Having made the decision to buy timber and boards to make a studio from scratch, our spirits were lifted and it wasn’t long before Edward was making a start on construction.

Change of tack

Originally, we were going to have a part of the big barn converted into a studio – it was formerly a byer and still has the feeding troughs along two wall, and the remains of a hay rack too.  Sadly, the wattle and daub ceiling is deteriorating in a few places but we felt it would be worth the effort to take it all down and build an insulated ‘box’ (studio) inside.  Unfortunately, our experience with the English builders we’d engaged with to do the house roof and replacement doors and windows, hadn’t gone as well as we’d expected.  After much promise and a good start, delivery of a finished roof and new doors and windows took weeks longer than anticipated.  Over such a long period (13 weeks in all), small niggles eventually became more intense but when we told them how we felt, it didn’t seem to go down particularly well!  Suffice to say that when they finished the job on the house, they left the site with a ‘promise’ to return some time in the autumn to build the studio and repair the two barn roofs.  Last month one of them returned to do some snagging jobs on the doors and windows but was unable to give a date when they would be returning.  We’re now into October and the weather will be turning soon – we still haven’t heard from them…..

In the meantime, M Ory has had his house roof replaced by French artisans – they took 5 weeks to complete the job and their work was impeccable.  As we had now idea when ‘our’ builders were returning, we decided to ask for a quote.  There was no delay – the boss arrived to look at what was needed, assessed the height of the barns and suggested we might want to put up some guttering – something we knew we needed but thought we’d have to do ourselves.    A day later, he returned with a quote and we were pleasantly surprised!  Having received a quote from a French company to do the house roof, we were put off by the huge expense.  However, this quote was on a par with our English builders’ quote but with the addition of the guttering!  Not only were we happy with the price, they were able to come to do the job the following week and, amazingly, it would be done in two days!!!!

They are here today.  It’s very exciting and we still can’t quite believe they will be finished by tomorrow!  No scaffolding hanging around for weeks on end, they’ve arrived with all their own equipment – no need to borrow our wheelbarrow or other tools, no storing of materials in the barn indefinitely and no mess for us to clear away…..

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They arrived early this morning with 5 sets of ladders…..

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These were arranged along the front of the small barn and then boards were set up on supports from the ladders to make a walk-way for them to install the guttering.

Next, the Manitou arrived….

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Then, they were re-fitting and replacing old, missing or broken slates, directly from the bucket of the Manitou!

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It’s impressive, to say the least….

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The small barn should be done today.  Tomorrow they will need to put up some scaffolding at the back of the big barn for that side of the roof and to install the guttering.  They’ll use the Manitou again to reach the front.  We’re both really happy that we’ve asked them to do this work for us – at last we feel that we are moving forward again rather than having to put everything on hold while we wait for the builders to turn up……

And so the studio is taking shape

So, our plans for the studio to be built in the byre have changed and we have decided to build a timber ‘shed’ inside the middle section of the big barn.  It may be that Edward moves into the byre to use it as a workshop eventually – it’s much bigger and dryer than the area he is using at the moment.

Initially, the ‘shed’ was going to be in two parts – a 4m x 2m section for a storage area and the remaining 4m x 5m for my studio.  Before the build started, we had a change of heart and so now, my studio is going to be the full 4m x 7m area!!  I’m a lucky girl!!

In the winter, the back wall of the barn seems to ‘leak’ water – mostly because the ground is built up against the back wall of the barn and there has been no guttering for quite some time.  Although we shall be rectifying that this week, to ensure the timber framework doesn’t rot away with any damp coming up from the floor of the barn, Edward has lined it with a plastic membrane, which also goes up the sides and back of the structure for about 2m.  Hopefully this will ensure it’s completely damp-proof…..

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The initial framework was assembled, then taken down again so the plastic membrane could be secured….

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The framework was then re-installed and floorboards and insulated plasterboard fitted….

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We managed to buy the floorboards for a good price, so Edward is using them here to make a sound wall for the back of the shed before the plastic is secured in place.  He has left a gap between the back wall of the barn and the back wall of the studio, to help ensure any damp that does come through doesn’t penetrate the studio….

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The electrics for the side wall have been set up – a fiddling, time consuming job (!) and then today, the first window has been installed……

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It’s all coming along nicely and perhaps my next job will be planning where everything is going to go in my new art space!!!  ♥