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Building Progress October 2012

Category: Barn Conversion Journal November 6th, 2012 by mbc

The flue guard that I’ve been building from perforated steel sheets, aluminium joints and resin based adhesive is finished and does the job of keeping stray clothing and children away from the potentially hot flue.

I had a visit from the building control officer at the start of the month. Went really well with just a couple of pieces of paperwork to chase up and get completed before the barn is signed off.

I’ve added extra security in the form of locking door bolts to the top and bottom of the exterior doors and locks on the roof windows. I must admit I think that the roof window locks are probably overkill, but the whole place is now very lockable.

I did some further work on the cabin bed in the second bedroom. I removed an annoying squeak that had developed between two touching but unjointed pieces of wood by inserting a small sheet of metal. I also reworked the walls around the bed to tidy things up and did some further work on tidying the boxing in. I’m thinking of using the whitening oil that I used of the stairs and banisters to give a toned down finish to the bare wood that I’ve used for the boxing in.

At the end of the month I was away in Brittany for the week, which helped contribute to my lack of progress, but did provide a great week away from things and an excellent time with my family.

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Building Progress ~ January 2012

Category: Barn Conversion Journal February 6th, 2012 by mbc

…finishing touches…

Some finishing touches were required to the cabin bed and boxing-in in the second bedroom – here it is in its pretty much completed (there’s always something else I want to fiddle with to get it just right) and fully ‘dressed’ state.

From Barn Conversion 2012

I then started work on some of the finishing touches that need to be made to the internal finishes:

Cosmetic pointing: Two of the most disruptive things we did to the barn in its conversion were to put in two doorways (one each at ground and first floor level) from the main full height section of the barn into the smaller, two storey section that now houses the kitchen (on the ground floor) and a bedroom (on the first floor). These doorways go through an internal wall that has been left as dressed stone on one side and bag pointed on the other. The violence of cutting the openings had cracked some of the mortar so some touching-up and filling of cracks with a carefully blended lime mortar was in order.

Tiling the window sills: With somewhat untidy / unfinished window sills and some left-over travertine mosiac & small brick shaped tiles there seemed to be only one sensible thing to do – tile the sills and in so doing tidy up the sills and finish off the tiles. It was also a nice job to occupy me over a couple of cold, damp January weekends.

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Cabin bed build ~ part 3, finishing touches

Category: Barn Conversion Journal January 19th, 2012 by mbc

Continued from Part 1 & Part 2

With the main structure safe and solid it was time to add some finishing touches.

I’d wanted the bed to have it’s own lighting so went for LED strip lights from the ‘large blue Swedish chain store’. Two packs of four lights for a total of eight provided ample to surround the bed on three sides. The LED’s were hidden behind boards attached horizontally around the bed a metre or so up from the mattress level. Some extra smaller diameter bars of wood were attached to tidy things up, along the top of the short sides and along the bottom of the back. All of these parts were screwed and / or glued into place.

Some finishing around the opening into the bed was necessary, so I used my favoured coach bolts to attach a horizontal board along the front of the bed above the cupboards to fill the gap between the front top-edge of the bed and the mattress. This will be the ‘landing-area’ when climbing up onto the bed and so needs to be sturdy and hard wearing. I also fixed an additional upright to each side of the opening mainly to hide the end of the boards that cover the lighting.

From Barn Conversion 2012

There is a hole in the plasterboard of the wall along the long side of the bed, where I’d cut through to give me access to the masonry of the real wall in order to drill through to get the TV aerial into the barn. I filled the hole and then used some oak boards that were left over from the floor to cover both ends of the wall along the long side of the bed. As this was to be a pirate cabin bed, I used this boarding to accommodate a couple of eBay purchases – a small ships wheel and a port hole (where did we buy such things before eBay came along?!). A couple of skull-and-cross-bone flags and the pirate pact was made…

From Barn Conversion 2012

I boarded-in the end between the bed and the thermal store with some ply. A high shelf to the top right and a lower shelf in the middle of the end board to the left, then door knobs drilled and screwed on the cupboards doors and the job was pretty well done.

From Barn Conversion 2012

I’m currently working on Sketchup plans of the bed and will publish those shortly.

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Cabin bed build ~ part 2

Category: Barn Conversion Journal January 11th, 2012 by mbc

Continued from Part 1

I was lucky when it came to fitting the cupboard doors under the bed as I’d sized the frame and the doors to fit and for once the plans and reality closely resembled one-another. With hinges fixed to the doors, they quickly and relatively easily screwed onto the frame. I then used twin roller catches at the top of the doors to hold them in place.

From Barn Conversion 2011

With the under-bed cupboard doors in place the next step was to add the second end to the bed, the one that would lie in the middle of the whole construction between the bed and the thermal store.

From Barn Conversion 2011

I’d already built the end frame and I simply attached it to the wall by a single hollow wall anchor cavity fitting and screwed it in one place to the bed frame. I wanted to ensure that the bed remained easily removable in case full access to the thermal store and associated equipment was required at a later date. (As a slight rather dull aside, I used piranha branded anchors which are excellent but I can no longer find – if anyone knows where to get some then please let me know.)

From Barn Conversion 2011

Next I worked across the front of the thermal store, preparing the frame for the large wardrobe doors that would close off the area. On the left I placed a vertical upright screwed to the stud work of the internal wall running up the full height of the door to the bottom of the boxed-in header tank. Then with a horizontal bar I married the wall attached vertical to the middle frame / end-frame of the bed and screwed and bolted it all together. Wherever possible I used coach bolts to fix the frame together, I bought some long, thin ones that allowed easy fixing through double layers of the 4×2’s. I prefer the finish that the rounded stainless steel coach bolt heads give over what are comparatively rather ugly screws.

Some further vertical boards were added to either side of the low cupboard doors to fill narrow gaps that had been left (not shown on the photograph below).

From Barn Conversion 2011

A final vertical upright was screwed into place to sit behind and between the two cupboard doors. I screwed the cupboard doors onto the frame, one fitted perfectly, the other not quite so well and will need some remedial work to conform to my exacting standards (hehe!). I then placed a further horizontal board to fill the gap between the frame and the wardrobe doors (not shown on the photograph below).

That completed the main structural work, leaving mainly cosmetic additions – I’ll cover those in part three.

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Building Progress ~ December 2011

Category: Barn Conversion Journal January 10th, 2012 by mbc

Due in-part to the warm, but wet weather and in-part by the desire to complete the work by the Christmas deadline I set myself, December has been dominated by work to box-in the thermal store and build a cabin bed in the second bedroom.

These subjects have already been pretty well covered elsewhere – I’ve drawn up plans and posted about the initial construction of the cabin bed. I’ll be writing in detail about finishing the cabin bed soon – there are just a few finishing touches to complete. I also hope to put together a set of generic Sketchup plans for building something similar. All-in-all it’s been a really enjoyable process, I’ve found working with timber to build a large, solid fixture to be really satisfying. As I could have predicted ahead of time, the least enjoyable aspect of the build (as anyone who follows me on Twitter where I’ve moaned plenty will already know) has been getting the two sets of wardrobe doors to hang straight and true (and they still don’t – that’s one of the main outstanding tasks).

But doors aside, I (& most importantly my son) are pretty happy with the results – the pirate ship / cabin bed is almost ready to sail. I’ll leave you with an image of the almost completed build…

From Barn Conversion 2011

Beside that I put up some kitchen blinds and salvaged a piece of wood that I’ll use as the basis for a high-level shelf in the kitchen. Pretty poor show really, but Christmas tends to slow down progress…

Happy New Year!

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Progress

Autumn 2013

Right that’s the summer over with, now I can get on with some real work without the distractions of other things (like holidays and playing with children, all that enjoyable stuff that gets in the way of progress)… With few major jobs (painting, boxing in – nasty stuff!) left inside, mainly fiddly things that need […]

I’m having a moan on twitter… https://twitter.com/barnconversion/status/368427314868396032

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