A record of our adventures between Pipit and her successor...
"You hum it son, I'll play it" - more on that story on this video. We have now moved in to our new home - from the start of the substantial digging for the foundations to us moving in was just over 12 months - pretty good going we think. It's just over 2 years since we first viewed the plot, on a drizzly day in May 2017. The subsequent year before digging started was taken up researching likely costs, purchasing the plot, gaining planning permission and jumping through myriad other hoops. Having moved house for the fourth time in four years (plus moving from Pipit to a villa and vice-versa for the previous two winters & springs on Meganisi), we've pretty much got the hang of it - in all that time, nothing has been dropped, broken, damaged or marked. Mr Shifter would be proud of us...
Once again Enterprise Penryn supplied an excellent van, even beating last year's record: a fresh-off-the-transporter Peugeot Expert with just 2.2 miles on the clock! It now feels a bit strange (but very good) to think that we won't be doing it all again in another year's time or, in as far as any of us can predict the future, any time soon. We moved over a period of a week to allow us time to pack and shift things from The Stables, stack what's not needed for the immediate future, get our office set up and organise everything else we need for day to day living.
Just a tiddler this time - only 5 miles between houses, but the van went back with over 200 miles on the clock...
Or so the saying goes - well we think that's not quite right - it should be location, position, situation:
In our new home we have scored a hat-trick - on the edge of a village, yet just 8 miles from Truro and 7 miles from Falmouth (and therefore Waitrose, ScrewFix & Travis Perkins - what more do you need?) with easy quick access to the A30, surrounded by countryside, no passing traffic, and a feeling of space around the house with areas of sun and shade all day long.
We do feel very lucky, and in many ways we are 'living the dream' - again, having done that for 5 years aboard Pipit - although we are both still working, for the most part we enjoy what we do, and see it as part of our daily activity, rather than 'work', in and around our new home. Having said that, we have put an awful lot of effort into making our 'luck'...
Backtracking a bit now, amongst the final work done, the metal webs for the feature trusses, now painted black, were fitted and look great. They set off the trusses perfectly, adding to the 'industrial' look we were after. We're also very pleased with our bespoke over-island light we designed and made - an offcut of glulam from Frame UK, lamp shades from Wilko, light fittings from Art Deco Emporium, chains & hooks from Tool Station and fence post end caps from Fencing Essentials - all for less than £50!
Feature truss metal webs, over dining table pendant and a our bespoke over-island light fitting
In addition to the light fitting we made, we're very pleased with our other lighting choices, some with dimmers, some with dawn/dusk sensors, some with timers. The up/down lights, external ones in stainless steel, internal ones in the lounge and dining area in black - again that industrial theme, the pendant light in the entrance and over the dining table, and the stair LEDs all provide functional light but also, we think, add atmosphere and ambiance. The kitchen extractor has some funky ambient lighting too, with controls to choose from 31 colours - more decisions.... We chose that model for its high extraction rate, not the coloured lighting, but that is a nice bonus. There are lights in the glass-fronted kitchen cabinets too and, yet to be fitted (when Andy buys himself a new soldering iron - his last one went with Pipit - and gets time to do it), are the kitchen plinth LED strip lights. We get some rather nice but subtle disco ball type reflections on the ceiling from the sparkles in the kitchen worktop, both at night from the ceiling spots and the over-island light and during the day when the sun is at the right angle. Oh, and I nearly forgot, the wine fridge has internal lighting, just in case we get lost trying to find it... Not to mention the 'p-light' in the en-suite, motion (not that kind 😲) and light sensitive so that if one visits in the night, one can do so quietly without having to switch on the main lights (and extractor fan).
Kitchen island light and ambient extractor lights
Up/down lighting at the back of the house and £1 a pop solar garden lights. The stacks of extra dung boards on the gravel are for the herb planter and raised veg beds, yet to be constructed.
The drive and around the front of the house has been gravelled and, although the slab and step at the front door are not yet paved, the honey coloured gravel at least makes the area look finished.
The front gates need a bit of a cleanup and coat of timber preservative, but we were pleased they were able to be revived (they have been sitting in mud for the last two years and have taken a bit of a bashing) and have now been refitted. We fitted our letterbox, doorbell and gate lock too.
Revived gates, complete with new lock, letterbox and doorbell (gatebell?)
Lovely potted flowers that were a housewarming gift from our very nice neighbour, a talented gardener
We're keen cooks, so a dedicated spice drawer on the kitchen island was part of the design from the outset
Cold water, crushed ice or ice cubes - the choice is ours...
Front drive, the 'not garage', and entrance - we've yet to paint the render
Most of our furniture will be totally incongruous with the interior design, but we'll replace that as and when we find or even make the right pieces. In the meantime, if dark, antique or older style furniture suits your home, there's a selection of furniture and lighting available with details and photos here and all offers will be considered - everything has to go by the end of the month.
Once moved in, we have tried to balance being back to work, continuing the unpacking, sorting, etc. with time to relax and enjoy being here. Watching Wimbledon has played its part in that relaxation, complete with the obligatory Pimm's of course. We've yet to indulge in strawberries and cream, but the Rodda's (Cornish clotted cream for those not aware of this delicacy) is calling from the fridge.
Wimbledon, Pimm's and a stunning view... Game, set and match!
The weather being as glorious as it has been, we've also made good use of our new barbecue:
Mackerel and asparagus on the barbecue, and a slightly chilled red (the wine, not Andy)
The garden will be a very pleasurable work in progress through the summer and beyond. We made a small start by giving the greenhouse a good clean and planting some tomatoes in grow bags a few weeks ago before we moved in. Doing so with a claw hammer was a first though - we'd brought the hose, the pressure washer, bucket, sponge, grow bags and tomatoes, but had forgotten the trowel. The only other digging implement on site was the JCB and, despite Andy's relative proficiency in operating it, that might not have gone well near the greenhouse so we opted to try the claw hammer instead... Claw hammer planting method notwithstanding, the tomatoes are growing extremely well, as are the two chillies, now finally transplanted into larger pots.
Tomatoes now growing rather well, despite our unconventional planting method!
Hot, hot, hot! One of the chillies and Orville the oregano in his temporary home
We spent several hours last Sunday brush cutting and chopping away the weeds and brambles, including those beginning to take hold around the greenhouse again, burning the cuttings and the last of the boxes. Yes, yes, it would have been more environmentally friendly to have recycled the cardboard but, having ordered our recycling bins and bags in mid-June, we are awaiting their arrival...
Brush cutting the growth at the edge of what will become the vegetable garden
Burning the last boxes from the build. Oh and destroying the evidence in the form of the Laithwaite's wine boxes...
We put up the bird feeder soon after we moved in, a few adjustments of position having been made so that we can both see it through the kitchen window when sitting at the island. The birds have some shelter nearby from trees so can dart back and forth and the species count is already high: blackbirds, robins, magpies, collared doves, pigeons, sparrows, greenfinches, goldfinches, chaffinches, bullfinches, blue tits, great tits, long-tailed tits, wrens, a great spotted woodpecker and, most recently, a pair of jays - not bad in a fortnight!
We've also heard, but not seen, the Fowey cockerel...
Bullfinch and blue tit
Blue tit, goldfinch and a greenfinch('s bottom)
Yesterday we constructed our herb garden/planter so, Kim & Trudie, Orville will be on the move shortly...
I never promised you a rose garden, but here's an herb garden...
Well the one fairly major piece missing at the moment is the log burner. For reasons outside the control of Cornwall Woodburners, the model we chose is now not being manufactured until August. We're hardly likely to need it until the winter, but are looking forward to seeing it in place.
We've made our appreciation known to all those involved in helping to create our dream home but the following, for those of our readers who may be interested in any of the professional services, trades, products or suppliers, is a list of who's who. We have no hesitation in recommending all of these companies.
Without exception everybody involved with the build has been efficient, friendly, knowledgeable, interested and, perhaps contrary to common perception, reliable and punctual. We also like the fact that, on a Grand Tour of Cornwall, we could say "Lewis in there made our staircase; Matt in there fashioned our stainless flue; Martin in there designed our kitchen and bathrooms; our worktops came from in there; Trystam & Graham in there supplied our tiles & oak flooring; Kayne & Matt in there supplied & fitted all our doors & windows". We have tried, as far as possible, to use independent, local suppliers and trades and, again contrary to what you might glean from a certain Channel 4 programme, have been rewarded with keen prices and excellent service. Having said that, our roof slates came from Spain, our wall & floor tiles are Italian porcelain, our kitchen appliances came from Germany & New Zealand, our sanitaryware is German & Italian and our brassware is also German - Right On Boris!
Not generally being ones to 'blow our own trumpet', we are extremely proud of our new home and the work we've put into creating it and should perhaps give ourselves credit for having the vision to undertake such a project, and subsequently have a large input into the detailed design. Although we did virtually none of the physical work of the design or build (digger & dumper driving notwithstanding), it was largely our ideas, planning, research and choices that were embraced by all those actually doing the work, with whom we liaised as well as relying on their suggestions and sage advice. Whilst we're certainly not experts, we do know enough about plumbing, heating systems and electrics to be able to have technical discussions with those who are experts.
So would we do it again? Absolutely and, if we were to do so, we would see no reason not to use all the same people who have helped us this time. Are we likely to? Almost certainly not, but only because we have created everything we both could ever want in our dream home. We have found the whole process an enjoyable and relatively stress-free experience, but it has been extremely time-consuming - getting the detail design right, sourcing components, often daily site visits, all whilst working.
Finally, apropos of nothing other than an amusing fact on the subject of the finer detail and decisions about those, specifically toilet brushes (we had to know, months ago, what size to make the recesses in the bathrooms)... Believe it or not, there's actually a video online of the ones we bought - really... It's here if you're interested (if so, it's possible you need to get out more...).
Similarly, many months ago, having already chosen (but not had delivered) our fridge/freezer, we had to design, to the mm, the fridge wall/housing, allowing for plasterboard thickness, skim thickness, air gaps and adjacent cabinetry - much relief months later when the fridge actually fitted!
Cubes this time...
Finally finally, here are the obligatory before and after shots: