In the past couple of months the build has mainly been focused on the forming of openings and enclosures within the barn. Some of this work is very quick with immediate transformations of space, whilst other processes are at an altogether different pace. The variation in approaches and outcomes is largely down to the nature and qualities of the materials being used.
The stone wall
One of the major pieces of work within the conversion of the barn is the re-building of an internal dressed stone wall. The preparation for this was mentioned in a previous post (Hitting the ground… ) which involved structural, thermal and damp-proofing improvements. Then, the time came for the re-building the wall! The larger pieces of stone at the bottom of the wall were hardest to position due to their size and weight, but then gradually reduced in course size as they got higher up (mercifully!). The patina of the material was a delight to see, and as each piece of stone was laid, the tones and textures formed part of a beautifully unified whole. The markings in the face of the stone were all aligned, apart from one! Can you spot it in the picture? It wasn’t our mistake but that particular mistake was an original one.
Alongide this, the timber studwork for walls reinforced the overall approach of the build – the creation of a timber box within stone walls. Arriving at the end of the day, you could suddenly see the spaces for individual rooms and their interconnectivity with others. The vertical stud gave the impression of prison-like bars and the kids took this opportunity to pose in their bedrooms as inmates!
The timber floor joists were added giving us the 1st floor and an opportunity to start to see what inhabiting the higher level of the barn would be like, with visual connections to other spaces inside as well as outside.
Walls and Windows
Part of the conversion of the barn involved the creation of new openings within the existing external stone walls. 450mm thick stone was never going to be easy to get through! When the builders started the process it became clear that the quality of the existing construction (which we hope will be to our advantage in the long term) was going to be tough to get through. The solidity of the walls was incredible, with no loose rubble in between the inner and outer leafs, but one solid construction! Needless to say the team made it through in the end, forming the reveals, cills and lintels for the windows to sit in.
Having the first floor structure also enabled the windows at this level to be formed and the new openings immediately show the fantastic long and short views that will be created across the valley and beyond. Dean and Kev worked on the two new openings on the end elevation of the building simultaneously. Their dual hammering and seeming competition to break through the walls was reminiscent of a Swiss cuckoo clock!
Now that the openings are formed and prepared, we await the arrival of the windows and doors to put in them!!