When we refurbished the barn and built the guest wing seven years ago, in keeping with all ‘Grand Designs’ – type projects we ended up way over budget. We just about managed to get it finished and roughly furbished, but we didn’t even have enough cash to build decks for the guest rooms let alone spend any money on our personal area. So our space remained pretty much as we found it when we arrived.
We live at the far end of the barn and we always make sure that the door to it from the ‘Insta side’ of things remains firmly closed so that no one can see inside. Part of the problem is a lack of space – no storage and only one bedroom. Embarrassingly when friends have come to stay, they have taken a room at the B&B and paid for the privilege. We have also been super anti -social with no space in which to entertain friends and family. Bruce and I have been together for seventeen years and given that we spent seven years renovating our house in Peckham, we have only spent one year of our time living like ‘grown ups’. We are a bit bored of living like this to be honest.
So about a year ago we sat down with our architect friend John, and started to map out a fairly modest extension to give us a little more space and a generally nicer environment in which to live. There is a strange little patch of ground that separates the barn from the drive (some distance from the guest areas you will be pleased to know) and the challenge was to create a space that made the most of the area.
The result will be quite an unusual building. In the middle will sit a conventional double height volume with a pitched roof and around it angular flat roofed spaces will take the build to the very edge of the plot. Everything will be wrapped in black corrugated iron. Perhaps not to everyone’s taste but we’ve seen a similar finish on John’s home – it looks great!
Before we could start building we had to clear the area including our neighbour’s Leylandii hedge. Having done this it is strangely open and we can more clearly seen how close the barn is to next door (which would have been the farmhouse). Fortunately we have very supportive neighbours and they quite enjoy our builds (well that’s what they tell us anyway).
Once the land is cleared you have to start digging to create the footings, add drainage, insulation etc … That said we hadn’t quite realized just deep we would have to dig as there is quite a difference in height between the drive and the back door. After all the digging it does look more like we are building a swimming pool than a set of footings.
Fortunately the land is very sandy with no clay to worry the builder (the story about never build your house on sand turns out not to be quite true). In fact when you get down a few feet the sand is bright yellow as if it’s straight from the beach. Then once you have spent days digging the hole you start to fill it (in the case of the sand it’s the same sand that we dug up in the first place!).
That’s as far as we have got. ….
The whole build is set to take five to six months – though some of this will be refurbishing the existing barn. If you have any questions or concerns please do just ask!