Building Progress ~ March 2012

Update on building progress during March 2012…

…finishing touches…continued (slowly)…

Hhmmm, wondering exactly what I did achieve in March…

Painting the door frames: I made a start on this back in February and some slow progress in March. I’ve chosen a simple white painted door lining, frame and architrave that I think looks good partnered with untreated, natural oak doors.

I used an ‘eco’ soya oil paint (I think the brand is eco2, but it’s not entirely clear from the packaging) for the first trial doorframe – the one between the kitchen and the utility room – but I wasn’t happy with the finish. In fairness the paint was a couple of years old, having been used on downstairs skirting boards then resealed, but it left a grainy finish and tended to slide off the primed architraves. So looking around and with some advice from @charliebudd on Twitter I selected Little Greene paint for the job – a combined primer and undercoat then a white oil (vegetable) based eggshell. I summary, it is lovely paint, coverage and application are great and it makes the task of painting the frames slightly less onerous (yet still hardly soul lifting!).

Early Welsh Summer: We’ve had some lovely weather of late and we all suspect an even earlier summer than usual with drizzle expected from May onwards! The good weather has driven me outside…

I’ve started to rearrange or remove some of the debris in the yard and around the garage, mainly wood and stone from the barn, with the aim being to achieve more home-like / less building-site-like outside spaces.

With some much help I also managed to remove a partly fallen bough from the large scots pine tree that stands at the top of the yard that was damaged during storms last autumn – pictures coming soon.

Vital Statistics

One of the problems with the way that this site has evolved is that I’ve missed some of the fundamental blocks upon which a site like this would normally be built. One of the most obvious of those is that I’ve never really described the barn and the conversion that we’re undertaking.

An email I received a few weeks back (and subsequently lost due to my over zealous spam filter) pointed this out to me and so I’ve attempted to address the gap and update the About page with some further details. It’s been enjoyable and refreshing, reviewing the work and the progress we’ve made over the last four (how many??? time flies) years…

Following on from my original about text I’ve written a high-level description of the conversion, then some vital statistics and finally some before, during and after photographs…


The Conversion
The roof and walls have been structurally untouched by the conversion, although a number of incursions into them have been made. All original openings have been retained with three windows added to the southerly gable end & six roof-lights to allow natural light into the otherwise unlit first floor. The ‘arrow’ / ventilation slits have been glazed. The existing roof kept, albeit with the addition of in-roof vents toward the bottom edge to provide appropriate air-flow. On three sides, the walls have been completely repointed with lime mortar, the fourth side, the southerly facing gable-end has been limewashed.

The floor was dug out and replaced with a new one containing insulation, a radon barrier damp proof course and under-floor heating.

Originally the barn was in two distinct parts. A full height main area, with large through cart doors and a smaller two storied north-end with stables below and a hay-loft above. Ground and first floor openings have been cut through the internal wall to unify the two parts of the building.


Read the rest here >> About the barn

Can you tell what it is yet…?

I took this picture a few weeks ago at a favourite spot…

From bochgoch

The picture is taken up through the centre of the keep at Dinefwr Castle, one of the seats of the kings of Deheubarth. Beautifully circular, striking when you consider it’s over 800 years old (although I’m not sure exactly how much restoration CADW have carried out and I seem to recall that the Victorians or their contemporaries messed about with the castle a fair bit turning it into more of a folly than a stronghold, so what we see here is probably considerably younger than 800 years old). I guess there was some sort of formwork involved… now that’s what I call architecture.

I thought I’d share this one as well.

From bochgoch

That’s Dryslwyn Castle in the distance, with Paxton’s Tower on the hill to the left, photographed down the Tywi Valley (the river is in the foreground) from Dinefwr Castle.

The National Trust petition opposing the new national planning policy framework

There’s an amount of irony to the statement from Vince Cable in yesterdays Telegraph, that people who object to government plans to make building in the countryside easier are “semi-hysterical”. This is after all the same Vince Cable who has reportedly made such statements as “I have declared war on Rupert Murdoch and I believe we’re going to win”.

The National Trust certainly doesn’t agree with Mr Cables sentiment, having launched a petition asking for a very sensible balance to be struck between development, heritage and protection of our green places. The petition asks respondents to agree with the statement:

‘Planning is for people, not for profit’
I believe that the planning system should balance future prosperity with the needs of people and places – therefore I support the National Trust’s calls on the government to stop and rethink its planning reforms.

To learn more about the governments proposals under the draft National Planning Policy Framework and the opposition from the National Trust please see Mobilising our members over planning reform and sign the petition if you are also in opposition.

The National Trust’s cautionary approach to this to something I support – too much is at risk to get this wrong. Whilst this is currently an English proposal, these things spread…

Use of colour

We had a night away at the lovely, Llys Meddyg in Newport, Pembrokeshire a couple of weeks ago. Fabulous weather in a picturesque place, a great meal and I really liked the use of colour and textures in the hotel. Take this as an example:

From Travel

Perhaps we should get a bit bolder with our use of colour? So far the barn is all white downstairs and off-white upstairs. But, it’s so difficult chosing the exact shade that you want…