Welcome to my blog

We moved to Ireland with the notion of building our "dream" home in May 2007 after purchasing the site earlier on that year. Mr C is Irish and originally from Limerick but he remains in the UK during the week, his job is running www.cruise.co.uk and earning the bucks that will hopefully allow us to "live the dream."

It's taken us almost two years but ground will be broken on the site by the end of May 09!! A lot of blood, sweat & loads of tears (all mine!) have gone into this project already, we left a fabulous house behind in Newcastle...and now for my Kevin McLeod bit, "can the new build can live up to my expectations and the old house we left behind"? I'm not sure...keep watching my blog and you'll find out!!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Day 8......Preparing for foundations

Conor, our Engineer will be on site on Tuedsay to check the foundations.  If they get the ok from him, they will be poured on Wednesday, which will mark the start of the construction phase!.  We are experiencing some exceptionally pleasant weather here in Limerick at the moment, so am praying that it continues for a while, so that the blockwork walls can go up at speed!!

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

News Flash.......

Just got email to say that my engineer will be inspecting the foundations on Tuesday 2nd June!!
Four years spent dreaming and waiting somewhat patiently (though Mr C will disagree no end) for this project to make the giant leap from 'planning' to 'construction', and it's all going to happen so quickly now....oooh am so excited!!  (and obviously need to get a life I can almost hear you mutter, surely it's not normal to get excited at the thought of laying foundations?)

Anyway, stay tuned folks, sure we all love Grand Designs....so we know the potential for disaster when laying foundations...don't we?  But please don't worry for me yet, still got the feeling it's all going to work out "grand" as they say here in Limerick. (and just in case, I'm drinking my coffee out of my "Keep Calm & Carry On" mug.......mmmm maybe should buy the t-shirt too?) 

Bette Bath Blitz........

I've been scouring ebay for some time now in an attempt to purchase top quality bathroom fittings at "give away" prices.  Our bathroom budget is fairly meagre, my taste is for the 'expensive', this coupled with a confidence to take the odd calculated risk or two means me and ebay are a match made in heaven!

I'm absolutely delighted with the three Bette baths I've purchased this week.  According to the official company info Bette baths are:-

- Extremely sturdy thanks to the use of titanium steel 
- High impact strength and tough 
- Much more durable than iron, marble or plastic 
- Long service life - 30 year guarantee 
- Skin friendly and no loss of warmth through the material 
- Colour stable and non-fading even when subjected to UV rays 
- Resistant even to aggressive fluids and scouring agents 
- Inorganic surface is not a breeding ground for bacteria 
- Unique sparkling surface thanks to BETTEGLAZE®

The 30 year guarantee is really appealling to me, after all this is, god willing our "house for life."   I've been horrified at how quickly the acrylic baths in the house we are  renting have deteriorated, after what I consider to only 2 years of normal family wear and tear.  Bette...we'll certainly put your baths to the test!

This Bette Starlet bath will go in the guest/downstairs bathroom.  I think it will do a perfect job, nicely boxed in with wood or even tiles.....mmmm loads of time to make those decisions!

This BetteHome Oval bath will go in the Master Bathroom, and should fit perfectly as per the existing floor plan  (well almost...just 20cm wider, but that shouldn't cause a problem).

A Bette Starlet goes into Bedroom 2 ensuite.  I like the way they have boxed in the bath here and am hoping to achieve something similar.   

This is the model I've actually purchased, it was such a bargain I had to go for it.  Don't really like the panels that make it 'freestanding' so they are going to be ditched to achieve the boxed in version above, or it may loose the rear panel and be fitted 'back to wall'.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A muddy day on site

My beloved 10 year old Columbia boots took a bashing.  I have been told by Mark my builder that I need to get "proper safety wellies"....mmm we'll see.

Wild, wet and windy on site today...15 minutes was more than enough for me in the driving rain. It was just enough time to check out the placement of the house on the site for the first time, coloured posts marked the corners, so it was great to see that it all fits nicely now.  We did have a "Grand Designs" moment yesterday when it looked like the side of the house may actually be in the stream and it could all go horribly wrong...however, all sorted now, a digital map and a bit of re-jigging was all it took in the end to aviod any drama.  

We woz nearly on telly......

Received an interesting email yesterday from Gemma, a researcher at True North Productions. Apparently there will be a new  series for BBC Daytime called 'To Build or not To Build.' on your screens soon in the UK, It will be presented by Kristian Digby, following his own self-build project and meeting a vast spectrum of self-builders from around the UK. 

Anyway she had got my details though my membership of the Homebuilding and Renovating site and was after more details from me to see if our project would be suitable to feature.  First thought that sprung into my head, "oh no, car crash, us portrayed as the 'Osbornes' of self-build"  Anyway as it turned out our project isn't far enough advanced to be featured, much to the annoyance of my two older daughters who are part of the 'X Factor' generation and would do anything to be on telly!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Day 3....getting technical

Spent quite a bit of time today exchanging emails with the extremely helpful Ian from 21st Century Electrics.  I got Ian's contact from the Homebuilding & Renovating forum I had spotted him giving out sensible advice there, (I especially liked the post that informed me cheapest place to buy CAT6 cable was ebay!!)

The pressure has been on to finalise what cables we will be running for future AV systems.  We won't have much budget to add all the swanky boys toys to the system for a while, but know that the cabling needs to be in place now, boring yes, but has to be done.  I have found it so difficult to get any sense out of anyone til today, thanks to Ian,  I almost understand now the difference between CAT5 and CAT6 cabling, and what a 4x8 matrix can do for me!!  Should have this sorted now by the end of the week (she said with fingers tightly crossed).



Friday, May 22, 2009

Day 1 ....The Big One (thought it would never come around)

Well the day has finally arrived, work on site actually started today. The first job being to dig out the ditch to the front of the site, a pipe will be laid to drain all the water (and there was a fair bit of it around today) into the stream to the side. The small stream will be dug out further and will hopefully end up being a unique feature. The whole project is scheduled to be completed within 14 months, a nice dry summer would certainly help things along, so keep your fingers crossed for us.
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Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's about to happen................

Am going to meet my builder on site this afternoon, I have to say at this point I feel slightly more stressed than excited.  I guess this is where the "real" work for me will start, we have a finite budget and I need to make sure it all fits, at the moment it doesn't.......(need to trim the M&E budget considerably).  However, maybe it's the effect of living in Ireland for two years but I just have the feeling "It'll all be grand!"  or maybe I'm just incredibly naive?????

Monday, May 18, 2009

"Be faithful to your own taste because nothing you really like is ever out of style." ~Billy Baldwin

Love this quote and am going to attempt to live by it!! 

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Loving my lights...............

Getting totally ahead of myself again this week with the purchase of some light fittings.  Yes I do know we haven't technically even started the foundations yet, but I believe it is never to early to bag a bargain!  

Have just bought a pair of these lovely Flos Brera S lights, you can check them out at www.light11.ie   Never one to want to pay full price for anything, I got mine from Ebay, boxed and brand spanking new (at a price of less than "2 for 1" including delivery to Eire!!) 

Haven't decided where they'll go exactly yet, just know I love them.  Anyway isn't that the great thing about not having even started the foundations yet, I've got loads of time to plan exactly where is the perfect place to put them!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Our site....soon to be building site

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The site looked so beautiful today in the sunshine, in a way it does seem a shame that we will be spoiling all this with a house. Can't get too sentimental though, if it wasn't us putting up a house here, it would be someone else.
The site is located in Barringtons Bridge, Lisnagry which is just within the Limerick 'pressure zone' . This means that Mr C had to prove that he used to live just a stones throw away from where we intend to build, and that indeed his family were still living there. Planning can only be granted in areas like this to locals in need of housing or those who once were locals (like Mr C) and are returning to Ireland to live.
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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Site Map & Landscaping Plan
May 2009
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House Plans May 2009

Front & East side Elevations

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The front of the house faces north, so we tried to keep the windows here to a minimum and fairly small (well compared to the rear of the house anyway).

We were pretty much dictated to by Limerick Planning Dept as to the style of house they would allow, hence the fairly traditional front elevation. We also had to remove all side windows at first floor on the east elevation to keep them happy too, they will allow us to keep the bathroom window (no fun washing in the dark!) as long as it is opaque. The rest of the windows are velux style roof lights.

Rear & West side Elevations

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As the back of the house faces south we have LOADS of glass and solar panels too, the plan here to make the most of solar gain....not sure how that will work in the land of the grey sky though. The planners didn't mind the less traditional rear, playing the "ecofriendly" card seemed to work well as a tactic here.

First Floor Layout

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All the bedrooms on the first floor have vaulted ceilings.
Myself and Mr C have bedroom suite 1, Amelia gets bedroom suite 2 with Orla & Eve having bedrooms 3 & 4 with a shared connecting bathroom. Also have an upstairs laundry room and a mezzanine room (can't decide what we'll use that for yet) which over looks the games/play room below.

Ground Floor layout

I am probably most excited about the kitchen/dining/family layout on the ground floor....this should be like Butterlaw Farm just on a larger scale, oh and with lots more light and higher ceilings! There is also a walk-in pantry and utility. We have 2 downstairs guest bedrooms (bookings will open soon for Aug 2010!!), games room and a lounge.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Man from the Bank of Ireland....he say yes!!!!

.....and about *&%%*$! time I may add.

I can now officially say that as of last Friday we have a mortgage, so we can start to build. A big thanks goes out to Susan Walsh of BDO Simpson Xavier who really did work hard for us, and of course to Mr C for working so hard and smart that the bank would even consider lending us the money in the first place!!