The White Cliffs….


Progress at the Plot

Three weeks on and finally some sunshine! one of the main reasons we started the build this time of year was to avoid wet & cold weather. With such a big dig out there was always going to be a high risk of the steep banks sliding away… so we were advised to try and avoid bad weather conditions (this is England though lets face it)! So it was a bit hairy for a while as the rain bucketed down the last few weeks, Vince was pacing the house in fear of ‘the white cliffs’ not holding up.. but phew, we are still standing (well the banks are pretty strong… Vince and I are just about holding it together 🙂 (been one of those weeks)!

Prior to this rain the Engineer came to site to mark out the trench fill foundations for the Groundworkers to follow using pins and spray paint (i have learnt that footings and foundations are one of the same thing) the digger has done the rest! Having been away for a few days coming back to see the final dig out was rather impressive….. and it turned out to be a much bigger hole than i was expecting.

We have come up against some more set backs, which although we cant anticipate what they will be, we are realistic in expecting these along our journey.
The structural engineer made a mistake with the bending schedule (whats this? my thoughts exactly as Vince filled me in on my return) a bending schedule specifies the shape of the individual steel reinforcing rods that are set in the retaining wall. We require a retaining wall as we have a basement element to our plans (pics of plans coming soon) so the support steels arrived bent to the wrong shape (BIG oops!) …… this would have cost us a two week delay in time and money had Builder Ben not jumped to the rescue, ingeniously coming up with a plan to retrofit the steels. Although this method was much more time consuming than it should have been it has achieved the same result without the delay of having to re order and wait for the steels and inevitably work coming to a halt until they arrived. So only a couple of days delay and minor cost issue to us…..

On overcoming this the guys have not hung around… all the steels were positioned & the trench foundations have been filled with concrete- this is the base support of the retaining wall, next stage was to build the retaining wall upright (basically an upside down T-not to sound patronising but for my own understanding i find it easier to simplify the engineering terminology)

A Planning enforcement officer has also been to site generating a short term panic as he threatened to stop the build! it was quickly realised that he had bought along the wrong planning permission with him, a confusion and mistake on his part so he soon backed off. He did however kindly ask us to upgrade our tree protection fencing… A simple issue rectified that same afternoon. Heras fencing up, safe trees and happy planning enforcement officer, well….until his next visit…..

A full set of structural Plans have been laminated and are officially up in the site cabin.

Progress on Interior

Slow but steady (and about to get slower with half term about to start)…. an emphasis on stair design the last few weeks and we are currently waiting on some prices for in situ concrete stairs- these might (are likely) to come in way over budget so the design is going to be hinged on this, so this is very much still a working progress…..

A gorgeous cornice is a great way to blend modern and traditional features within an interior which is the look we are trying (hoping) to achieve. Initially I loved the idea of a statement deep cornice but another consideration I have had to take into account is the ceiling heights. Although we have a lot of flexibility in terms of interior layouts, walls, doors etc… unfortunately we are restricted when it comes to ceiling heights, this is because the overall ridge height has been set at planning and has therefore has repercussions on the internal heights. To get around this I have sourced a shallow cornice with a longer protrusion onto the ceiling so it still appears to make a statement and add grandeur without the perception of lowering the ceiling.

Some little things; I have made some more tweaks to the kitchen design; reducing the island size. Getting initial prices and design ideas on front and internal doors. Drawing up Ground Floor elevations..

Next on the agenda; more concrete pouring on site for the upright on the retaining wall. Chasing stair prices and considering stair balustrade designs to tie in the three flights. More tile sourcing, continue with drawing up plans & elevations of each room.

Weekly updates have proven difficult recently with various commitments however we will do what we can 🙂

We have put together a short video which Vince is going to introduce (apologies Vince isn’t exactly Steven Spielberg) but we wanted to round up the progress of Month 1, hope you like it.

Lucy & Vince


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