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Building Progress August 2012

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

Shelving and lime mortar dominated August.

In the utility room, work continued installing shelving, using wood reclaimed from the animal stalls that once occupied the current kitchen. Using the same materials, I also built a wide high-level shelf in the kitchen that runs level with of the top of the kitchen cupboards and hides the slightly off centre vent pipe for the kitchen extractor fan and provides some more much needed storage.

I’ve also tidied up around the foot of the external walls, filling any small gaps that remained in the pointing or in the join between the wall and path. I also needed to rebuild the thick mortar foot of the whitewashed gable-end wall. The mortar footing hides the cable that runs from the satellite dish into the barn. The whitewashed gable-end really catches the weather and with two window sills dripping onto the footing it had crumbled over the last couple of years. So I rebuilt it using a stronger lime mortar mix – TWICE! The first attempt got washed away in places, despite being covered, by the soggy summer.

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Turn in the stair…

Category: Favourite Things July 5th, 2012 by mbc

Oak staircase, white clay painted walls, oak beam and ‘bag rub pointed’ masonry wall…

From Barn Conversion 2012

It’s these places in the barn where differing materials and finishes meet and harmonise that work really well.

@Cornish_Lime a recent acquaintance via Twitter have a article on their website about the bag rub finish worth a read if you’re interested.

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Building Progress ~ February 2012

Category: Barn Conversion Journal March 7th, 2012 by mbc

…finishing touches…continued…

Cosmetic pointing: I completed the small but time consuming amount of cosmetic pointing that needed doing to fill the cracks caused by cutting the openings through the internal masonry walls. This was a case of touching-up and filling cracks with a ‘carefully’ blended lime mortar that I made up from crushed up sweepings of the dried mortar that had crumbled off the wall, pit sand and some fresh lime putty. Read more on my cosmetic pointing post.

Tiling the window sills: I used left-over travertine mosaic & small brick shaped tiles to tile all the remaining windows sills – the kitchen one had already been done. I was nice to get back to tiling and to use up the tiles, adhesive and cleaning & coating chemicals that we had left over from the kitchen and floor tiling. I’m pleased with the finished job, even TC, who didn’t see the need for tiling the sills has expressed approval.

Painting the door frames: Although the internal doors have been in for a while now, I never quite got around to painting the frames. Priming, undercoating and glossing being three of my least favourite activities. But during February I bit the bullet and had a go at the first one – the door between the utility room and the kitchen. I wasn’t entirely sure which parts of the door to paint, which to leave untouched and / or which to whiten and wax so a proof-of-concept was in order. As it transpires, I think a simple white lining, frame and architrave looks best with the untreated, natural oak doors.

Flue Guard: I’ve been working on this for a while and have eventually finished constructing a guard to go around the flue that runs through the second bedroom. The purpose of the guard is to stop anyone (especially small children) from coming into contact with the flue when a fire is burning in the stove and the flue has become hot. I couldn’t find an off-the-shelf solution that exactly fit the bill so I made my own from perforated sheet metal, aluminium ‘L’ shaped strips and a wooden base with the metal parts attached together using a resin based ‘welding’ gel (basically two tubes of paste that you mix together, apply to the surfaces you want to join and allow to set). Hopefully it will fit the bill as far as building reg’s are concerned. The reg’s (Document J Building Regs 2010, section 1.45) state:

‘where a chimney passes through a … storage space … providing a guard…’

Photographs to follow.

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Cosmetic pointing

Category: Barn Conversion Journal February 24th, 2012 by mbc

As I mentioned in my January building progress update, I’ve been pointing the internal cracks in the mortar of the exposed masonry internal walls.

We to put in two openings, one at ground and one at first floor level, from the main room 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 was bag pointed (that is coated with a thin lime based sand render) 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.

From Pointing

I made a ‘carefully’ blended mortar from the sweepings of the dried mortar that had crumbled off the wall, lose pieces of mortar taken from the wall and crushed up, some of the original pit sand that I scavenged from the small amount left in a corner of the yard and some fresh lime putty. Scraping the joints clean, I carefully pointed with a small tool (pictured), then smoothed with a rag to get a more blended finish.

From Barn Conversion 2012

This, along with filling the edge between the masonry and dry lined walls with a flexible filler means that the internal masonry walls are completed (although the oak lintels could do with a clean, there’s a concrete lintel to cover … There’s always something!)

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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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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

A lovely Flemish barn conversion

I love the interior of this conversion and the great use of horizontal slats on this conversion. I retains the essential ‘barnyness’ of the building… flemish-barn-by-arend-groenewegen-architect

Coming soon, my barn conversion guide… Interesting earthship greenhouse project on Kickstarter

I really like this Kickstarter project >> The Farm of the Future: Earthship-Inspired Greenhouse This project is “Prototyping the First 100% Off-The-Grid, Affordable, Low-Maintenance Greenhouse using Earthship Principles and Aquaponics“. If any of those words meaning anything to you you’ll be interested in the project if not, pass it by… It’s already funded so I […]

Barns

Barns Gallery on Remodelista

There is a lovely gallery of barn related inspirational photographs available on Remodelista.

Barns – the Long House

Situated on the North Norfolk coast, this is a building to admire…

Barns – the Balancing Barn

A stunning piece of architecture, although not entirely to my taste…

New fast-track planning permission for the development of barns proposed

The Daily Mail reports on a new fast-track route through planning controls for the conversion of barns…

De-assembled, re-assembled, re-cycled barns

“A bit like a private sector, modernising, repurposing St Fagan’s…”

Design

What is a shadow gap?

A shadow gap – a mysterious dark place between two plains…

Your barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

Thoughts on making YOUR barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

Building Regulations, Approved Documents Part D – Toxic substances

An overview of Building Regulations, Approved Documents Part D – Toxic substances

Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part C Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture

An overview of Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part C Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture

Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part B Fire safety

An overview of Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part B Fire safety

Architecture

Your barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

Thoughts on making YOUR barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

The Stirling prize 2012 winner – the Sainsbury Laboratory

The 2012 Stirling prize was won by a outsider, the Sainsbury Laboratory…

The Stirling prize 2012

I think that this years Stirling prize has some exciting projects on the shortlist…

Our engineers … our architects – Le Corbusier

The efficient, shiny world of construction in 1923…

Design in Storage

When designing a layout it’s easy to forget to plan for storage…

News

Green Deal slow beginnings?

Oh dear! The green deal hasn’t got off to a very auspicious start… As reported in the Telegraph today since it was launched nearly a year ago just 12 homes have taken advantage of the Green Deal with a few hundred more in the pipeline. 71,210 households had been assessed for Green Deal measures such […]

The property roller coaster – planning reform to be rethought

Eric Pickles vague compromise on planning reform keeps the house happy (for now).

Energy policy, smoke screens, fracking, confusion and big bucks

There seems to be only one thing that is certain in the world of energy policy and that is that costs will rise annually above and beyond anything that inflation can currently throw at us. Beyond that, smoke screens & confusion seem to reign. Take the recent news for example… It’s reported today that the […]

Flanking manoeuvres and good design…

It seems that the government are undertaking flanking manoeuvres on the green belt…

Green Deal Launch

The Green deal launched in the UK on Monday of this week. Fanfares? fireworks? a deluge of marketing? … read more …

Plaid Cymru’s Green New Deal promise

The leader of Plaid Cymru has promised a “Green New Deal” to rejuvenate the Welsh economy and help maintain Wales’ position at the forefront of Green policies.

Permitted development extension limits to be doubled

The government is due to announce a temporary increase in the maximum depth of extensions that can be built under permitted development rules.

Lloyd Khan, making shelter simple.

I wanted to share an interview with Lloyd Khan that I recently found…

Just what is ‘sustainable development’?

Sustainable development – with the term now enshrined in planning law, what does it mean?

Sir Patrick Abercrombie – “It is a matter for serious thought…”

While reading up on the response of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) I came across this quote from Sir Patrick Abercrombie…