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.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Week 13 - Progressing nicely

Things are getting a bit out of sync with the week numbering. This update is up to the start of June which is the last time we were at the site. Since then we have been on tour in the van and doing other fun stuff that doesn't involve having access to the internet.

Work on the house is progressing nicely. They have started to build the wooden frames for the extensions and have made virtually all the required holes in the old stone shell for the various windows. It is interesting to note that although the house commands an impressive location with great views out to sea, there was only one very small window on the east (seaward) side of the building. I guess this can be attributed to two factors. Firstly, back in the day when it was built the insulation was so poor that they avoided having windows on the exposed sides of the building. Secondly, if you work outside all the time you are probably not so bothered about seeing the views.

Well one of the main reasons we bought the place was the views, so we will be putting plenty of windows facing both east and south. Another aspect is that window technology has advanced so much that the benefits of passive solar heating out weigh the heat lose through the glass. All these windows have required a lot of holes putting put into the walls and at the moment it looks a bit sad, with huge gaps punched through it.

Work on the Bothy is coming on even better, much of the steel work is now in, the walls are rendered and the chimney has been built. Persuaded the builders to save the stone lintels from the fireplaces and to use them again which is all part of the vision of "having a modern house that features some elements of the traditional building".

Off to Spain now for 9 days in the Pyrenees followed by a couple of days in South Wales, so it will be a while before about two weeks before I get down there again.

The place has a very healthy (and productive) rabbit population 

Steel ready for the inserting

Watch this space to see where this unusual piece of steel ends up 

The house looks like its been part of a war zone

This hole will be a very large south facing window 

Our mantra remains " can't wait to be living in Cowieswells, can't wait to be living in Cowieswells....

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