One of Curlew Cottage's twinsEarlier this year we commissioned local company Head for the Bed to create two upholstered headboards for one of the twin bedrooms in Curlew Cottage. We loved their work so much we offered to host the photoshoot for their new website. It is a really important consideration for us to support local business and we were able to work with them in selecting the perfect fabric for the bedroom in terms of colour, design and finish and, of course, the fabric has to comply with fire retardant standards. The finished products are first class and have received many positive comments from our guests.

The Old Dairy - Interiors

Here's How We're Doing

A flurry of snow, beautifully clear skies, sunshine and a hurricane all in 24 hours. Work on site with the two holiday cottages has progressed well and we're pleased to dust off the blog to show you some updated photos.
The view here of the cottages from the east shows the two bedroomed stone building on the left of the photo and the four bedroomed one on the right. The larger cottage is finished partly in white render and will also have larch clad areas on the unfinished section you can see. The brown material visible is Pavatherm which is a compressed wood fibre board used as an external insulation material. That area will be larch clad which will age fairly quickly to a mellow silvery grey. The materials used fit very well with the local vernacular and have also been used on our own house. The red sandstone is well over 150 years old and is typically 2feet thick. The official naming of the two bedroomed cottage...

Not so much a blog as a weather report! Lots of fog, freezing the air and the ground, weakening the already weak sunshine. Creating a big fat inversion layer above Loch Lomond but allowing the grandeur of the mountains to rise above.

Fabrics and finishes

Voyage Chantal in Mulberry was chosen for the only curtains in the house........

One year since moving here

It was one year ago this week that we moved from our old house, a Victorian sandstone place, into the caravan here. As we turned the key in the lock it started raining but we laughed as we set out on this journey of housebuilding. I know there are a few people reading this who are just commencing on that journey so I just want to say its so worth it, although unquestionably hard work, and to keep plugging away as you will get there. One year on and we're unpacking our worldly goods which have mainly been stored in one of the outbuildings here. Thankfully no damage has come to them after 12months+ of storage.

Not quite there yet...

The sensibilities of moving in tomorrow aren't really there as progress has been quite slow since our builder went on holiday last week. He's a very good project manager so I think it would all look a little further advanced if he'd been around. We perhaps 'ought' to wait another week but....the jobs fill the time available and Steve and I need to move in. The kitchen is messy but there isn't much left to do there and we could reasonably use it at the weekend after a good clean. The childrens' bedrooms are being carpetted tomorrow so we'll get their furniture in and blinds fitted on Saturday if possible with a view to that being our first night.

The granite worktop was fitted last weekend, just 2 weeks after templating, and we're very pleased with the result. The team were a very pleasant trio from Estonia and Lithuania. The plastic protective wrap on the doors and drawers is coming away on this photo and together with the general high dust and grime levels doesn't inspire but we reckon on using this kitchen this weekend. The caravan hob is just about adequate and the oven ok only for warming stuff. Last summer it took nephew Tommy Boy nearly an hour to part bake/part burn a pizza. We have managed to cook a good selection of food over the past 9 months, we've even entertained a few times, but a real kitchen is now beckoning.


The patio area around the southwest corner of the house - sunspot for summer days and evenings. It will be topped with black limestone slabs which are due to arrive on Wednesday-ish.
After much delay the American blond oak staircase has arrived but is needing some adaptations by our onsite joiner. The timber is beautiful though and despite the general mess in the house is one of the final landmarks in the building of the house.
The above photo is of the porch area by the front door. We've continued the larch cladding in this area which looks good with the height created by the continuation of the roof line. Jim the electrician is fitting the lights we've bought in the next day or so and this includes one to uplight this area, low energy of course!
Herewith the slate flooring in the family room which attaches to the kitchen/dining. I felt most sorry for the tiler who is trying to lay 82sqm of slate tiles whilst all around are busy with their own trades, typically on Friday this numbered around 12-15 people. At one point he locked the front door so no-one else could come in. The above slating has not been sealed but the bathroom has and the finish looks super. The floor will need resealing every 3-5 years but as this can be done with a mop and bucket it doesn't seem too onerous.

Internal and External Finishes

Tiles 'R' Us

We've now sourced, and agreed on, tiles for all three bathrooms. My able assistant is showing the accent tile for the ensuite shower. For those of you who know the Hillington industrial estate in Glasgow you will appreciate the number of tile showrooms there are available and the angst of then getting the man of the house to approve selections. I bought the tiles for the ensuite and family bathroom this morning and just need to go back with accurate measurements for the downstairs bathroom as the dimensions of that have altered recently. The tiler is booked for next week so we'll see big changes inside. The white goods for the bathrooms are all in place now. I also swapped the shower tray for the downstairs room because of last minute adjustments there ensuring the door width complys with disabled access regs. The change made the shower tray larger than plan.

Getting there....

The final window in the house has been fitted and is this triangular piece to the south west corner of the master bedroom window. This is one of those architectural details which just adds something a little more to the overall scheme. Originally it was to be 50% larger and would have been the better for it but it is still a refreshing detail. One of the balances in self-build is to order goods in sufficient time to avoid delays so we had ordered (and now own) the original 50% larger window. Unfortunately it transpired that the architect's plans did not concur with the timber frame manufacturer's and...the client picks up the tab, hmm. We have thought to use the spare window in one of the holiday lets but its not a great idea to design a whole building around one window just 'cos it happens to be spare...but we'll see if it fits somewhere.

Rambling catch-up

Have realised that I haven't taken any new pictures in the past few days...sorry! Lots happening though so here's a random list....

Brochure management..!

Now we're on a mission to make sure we're ahead of the game on 'client supply items', we're starting to get rid of the accumulation of brochures as we actually bite the bullet and start buying stuff!
So far we've bought the sanitaryware for the three bathrooms, external insulaton system, chosen the wood stove and heat pump, and ordered and fitted all windows and doors - all of which we separated from the main build contract to retain maximum freedom of choice. Today our fridge freezer was delivered (Liebherr A+ rated) marking the first delivery of kitchen items.
The focus now is on the overall kitchen as Debs mentioned in her last blog, with Magnet and John Lewis very much in the running and we should have costed designs from both by the end of this week.
With regard to the overall build program, the joiners we're back last Friday fitting the internal airtightness/vapour membrane and tomorrow we should have a full crew including the slaters who probably have around two weeks of work to do in order to complete the roof. That said, we have snow and gales forecast tonight which might make roofing work a little tricky in the morning!

Shopping and snowmen

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