Cowieswells is a derelict farm south of Stonehaven in NE Scotland. We were lucky enough to acquire the place in August 2010 when we were moving back to the UK from Norway and looking for something to match or even better our previous, fjord-side home. The farm house and steading (barns) command an impressive and exposed cliff top location with fantastic views across the North Sea. The buildings were constructed from sandstone in a traditional style and our goal in rebuilding it is to be sympathetic to the original design whilst creating a much larger house which is modern, efficient and maximizes the unique views.

Since we bought the place we have spent over a year working with architects, planners and generally doing stuff that doesn't make for interesting reading. This blog picks up the renovation process in late 2011 when work outside got started. Over the coming months it will be updated every week or so with pictures, movies and the odd bit of text. Like Grand Designs but without the suave sarcasm of Kevin McCloud.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Getting on to Mains Water

The original house got its water from a well in the garden. The image that springs to most people's mind when you say "well in the garden" is of a small round walled structure with a little roof and a bucket hanging down, not a concrete pit quarter full of rancid water. The state of the plumbing and the toilet in the house suggests that the pump from the well probably hadn't been working for a while anyway. Getting on to the mains was a priority. We are 450 m away from the nearest main so its not trivial and needed to be timed to not trash the farmers crops. 

We opted to bury 5 water pipes so that we had ullage for future developments and while the trench was open we also buried a telephone cable so we could remove the poles on our land and we laid an electric cable up the driveway so that we can have lights etc at the front gate at some point in the future. 

Great to see things happening down there, definitely a good feeling. 

Monday, 13 February 2012

Tenders in

We now have quotes in from four builders, one dropped out as the job was too big. Its pretty tight and the next challenge is to compare them all since they all include and exclude different things. I feel a spreadsheet coming on.

Otherwise things are progressing. I have been building storage at the steading for all the outdoor toys (boards, bikes etc). Also built the log store and pretty much filled it from the trees we cleared out in from in front of the house. Also been planning the best way to use all that space, its coming together. The next phase is to build and equip the workshop, then build the climbing wall. Need to get the electric in at some point soon as well.

With hedges to plant before the end of March, water and phone to put in and more trees to come down there is plenty to do.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Waiting for the tenders to come in

We have planning permission and building warrants. At the end of last year we invited tenders from five building companies for fairly major job of building the house. Those tenders were due in at the end of last week and when I spoke to Alan (the architect) yesterday he said that he had three and was waiting on two more.
So by the end of the week we should know who will be our builder for the next 8 or 9 months and we should have a better idea of the time-line. It all seems to be taking a very long time, in our original dream we naively thought we might be in by Christmas 2011!