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.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Week 29

I was away last week but the weather was apparently horrendous, I heard tales of 80 mph winds in Aberdeen and Footdee was covered in salty white foam. So given that Cowieswells is very exposed I was expecting to see some serious damage, but there was nothing! That was a bonus. The weather had stopped the guys getting many of the slates on the roof, but they made a start at the end of the week.

Some slating has been done. The roof is looking good
Evidence of slating which makes you think they are messy buggers...
Until you see their very impressive lead work 
Meanwhile the weather hadn't stopped things happening inside and the specialist electrical chaps from Boothes came and installed a spaghetti of cables for the Lutron and Elan systems. The Lutron system allows us to control all the lights in the downstairs  family area from a single point (ipad), while the Elan controls everything else, sound, TV, heating etc etc. I think it evens tells me what to wear in the morning and makes the tea. It's an interesting challenge to future proof the place. Installing the possibility for two Sky boxes feels very odd for a family that doesn't watch TV from one month to the next, but we keep thinking its better to do it now than start chopping holes in walls at some point in the future.

Enough Cat5 for an office block. There goes my gun cabinet, lost to 2 sq m of technowank!
All of the manifolds and piping for the underfloor heating have also now been installed. I am used to Norwegian style electrical underfloor heating, not systems that use water. But as someone pointed out, Norway is a country with an abundance of cheap hydro-electric (although it hasn't been so cheap in recent years, but that's a separate issue). Paragon also installed the heat recovery system which provides ventilation around the house with fresh air that is warmed by the heat in the stale air (read farts!) that is being pumped out. With all this we should be cosy and warm and there are also two wood burners to go in!
Underfloor heating manifold - and that's just downstairs. I think I will need a degree to live in this house. Good job we have a small child who will instantly, intuitively know how it all works.  
Although not all things are high-tec and modern. I was pleasantly surprised to find they still use copper for the water pipes. Nice and shiny isn't it?
General view of the downstairs. Note that curved bit of steel again. We are starting to really get a feel for the space. And we like it!
View from the dinning area, this space will be full height.
Another view of the family area. This will be the kitchen
Hard to imagine that we will be sleeping here by Christmas
Upstairs bathroom, with that curved piece of steel again. Note also the heat recovery system in the cupboard to the left of the picture 
We have also been busy and have now finalised kitchen plans, 4 bathrooms, tiles, stairs for the house, stairs for the bothy, the lighting plan - blimey just typing it all makes me feel like I need a lie down!. We have also got a pretty good idea of what we are going to do in the garden. Its been a productive week.

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