Building Progress November 2012

Update on building progress during November 2012…

The weather, time & family illness have pretty well shutdown progress this month.

One thing I’ve managed has been sealing the wooden kitchen furniture. After some research Danish oil seemed to be the best option. I didn’t want a hard varnish or anything too unnatural on the worktops so I was happy with an oil based finish and of those on offer Danish oil seemed the best. I sanded out ‘most’ of the stains – one particularly stubborn red wine stain wouldn’t give in to my sanding & cleaning efforts and so remains embedded in the wood as my kind of signature. I’d only intended sealing the worktops, but as usual with these sort of jobs, once you start, you end up increasing the scope and doing the lot. I’m pleased with the finish as it gives the birch a lovely rich finish.

I’m also on the verge of getting the completion certificate for building reg’s…. more on this to come…

Building Progress October 2012

Update on building progress during October 2012…

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.

Building Progress September 2012

Update on building progress during September 2012…

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.

Building reclaimed wood shelving

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

Cabin bed build ~ part 3, finishing touches

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.