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I've just read Jason's topic about the extension to his mill and thought some of you may be interested to see what we're doing to our place.

My wife and I bought Talbot Cottage 2 1/2 years ago. It was built as a pair of semi detached farm workers cottages for the Newnham Estate in Worcestershire.

The estate was a particularly prosperous one around the time our house was built in 1880. A huge pub / hotel was built next door [very convenient] along with several other sets of cottages dotted around the estate similar to ours, around 10 in total.

On top of that there was a clay pit & brick yard where all the bricks for the estate were made about 1/2 mile down the road from our cottage.

These days the estate has been partially broken up. The main house, Newnham Court, was sold off, as was the pub [years ago] and a couple of pairs of cottages.

One pair of cottages close to the farm yard itself remains in hand, as does the adjoining cottage to ours.

The original farm buildings and hop kilns have just been converted following the former livestock buildings conversion several years ago.

The estate is in trust, managed by the local doctor whose brother is the main trustee but lives in Oxfordshire.

We own our half of the cottage and half of the garden, the other half is on a peppercorn arrangement with the estate at ?1 a year. The only building left standing on our plot is the former piggery. When we moved in I knocked out the old pen walls, stripped out the mezzanine and bricked up the 3' square pig doors to make it secure. I need to rebuild one wall and re-roof it, hopefully this summer.

When we bought the place the plan was just to knock the old GF bathroom extension down and make a decent kitchen of it.

Unfortunately [or not in actual fact] we suddenly found ourselves waiting for a baby so thought we better give him a bedroom as well.

I started speaking to the planners while Mrs H was still 'with child'. George is 2 in July and I'm nearly there now.

Unfortunately Mrs H's diagnosis with cancer back in the autumn of last year sort of shafted progress a little just as I got going. I had to get a gang in to build the walls & recently a separate team to tile the roof and do the lead work.

We're now watertight and Mrs H has had the all clear and is on the read to recovery so I'm getting involved and doing the fit out. Being what I do for a living on a commercial basis [well, designing it anyway] I decided I was bound to be able to do it so I'm tackling everything, from knocking through walls, making doors, drylining and tape & filling, you name it. Next challenge is hanging wall paper and laying seagrass carpet. As with T&J, neither of which I've done before.

So, a from the beginning....

I did the planning drawings and application myself [part of my job anyway] so that was the first saving. It allowed me to ensure I got exactly what we needed as a family home and also to maximise the plot. We bought at the top of the market [sadly no choice] so to avoid a negative equity situation I was careful to buy something which we could improve at least to the point of adding enough value to cover the mortgage should everything collapse around our ears!

The plot is a pretty tricky shape with the house sitting almost at the top left of it. With the extension complete it now sits right in the corner or the plot. Not ideal but at least there is no space wasted behind it. I've had some disputes with the neighbour [tenant bizarrely, thinks he owns the place, bitter & twisted old git!] but I'll cover those later....

Initially I knocked out the original bathroom extension, half of which belongs to next door -down the length of the apex basically. I discovered after stripping the roof that the party wall only extended to the ceiling - about 2.3m and there was no support to the ridge. I had to stick some props in and throw a new wall up to carry the ridge and subsequent 1st floor external wall. [This is one of the disputed items. The basic thing to know is that the party wall act operates esentially on a first come first served basis so we were within our rights.]

The back yard and bathroom extension...Ours is the left hand half with the green barge boards..


Same again..... The terrier has gone now by the way, was a bloody nightmare!


Looking down the drive, this gap was to be filled with house!


The extension will sit back into this corner, replacing the fence and built [partially] off the boundary wall.....The Jimny is no more either... after a year languishing by the side of the drive [from about 8 months old as I recall, talk about annoying, it and the Tdi Disco were replaced with the TD5...


The left hand door is the old coal shed, this had to come down to give a walkway between the new building and the existing shed.... The lab's gone too, he was even worse than the terrier!! [You can see the old mezzanine through the shed door with the chainsaw on top of it - these photos are older than I thought!!]


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Anywho, Eventually the demolition began at the tail end of last summer.

First to go was the bathroom and then we pinched the window from the upstairs bathroom ready to build into the new snug...


There's something of a gap in the photos now [i was driving the digger so none taken of the groundworks - man on a mission!].

Footings been poured, slab cast, walls up to DPC


One of the digger for you...


Looking down from the drive...


Bathroom removed, this will be the kitchen / diner.... or 'farmhouse kitchen' as I prefer to call it!


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Bricks arriving from Bolton or somewhere....


Getting up out of the ground now....


I had the windows & door frames built in as we went. Only one slight problem with this..... the brickies never actually secured them...


Face bricks going up. Proper reclaimers!! Not nearly as nice as the original house but should mellow...


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Paint is is, no idea what they were in before. Will likely give them all a light sandblasting to even them out.

Don't do that Simon, once the glaze is damaged you will get frost blow in no time at all.... if it is emulsion, a good pressure washer will remove it.  ;)

How much were they per 1'000 ??

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What a smashing cottage mate, I darn't show Traci this post as that is just her vision of a family home!! We could be your new nosy, grumpy tenants!!  :D

I like the paint on the bricks, at least in the photo's anyway they look nice and rustic. Bolton they came from? You do realise there is a big brick works on Hartlebury Trading Estate  ::);D All down to the merchant though isn't it. 

Keep us updated, it's nice to see older buildings being extended in tune with their original style.  :)

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Don't do that Simon, once the glaze is damaged you will get frost blow in no time at all.... if it is emulsion, a good pressure washer will remove it.  ;)

How much were they per 1'000 ??

What a smashing cottage mate, I darn't show Traci this post as that is just her vision of a family home!! We could be your new nosy, grumpy tenants!!  :D

I like the paint on the bricks, at least in the photo's anyway they look nice and rustic. Bolton they came from? You do realise there is a big brick works on Hartlebury Trading Estate  ::);D All down to the merchant though isn't it. 

Keep us updated, it's nice to see older buildings being extended in tune with their original style.  :)

Thanks all.

Was looking at that again this morning. It's pretty thick so I reckon the pressure washer will get most of it off. In isolation it doesn't offend me that much. It's where we joined to the original house at 1st floor level over the porch it looks a bit of a mess. Made worse by the fact that we had to straight joint using starters because the bricks weren't gauging - unusual size on the main house  ::).

I bought them via someone selling on eBay. Bizarrely they were cheaper delivered from Bolton than from the reclaim yard 8 miles away  ???:D

As I recall I bought 3750 ish for ?1750 inc the Thatcher and delivery. So about 465/k inc the dreaded.

You know Hartlebury then Tris? It is indeed a big one, forget who it belongs to..... would have gone for a new brick but decided on a reclaim after a very short decision process. Brick I looked at was Baggeridge Autumn Russet, just a bit too uniform for my taste. Like the higgledy piggledyness off it all.

Anyway, want to see some more?  :D

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OK, where did we get to?

So, the first lift of cavity wall is going up.

The stone sills are being re-used [as are the windows, economy drive! And I like them  ;)]

Sill removed from kitchen to go in first lift....


Installed in snug along with original upstairs window...French door frame built in....

The french doors were a bit of a bargain. All the prices I'd had were sort of 600 quid [leaves only] from TP up to 1200 ish from homebase. I wanted an allbar pattern to match the windows and they're not particularly common apparently  ??? ???

Anyway, I found a name of a company who supplies B&Q, based in London, forget the name, I'll find out. Phoned them up and managed to get a pair of hardwood doors [exotic] pre-glazed, including VAT, HW frame & delivery for ?250, so that made me very happy!


I went up from here in commons. Well, I don't have to look at it and if I ever managed to buy the other half, it'll get filled in anyway, so from here up we changed to LBC bricks.. The wall construction is standard 300mm cavity in line with current regs, 100 face brick, 100 full filled cavity & 100 block internally. The alternative would have been 100 FB, 25mm void, 75mm rigid [kingspan / celotex / ecotherm] & 100 block.... to rich for me, and a pain to install as you go, special ties etc.


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So, getting to first floor level now.

6x2 floor joists built into the inner leaf of blockwork....


My little brickie Macca, bless him, the blocks were as big as him! You can see the arched headers in over the windows and doors. I had these done to match the existing house.


They appreciated having the forklift on hand!


Looking back through from the snug into the kitchen [eventually!]


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Because we're on the back of our plot and the garden is fronted by road, I've been trying to get us more secluded areas outdoors which we can really use.

Last spring I put the deck down where the old veg patch was [after transferring the nice soil to a new bed elsewhere in the garden - never say never!] which was previously dead space.

Once decked [not my favourite style of garden feature I have to admit but cheap and practical] it turned out to be vast... Think it cost me about ?350 in timber and a day and a half on my own to put it down, and I made the trellises [ ???:D] out of old orchard stakes. The arch was about 3 quid from Wilkinsons!....






The extension has been designed around retaining as much of the back yard as possible which will then become a secure 'garden room'. There will be a door to the drive so that it is private from the road / shared access with next door, and I'll make a tall iron gate to the garden. That way the french doors to the kitchen [which you'll see later on have been installed so they fold back 180 degrees and latch out of the way] can be left open and the kids can run from the kitchen to the yard without risk of them disappearing....


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At the end of November last year me and the old man started cutting the roof in.

It was a moderately awkward shape so we introduced a small section of flat roof to the loft and took the gable up straight at the back.

Beyond that it was a piece of cake, We got each roof cut in about half a day [the ridge beam was bloody heavy mind you ;)]



We included a lightweight 'truss' in the centre of the lower roof to vive the 9x3 ridge purlin a bit of extra support over the 6m span...



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Now there's a gap of about 4 months in the photos.

Progress was pretty steady throughout the new year for several reasons, 1, wife's illness, 2, waiting on roofers, 3, waiting on the electricity board to move a cable, 4 lost the camera charger so no photos taken.

All this sadly means that there are none of the roof being tiled or the leadwork being done, which is a thing of beauty, my favourite element of the whole build actually. Just a shame it can't be seen now!!

Anyway, couple of weeks ago I got the fascias painted, the gutter up, the scaffold down, the external doors on etc etc.

Last weekend I knocked through over the porch and fitted the window into the new bedroom.

Everything is now watertight and the fit out has begun....

So, big jump.....

Saturday morning......Window removed from bedroom..... [bearing in mind the bed was on it's side behind me, good job mrs H was away!!  ;):D]


Saturday late morning......Wall knocked out.....


Saturday evening....... time for bed.....


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And now...... Are you ready for the big 'unveil'  ???;D ;D

Scaffold out the way, exterior glosswork started, all windows & doors fitted.....


I think this is the nicest angle, it has beautiful proportions from here. Look even better when I get the green painted red, the windows glossed off, the shed rebuilt to it's new footprint and the red door onto the courtyard.....




From here you can see what I meant about the joint with the new house. Maybe just some Boston Ivy up it will do the job.... ;)


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While I'm at it then, want to see inside...?

Drylining was done saturday just gone, tape & fill started saturday evening and I've been diving out to sand & coat up throughout the week.... Lesson no 1: Be sparing with joint filler, it's a ***** to sand off!!


My funny shaped framed & ledged door hand made to fit the funny shaped frame into the loft.... they don't build character like that into new houses these days!!  ;):D :D


Mrs H chose the lights....


And incidentally, the second she could get in there, notice what's appeared in the courtyard.... ;):D :D


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very nice work just one thing i seemed to have missed !  the house warming party???

Er, yeah, some way to go until that I think..... :D

Of course, plenty of time for everyone to pitch in and help me get there  ;D

Any takers? No, thought not..... ;)

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Baggeridge Brick Mr Simon. Had many a night out up there, was a regular stop for a back load ;)

Always with the booze Fry, I don't know....

Let me know next time you're up this way, try to get together...

Anyway, bit more progress today, pics will follow soon.

I misted up the bedroom walls yesterday and I'm surprised how good my first attempt at tape & fill as turned out, only one or two very small patches to fill & sand.

I've loose fitted the skirtings to half the room - to give me a fighting chance of getting the seagrass carpet down, they can go back on afterwards. Also fitted the homemade door [little bit of easing was needed], architrave, stops and suffolk latch. Made a window board from 2 offcuts of fascia board and now having a damn good square up.

The whole place was a tip so I've had a move around in readiness for knocking through to the bedroom.

I need to find a couple of able bodied young chaps to help me get another 10 boards through the ceiling and then I can close up the floor in the study.

It's actually starting to look like a home inside now as well as out! One hell of a slog though...  :-\

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You bet, be good job that.  :)

I love the work mate, the brick work is excellent, the pillar is nice feature outside. The little angled door inside is a cute (I am butch, grrrr, honest!!) and the red paint adds the finite detail to a very nice country cottage. A master of a job given the limited space you have round that side of the house.

Is 1 Hobbit Tree House up for rent;D

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