N.P.L.H. Turning the corner - Update No 5

Like watching grass grow or waiting for paint to dry!  This is how it felt waiting for the Irish summer to land.  But when it did, it arrived in all its glory in the form of a HEATWAVE - happy days!  This is how we can best describe the last stage of our self-build journey.  Waiting, waiting and waiting and then finally “lift off” – progress at last! So far this year, our self-build has weathered hurricane Opheila, heavy snow falls, storm Hector and more recently this scorching almighty heatwave.

 Steel spanning the width of our house

Steel spanning the width of our house

Turning the self-build corner

With various design options, we finally got the steel drawings approved and signed off.  This included the steel frame for the courtyard that would carry the flat roof area and the steel structure to bear the load of the top half of the house which will compose of the master bedroom, en suite and walk-in-wardrobe.  While this aspect has been a long time in the making, we feel that it's our last major obstacle (fingers crossed, touch wood and all that)!  

 Scaffolding in place for next stage.

Scaffolding in place for next stage.

Feel the fear and do it anyway (never again)!

The things you do to progress your self-build…….

So, on the eve of confirming our steel measurements to the manufacturer, we followed our usual cautionary process of “measure twice and cut once”.  This is something how the conversation went….

Ivan announced that he needed someone to hold the tape measure so that he could double check the measurements.  I eagerly offered (big mistake).  As we made our way over to the site he said you can go up first.  I was like what do you mean up?  How to you think we are going to measure the roof steels? he replied.  You know I don’t do heights, I responded.  The order MUST go in tomorrow, we need to check these measurements!  I was fighting a loosing battle!  It had to be me or one of the kids (no chance), so off I went up the ladder, one painful rung at a time.  Sheer panic set in when my hand reached out to touch the scaffolding floor plank, every muscle in my body tightened!

Listening to instructions, I made my way onto the scaffolding which had my heart palpitating with every shake and wobble!  I never thought about the fact that no matter how well scaffolding is pieced together - it wobbles, then again why would I think of this – until NOW!  I crawled along at a snail’s pace to where I needed to go only focusing on the planks beneath.  I tried hard not to notice the small gaps between which gave me that dreaded view of the drop below.  Mind over matter, I did what I had to do - rigid with fear thinking no XXXXXXX house is worth this!   

 Eco Joists in place

Eco Joists in place

But the best was to come, it suddenly dawned on me how the hell will I make it back down!  I immediately announced that a crane, teleporter, or cherry picker was needed to come and get me which of course was met with a LOL response.  What had I let myself into!  Eventually, absolutely terrified I crawled backwards aching all over and holding on for dear life as my foot was guided onto the first rung of the ladder!  Don’t look down I was told……. at this point I couldn’t if I wanted to!  The sheer relief of feeling the solid ground beneath even though my legs were shaking like jelly!  Talk about facing your fears, that is one fear I will never be facing again (nightmare).

It was only when I was back on safe ground that Ivan asked “What did you think of the views from our bedroom?  It then dawned on me that I had been so crippled with fear that I never got to look left, right, or even straight ahead as my eyes were peeled to the planks beneath.  It was a disappointing wasted opportunity, but I was compensated by the fact that I was still alive and in one piece!  The next time I will venture up there will be when our stairs is in situ!

 Steel lifted onto blockwork

Steel lifted onto blockwork

Major milestone in the making

Never thought the day would arrive when we were so excited about some massive humongous lumps of steel arriving on the back of a lorry!  Luckily access was not an issue as we needed a crane to lift the various steel beams onto the blockwork.  Within a few hours the fabricators had done trojan work and basically presented us with the green light for the rest of the build YEAAAAAAH!

 Upper level block work

Upper level block work

Light at the end of the tunnel

With the perfect weather conditions to build, we were are ready to rock and roll!  The next stage was to build all the blockwork which was the final blockwork on the house.  When this was completed our next task was to install the last two pieces of steel to carry the rafters for the roof.  Another milestone was achieved when all the window and door opes were in which allowed us to proceed with our glazing measurements.  We are now trilled to report that we are ready for the roof which will be another major milestone in the making.

 Steel in place

Steel in place

Window woes

We are now in the midst of choosing our windows!  This is a massive decision both in terms of our budget and style so as to best complement our build.  When we received the first quote, let’s just say I needed to sit down and consume “a strong something” but quickly realised, that all I can afford at this point is WATER!

While I would LOVE aesthetics to rule on this one, with the sheer volume and scale of our window specification, there is no doubt that BUDGET will have to play an almighty part in this decision.  Along with the massive slider in the kitchen, we have four extensive windows surrounding the courtyard, numerous large picture windows and two windows in most bedrooms.  All our windows are full height and for good measure we have a few large frameless roof lights.

Window technology has come on leaps and bounds in recent years and the window jargon is likened to learnng a new language.  With our window dimensions and our brief of sleek clean lines, it’s looking like tilt and turn windows (opening in) are our only option. 

In our line of business, we understand that tilt and turn windows can pose a serious dilemma when it comes to choosing final windows finishes.  We are not concerned about curtains as we will run with the "wave system".  However, we need to ensure that we can meet our requirements in terms of privacy and backouts.  Trawling the internet for the perfect window finishes solution, my guess is we will have to look further afield to find just the right blinds. Tilt and turn windows are widely used throughout central Europe especially in Denmark, so I am going to focus my attention here until I come up with the ideal solution.  For our front door, high security is paramount, but it must look ultra-modern and last the test of time! 

 Upper level blockwork complete

Upper level blockwork complete

Very soon, we are going to work on our lighting and electrical plan and ensure that we have taken everything into play!  We are mindful of the benefits of clever outside lighting including  our courtyard which can extend interesting shadows into the main house as well as increasing security. 

From now on I think it will be inevitable that we are going to come up with “DESIGN CHALLENGES”.  Here’s hoping that there won’t be too many! Our design challenge of the moment even thou it's a while away yet is ensuring we can find blinds for our tilt and turn windows (that open in). 

What window finishes options do we have? 

Keeping in mind that our home is not roman blinds style of home and that standard simple roller blinds are just not an option.  We are aware of the perfect fit blind, however, so far, we have not been impressed with these in terms of quality and appearance and some of these have length limitations.  For the record we are not a fan of pleated blinds and while shutters can pack a punch, we place far more value on our natura light and views!  

If you would like to contribute to our DESIGN CHALLENGE, we would really VALUE and APPRECIATE your comments, ideas and suggestions.  Please just enter your comments below, we would LOVE to hear from you.

Looking forward to sharing our next update with you, in the meantime  MAKE THE MOST OF THIS HEATWAVE.