Babble

I’ve got butterflies…

…And I don’t mean the nervous kind! I mean actual fluttering butterflies!

We have had quite a number of butterflies hibernating in the house through the winter. I’ve read online that some species seek shelter in order to hibernate through the colder months, laying dormant to use little energy. Around the time the windows and doors were removed and re-sized, the weather started to get colder and the openings remained boarded up for a few months before the new windows were fitted. This is when the butterflies started arriving and on the ceiling they have remained all the way through the winter.

However, spring has now sprung and a few weekends ago we were lucky enough to have a stint of gloriously warm weather. This meant the butterflies woke up so to speak and wanted to go. Before we arrived at the house unfortunately many had already died, I’m not really sure why this is as googling it has so far proved unavailing. We therefore had a butterfly rescue mission on our hands. We opened all of the windows and went round the house gently picking them up and putting them outside in a bid to set them free. I have since read that a spell of warm weather can mean butterflies come out of hibernation too early. ¬†It then occurred to me that perhaps we shouldn’t have put the butterflies outside, but they can seek shelter in other places such as sheds and tree trunks etc if the weather turns again.

This weekend however, we came across a butterfly we saw many months ago and haven’t seen since. We first saw the butterfly when taking the ceilings down and out flew the butterfly from the ceiling. I have no idea how long it’s been in the house, but it was huge! We chased after the butterfly trying to get a pic but it flew away and we haven’t seen it since. Until this weekend that is! This time we managed to get a pic of it as we carefully placed it outside. We have done some investigating online and have discovered it is a peacock butterfly. Apparently this species is a fairly common one, but I’m no butterfly expert and I’ve never seen a butterfly this size before. I’ve read the wing span range can be up to 69mm and that when under threat, peacock butterflies rub their wings together making a hissing sound which is even audible to humans.

 

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Renovation

Concrete Floor Luxury

Floors – Part IV

Can you believe it!? Number 18 finally has a solid floor!! And even though I’ve majorly skimmed over a lot of work that has been carried out at the Casa, I’m getting close to catching up to where we currently are in the project. (I will slip into Italian here and there as it’s in my blood. The Casa is what Number 18 is affectionately known as).

The screed was laid on the 24 January, and to take us back up to floor level required 14 tonnes of screed. However, with three labourers on site that day it was all over and done with in a matter of hours. Well, laying the screed took a few hours, letting it cure and dry out took days. I could only admire our new floors from the doorstep, and I really had to fight the urge to go in! What can I say!? I’m very impatient! Anyhow, when the floors had set, like the windows, having a solid floor felt like such a major achievement! And quite a luxury at that!

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Renovation

Toasty Toes

Floors – Part III

Very little work took place over the Christmas period, but in all honesty it was nice to have a break. Even if it was a small one! The beginning of 2014 saw the plumber starting. Within a few days the underfloor heating pipe work had been laid and connected up to the manifold. We spray painted the layout of the kitchen, utility and shower room units on the floor, for the pipes to be laid around the lines. We also had CAD drawings which provided the measurements of each loop of pipe for each zone – each room works independently of each other. I’ve included the CAD drawing below, as it shows the floor plan of the downstairs of the house. The system was then pressure tested and we had the all clear to lay the screed on top. The to do list is slowly decreasing! Hoorah!

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Renovation

Deadline Doom

Floors – Part II

During November and into December (after the windows were fitted) we continued our work with the floor. On top of the hardcore we laid DPM and insulation boards. As we both work full-time, whole weekends were spent trying to get the insulation done. We desperately wanted the floors completed before Christmas, unfortunately getting the job done took a lot longer than we initially anticipated. It was like putting together a massive jigsaw puzzle! The house has little nooks everywhere, which made the job extra fiddly! We’d find patches where boards were rocking and have to take them all up to put sand down to fill in any uneven areas. It seemed never-ending and the longer it went on we knew it would be a miracle to get the insulation, underfloor heating pipe work and a screed completed, all before Christmas. Even with all the late nights that were spent at Number 18, unfortunately we just couldn’t get it finished in time for the plumber to start before Christmas. Deadlines – don’t ya just love em!?

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Renovation

You can go hard(core) or you can go home!

Floors – part I

Just before the windows were installed work began on putting the floors back. The first layer would be the hardcore and around twenty tonnes of the stuff was dumped on the pavement outside the house – much to the delight of the friends and family who we’d roped in to help for the day! The hardcore wasn’t bagged, so it all had to be shovelled into a wheel barrow and then barrowed from the pavement into the house to cover the whole of the downstairs floor! There was no spare stone, the whole lot had to be shifted! I was very lucky to be dismissed from working at the house on this day, although several food runs were made to make sure the boys were happy…. Well – ish! There were a lot of tired and aching bodies at the end of the day and we were certainly glad to see the back of it.

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Renovation

A sash window love affair

During 2013 so much work was carried out at Number 18, it would be impossible to post about each and every single job. Especially retrospectively! It’s amazing how much you forget as the project progresses and looking back over photos in order to post on this blog reminds me of just how much we’ve achieved.

Over the Summer months we started converting the coal shed and outside toilet into a downstairs shower room. Doors were widened to accommodate French doors, a window was lifted to allow kitchen units to fit underneath and we said goodbye to the bay window on the side to put in French doors here too. I found this a particularly difficult decision, but sometimes you have to be practical and we needed to create room for a driveway – the only way to do so was to take it up the side of the house. The resized windows and doors (every opening except one downstairs) remained boarded up for months whilst we finalised our order with a local glazing company. The house was dark and quite depressing. I missed the light flooding through the windows.

And then, during November, the new sash windows arrived! The first day of installation felt like such a turning point, I was so overwhelmed I couldn’t stop the tears from falling! The difference they have made to the house is beyond belief. I’m particularly proud of the detailing on the bay window. A new front door has also been ordered, although this won’t be fitted until all other work has been completed on the property. I cannot wait for the door to be fitted and I suspect on the day there’ll be tears again!

Below are some photos of our beautiful new windows…

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