Category Archives: design and build project

Turning a building site into a home

I love hard landscaping, paving, walls, fences, but I think it is only when a garden gets planted that it becomes a garden. Likewise undertaking a building project can be a thankless task until you get rid of the builder’s rubble and dust and get onto the creative bits: paint colours, curtains, blinds, and furniture.

Here’s a quick preview of an extension I have just completed.

The original footprint of the extension

Digging out and setting the footings

The blockwork walls go up

Blockwork is faced in stone

The underfloor heating goes down

The plastering is done  – I wanted it to be a little rough to complement the age of the original building. The plasterer hated doing it but it looks lovely! And the Porcelanosa floor tiles are laid

Decorating with Earth Born Clay paint to allow the building to breath

The furniture goes in and the blinds are fitted and we have a home!

If you have a building project, interior or garden and landscaping project which you need help with or ideas for then please give me a ring: Alison 01572 747318 or 07973843020.

I work on interior design and garden design projects in Stamford, Lincolnshire, Oakham, Uppingham, Rutland, Oundle and Northampton  as well as further afield. I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

Interior design details

On a large new build project or a renovation it is often the small details that make all the difference. And sometimes it is the unexpected. One of the amazing things I have noticed in our new build is the way the light moves through the building. After 4 months sleeping in our daughters room while she slept in what was affectionately referred to as the Harry Potter cupboard, we finally moved back into our original bedroom. I woke up the following morning and the shower screen was reflecting the silver birch tree outside. The dappled morning light was falling through the leaves and the picture was perfect. Yes, all the mess, the dust, the dirt, the noise has been worth it!

The Silver Birch tree which is now a feature in our new wet room

If you have a building project, interior or garden and landscaping project which you need help with or ideas for then please give me a ring: Alison 01572 747318 or 07973843020.

I work on interior design and garden design projects in Stamford, Lincolnshire, Oakham, Uppingham and Rutland as well as further afield. I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

Skip hire

 We have finally waved goodbye to the last skip as part of our design, build and renovation project. There has been so much rain in the last few weeks I didn’t think the tuck was going to be able to lift it but its amazing just how much weight they can lift. Our drive looks very bare now that you can see it in its totality! I can’t wait to start designing the garden but the house has had to take precedence – except for a bit of tree planting I couldn’t resist doing during the bare root season!

 

The old kitchen has been removed and we are awaiting the arrival of the new kitchen post the floor tiles being laid later this week. The laying of floor tiles has a similar effect to plastering – bringing the whole project together – so look out for the photos later this week.

Until then I leave with you the skip leaving!

If you have a building project, interior or garden and landscaping project which you need help with or ideas for then please give me a ring: Alison 01572 747318 or 07973843020.

I work on interior design and garden design projects in Stamford, Lincolnshire, Oakham, Uppingham and Rutland as well as further afield. I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

 

 

How our design build and renovation project is progressing

As much of the building work is now complete we have moved on to the outside wall and the rain has never stopped. It certainly has been the wettest drought I have ever seen. Back in April I was advising garden clients on how to conserve water and still keep newly planted bare root hedges and shrubs alive. Today I am bemoaning slow progress on three landscaping projects due to the wet weather!

 

Starting to tile the en suite

We are making good progress inside our new extension with a dehumidifier helping to dry the floor and plasterwork. We have painted the new extension on both levels and are just awaiting final plumbing before we can move back into our bedroom. After much head scratching and removal of both the head and handrail from the staircase and the carpets we have managed to get the shower screen up the stairs – shouts of ‘yippee’ and much clapping, plus beers all round for the builders who helped maneuver it.

 

Juniper Ash on site decorating

Liz Stephens, from Juniper Ash Decorating, has really enjoyed painting with the Earth Borne and Little Greene paint we have been using. Both have provided excellent coverage and are low odor, the Earth Borne paint has a really lovely smell! The feature wall was an inspired decision once we had seen how lovely the large wall looked. It will now make a great display case for my collection of cream-ware vases –  more on this in a later blog.

 

The finished en suite awaiting shower screen

If you have a building project, interior or garden and landscaping project which you need help with or ideas for then please give me a ring: Alison 01572 747318 or 07973843020.

 

I work on interior design and garden design projects in Stamford, Lincolnshire, Oakham, Uppingham and Rutland as well as further afield. I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

 

 

 

Laying under floor heating on a design and build project

We have moved on a long way since I last put some images on the blog but I’m continuing the sequence so that you can see just how we have progressed.

Once the floor membrane and insulation was down we could install the under floor heating. We’ve opted for a wet system, having had a dry electric system before,  we know how great under floor heating is, but a wet system is more cost effective in terms of  running costs. Laying the under floor heating works on a grid system. It’s a bit like egg crates and the water pipes flow within the grid to ensure even coverage across the floor. Once this has been pressure tested a screed is applied which becomes the finished floor level ready for tiling. We are now waiting for the screed to dry out – in this weather it may be some time!

 

Laying the under floor heating

 

 

The red pipes snake across the floor

 

Platerboards are in place ready for the plasterer

All plastered and waiting for it to dry out

After you’ve plastered its important to get as much air circulating as possible to dry the room. It will be a minimum of 2 weeks before we paint but even so I have opted for an Earthborn clay paint which will allow the walls to breath. www.earthbornpaints.com

I’ve used this at our holiday cottage in Norfolk : www.pimpernelcottage.co.uk which has traditional lime plaster and where breathability was even more important. It’s been really successful: it’s hard wearing but also allows me to re-touch as needed without any visible lines – perfect if I just want to cover up a dirty mark on the sitting room wall!

If you have a building project, interior or garden and landscaping project which you need help with or ideas for then please give me a ring: Alison 01572 747318 or 07973843020.

I work on interior design and garden design projects in Stamford, Lincolnshire, Oakham, Uppingham and Rutland as well as further afield. I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

 

Getting to the plastering stage on a design project

Everyone always says it but rooms look so much better once the plaster board goes up. They don’t even need to be plastered, just the fixing of the plasterboard changes the dimensions and makes them look tidier. It’s a bit like a messy garden getting a fresh fall of snow, it suddenly looks lovely!

Our design build and renovation project is no exception, it all seems to be coming together now the plasterboard is going up.

Where possible the plasterboard is screwed to the joists as in the utility

Taping the joints on the plasterboard

In other places we use dotting and dabbing, where the walls are dotted  with fixative for the plasterboard to adhere to

Part way through plastering the en-suite

Stilts: the tools of the trade for Paul the plasterer

Moving around is so much easier with stilts

If you have a building project, interior or garden and landscaping project which you need help with or ideas for then please give me a ring: Alison 01572 747318 or 07973843020.

I work on interior design and garden design projects in Stamford, Lincolnshire, Oakham, Uppingham and Rutland as well as further afield. I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

Sourcing oak beams for our design project

I know I keep saying it but we really are making progress on our design build and renovation project now.

This week’s exciting event was the arrival of the oak beam. Having got quite excited about a reclaimed beam I sourced at a local reclamation yard we realized it was both too big and too heavy to fit and have had to opt or a new beam after all. This was always the builders preferred choice (you know what you’re getting with new!) but I think even he was surprised at the size and weight of it. But it is now in place and has had its first lick of Liberon Superior Danish Oil, to protect it and bring out the natural grain.

The oak beam arrives on site

Moving the oak beam is a challenge

It has to come onto site via our neighbour’s field – thanks Nick and Sara

It takes 4 people to move it, and a bit of head scratching!

Once in the garden it’s a clear run (well perhaps not a run) to the house!

Looking into the new space with the oak beam in place

If you have a building project, interior or garden and landscaping project which you need help with or ideas for then please give me a ring: Alison 01572 747318 or 07973843020.

I work on interior design and garden design projects in Stamford, Lincolnshire, Oakham, Uppingham and Rutland as well as further afield. I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

Plaster boarding a design build and renovation project

Work on our extension has moved on and we are now at plaster boarding stage. The insulation is all up and stud work for the new entrance hall is taking shape.

We spent the weekend on our hands and knees taking up the old quarry tile floors. We will now lay a self leveling compound before the under floor heating goes down and we re-tile.

I’m in love with the utility, I knew it was going to be an amazing space but now that the wall between  it and the garage is in place and insulated you can really see the space which is left. I can see a wall of art, or space for a collection – those of you who know me well will know I’m a great collector! Minimalist just isn’t me! The world is my oyster.

 

Plaster boarding to the bathroom ceiling

 

Stud work which forms the new entrance hall

 Getting started on the Quarry tiles

Removing tiles from the hall floor

Removing tiles from the old shower room and looking glamorous in my vintage 1950s head scarf!

 If you have a building project, interior or garden and landscaping project which you need help with or ideas for then please give me a ring: Alison 01572 747318 or 07973843020.

I work on interior design and garden design projects in Stamford, Lincolnshire, Oakham, Uppingham and Rutland as well as further afield. I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

How to manage first fix plumbing

If I have learnt one thing from being involved in design and build projects  it is that planning is everything. If you spend time planning, sitting with your architect and visualizing where everything will go before you sign off your plans you will be a step ahead from day one.

For us the first fix plumbing and electrics, which are almost complete, have gone well, with only minor changes along the way. I’d have preferred no alterations at all, but as the builder will tell, it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind. And if that woman is both the client and the designer he has no hope!

First fix plumbing

It has been quite tricky to find a shower which would fit into the corner of the bathroom due to the sloping ceiling but at last I have resolved this problem with a Daryl shower screen and a ceiling brace from another manufacturer. All other plumbing has stayed the same and my cardboard bathroom has been a great success.

Creating the new entrance hall

The builder removed the last of the old walls which means we have now created a larger entrance hall. I’d like to use the work’ grand’, but having visited a couple of large London buildings this week the idea that my 1820’s cottage entrance is grand is rather ridiculous!

I don’t know how the dog has kept dust free!

But oh the mess. It has been simply impossible to contain the dust this week and every surface has a subtle coating. The poor dog has had to move out of her bed which used to be in the downstairs shower room. This will soon become a small cloakroom and the entrance hall. And I know exactly how much piano practice our daughter has done by the state of the dust on the keys!

If you have a building project, interior or garden and landscaping project which you need help with or ideas for then please give me a ring: Alison 01572 747318 or 07973843020.

I work on interior design and garden design projects in Stamford, Lincolnshire, Oakham, Uppingham and Rutland as well as further afield. I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

 

How to prepare a ‘first fix’ on a renovation project

It has been such a busy week on site. The builders have handed over to the plumbers and electricians this week and we are well ahead with our first fix on the electrics and plumbing. This usually happens after block work is up but before the walls are plaster boarded and plastered. In this way all the electrics and pipe work is hidden behind the plasterwork.

 

At this stage its really important to know exactly what lighting and power you need in each room. As a minimum I would put double sockets into the corners of each room but if you also know where you are putting your furniture you can think about where you might need power for a table lamp or sound system. Also if you are ever considering putting a flat screen TV on the wall get the electrics in now, you can always hide the sockets with a picture until you have the TV but putting the electrics in later can be a real pain.

Looking through the kitchen as first fix electrics go in

 

Our ensuite and dressing room has been quite a challenge as the ceiling slopes and getting a shower into a corner has been quite difficult. The room has been planned out using a cad system but to ensure we really do have the layout right I created  a cardboard cut out of the furniture. It was working quite well until James, our electrician, forgot it was cardboard and rested his clipboard on it and funnily enough it collapsed!

The cardboard bathroom in the new ensuite

If you can be quite clear at first fix stage what type of shower etc you are having then plumbing them in becomes much easier as you can work out how much water a second will be going down the drain and how big the pipes need to be etc.

As with most things reparation is everything and I have learnt over the years you can never be too organized.

 

 

If you have a building project, interior or garden and landscaping project which you need help with or ideas for then please give me a ring: Alison 01572 747318 or 07973843020.

I work on interior design and garden design projects in Stamford, Lincolnshire, Oakham, Uppingham and Rutland as well as further afield. I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.