Turn in the stair…

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.

Building Progress ~ February 2012

Update on building progress during July 2011…

…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.

Cosmetic pointing

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!)

Building Progress ~ January 2012

Update on building progress during July 2011…

…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.

Building Progress ~ June 2011

Update on building progress during June 2011…

The newly laid lawn is now thick, green and lush, like any overly hirsute youth with a green mop and the need for a good haircut. Shame my lawn mower is currently in pieces and won’t start… I guess the strimmer will have to do.

Pointing is pretty much done – my official announcementis here.

I’ve completed boarding over / boxing in the eaves. I boarded over the gap with black painted plywood screwed to the weather board and wooden blocks that I inserted into the gap between the wall and the weather board. I then filled any large gaps between the boards and the wall with expanding foam and then pointed all along the join between the boards and the wall. I then repainted those areas where the mortar had spilt over onto the boards (although I’m not 100% happy with some areas where the paintwork isn’t so tidy) and put mesh over the open ends of the weather-boards to allow some airflow.

We’ve also completed painting the second bedroom and I’ve laid the oak flooring. At least I know that the flooring was well acclimatised as it’s been sitting around ready to be fitted for 18 months now. I managed to fit it in a day and thanks to my knee protectors all the kneeling didn’t cripple me as fitting the landing floor had with unprotected knees. Quite pleased to have a second bedroom, rather than a one bedroom house with a junk / store room.

At long last I’ve also tidied up the cables from the satellite dish that ran along the foot of the yard side gable-end. I housed the cables in some standard white trunking placed along the space where I’d hacked away the old lime mortar at the bottom of the lime-washed wall then used lime mortar to seal in the trunking and tidy up the bottom of the wall.