07818 061505 richard@abbeybsm.co.uk

Anna (my wife) and I (my name is Dave) are extending our house extension and rearranging the internal rooms of the house. The aim is to make a more useable space, with the lounge at the rear of the house and the dining room at the front, for our new arrival (baby) to grow up in. We spent the long weekend of Easter 2007 cleaning out the downstairs – with the help of Anna’s folks – and we await with bated breath and fingers crossed the start of the demolition.

House extensionDay 1

Building starts (demolition)

The first day went well. The roof came off the extension and the footings for the ‘extension’ to the extension were dug. All very exciting and so far a relatively sedate introduction to extending. Anna and I spent this evening looking up through the extension ceiling, which wasn’t there, at the stars.

House extensionDay 2


I came home to the wall separating the old dining room and lounge no longer acting as a wall, but looking more like a pile of rubble. As my father-in-law said, ‘Oops, well no going back now…’ During the day the Buildings Inspector came and gave the OK to the footings – great! Surprisingly, Anna was OK about this mess. She had turned the corner from being worried about the work to being excited about the shape that the downstairs will take.

House extensionDay 3

Construction starts

The morning started with the arrival of the electricians. Unfortunately, they found out the hard way (by finding live cabling) that the ‘electrics’ in the old house extension were dangerous and should be condemned. I am not surprised. My view is that the old existing extension must have been built by a bunch of people following a shed construction manual in Mandarin.

Anyway, after returning from work I found that the new wall separating the new dining room and extension was up and the footings had been poured. The doors holes to the new lounge and dining rooms were also in. Roll on tomorrow…

cs-day-4Day 4

House extension construction moving on…

The brickwork for the ‘extension’ to the house extension was built up to a level, ready for the damp proof membrane to go in. Internally, the studwork was built ready for plasterboarding next week. The ‘tallboys’ holding up the new dining room ceiling have been removed and new brickwork in the extension has been built up to the old external-wall brick – leaving gaps that will be filled once the cement mortar has gone off. All in all, this weeks work has been great. We can already see the new shape of the house and can’t wait for it to be finished – but we may be getting ahead of ourselves there.

House extensionDay 5

The room takes shape

The extension, to the house extension, started to make a real move skyward. The wall between the extension and the new lounge also came down. The plasterboarding between the dining room and the new lounge went up and, for the first time, the full size of the room was revealed. Anna phoned me to tell me “it’s massive” – I decided that she meant the room and not the size of her pregnancy.

House extensionDay 6

The house extension moves on up…

The extension to the house extension continued upwards. The pointing on the new brickwork is also much cleaner than the old stuff. The insulation is also in. Internally, the hole for the old door has been blocked up. You really can get an impression of the new room.

House extensionDay 7

Finishing the brickwork (and a couple of other things)…

The brickwork for the ‘extension’ to the extension was built up to a level, ready for the damp proof membrane to go in. Internally, the studwork was built ready for plasterboarding next week. The ‘tallboys’ holding up the new dining room ceiling have been removed and new brickwork in the house extension has been built up to the old external-wall brick – leaving gaps that will be filled once the cement mortar has gone off. All in all, this weeks work has been great. We can already see the new shape of the house and can’t wait for it to be finished – but we may be getting ahead of ourselves there.

House extensionDay 8

The arrival of the ‘steel’

Today was billed as the arrival of the ‘steel’ joist. The lump of iron that was going to hold up the whole of the back of the house (we hoped). Anyway, said beast arrived, and what a beast it was. 3 hours of pushing and pulling did the thing finally slot into place.

The steel that arrived was a single joist, not two as I had thought. The first thing to do was to get it positioned on the hoist and the steel plate that would ‘widen’ the load area welded on. Finally the thing was raised into place – with much discussion of who had lifted bigger ones and where – by four burly blokes (I, myself, stayed well out of the way). Once in place and supporting the joists and blockwork above, the tall boys were removed and the steel just hung there – lovely job! The remaining ones are holding up the external brickwork – they’ll be gone tomorrow. The lads also found time to pour the foundation to the ‘extension’ extension.

cs-day-9Day 9

Tiles, tall boys and radiators…

Does the title for today’s blog sound like a great song title? Anyway, the day dawned a bit gray and cold. The builders arrived with the plumber who was here to do the first fix on the plumbing; re-siting the radiators and fitting new copperware where necessary. The lads got to work on putting in blocks to hold up the external brickwork, and when the cement went off the tall boys were removed to create the single large room Anna and I had been waiting to see for ages – a great feeling. The joist was then painted and the extension ceiling joists fitted. Over this period the tiles arrived and the lads got them hauled onto the roof ready for laying next week. Internally the door lintel and frame went in for the new dining room. After two weeks I think Anna and I both feel this has gone really well. We appear to be running to time, broadly, and the feeling we get when we walk into the new lounge makes it all worthwhile – 10/10 so far…

cs-day-10Day 10

First fix electrics and the floor

The electricians came again. They spent much of the day fitting out the house with appropriate double sockets for our needs. The internal and external lighting was also put in. On Friday Shaun pointed out a problem with the old house extension floor – it was 1.5 cm higher than the rest of the ground floor. It meant that our choice of flooring couldn’t be easily used. Luckily Richard came up with a relatively simple solution, involving removing the current polystyrene subfloor insulation and replacing it with something less thick but just as good – superb! The joisting in the extension was completed and the new downpipe for the roof gutter was also installed.

cs-day-11Day 11

The roof goes on…

Well, on a day that started with rain, the roof was finally put in place. Andy first got the lead flashing cut into the wall and then the lads roofed the extension. It looks great. With the insulation in place, the noise levels in the house have been cut dramatically. The other big news of the day was the arrival of the patio doors. Finally, we’ll be able to see out over the garden rather than peer through a fog of condensation – the previous doors were really shot and should have been replaced long ago. It really feels like the dining room now. Not as large as the old one but certainly big enough to swing a cat. All-in-all another really exciting day. Roll on tomorrow…

cs-day-12Day 12

The house gets it’s face

The house got it’s face back today. The patio doors went in and what a difference it made. From the inside the effect is stunning. Anna and I came home and just looked at it. The two new doors, with their clear glass, just let the light flood in. One of the concerns expressed by most people who knew we were doing this work was that the extension would be dark. I can tell you here and now that there is loads of light – far more than even I, rose tinted glasses and all, ever thought. The ceiling, and much of the new brickwork, were also boarded, revealing for the first time the true shape and dimensions of the rooms. Happy, or what!?!

cs-day-13Day 13

Tidying up

Today was a day of tidying up and sorting out, ready for the arrival of the plasterers tomorrow. Every hole larger than a plum (where did that description come from?) had to be filled with bonding and the exposed walls boarded out to their right position. In terms of building work the main thing built was the floor in the house extension, which went down, and was exactly the right level. We’re now in a position to put down the floor we want (hooray!). What this all means is that the new lounge is finally starting to come together. In place of imaginings, it is really possible now to see the shape of the room. We can’t wait for the completion of the plastering. As usual, today and every day over the last 13, the lads worked like Trojans. A bloody good job all ways around…

cs-day-14Day 14

The plastering

Well the plasterers arrived and the world started turning pink. It’s always amazing to watch plasterers at work. It really is a craft. Strong, fluid movements (heck, sounds like the narration to one of ‘those’ movies) produce really nice, smooth walls. And, the extension has gone from looking like one room with two halves into a single room – it really does look great and the smell (of drying plaster) is rather like that earthy smell you get after a rainstorm in summer – lovely. I have been waiting or this for the last three weeks. The lads didn’t finish it all and are back tomorrow (yes, Saturday) for the final bits.

House extensionDay 15

Saturday plastering

The plasterers came again today, waking me up at 8 (I hadn’t expected them until 9). I wasn’t worried about the waking up, but was worried for their sake. Just ask my wife – I am not a pretty sight just out of bed. Well the plastering has been done and what a great achievement it has been. The lounge ceiling is quite large and would be a large undertaking in it’s own right. It all looks great.

Well Anna and I are off for a final holiday before the arrival of little one. My Mum and Dad are going to babysit our place whilst the final bits (final fixes) are done. All-in-all we are hoping to come back to a place ready to paint on Thursday (fingers crossed).

House extensionDay 22

Painting, and stuff…

Well we got back late yesterday (Thursday) to a lounge and dining room with radiators, power points and coving. The roof on the extension was also finished. Things had really moved on. This also means that the builders have done the business, and great it is too. Thanks lads. So what have Anna and I learnt from this stage. Well, clearly find a builder and architect that you are happy with – the only way to do this is by meeting them and seeing what they have done in the past. Also don’t expect too much. Building is dirty, it is noisy and you have to be prepared for this. You really can’t make omelettes without cracking eggs (eek, sorry…).

All in all, we’ve had great fun. Despite the close run thing on the pregnancy it has been great to watch things develop.

Now its my turn to start work. Unfortunately, the first thing that is it necessary to do with the now dry plasterwork is to mist/milk wash it. Sounds quite nice – nightmare. Take an equal mix of water and emulsion and try and paint it on the new plaster (it stops the later paintwork from peeling) – I think I got more on myself than on the walls. Anna says I did scrub up OK afterward…