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Building Progress September 2012

Category: Barn Conversion Journal October 9th, 2012 by mbc

The end of days approach (at least in terms of this stage of the conversion)…

The utility room is now completed. Painted, shelved and ready for storage. I’ve also all but finished the high level kitchen shelving, just a small ‘decorative’ detail to add to the supports at either end of the shelf to cover up the new wood brackets with some of the reclaimed timber.

I’ve also progressed with the flue guard that I’ve been building from various perforated steel sheets, solid lengths of aluminium and a resin based adhesive. It’s been slow going as I only stick one or two pieces at a time, then allow the joints 24+ hours to dry before moving on. But it’s pretty much there now, definitely finished in October.

Other jobs this month have mainly been concerned with tidying things up, getting ready for a building control visit in early October and the fast approaching onset of winter. So I’ve tidied the yard / sorted out firewood, repainted the wall behind the stove that was looking a little mucky, filled various holes in various walls and finished & filled little pieces of trim & gaps on and around the stairs and gallery landing.

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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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Building Progress ~ July 2012

Category: Barn Conversion Journal August 2nd, 2012 by mbc


Painting of the internal door frames is now complete. Undercoat plus three coats of eggshell and I’m happy with the finish. I’ve removed all the masking tape I used and sanded down the doors where a little wayward paint had landed, so job well and truly done and dusted.

The utility room, the last room to be decorated, has now overtaken most of the rest of the barn in its level of completeness. Having been painted last month, I then installed skirting boards and have started installing shelving, using wood reclaimed from the animal stalls that once occupied the part of the barn where the kitchen is now.

I started work on a large high-level shelf that will run at the same height as the top of the wall cupboards in the kitchen and help tidy up the slightly off centre vent pipe for the kitchen extractor fan and provide some more much needed storage.

I’ve managed to sort out my EPC for the barn and the ‘HETAS certificate of compliance‘ that is needed for the stove and flue installation, so it’s been a hot month for documentation!

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Building reclaimed wood shelving

Category: Barn Conversion Journal July 27th, 2012 by mbc

The recently painted utility room has always been bereft of shelves. All the paint tins, barrels of tile cleaner and bottles of white spirit had no proper home and so gathered in those little used corners of the barn instead. Something had to change. Propelled by the freshly painted utility room and the poor weather I started on some new utility room shelving.

When we bought it, the end of the barn that now houses the kitchen housed chickens. The chickens resided in some rather nicely built animal stalls, that had been constructed from hard wood that I suspect had a previously life in more impressive surroundings – a school room or chapel would be my guess. I saved most of the wood from the stalls, some has been used on the front of my big metal shed and I saved one of the long beams, to use for shelving…

I took the opportunity of shelving the utility room to provide a proof-of-concept for my kitchen plans…

The shelves are simply constructed from white painted horizontal timbers screwed to the side walls. On these I sit plank shelves and then using dowels sunk into the side timbers fix on a decorative front. The front is a piece that I’ve cut out from my old beam, planned and sanded.

I’m really pleased with the eventual finish – cheap and effective, the old wood is lovely, with great colour, real ‘depth’ and it’s own story to tell. I really get a kick from using reclaimed materials such as these. Did I ever tell you about my flag stones…?

From Barn Conversion 2012
From Barn Conversion 2012
From Barn Conversion 2012

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Building shelves to fit under the stairs

Category: Barn Conversion Journal November 24th, 2011 by mbc

My first proper foray into DIY carpentry at the barn has been constructing a shelving unit to sit under the stairs. The shelves are required to provide storage, box in the under-stairs area and muffle the sound from the under-floor heating pumps.

The timber I chose was basic off-the-shelf stuff from B&Q – planed smoothed softwood boards. My original intention was to paint or stain the wood so the appearance of the untreated wood wasn’t of great importance. However, once finished I’m relatively happy with the finish of the wood and the gentle contrast between the whitened oak of the stairs and the clean pine boards of the shelves so untreated they will remain.

I toyed with the idea of attempting fancy joints, inspired by sites such as The Joiners Apprentice beautiful hand-cut dovetails tempted me. But fear of my abilities held me back and instead I decided upon using simple dowelled butt joints for the corners and dado dowel joints for the shelves. I’ll save fancy joints for a future project. I’ve put together this Sketchup model to demonstrate my shelf joints.

You can download this model from my Sketchup library – Dado dowel joint model.

The space the shelving unit needed to fit is pretty standard and similar spaces are found in most homes with traditional staircases. The forty five degree slope of the stairs almost forms a triangle, the exception being the vertical edge of the bottom step. Geometrically in 2D the shelf unit, viewed from the front or back is a quadrilateral trapezium.

The under-the-stairs area had become a pretty handy dumping group for tools, left over materials and my sons toys so a general clearout was in order prior to commencing work.

From Barn Conversion 2011
From Barn Conversion 2011

I started by cutting the four ‘sides’ for the ‘outer’ structure and then the three shelves. The side pieces were cut to exact measurements and the shelves cut longer than necessary to allow for trimming to the correct length later. The two vertical ‘side walls’ have bevelled tops, cut at 45 degrees on which the sloping top sits. Similarly, the shelves have one perpendicular end and one bevelled end, the bevelled end meeting the sloping top of the shelving unit. I did all this cutting with a combination of my circular saw and a borrowed table saw that is stuck at 45 degrees!

I then used my router to cut the three dado joints into tallest side wall. I had a cutter that was almost wide enough to allow me to cut the full width of each dado in a single pass. I clamped wooden guides in place, cut the dado then widened slightly with a hand-saw, then used a small chisel and sand paper to tidy up. One of the dados ended up deeper than intended as the guide for the router depth had worked lose so a little remedial filling with a sliver of wood was necessary.

I then drilled and glued the dowels in place – two per joint. The trickiest joints were those holding the sloping top in place. I eventually settled on drilling straight through both pieces of wood from the top straight down into the upright rather than drilling one side of the joint then marrying it up with the other side and drilling the ‘recieving’ hole.

From Barn Conversion 2011

The final job was to fix the back panels for which I used some external plywood I had left over from boxing in the eaves. The ply had a surprisingly pleasing finish to it so it has remained untreated like the rest of the wood-work. I had already spaced the shelves in such a way that they would cover the joints between the panels, so I simply tacked the back panels into place.

I also built a small rectangular insulation lined box to cover the heating manifold and pumps which I slipped into place before positioning the shelves. The main job of this was to muffle the sound made by the under-floor heating paraphernalia when it was in operation, a job in which it has pretty much failed and that I’ll need to address again at a later date.

From Barn Conversion 2011

From there it all came together – some liberal filling and sanding helped me to paper over the cracks of my inexperienced cutting.

Despite having planned to make the shelves a centimetre or so narrower and shorter than the gap they were to fit in, my measuring went awry somewhere along the line and they turned out to be a very snug fit. Some gentle bashing and a couple of wedges was all that as needed to fix the shelves into place.

Overall I’m pretty pleased with the results.

From Barn Conversion 2011

I’ve prepared Sketchup model of the shelves that you might like to take a look at….

You can download this model from my Sketchup library – Under stairs shelving unit model.

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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…