Year: 2010

Building Progress ~ January 2010

(Very) belated Happy New Year, so what has 2010 brought so far... My formerly lost at sea oak flooring is spending January acclimatising and I plan to fit it, at least along the landing floor in February. I've taken delivery and started fitting some mixed 'brick' shaped and mosaic travertine tiles that will be used as the kitchen sink splash backs and the back panel for the hob. I'm just hoping that my latest foray into the world of tiling can be quicker and more effective than the last one, the thought of regrouting anything again fills me with dread.…
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Future Fuel

As I've mentioned earlier I have plans to start work this year on managing the small amount (I'd guess at around half and acre) of woodland that I have. As all our heating depends on either the sun (solar thermal water panels) or our stove (multi-fuel burner with boiler) the need for a dependable source of fuel is a constant one especially in the grey winter months (in fact it becomes a bit of an obsession). At this stage, management of fuel consists of four threads: 1. Buying in / bringing in fuel. I've been buying in various types of…
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Feed-in tariffs … coming soon to a roof near you!?

The feed-in tariffs scheme certainly looks to be of great interest. For the unitiated, feed-in tariffs are the governments new scheme to encourage the takeup of renewable technologies through financial benefits. These financial benefits are two-fold, firstly in the form of savings made to on-going energy costs and secondly through a payment made through the scheme: Installing solar panels [2.5 kilowatt peak photovoltaic system], which cover a space of around 10ft x 10ft on an average sized roof, will cost around £12,500 but this will be paid back in 10 years because the households will be paid £900 per annum,…
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Building Progress ~ December 2009

Back to my old tricks and late as heck again...here we go... From November 2009: Finishing treating the untreated oak stairs and banisters is proving a real pain - the banisters along the landing have all been whitened & waxed, but the stairs themselves along with the banisters running down the stairs still need finishing, they've been whitened but not waxed. The problem is getting the timing right (never my strong point) and being organised enough to be able to wax the stairs as I'm leaving and not returning at least overnight - haven't managed that yet. Well I managed…
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A Place of My Own

For anyone with an interest in building, conversion or renovation, or in just getting your hands dirty, Michael Pollans 'A Place of My Own' is a great opportunity for some self reflection through Pollans written account of his own experiences in constructing 'a room of  [his] own making'.   The book is an insightful, introspective diary of experiences in building a writing hut (a shed with a desk in it) in the woods behind the New England home of the author. Pollans style is chatty and assured. His journey from hopeless sub-DIYer to trainee craftsman gives hope to us all,…
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Self-builders need some encouragement…

I occasionally 'page' through the ecologist website and came this article that piqued my interest: We need a citizens' housing revolution Whilst a little short on content the sentiment - that the development of new housing can be partially entrusted to self-builders who should be 'helped to create vital, sustainable communities' - is one that I totally agree with. As ever, the public sector seem to be one of the main barriers to this (at least according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation) - the empowered enablers acting to disable the self-builder and retain control.
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Logs 2

With my current preoccupation with firewood and the current bout of ice, snow and freezing temperatures making me long for warm weather a favourite quote of mine comes to mind: ...a mosaic of cut log ends that wall the whole of the south-facing end. The summer sun will dry out the end grain, drawing out the sap until the wood is pure energy for the fire. Roger Deakin's Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees I've just ordered 120 silver birch and hazel trees from the Woodland trust, far from the best trees for firewood but two of my favourites. I'll plant…
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