This blog has been set up to record the restoration of Ashgrove, which was devastated by fire in August 2007.
Please add comments of encouragement (or even suggestions for the colour of the walls, carpets, tiles, furniture....!!)

Saturday, 31 May 2008

Steel girders installed

Members of the family who visited Ashgrove on Friday, 30th May, to see how the restoration and renovation was proceeding were duly impressed. Many of the walls and ceilings have been plastered and painted, creating a much brighter atmosphere (despite the boarding up) and the use of the groundfloor rooms for storage and workshops is an indication of the amount of activity.

There is still evidence of the ferocity of the fire - the burnt and scorched remains of the staircase (temporarily supported by pieces of new timber while its replacement is being manufactured) is just one example.

The new supporting girders (see external and internal shots) were successfully installed without disturbance of the brickwork above, and the renovation/servicing of the eleven sash windows by the specialist firm Ventrolla (duly tested and approved by Paul!) is producing very pleasing results in function and appearance. The loft insulation has been renewed, the central heating boiler and some radiators have been fitted, and the new ensuite and existing bathrooms have been tiled and are nearing completion.

Overall, a positive report of progress which we hope will continue on schedule.

I hope that this report will explain the main features of the photos.


Friday, 23 May 2008

Steel girders arrive

I am attaching one or two shots taken at Ashgrove the other day by Celia.

The steel girders on the terrace are scheduled to be installed above the bay area early next week when the acroprops have arrived. Andy is apprehensive about the brickwork above, but we are keeping our fingers tightly crossed that there will be no complications.

The smaller girder has already been installed successfully in the chimney breast to provide more space for the cooker and kitchen units.

Work elsewhere is proceeding apace (e.g in the bathroom) - and Celia is managing to keep the garden in shape as the shot of the large lawn shows.

Can you remember where the huge Cherry Tree was before it was felled? The stump of it is just visible below the right-hand Conifer. It was a pity that it had to go but we have not missed it.


Friday, 9 May 2008

Week 8 - Progress meeting 9 May

The third site meeting took place on Friday 9 May. I was there with Paul, Mum and Dad. Also the builders Halls (including their Director, Sue), Matt the project manager/surveyor and Andy our trusty onsite contract builder.

Andy knew the top brass were coming, so he had made sure the site was spick and span (well as much as a building site can be). At the last meeting Matt has chastised Halls for not taking safety seriously enough, so this time the builders all had yellow jackets and hard hats, and the first aid kit was prominently on show in the conservatory! Matt left his yellow jacket in the car, much to Halls amusement, and was sent back to get it. Everyone had sensible footwear too, except for Mrs Hall who had high heels - but she never went inside the house!

After the initial banter we got down to the meeting which was held in glorious weather in the conservatory, was very cordial, and I'm please to say that we made a lot of good progress.

Halls have agreed to use a company called Ventrolla to renovate all the sash windows in the house which should make them as good as, if not better, than new. They will open easily and be fully draught proof. This will cost over £10k but savings on other parts of the build should cover the extra cost.

Much to Mum's satisfaction the kitchen and sanitaryware has all come in within budget.

In the kitchen the chimney breast has been knocked out, and is now waiting for a steel joist to arrive. Almost all the new door lintels have been installed, including in the new dorway to the dining room (through the old larder). The new utility room has been created. First fix electrics and plumbing are almost complete.

The new ensuite bathroom at the front of the house has been created, and the old door to the office blocked up. All the upstairs doors have been returned after dipping, and most are back on. The new hot water tank has been installed in the attic. The roof needed a small amount of work, and this has been completed, The plasterwork in the attic has been repaired, and the attic is painted and almost finished.

We agreed on a supplier to replace the stairs, so hopefully we will see progress there soon.

Building control approval has been given for two new steel joists to replace the existing ones in the lounge bay, and this should happen in the next couple of weeks. There is a certain amount of trepidation about this part of the work, since the wall will need to be temporarily be supported on acroprops, and the wall above is slightly bowed. So it may be that some additional supports will be required to ensure the wall doesn't collapse. I'd like dad to get some pictures, but I'm not sure Andy wants anyone around when its done.

So what next? Well Mum has two weeks to decide on fireplaces for the lounge and study. She has up to £2000 to spend on each. Any help/advice/encouragement welcome.

On Monday we have to give Andy a definite decision on how to rebuild the bay. We have considered various options, key questions being: slate or tile roof; low wall and no doors, or as it was; leaded or plain windows. Again any thoughts welcome, but no changes please after the decision is made! Our preferred occurrent option is - rosemary tiles, retain doors, plain glass.

After that, all the big building decisions are made - we are down to door knobs and the like - so hopefully Mum and Dad can take a break.

Then it will be on to furnishings. I've helped them make a prioritised schedule of everything that is needed, together with a provisional budget. The good news is that the budget is well within the contents settlement. The bad news is that Mum has well over 200 items to buy!

On another positive note, we met an architect friend of Mum/Dads called Simon Gillespie, and he is going to help draw up some plans for a new extension to replace the conservatory. The current works are still targetted to be complete by 1 September, so if we can get going straight away after that on a new extension we may have a warm and comfortable room for Christmas dinner!

I've included a few photos below, but you can see many more by taking a look at the latest slideshow. Just click here Ashgrove 9 May 2008.


Saturday, 3 May 2008

Miscellaneous shots of basic repair and construction work

More miscellaneous shots of basic repair and construction work, and some encouraging evidence of redecoration. Large new water tank on attic landing.

Some Victoriana still showing through when old wallpaper is stripped. Acro pole at top of stairs to support temporary platform to facilitate decoration of landing ceiling etc.

Things are now moving on, but there is a long way still to go.

Still awaiting delivery of steel girder to support wall above lounge bay area. Hope we can capture its installation.