We’re in!

The day has come, and we have officially moved into our new home! Of course, there are many things still to do and many months of work to get it all finished, but the inside is mostly done and we’re able to happily live in it.

This is not the end of the road for the blog, though. In time, we’ll use it to document a lot of the details of our build and the journey we’ve been through as first time self builders, hopefully helping out others in the same situation.

This will include our lists, things we’ve had to consider, and some of the things people don’t always think about, such as smart home items and considerations for future-proofing.

See you on the other side!

Utility cupboards are in

Tall utility cupboards from Howdens in place

For the utility, we deliberated a bit about whether to go for a C-shape with cupboards on three sides, but we decided it would close off the room too much. In the end, we went with two banks of cupboards opposite each other, with one side being tall (as seen above).

All the units are from Howdens, and inside are a mix of shelves for storage. The two small units on the left and right the front are storage but they also double-up as supports for a wooden bench that will sit on top.

There’s a small amount of work left to be done in the utility room to finish it off.

Large and heavy mirrors

Our mirror with cleats being glued, ready for hanging

We’ve always been a fan of large mirrors, and we had a full-width, ful-height mirror in our old bathroom, cut to size and glued to the wall.

This time, we decided to have a similar mirror in the main bathroom since we have a large wall available in front of the basin.

We ordered a custom-sized mirror (which took three attempts to deliver without breakage!) and then decided to have an LED strip light behind it. This will allow a nice glow from behind the mirror without seeing the light fitting itself.

To achieve this, we started by cutting a full sheet of 18mm WBP plywood (which is waterproof and therefore ideal for a bathroom) so that it would be 5cm smaller than the mirror on each side. We fixed this to the wall, making sure to screw through as many battens as possible.

Our carpenter then attached a batten to this ply, and an equivalent batten to the back of the mirror, forming a French cleat. This allows the mirror to be lifted off the mounting in case the LED strip needs to be fixed. There is also a matching batten at the bottom of the mirror to allow it to sit flat. Our electrician then attached and connected the LED strip, ready for the mirror to be hung as soon as the mirror is ready.

Ground floor flooring done, carpets mostly fitted

Newly-laid carpet in the master bedroom

Last time we saw the start of our ground floor flooring installation. That has now been completed, and so we now move up to the first floor, where we’re having a mix of carpets in all the bedrooms and hallway, and vinyls in two bathrooms (the main en-suite floor is tiled).

Carpet-laying has now started and should only take a day or so to be completed. We’ve chosen a light grey carpet from the Invictus range at Trago to span all the upstairs rooms, and then two different vinyl designs from The Carpet and Homestore.

Ground floor flooring has started

Flooring almost complete in the dining room

Today marked the start of one of the last major pieces of work to be done before we’re able to move in.

We’ve chosen a Karndean floor (specifically the Van Gogh range) which is glued down rather than floating. In preparation, our installers Contract Flooring ground down the screed sub-floor and finished it to a very flat surface using self-levelling compound since any bump would show through the 3mm thick planks. Any high spots were then sanded back and re-filled.

It’ll take around three days to finish the flooring installation, after which it’s time for the carpenters to install all the doors, skirtings and architraves ready for them to be spray painted (as we did upstairs). Once this is done, the ground floor will be ready for finishing touches alongside the first floor, and a lot of cleaning!

Self-levelling compound applied and sanded back ready for final flooring

No fool when it comes to painting

Internal doors prepared for spraying

Most of the carpentry upstairs (things like skirtings, architraves, door frames, window cills and doors) is now finished, and it’s time to paint it all.

However, doing it by hand would take weeks and weeks. Instead, we decided to go with paint spraying. It’s basically the same paint but applied using a spray machine which makes it much faster and gives a much smoother finish.

We’re in the process of finishing the spraying of the carpentry upstairs, and are intending to do the same downstairs to achieve a nice, smooth finish.

Fibre at last

Openreach equipment connected to our newly-installed fibre cable

Today, after a lot of delay and misunderstandings, we’ve finally managed to have fibre cable installed to the house.

Our development as a whole is signed up to a now-closed Openreach trial scheme to install FTTP to each plot. This opens up the possibility of up to 1Gbps connections which is leaps and bounds beyond anything else available in Cornwall.

Now that the Openreach equipment is in, we just need to wait for it to be activated then we can place an order with an ISP to get the connection up and running.

I’ve decided to go with Andrews & Arnold, a small ISP based in Reading that offers FTTP connections and no-nonsense UK-based customer support.