We continued work in bedroom 4 this month, firstly by finishing off the paint and sanding down and staining the window frames. Lots of fiddly edges, but luckily the weather helped out, allowing us to work from inside and outside to get to all the edges. We then refitted the very ugly temporary carpet and switched on the underfloor heating.

 

 

 

With the painting done we got onto the timber panelling: Sarah sanded, Mark routed then we oiled all the old sarking boards and fitted them to the bottom of the stone wall. We're pretty happy with the rich colour tongue -and-groove detailing. Not bad for recycled roofing scraps.

 

 

Having got the lower bedrooms pretty much sorted, we next moved on to the upper bedrooms and bathroom. Before any building could be done we had to move great piles of tools, building materials and household junk out of the way. Once cleared we were able to make a start on the outside wall, which needs battens, insulation and dry-lining.

 

 

Getting the battening up was easy, but before we can put the insulation sheets in we need to know exactly where all the plumbing and wiring will go. That in turn means finalising our choice of bathroom fittings: the bath, shower, basin, toilet, heated towel rails, heated mirror, extractor fan, and lighting all have to be chosen. So, shopping time! After much searching we eventually found all the items we needed, so the credit cards got a good work-out, we got all the technical details we need immediately and we've arranged deliveries from the numerous suppliers over the next month.

 

 

 

Michael and Jody made a brief reappearance this month, starting to work through our snag-list in the lounge and dining room. Unfortunately they didn't get many days on-site, so while they've knocked a few key items off the list we're going to be continuing to chase them for more progress next month.

 

 

 

 

 

Once Michael had finished some pointing and grouting details in the lounge we decided it was a good time for a spring clean, as we've found an increasing spider population have been enjoying the lounge more frequently than we have, spinning great cobwebs way up in the ceiling out of easy reach. We borrowed a very long ladder to get up to change a smoke alarm battery, and took the opportunity to also drag a vacuum cleaner up to the top of the ceiling and give our eight-legged friends a draughty surprise.

Our final big development in the lounge will be the fireplace: we've long been planning an Inglenook with a wood stove inside, but haven't yet thrashed out the details. After scanning through dozens of magazines looking for inspiration we did a few sketches then decided the best approach was to build a mock-up. A few bricks and timbers later and we've got a pretty good plan. We'll have brick posts on either side of the hearth stone, with a large very old timber lintel above. The sides will be stone, as will the canopy that slopes back to meet the wall just below the bottom edge of the projector screen, when it's down. We'll also have stone seating along the wall on either side of the fireplace, topped with flagstones. Inside the Ignlenook we've finally solved the chimney-flue issue by finding a gas stove that is flueless, ie it recirculates air directly in the room so we don't have any planning consent hassles putting a flue in. The gas stove isn't as big as we'd hoped, but it is only needed for looks since the underfloor heating will provide the room's warmth.

 

Our other task in the lounge is to complete the mezzanine. We made good progress this month: Lawrence helped wire in numerous power points and recessed lights, then we filled the floor space with fibreglass insulation. Once all the cavities were stuffed full we fitted the chipboard flooring, carefully cut to fit around the side wall supports.

 

 

We've had the first hint of spring sunshine this month, so we took the opportunity to get into the meadow. The post and rail fence has had a minor upgrade, as we've added a row of battening between the lower rails to stop the puppy from charging through the fence to chase the pigs next door.