It’s roofing (and plumbing) time!

It’s roofing (and plumbing) time!

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It’s been another busy week at Big Sky HQ. At the beginning of last week our rafters and dormer windows were fully formed and ready to be covered with sarking.

Once our joiners started, the sarking went on quickly and within a few days the roof was covered. The sarking is made up of pre-treated rough sawn boards which strengthen the roof and provide a base for the slates. It’s great to see the final shape of the roof and ceiling inside. It gives a good indication of what the finished space will be like.

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Next comes a breathable waterproof membrane which will protect the sarking and the rafters once the slates are laid on top. It also keeps the house dry until it’s fully wind and watertight. Our dormers below are really taking shape. The two front ones will be slated and the back bathroom one is almost flat so will have a rubber finish instead.

Plumbing begins!

We have also had some exciting developments in the plumbing department! Is it just me or is this some particularly satisfying pipework? No… Just me then.

These pipes are for the main hot and cold water supply and the underfloor heating. The underfloor heating will be especially luxurious after living in a chilly caravan for six years!

Preparing to move in.

It’s going to be a few months until we move in, but Rosie has already been practicing her home improvement skills. This weeks training was on gardening and decorating. We can’t wait to have so much space, although Rosie was very pleased with the living dimensions of her cardboard house.

Now the roof is nearly complete the joiners are moving on to finishing touches before the windows go in. The big front window has been clad in log profile boards to tie it in with the rest of the house and the soffits and facias are being clad in decorative timbers.

Next week our slater will arrive and I’m also hoping for some windows…

 

Beams, rafters and Highland grafters.

Beams, rafters and Highland grafters.

Over the last few weeks we’ve been so lucky with the weather that our small team of Joiners have made amazing progress on the house. Once the external log walls were completed it was time to get some floor joists in place and begin work on the internal framing.

The external log walls provide the main weatherproofing and protection for the house but don’t actually hold the entire weight of the roof. The roof is supported by a number of chunky laminated pillars which in turn support a huge ridge beam that effortlessly holds the weight of the rafters, sarking and all the slates which will arrive in a few weeks.

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First the logs are lined with a damp proof breathable membrane and then the load bearing pillars are attached to the logs using sliding brackets which will allow for any settlement in the logs. The settlement occurs in the first few months of the house’s life as the logs dry and lose moisture and also the massive weight of the logs squash them down until they are tightly locked together.

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All the logs are kiln dried in the factory to ensure the minimum level of moisture remains. Our logs are also glue laminated from two pieces of timber with the grain going in opposite directions. This makes the logs incredibly strong and durable and helps prevent any shrinking, twisting or cracking.

 
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Another handy feature is that every log has two strips of insulation running the full length of each log which is pre-installed in the factory. This provides protection from water and drafts. It’s also much easier than previous designs where you had a giant roll of insulation that you had to stick on as each log was added to the wall. Not easy in windy or rainy weather when it blows away or refuses to stick to the wet timber!

 

Now that we have some internal framing going on the house is really taking shape. I love that I can look in the back door and see all the way through to the office door.

Next, WINDOWS! No glass yet but there will be soon!

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So we have floor joists, downstairs and upstairs, window openings and rooms (kind of) all we need now is a roof. The trusty forklift, which unloaded the kit a few weeks ago, returned and helped the boys lift the massive, 13 metre long ridge beam high enough so they could shuffle it into position using sheer Highland muscle.

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Now we have a ridge beam to support the whole roof it’s rafter time!

As well as the rafters there’s also the tricky dormer windows to construct. Two at the front for the bedrooms and a long one at the back for my giant bathroom which is now complete. Very excited about the bathroom as it will be pretty big with plenty of room for a huge roll top bath! Which I bought before the house even started and now lives in the shed…

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DSC02788I can’t wait to see the rest of the build come together over the next few weeks. Hopefully the weather stays dry!

 

First week of the build.

First week of the build.

It’s been exactly a week since our house build started and I cannot believe how much our fantastic joiners Huw, Mark and Mark have achieved! We’ve had the added benefit that the weather has been really good so nothing has held them up. This also means that the beautiful polar pine logs won’t get dirty or damp.

Rosie and I have had a great time exploring Big Sky, watching the house build, checking out all the amazing spring sights, and of course taking heaps of photos.

Once the right packages are located and unwrapped, the logs are sorted according to their location. Each one is carefully and very precisely cut in the factory in Finland so that the whole kit fits together perfectly.  Even the holes for securing the logs together are pre-drilled exactly where they need to be. They also each have a number on the end so you know where to put it! You can see the location of all the windows and doors before the build begins.

The next step is to start assembling the logs. First, a damp proof membrane is laid on top of the concrete foundation so the timber stays dry and then the first logs are laid. This was very exciting! Once the joiners got started, the logs started to come together very quickly. Wooden dowels are hammered into the pre-drilled holes at intervals to hold the logs in place.

Day 1

The first logs are laid and measured up to make sure everything is square. Half logs start off the build and tie the opposite sides of the house together.

Day 2

The logs are pretty much already at the first floor level and the windows and doors are really taking shape. As you can see some of the logs along the back wall are super long and really heavy. It’s hard work for Huw and the two Marks to lift them into position. Going to need some scaffolding pretty soon!

Day 3

It’s exciting to see what your views are going to be like!

Day 4

It’s the weekend and the boys are away home for a well earned rest. We couldn’t resist hanging out in our new house and imagining what life will be like with all that space!

Phase 2

The scaffolding has now arrived which allows easy access to all the hard to reach places like the gables which are now complete. All the logs are in position and we’re ready for a floor. We will have a suspended joisted floor, which will create a strong base for the underfloor heating system and some load bearing pillars which will help support the roof.

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Daredevil Jonny climbed up to get some high up shots. I would have gone too but would probably have tripped and fallen off, or worse, broken the camera, again..

This is the view through our bedroom window.

 

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This big opening will be an amazing glass wall! Might need to move a few trees to improve the view.DSC02726

The black membrane is a damp proof course which will create a protective layer between the logs and the insulated thermo wall.

So that’s all for the moment but more soon!

An exciting delivery!

An exciting delivery!

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Since I took over Big Sky in 2010 we have been planning some long term improvements to make life and work a bit easier. First up is the new Big Sky HQ which will be a home for us to live in with a fantastic much needed new office. It will be a log home in keeping with the rest of Big Sky lodges and it arrived from Finland last week! It’s been a pretty long process from getting planning permission from the local council to the house arriving at last!

For the last few years we have been living on site in a cosy caravan but now with the arrival of Rosie and the accompanying enormous amounts of baby stuff we are ready for a bigger space.

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The caravan is a lovely place in a sunny woodland dell and was great when there was only two of us but is now bursting at the seams with toys and office stuff. We’ve already worked quite hard to make it a nice place to live, so once the new HQ is finished it will receive a little bit of extra attention and we hope to rent it out as a holiday hideaway so other people can enjoy it as much as we have.

Once we had planning permission in place and our building warrant was approved it was time to order our house! Working with our sister company Mountain Lodge Homes we chose a design that fitted our style and budget and adapted the layout to suit our needs. The completed house should look something like this!IMG_6784

The house is made by Artichouse, a fantastic log house manufacturer in Finland. It arrives in kit form made up of  interlocking square planed logs which are produced from extremely strong Finnish pine, grown in sustainable forests north of the Arctic Circle. The timber is then shaped into square logs, precisely cut to size and carefully packaged at the Artichouse factory. They then fit each package, like a game of giant jenga, onto a huge lorry which is then driven all the way from Finland to our site on the Black Isle. The whole process, from manufacture to delivery only takes about 6 weeks!

Before the house arrived our builder had to prepare and clear the site and build a foundation for the kit to sit on to ensure it has a strong and stable base. We’ve hired a local joinery company to handle the build and we’ve all loved watching the process. our daughter Rosie is just 20 months and isn’t sure what’s happening but she loves to watch whats going on and have a go on the big diggers!

The next step will be to get the logs sorted according to their location and start building which will begin tomorrow. Once the build gets going it should progress pretty quickly and if all goes according to plan should be wind and water tight in around five weeks. More updates to follow!

Welcome to Big Sky HQ

Welcome to Big Sky HQ

Hello and welcome to Big Sky HQ!

My name is Ailsa and I run Big Sky Lodges, a collection of six beautiful luxury Scandinavian holiday log cabins in the heart of the Scottish Highlands.

I have decided to start at blog as we are just about to add to Big Sky Lodges with a new Big Sky HQ! The new HQ will also be a log home from Finland and will be a new base for the Big Sky team which consist of myself, my Husband Jonny and our little girl Rosie and of course my lovely parents, Chrissie and Angus who already live next door.

Big Sky lodges was built by my parents, Angus and Chrissie in the early 2000’s on their 17 acres of idyllic traditional croft land on the edge of the beautiful Black Isle, where I grew up. They wanted to create a place where families could come for affordable Scottish holidays and experience all the Highland’s has to offer in comfort and luxurious Scandinavian Style. They retired in 2010 when I took over the running of Big Sky and I have had 7 happy years here with many more to follow!