Choughs, We Love Them!

Cottage Development

Cottage in 2004

THE END, May 2009 - This will be the last report on the building progress. It has been 18 months to do the building project which we have very nearly finished. It has been really well worth every euro. Only the rest of the place to sort out now! Here is the before and after. The photo on the left was in 2005 after we had knocked the old garage, but before we had built the new one. The photo on the right is in May 2009, with only the gravel for the driveway in front of the house to be done. We are very happy indeed! Visitors are welcome!

Cottage in 2009

Front Terrace and Animal Pen

Week 25 - 7th May 2009 - Yes I know this is an early report but we will finish this week. The terrace is done, see photo on the left. This week the big drain was put in across the front of the garage, then through the veggie area and into the gulley by the fence on the west boundry. In the photo on the right you can see John using a kanga to break some rock. The trench is dug, and the pipes have arrived. The area between the house and the garage is nearly scraped off and covered with 1" Clean gravel. There are a few minor bits of tiling and carpentry inside which will be done this week. Then all that is needed is to paint the front doors, windowsills and then decorate inside in due course.

Big Land Drain

Front of House

Week 24 - 2nd May 2009 - This week has been all about the outside walls. They have now been built, and plastered. The idea is to pave the 'Morning Terrace' with stone and grit as per the 'Evening terrace' on the west side of the house. We like the effect which can be seen in the photo on the right. The paving is not yet finished. The sunken garden inside the walls is for the tortoises and a few guinea pigs. We are planning a raised flower bed in the middle. We have already placed the old chimney of the cottage with a plant in it and an even older one lying down as an animal shelter. I am hoping the lads will be finished next week!

Morning Terrace

Morning Terrace Taking Shape

Week 23 - 25th April 2009 - This week has been all about walls. Building the garden walls for the 'Morning Terrace' and the sunken garden for the tortoises. The photo on the right shows the layout of the walls, and incidentally Francis can be seen loading cardboard for recycling into the car. On the left, the top of the walls have been finished, and all ready for plastering. The lads are putting the finishing touches to a gatepost. It all went reasonably smoothly, except for cutting the water pipe to the cottage twice! All good practice! Never mind, next week will see the walls plastered to match the Cottage and Extension, then a nice big land drain across the front of the garage, and that will be just about it, really.

Morning Terrace Layout

Cottage Style Doors Going In

Week 22 - 18th April 2009 - Getting There! Dan has been busy making old fashioned cottage style doors for the bedrooms upstairs. You can see them under construction in the photo on the right. The webcam shot shows us carrying an office desk from two years storage in the garage into the cottage. Yes, we have started to put beds in the bedrooms, and desks in the office. This weekend will see progress on wiring in the office, and the porch grouted. The second fix was finished this week, with plumbing and electrics. Next week there will be plenty of outside action on the webcam with the lads making the front garden. Hopefully Dan will finish off the woodwork inside.

Cottage Style Doors in the Making

Francis Grouting the West Bedroom

Week 21 - 11th April 2009 - Tiling, Tiling and more Tiling.... plus a bit if electrics this week. Most of the second fix is in place now, I have put all the lights in as well, so we have LIGHT and POWER! Nearly all the tiling has been done. We have done all the grouting to try and speed things up a little. Francis is here happy as a pig in s.... In the background of the photo on the right, you can see the shower in the utility room. Also the lights are in, and John and Mike are busy doing stuff. Next week should see all the tiling finished, that includes the showers which we have done ourselves. The plumber may well get here to finish his bit, and the lads will finish connecting the outside pipes.

John and Mike at work in Cottage

Spaghetti Junction

Week 20 - 4th April 2009 - Plastering is now finished. AT LAST! The wonderful dry sunny weather we have had has been ideal. The big job this week was re-routing the 'poo' pipes, so before the rain arrived on Friday, a big trench was dug from the cottage to the poo tank. This had to cross the main ESB electric cable, the main water pipe from the garage to the house, and the electric cable out to the garage. The rain water from the roof has now been fed into the gully between the house and the vegetable garden. The grey water was re-routed round the poo pipe. The extension poo pipe was also re-routed into a new manhole, and then connected to the tank. Spaghetti Junction can be seen in the photo on the left. On the right, the aerial shot shows Mike busy digging the trench, which produced some realy big stones. Connecting the poo pipe and the grey water from the cottage will have to wait until next week. On Friday both en-suites were tiled, and half a bedroom. Then over the weekend Francis has begun to tile the showers. More tiling next week.

A New Poo Pipe

New Stairs and a Happy Dog

Week 20 - 28th March 2009 - The stairs are in now, and looking really nice. The photo on the right is taken from the West Bedroom looking across the stairs to the East Bedroom where Susy is standing in the doorway. The photo on the left shows the door out to the porchway with Susy on the stairs playing with Truffle. The ceiling is now finished and the plastering done in the office. Next week will see the utility room ceiling sheeted, and the plastering finished in there. Also I hope the floors will be made ready for tiling. We may also have the upstairs doors made in a traditional 'cottage' style by Dan.
Stairs up to west Bedroom

Stairs up to East Bedroom

Front of House

Cottage Now Matching Up

Week 18 - 21th March 2009 - The big thing this week has been finishing the outside plastering. The WebCam shot from today shows the front of the cottage and extension finished, apart from some cosmetic work. The view is somewhat obliterated by the big loader parked up in the 'front garden' or 'Morning Terrace' as it will be known. In the photo on the right the last coat is going on the gable end. The big loader is in action using a pallett as a platform. Dan is busy on the scaffold rounding the edge of the window, and Mike is busy supervising. The surface on the back of the cottage has been given it's final sponging and looks really nice. The weather has been very kind to us, and we are hoping it will continue into next week when we should have the inside plastering finished, and the underfloor heating connected up. The end is really in site now!
Big Land Drain

Top Layer of Plaster

Front of House

Porch Added On

Week 17 - 14th March 2009 - Three major events this week. We see the final coat of lime plaster on the front and gable end of the cottage, so it is looking nice and smooth ready for the final coat of white plaster to match the extension. The 'Barges' have been constructed out of concrete for the end ot the cotttage roof. These can be seen in both photographs. We will be painting them to match the ridge tiles. The Porch foundations can be seen in the photo on the right with the first course of blocks in place. John and Dan are working on the gable end from the Loader bucket. In the photo on the left you can see the Barge on the end of the roof. Three days of work have given us a nice porch, nearly ready to tile. Once that is plastered I think we should see some white plaster appearing very soon. Next week we hope the underfloor heating will be connected up and the porch finished. No work on Tuesday ........ it's St Patrick's Day!
Big Land Drain

More Plastering Going On

Front of House

West Bedroom

Week 16 - 7th March 2009 - Upstairs we can see one Bedroom and En-Suite is now fully plastered. Just the floor to be tiled, then the plumbing finished before tiling the shower. Nearly there in that room! In the photo on the left Susy is standing on the doorway to the En-Suite, and the shower can be seen behind her. On the right you can see the plastering is nearly finished acrosss the back of the cottage (three coats). Only the white plaster needs to be added now. One more coat needed for the gable end and front. A nice contrast to the photo below from last week. The sheeting is ready on the end of the roof for the 'Barges' to be cast early next week. Weather permitting of course! However more plastering inside if it rains.
Big Land Drain

Barges on the Roof Ends, and Plaster on Wall

Front of House

Rotten Wooden Lintle

Week 15 - 28th February 2009 - The remaining plaster has been chipped off the outside of the cottage, revealing some interesting history. The right hand side of the cottage, looking at the front, is a later addition. There were doors once where the windows are on each side of the front door. At the back (see photo on right) you can see there were windows upstairs, and a door in the middle downstairs. The cottage is now joined onto the extension. There was only one wooden lintel above a downstairs window which you can see on the left being taken out in bits. It was too rotten to be of any use! There is now a nice reinforced one in it's place. Inside the ceilings upstairs are finished ready for plastering. Next week (weather permitting) should see the outside plastering begin. Rain is forecast for most of the week, so I think there will be good progress on the final coat of plaster inside.
Big Land Drain

Back Wall of Cottage Ready to Plaster

Front of House

Upstairs Bedroom

Week 14 - 21st February 2009 - The rough plastering is now finished inside the Cottage, and the acros holding up the first floor have gone. The Utility Room shower tray and stud wall is in place now. Only a small stud to go in to make the door into the room. In the photo on the left you can see all of this ready for the plasterboard. On the right is a photo of the roof of the 'Back Passage' between the Cottage and the Extension. This horror was revealed when the old sheeting was removed last week. It looks as if the big stones in the wall are about to be part of a nasty Rock Fall! The old wooden lintel is soft and rotten. The stones seem to be pretty stable. We replaced the lintel with some oak we had from our previous house, and put in a couple more for good measure. It is all covered by plasterboard now, ready for the sheeting which should happen next week. Hopefully the plumber will turn up to connect the water between the Extension and Cottage, so the floor of the aformentioned 'Back Passage' can be finished. We will leave the pipe connecting the Plant Room to the Cottage accessible. You never know when another cable might be needed! Next week should see the plasterboard finished, and most of the sheeting on the ceilings done.
Big Land Drain

Ceiling of Passage Between Cottage and Extension

Front of House

Damproofing Ground Floor Walls

Week 13 - 14th February 2009 - As predicted the electrician turned up on Thursday and spent two days on the First Fix. Job Done! Meenwhile, the damproof plastic sheeting has gone up on the walls as a 'Belt and Braces' measure against any damp getting through the walls (see photo on the left). I am please to say the walls seem dry enough anyway, but it may well prevent prblems in the future. This has now been covered by a lime based plaster ready for the final coat of white plaster as in the extension. Upstairs the stud walls were put up before the electrician arrived, as can be seen in the photo on the right. Next week we hope to see the plumber on Monday to finish his First Fix. Then there will be more plastering once the stud walls have been insulated and slabbed up (technical term!).
Big Land Drain

Upper Floor Stud Walls

Front of House

Upper Floor Layout

Week 12 - 8th February 2009 - Upstairs the Underfloor Heating is down ontop of the Kingspan Insulation, and with acros to support the floor the concrete has been poured. This was achieved by building a scaffold plaform up to one of the velux windows, making a chute out of wood, lifting the concrete in a loader bucket up to the platform, and shovelling it down the chute. Very ingenious! In the photo on the right, the loader can be seen in action, and in the insert you can see Dan watching as the concrete runs in to his wheelbarrow. We are delighted with the result. The upstairs shower trays were put in place before the concrete was added. On the left Susy can be seen standing near the opening for the stairs. Downstairs, the rough plastering is pretty well finished too. Next week we are hoping the electrician will do the First Fix, the stud walls will be built, and even some more plastering. Great Stuff!
Big Land Drain

Home Made Shute for Concrete

Front of House

NE Wall of Cottage Built on Solid Rock

Week 11 - 31st January 2009 - This week has seen most of the initial layer of lime plaster applied to the walls inside. This is done by throwing a trowel full at the wall and hoping it will stick .... it usually does! Quite a skillful job, i'd say. Then the joists have been put in for the upper floor, and yesterday the board floor added. We then finalised the layout for the ensuite bathrooms with the lads, and the base for the stud walls was put in place. In the photo on the right you can see the board being layed. the hole in the floor for the stairs is now very clear. The photo on the left shows the wall before plastering. Note several inches of solid rock, forming part of the back wall of the cottage, just above the new floor. Next week we should see the insulation, then pipes and plumbing before the concrete floor is layed upstairs.
Big Land Drain

Upper Floor Begins

Front of House

Concreting the Floor

Week 10 - 24th January 2009 - Only one day of action this week, as a result of which we have a ground floor in the Cottage. On the 22nd, in no time at all, we had 10 tons of gravel delivered, and some steel mesh to reinforce the floor. The mixer was put inplace, and then, using the digger to load the mixer, concrete was soon being wheeled into the cottage by hand. You can see in the photo on the right the digger filling the mixer, two barrows ready to go, a cement pack being opened to load into the mixer, and the water barrel filling up. All systems are go! Soon piles of concrete were appearing inside the Cottage. Dan can be seen, in the photo on the left, finishing the woodwork below the door into the House to contain the concrete when the floor fills up. Next week should see plaster being chipped off the walls inside and out, and then rough rendering of the walls.
Big Land Drain

Making Concrete

Front of House

Underfloor Heating Feed

Week 9 - 17th January 2009 - The insulation is down, and the underfloor heating has been laid. The other plumbing necessity has been preparing for the Utility Room pipes, the upstairs underfloor heating and soil pipe from the ensuites. Bashing a channel to take a 4 inch pipe into a stone wall was not an easy task, but has been done, and the pipe is in place, passing through the wall below ground level just by the front door. All the manifolds for the cottage will be upstairs, because it makes bleeding the system easier. On the left you can see the pipes running up the wall by the door through to the house. On the right the underfloor layout leaves a gap ready for the stairs, and wall between the utility at the far end, and the office nearest the camera. Weather permitting we should see the ground floor concrete poured next week.
Big Land Drain

Underfloor Heating Downstairs

Front of House

Stripping Plaster off the Walls

Week 8 - 10th January 2009 - This week saw more progress than we imagined. The floor of the cottage has been levelled, covered in Sand, Kingspan Insulation, and is ready for the Underfloor Heating Pipes to be laid. More plaster is being chipped off the ourtide walls. On the left you can see John on the Loader working up the wall, and Mike working safely at ground level. On the right the fitter from Marvin Windows is putting the windows in. They look crooked, but it is the walls that are far from straight! All the windows are in now, so next week we should see the ground floor finished, and more plaster coming off the outside ready for finishing off. I think we need to be ordering a door for the cottage very soon.
Big Land Drain

Windows Coming Out

Front of House

Digging out the Ground Floor

Week 7 - 27th December 2008 - It is Christmas, and the lads are off from the 24th until Jan 12th. However we have had such an interesting day today Monday 22nd, that I thought a couple of pictures to give the flavour of the work. They removed the front door, and surrounding plaster to squeeze a mini digger inside the cottage. They had to dig the doorstep and floor out to get it in, but once inside, great progress breaking up the floor as can be seen in the photo on the right. On the left you can see their normal digger in action clearing the rubble out through the door, whilst Mike is breaking the rock near the back wall. Very skillful work indeed! They returned on the 27th to finish the rockbreaking to dig out the floor. We are now ready for building to commence after the New Year Break. There will be more on our progress on 17th January at the end of the next full week of work.
Big Land Drain

Digging out the Ground Floor

Front of House

Dan Demolishing the Stairs

Week 6 - 20th December 2008 - The roof is now finished, complete with gutters, and nice chimneys, and looking really smart. The first layer of rough plastering over the stone is done upstairs too. Inside is now almost completely gutted. That is, the first floor, kitchen and all the wall lining has gone. Downstairs, only the wall between the kitchen and living room remain. In the photo on the right, Susy can be seen on the stairs, most of the floor boards are up, and rainwater can be seen on the ceiling between the joists. On the left, Dan can be seen demolishing the stairs. His chain saw came in handy! Susy and I burned all of the resulting timber today. Monday should see a mini digger being driven into the cottage to dig the floor out. Hopefully this will only take a couple of days. Then we are ready for the underfloor heating to be fitted when the lads return after the Christmas break on the 12th January. The windows arrive and will be fitted on the 8th January. Here's to 2009!
Big Land Drain

Upper Floor being demolished

Front of House

Tiling Going Well

Week 5 - 13th December 2008 - Well the roof is nearly finished, and would have been on Friday if it had not rained all day! In the webcam you can see that the south side of the roof is nearly finished, and the chimneys look great properly plastered with their fancy tops. The lads spent Friday taking the plaster off the walls inside on the upper floor. The photo on the right can be compared with the one below to show the difference. We rather like the bare stone, so will probably have some of it visible somewhere. Next week should see the slating finished, and more internal destruction, hopefully paving the way for reconstruction after the Christmas Break.
Big Land Drain

Upper Floor Walls Stripped

Front of House

Rafters Going Up

Week 4 - 6th December 2008 - A great week has seen the roof timbers and felting finished, with the chimneys constructed. Today the chimneys are wrapped up against any rain or frost. In the webcam shot on the left roofing timbers can be seen in the afternoon light propped up against the scaffolding. The roof itself is half finished. Inside the cottage today the extra height is very apparent. Yes I know there is a bit of a mess! However things are moving well. Next week should see the roof slated, the chimneys revealed in all their glory, the plaster coming off, and even the first floor being demolished.
Big Land Drain

Upper Floor of Cottage

Front of House

Rebuilding the Chimneys

Week 3 - 22 November 2008 - After a bit of a pause on progressing the cottage, we have set the scene for rebuilding the roof. The top of the walls have been stabalised with reinforced concrete, here you can see John on the right shoveling concrete into the shuttering, and Dan making sure it is evenly dispersed. In the WebCam shot on the left there is a small truck delivering a load of sand for the mortar. The top of the chimneys have been demolished and rebuilt. In fact the stone of both was in very good condition, so only a little had to be removed. We discovered there was only a half inch difference between the top of the walls, which was quite a surprise to me! The template for the roof is made, so next week should see real progress up top.
Big Land Drain

John and Dan Stabalising the Walls

Front of House

The Roof is Off

Week 2 - 1st November 2008 - Well what progress this week! The roof and first floor walls have gone, and all in one day! Susy has burnt the rotten wood, you can see the bonfire here on the left in the WebCam shot. How the north side of the roof did not just slide off in a gale is a miracle. The tiles had no nails (all rusted) and only held together by pointing! In the photo on the right you can see Mike knocking the last few rows off the edge, and you can see what a state the timbers were in. The wood has arrived to build the new roof, but the lads have to finish another job next week, so we are hoping for more action the week after.
Big Land Drain

Roof Coming Off

Front of House

Front of Cottage

Week 1 - 25th October 2008 - Things have begun with the garden wall and hedge cleared in no time at all, and the scaffolding is up ready to start after the Bank Holiday next Tuesday. In the Webcam shot on the left and the overall photo on the right, you can see how much more space there is. We rather like it, but the sheep do too, so they have pooed all over the place. We have put a gate and fence up across from the join between the house and cottage to the vegetable garden. We will be fencing the area off to the left of the house, so this will keep the sheep off the patio, so less poo to tread in!
Big Land Drain

Overall View

Front of House

Extension Finished. Cottage Renovation Beginning

Week 0 - 23rd October 2008 - AT LAST we have begun renovating the Cottage. The first task was to remove the old garden wall and erect the scaffolding to enable the lads to remove the roof. The Webcam shot on the left shows how things were before the start, with the camera moved a little to the right to be able to see all the roof. Also in this shot John and Dan are setting up a gatepost for the new gate to keep the sheep away from the new house. See the next entry above. On the right you can see John in the Digger pulling over the old gatepost.
Big Land Drain

Morning Terrace Wall Coming Down