We’ve seen so much progress in the last month that it really doesn’t seem like we’ll have to wait much longer until Big Sky HQ is finished!
All of our rooms are now almost complete and are just waiting to be painted. We’re doing all the decorating ourselves in between work and managing the project so it’s not the speediest of jobs but we’re making progress. Most of the base coat of fireproof varnish has been applied to the ceilings and we’ve also made a start on the walls in a few places.
This will be our main bathroom upstairs, love the lino floor and can’t wait for the bathroom to be installed this week! Our plumber Bob, (who’s business is called Royal Flush by the way) has already almost finished the other guest bathroom and all it needs now is a lick of paint. (I’m thinking pink but Jonny’s not so sure it will be manly enough.)
Our joiners have also finished laying the downstairs floor which is a beautiful engineered oak floor. It has underfloor heating beneath it which is going to be just the thing for a freezing Highland winter.
My light fittings which I bought absolutely ages ago have finally come out of their boxes and look just as shiny and glamorous as I imagined. Can’t wait to turn them on!
We have stairs! No more wobbly ladder for us. They are fantastic and even more beautiful than I was expecting. They will look even better when not covered in bits of cardboard boxes.
The kitchen fitters have also made a start but seem to be mostly mucking around in my cabinets. Our kitchen is from Ikea as we just wanted something very simple and Scandinavian that suited the rest of the house. Jonny is assembling it with some assistance from my Dad who is a flatpack veteran, and Rosie, who isn’t much help at all and keeps running away with the spirit level.
Next week we’re hoping to have the water and electric connected so the team from Black Isle renewables can get our heating system fired up.
They’ve already installed this shiny beast of a hot water boiler, (More lovely copper pipework) and will return to connect the air source heat pump as soon as the electricity and water are a go.
I will post again once the water and electricity are on. Hopefully by the end of the coming week… Still so many things to do including our Stonehenge tribute finally becoming a deck!
I haven’t posted in a while as its been all about the insulation here at Big Sky HQ for the last couple of weeks. So much so that for a little while I thought we were building a spaceship rather than a house. At least we’ll never be chilly again. I might have to throw away my extensive collection of jumpers, hot water bottles and throw blankets that I’ve accumulated in years of caravan living. We’re making progress though and almost ready for the second fix.
The insulation installation involved a huge amount of cutting and trimming. It all had to be fitted between all the studs and rafters so it was pretty time consuming but our team of joiners and their dedicated labourer Gordon got there in the end.
Jonny couldn’t wait to try out the new bath… However, much to his disappointment the joiners requested that he keep his clothes on.
Our team have also been working hard to install the beautiful tongue in groove timber ceiling paneling. We could have had a plasterboard ceiling but the timber ceilings are one of the things I love the most about our other Big Sky Lodges so I had to have them in our house too!
We had Dougie and his diggers back to landscape the garden and driveway and the exterior of the house is pretty much complete. Dougie will return once the decking and access ramp are installed to finish leveling off the front garden.
Everyone loves a digger, even our three wee Highland coos who managed to escape, not once but three times, so they could explore the new garden. After lots of sliding around in the mud we managed to persuade them back in their field. Jonny is now a master fence repairer.
Back inside and we now have rooms! All the plasterboard is up and the tapers are in this week to create a lovely smooth finish on the walls.
The joiners have done a beautiful job and have even made a little Rosie sized window in her room so she has a fun place to play. Next to be completed is the outside decking and Jonny and I have a seriously heavy painting schedule ahead of us. Yippee…
It’s been a little while since my last post as our joiners have been away on their holidays so we’ve had a quieter site for a couple of weeks. We have still been busy though, and starting to think about and order exciting things like kitchens and bathrooms and furnishings. Most of these won’t be required for a long while yet but when building a house it’s good to plan ahead and as measurements can change along the way you want everything to fit when it finally does arrive.
We’ve had a mini holiday too and set off to visit the Grandparents at a lovely little holiday cottage near Loch Morlich with multiple trips to the Nairn and Loch Morlich beaches for sand obsessed Rosie. It was great to get away from the building site for a bit and spend some family time together.
In the meantime we have had some good progress in other areas. Our slate roof is complete and we finally have a wind and watertight house with loads of insulation. Our dormer windows have been clad with log profile timber and we have an electricity connection!
Our windows also have some lovely new framing. It’s looking beautiful and it’s great to see the exterior nearing completion. All that’s left is the frames on the big glass wall, guttering and doors. I’ve been giving the windows their first coat of Osmo UV protection oil today. It’s pretty much non stop painting here at the moment!
We have also had a visit from fantastic local heating company Black Isle Renewables who came by to install the pipes and manifold for our underfloor heating system. As a family who have lived in a caravan for six years with only a wood burning stove to keep it cosy, a central heating system was definitely one of the most important things to consider when building a house. Black Isle Renewables have been fantastic at offering advice and options and designing a heating system that works with our house and will keep us toasty all winter long.
We have chosen an air source heat pump to supply us with hot water and power the underfloor heating. The air source heat pump works kind of like a fridge in reverse. It extracts energy from the air outside the house and the heat from the air is absorbed by a fluid which is pumped through a heat exchanger. This fluid passes through a compressor, and is concentrated into a higher temperature, capable of heating water for the underfloor heating and hot water circuits of the house. The pump can extract heat from the air even when the outside temperature is below freezing so it should work really efficiently even in the depths of a Highland winter.
The heat pump won’t get installed for quite a few weeks but the pipes have to be in place so the floor can be built on top. The pipes are then covered with a dry screed mixture of sand and concrete which protects them and helps distribute the heat. This is then sealed under a chipboard floor and then eventually a lovely engineered oak floor.
Below is a super nerdy video for anyone interested. It was really satisfying to watch the underfloor heating pipes being filled and tested. The liquid is a mixture of antifreeze and water and is coloured green so you can make sure there are no air bubbles.
This week our window framing will be finished off and I heard a rumour that the front and back door might be going in! As for me, I’ll be doing more painting and collecting a beautiful specially made slate hearth for our wood burning stove.