned, the right hand side is replacing rotten, woodworm ridden, joists. The left hand side will be partially glazed.


We may have to move the flue from the boiler, or maybe not, if the builders 'cunning plan' works, hopefully avoiding more expense. Don't know what the 'plan' entails as yet.


Garage roof stripped back to where the flat roof is going to intersect.


Another view of the woodwork, showing one of the gaps where a rooflight is being installed.


And another, showing the underside. The bifolds will attach to the right hand side of the lattice-work frame, which itself will form an overhang.


The surveyor's markings for the bifolds. Two sets will meet here, one 5.6m, the other 3.3m - ish. The bifolds will sit on these blocks, with the frame recessed. The drainage visible in this photo will itself be recessed by around 10mm or so, so will be all but invisible. By recessing the frame, there will only be a 15mm threshold, effectively, creating a 'stepless' transition from inside to outside.

And that's it, up to date so far. Work is going to get in the way again shortly, but will update again, when there is more progress to be seen.


Distinguished Member
Quality.. Loving your work.

We installed 4m bifolds in the dinning room of our Victorian house a few months ago and it is amazing how it brightens the place up and modernises the space. It is also very dramatic when opened up. Your 8m+ of Bifolds will be awesome.

Great photos and a lovely looking home, even prior to your massive improvements.

The Dreamer

Distinguished Member
Quality.. Loving your work.

We installed 4m bifolds in the dinning room of our Victorian house a few months ago and it is amazing how it brightens the place up and modernises the space. It is also very dramatic when opened up. Your 8m+ of Bifolds will be awesome.

Thanks. We hope it's going to be a great space, but as ever, the devil is in the detail - I only hope we can pull it off, there is still a lot of stuff that has yet to be finalised. Luckily, I trust the builders we have, having seen some of their other work, to find practical, and good looking, solutions to the various issues that are appearing as the build progresses. As I'm away most of the time, this is a good thing! :smashin:

Great photos and a lovely looking home, even prior to your massive improvements.

Again thanks. We feel truly lucky to have found this house; a chance meeting with the previous owners meant it never came to market! We wouldn't have stood a chance in a bidding war.

In the little hamlet of around 10 properties, we are only the second new family to move in, in over 25 years! That's how settled people are here. Certainly, if nothing else untoward happens, this is our 'forever house'! (It's going to have to be, as it'll take me that long to pay for it! :suicide::D )


Active Member
This is going to be a beautiful home when it's finished! I'm looking forward to seeing the end result. We're in the middle of having lots of walls knocked down in our new house at the moment and are 8 weeks in to a 12 week period with pretty much no I can appreciate how excited you must be to have all this work done asap!

The Dreamer

Distinguished Member
Well, we are lucky, in that we still have a perfectly (albeit 26 yr old) working kitchen in a different part of the house, so no rush, we're just trying to get it 'right'.

I have to admit though, to wanting the project to be finished, just so we can enjoy this glorious summer! I rather think though that the Bifolds aren't going to see much action for the next 10 months or so!:D
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The Dreamer

Distinguished Member
So just a little update.

Not a huge amount of visible progress in these photos, but a fair amount has been done. The builders have moved on to do a spot of work for one of their regular clients whilst we wait for the roof-lights to arrive (web-site specifies 10 working day lead time, in actual fact it's 15 - hmmm.) The roof covering cannot be fitted until they're in place.


Framing pretty much complete. Also, the bushes that were in front of the office area have been removed - they were a midge magnet, and obscured the view to the garden.


The, much better, view from inside the extension after the bushes have been removed.


Blockwork also pretty much complete (as far as the internal stuff goes anyway.)


Starting to get a sense of space now.


View from the outside, showing where the windows will go. A little bit of blockwork still required to blend in with the wooden framed 'parapet'.


View from the garden looking back shows where the extension is in relation to the rest of the house.

So that's it until the back end of next week, when the rooflights will arrive. I should be getting back from Beirut at about the same time (Hezbollah and co. allowing!) So something to look forward to!


What a cracking space that will be. Looks like a great house anyway still love the stone built houses. Wish I had the budget to move

The Dreamer

Distinguished Member
A little update....


Framing waiting for the Rooflights, which should arrive today! :smashin:


...and they do arrive!


Unfortunately too late to be fitted on a Friday afternoon! Oh well, should be a good day on Monday - football and golf have been banned in the garden this weekend! :D

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