Another spring arrives

It has been 3 months since the last blog post….so for those of you who have been waiting with baited breath for the next installment, here we are at last. The winter was long, dark and very wet and we didn’t get much done on our tiny home as other work took up all our time. This is what we have been up to…

DSCF4679George cut lots of huge bits of wood with scary big saws…(my words not his)

DSCF3858…to make lovely big houses for other people.

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DSCF4941Meanwhile I set up my lighting design business, Luma Room. From delicate pinpricks of light to bold geometric patterns, my techniques include paper cutting, weaving with wood, origami and block printing.

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I have had a stand at two Artisan markets in Bath and will be exhibiting at the Contemporary Crafts Festival in Bovey Tracey, June 6-8. I am also selling my work in the Owl Gallery, 33 Catherine Hill, Frome. A shop run by a collective of 6 local artists who sell all their own work, it is an inspiring place to visit and buy directly from the makers.

DSCF5010My lamps and lightshades use natural materials, pattern and texture. Whether folded, cut-out, ripped or woven, all materials are lovingly crafted by hand.

DSCF4954For more information and links to my online shop go to http://www.lumaroom.co.uk

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IMG_0393In January George went up to the city with the timber framers to start building a drawbridge for the Tower of London.

IMG_0434Braving freezing cold rain at first…

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IMG_0713Luckily spring soon arrived. Replacing an existing drawbridge, it was constructed traditionally from green oak. This will be one of the entrances and has a working raised section.

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DSCF4792Back in Somerset now, and we can start work again on the wagon. I did get some painting done over the winter, and we have used the space as a temporary office/workshop which is lovely on sunny days.

DSCF4790Now we are carrying on the build inside, making cupboards, drawers, and the fireplace next.

DSCF4791My jobs will include making new sofa cushion covers, making blinds and helping lay out and fit all the electrics.

IMG_0491Warm wishes to you this spring.

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wintertime house building

With the heater on, the radio playing and lights shining it does feel very nice n cosy working in the new house now. Even in howling wind and rain it feels reassuringly safe, dry and snug, unlike our current caravan where the winter winds blow in through the gaps around every window. Luckily so far it has been very mild, even so we can’t wait to move in…but this realistically won’t be until the spring. So, one more winter in the cold dark little box!

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Work starts on our sofa…

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DSCF4443A lightweight frame, that will sit over the wheel arch. We will have two big storage drawers underneath.

DSCF4446The seat is angled back and tipped down for optimum comfyness

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DSCF4448We spent a whole day sorting and tidying the workshop, finding bits of wood we can use. It takes time but to keep costs down we are determined to use what we already have wherever possible.

DSCF4449We used ash for the slats. Its a very flexible wood so has some bounce in it when you sit down. The fabric underneath is to stop spare change and other sofa fluff falling into the drawers.

DSCF4450And the sofa is done- We have the cushions already, (more photos coming) so now we can hang out in there, sit back and eat our lunch.

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Racing all the way to the inside.

2013-01-02 18.08.03After a full weeks work we are at the stage of building the inside of our house now…heres what happened last week…

DSCF4391George made the small panel door

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2013-01-02 21.23.26These were then sanded and oiled..

2013-01-02 22.57.50And then Sam turned up- eager as always to lend a hand so we put him to work as well.

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Hanging the doors as the sun was setting…

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2013-01-03 00.00.37We just need to order the glass for the door and then we will be completely sealed in… also need a better door handle.

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2013-01-07 01.11.38And lastly…onto the next stage…our bed frame begins….

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week 1- full power!

George has three weeks off work hooray! So it is all systems go as we make some real progress….

After some pretty awful weather here, we discovered a leak along this side, so the first job was a few backwards steps to fix the problem. Frustrating, but at least it happened now before anything gets too nicely finished inside. The problem arose where the eaves of the building can’t have enough space to overhang. Again, this is a compromise made so we can have maximum living space AND not be too wide to tow on the road. With all the wind blowing rain sideways under the corrugated metal roof, it was finding its way inside.

So, while the sun was shining (for now) we took off the oak soffit, let it all dry out, and modified the design.

George routed out new oak boards to exactly fit the metal sheeting. We would then silicone these onto the underside of the roof to form a seal, ensuring a watertight edge.

We also fixed extra plastic sheeting underneath and dropped the level of the soffits down past the top of the window frame, to stop any drips travelling back and in. Problem solved.

At the same time, we carry on insulating and painting inside…

DSCF4344George started making the boot doors which will also be insulated.

And these we clad in oak boards, fixed with copper nails.

Next: Our front doors- One normal size, with a window in, and one slim panel door….They begin as 3 giant slabs of doulgas fir like this.

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And gradually get smaller and straighter…DSCF4360

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DSCF4362A quick tea break…

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DSCF4369And some more insulating at the end of the day… The last of the big really boring jobs- just want to get it out the way!

DSCF4367DSCF4370Back on the doors…

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DSCF4377The keys to our new home……very exciting.

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Meanwhile I spent pretty much a whole day foaming and taping the gaps inside.

DSCF4385Boot doors go on and looking really good. Shame we can’t have the whole thing clad in wood! But it would be too heavy of course…

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DSCF4388And…phew! The end of last week. Keep posted for this week’s goings on….coming soon…

:-)

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update…the last month.

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DSCF3885Corner pieces were ordered and fixed on. We are going to clad these with wooden boards.

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We made curved housing for the wheel arches.

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DSCF4024Nearly have the inside all sealed now…

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DSCF4028I painted our old rusty window catches with a splash of colour.

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DSCF4031And I also varnished the floor. There have been loads of little bits and bobs which we’ve managed to get done slowly, we started insulating the interior, cleaned silicone off the windows, screwed more fixings into the metal…various odds and ends.

George now has 3 weeks off work so we will be making faster progress now ….watch this space!

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Autumn build update

The nights are drawing in now, we’ve lit the wood burner a few times and we are thinking that we would like to move into our cosy warm little house before winter really sets in… The build is going well, a few set backs with the paint but apart from that it is progressing nicely, ever-changing and evolving. We have now reached our initial £4000 budget, so realistically that figure will go up quite a bit more- as tends to happen with these projects. We have most of the wood needed to build everything internally apart from our front door, so extra bits to get now will be paint, appliances, fabric and electrics/ lighting. The trailer did cost more in the end than first thought, but it was a very important part to get right as it is the foundations of the place. Really when you start to add up the costs, i think its all those runs to Screwfix buying glue, fixings, tape, screws, silicon, paintbrushes etc that really add up. Anyway here are some images of the last few weeks……

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This is the space for our boot. Our bed will be above this area, so half of the storage under the bed will be accessible from outside. We plan to keep our water tank and  battery here, as well as camping stuff and spare boots/wellies.

imagePreparing the final two windows to go in.

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Nothing quite like the mess made with an electric planer.imageHere’s our bedroom window being fitted. I reckon its my favourite one for the shape and proportions.

imageLast hole is cut for the kitchen window at the front.

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imageMaking the boot frame. Douglas Fir. Such a gorgeous smell…

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imageThen we spent a day cladding the first side with the metal sheets. The doors will be on this side but they are boarded up for now. A very tricky process to get every sheet lined up exactly square to the building and to the next sheet. Heavy work too- George had to hold each sheet up with a spirit level while I screwed in the fixings. The screws go straight through the metal into the wooden batons behind, with washers on each one to keep it all weather-tight. A few minor arguments but nothing too bad…!

Also a word about the paint that you can see in this image is indeed peeling off- and a handy hint here from me free of charge…ALWAYS read the paint tin properly. Turns out you are supposed to leave new galvanised steel for 2 months to weather before painting. Oops…So for now the painting stops….But it might give us time to change our minds about the colour…hmmmm…

imageInside now and we start to insulate the floor. Instantly it is cosy. George cut out a groove for the plumbing and fitted our water pipes in. Two of them go from the tanks at the back to the sink. We are going to have one tap for drinking water and another one straight from the rain water collection (water butt) for washing up etc.

imageWe bought some nice antique window stays, found on Ebay. As this build is new and all built from scratch, we are hunting for lovely old bits and pieces to put in and add some character. Currently searching reclamation yards for door handles.

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imageEach sheet is measured, marked out, cut using the angle grinder, fitted, cut some more, painted with red oxide round the edges to stop rust, and then fitted once more and fixed on.

imageLiking the contrast where wood meets metal.

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IMG_0270And a very exciting day on Saturday when we get our floor fitted. Its so nice to be able to walk around inside now.

IMG_0277Before we put the boards down, every sheet of insulation had expanding foam filled around the edges, and once that was dried and trimmed down, we taped shiny silver space tape over the joins. Same as in the roof panels….not a gap anywhere. We are going to be warm this winter!

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imageThe floor is now pretty much done…and we’ve got loads of room! Its a great dance floor.

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imageAnd then we relaxed on Sunday afternoon with a lovely autumnal walk in the woods.

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Let the light in

It’s been a couple of weeks of getting jobs done mostly on evenings and weekends…the delivery of our glass, fitting of the windows…and George’s birthday.

imageWe got the last of the waterproof membrane attached, filling all the gaps.

imageOur double glazing arrived! £200 for all the custom made windows, toughened glass so it won’t shatter on the road.

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A brief interlude ….and a wild weekend away at Shambala festival for Georges birthday. A well needed party with all our friends :-)
imageBack to it, feeling pretty haggard and coming down to reality the next week as the first window goes in….

imageEach one gets sticky silicone strips stuck on each side. This not only keeps them in place but also acts as a waterproof seal. Then George cuts the glazing bars which sandwich the glass into the frame.

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imageThe larger windows are slightly different as we have the frames to fit as well. Weathered oak strips are cut and fitted onto the douglas fir frames to act as a box for the metal cladding to butt up to.

imageMeanwhile I went out and cut a hole in the membrane, stapling the edges inside.

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Large window frame in! And suddenly the whole space feels different.

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imageWindow in. We try out a piece of metal cladding to see what it will be like.

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imageAnd then the same process for the little kitchen window…

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I cut another hole in the wall……more light gets in.

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We are both really happy with how the windows are looking. Love the two shades of wood together, the grey weathered oak against the warm douglas fir.
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imageIve also been painting panels for the walls….still blessed with sunny weather here, it has been the perfect summer to be building something outside.

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