Sep 28 2009

Motorised blinds for windows in the log house


blinds-one We have two big sliding glass doors and decided to go for motorised blinds to cover them and two other windows, with a hand held remote for their operation. We scoured the internet for possible suppliers but found that a lot of suppliers were franchises or agents and we wanted to work direct with a company that could supply them for us to fit, as there would be lots of boxing in with Western Red Cedar to conceal them.

blinds-two We found a company on the web called Trade Blinds Direct, who said they installed blinds and could supply us with what we needed and provide any technical help we needed. Well with the usual instruction sheet in 10 different languages for the motor but with mounting brackets totally different to the motor manufacturers drawing, we ended up needing technical help. At this point we got put on to the manufacturers UK agents direct (Somfy) who could not have been more helpful, but over 30 e-mails with Trade Blinds Direct failed to resolve who would provide a replacement motor due to an installation problem with the non standard brackets which wrecked one of the motors.

blinds-three Life’s too short and for just over £100 the helpful people at Somfy UK supplied a replacement motor, but I have to say Trade Blinds Direct are one of the few suppliers we have used that I would not recommend.

Sep 26 2009

Kitchen and Utility Room Sink tiling


kitchen-tiling To create tiled splash backs behind sinks when tiling on to the log walls rather than internal stud walls, we have to fix some 3/4″ ply with slots so that the log stack can slide down behind the tiling with out cracking the tiles.

Sep 22 2009

Electrical and Services duct


electrical-and-services-duct This is how we are getting all our services between the two floors of the house. The tall larder fridge will sit in front of this when it is done, concealing foul waste pipes from the bathrooms above, wiring etc.

We have made it quite generous in size so that any repairs can be done more easily.

Sep 20 2009

Bathroom finished


bathroom-sinks-in-place The main bathroom is finished, with the mirror cupboards above. Lots of fiddly detail work but worth it in the end.

Sep 18 2009

Bathroom Mirror cupboards


bathroom-en-suite-mirror-cupboards1 When planning our house we got a lot of ideas from magazines, TV etc, but this one came from an old family friend who had bathroom cupboards that were sunk into the stud wall and had mirrors as doors. So we made MDF carcasses to fit into the stud wall with flat MDF doors, and faced them with mirrors. The MDF parts were spray painted, glass shelves fitted with stainless steel shelf pegs into holes pre-drilled in the MDF.

bathroom-en-suite-mirror-cupboard-edge-detail Stainless steel beading from our local Travis Perkins builders merchant was used to get a tidy finish against the plastered surround. You can see this in the detail shot here.

We made 4 cupboards, two in each bathroom and I guess we did not get any change from £1000 for the four but they do a nice job and keep the room lines very clean.

Sep 16 2009

Bathroom details in log house


bathroom-i-box-mixer-unit We have two showers, one in the bath for the bathroom and one in the walk in shower for the ensuite. The Hans Groehe mixer units drop into their “I box” whichis sunk in the wall. A good feature is the button on the fatter lower knob which controls the temperature. This has a middle default “upper limit” position to avoid scalding yourself or children.

The upper knob is the on/off control and diverter where required for the bath/shower, or just the on off control in the case of the shower.

Jul 27 2009

Laundry Chute is finished at last on the log house


At last one of our wacky ideas is finished and has been made compliant with the current building regulations.

laundry-chute-five Whilst a laundry chute might seem a simple enough idea, it does in theory provide an excellent route for a fire downstairs to spread into the upper floor.

laundry-chute-six So a fire retarding “flap” was required. We achieved this with 3/4 inch thick oak (made out of two pieces of surplus oak skirting) and then edged it with intumescent strip.

laundry-chute-seven-edge-strip This is a close up of the furry strip which melts and seals the edge for around 30 minutes in the event of extreme heat. It is commonly available from builders merchants in handy little packs of a few strips a couple of feet long.

Jul 25 2009

A riot of colour on the sedum roof


In early July the roof of the log house turned one of it’s more spectacular colours. Here it is, a riot of nature.

roof-sedum-3rd-july-2009-two It is fun to live in a house that changes colour! And the colour of the roof complements the log colour of the house too. In a months time this will all have dissappeared and a more yellowy flower will be the more dominant colour.

roof-sedum-3rd-july-2009 So far the roof has fared well. We had a first year inspection by the suppliers and apparently we have at least 95% coverage which is very good. Sometimes the take up of the sedum is patchier than this, particularly at the edges and between rolls. We have been able to supplement rainfall over the dry spring and early summer with the odd use of the irrigation system (see earlier blog entries) but overall it is in good health, with hardly any weed growth, which as we are in the middle of a field is good going.

Although light rainfall is readily absorbed by the sedum plants, we are still getting regular top ups into the rain water recovery system. Despite two months of hardly any rain, the tank only went down to about 50% full, including using it for watering in some plants around the house as the landscaping was commenced. Then of course we had the early rain in July which filled the rain water harvesting tank up again in one session of rain.

Jul 25 2009

Western Red Cedar siding on the bath


bathroom-bath-sides Apologies again for lack of action on the blog, but there has been lots going on including finishing the drive to the house, landscaping and fencing etc. Meanwhile, in the house we had some Western Red Cedar log siding left over from the internal wall work.  As it was 11 inches wide, two peices fitted just right to panel the bath sides.

Instead of using the normal internal treatment that came with the original kit from North America, we used three coats of yatch varnish as this will be something of a wet environment.

I thought it gave the bath a bit of a hot tub look to it and matched the inside log faces plus of course Western Red Cedar is great for damp situations, but others in the family thought it looked more like a coffin!

You can just see the short custom made shower screen which works well, folding back to the inside, because if it went outwards, it would drip on the floor and also risk being hit by the opening door.

But one oversite was to not think about handles on the bath. Apparently it is a no no to try to do it retrospectively as you may damage the enamel or invalidate it’s warranty. Does anyone out there know anyone who can do this sort of thing?  We could fit some handles to the tiled walls into the studwork, but we could really do with one on the top of the bath.

Jun 28 2009

Balcony progress on the log house


balcony-part-built We have now got the posts, handrails and spindles in place on the first balcony. We have used surplus Western Red Cedar for the spindles, and iroko for the rails and post. With the iroko posts fixing into the Western Red Cedar logs of the main house at the ends of each balcony, stainless steel coach screws were used of course to avoid the staining that occurs with normal plated steel fixings with this wood over time.

balcony-almost-complete Then the Western Red Cedar Fascia boards are fitted to wooden blocks fixed to the steel sub frames of the log house balconies.