Tiles, Doors and Joinery

Now that the plaster and screed have had some weeks to dry, we can move on to finishing inside the house.  We had decided on porcelain tiles for the floor in the kitchen, dining room, downstairs hall , utility room and WC, and in the all-important plant room, and for floors and most walls in the bathrooms.  Before that could start, though, Ryan the plumber (or more correctly, his chap Liam)  had to fit the shower trays and baths.  That threw up one problem, when we found that En Suite 2 – the Guest Bedroom en-suite – had been built 100mm narrower than designed.  Too late to do anything about the walls, we had to change the shower tray from 1200×800 to 1100×900.  Dimensions are a bit tight, but it should be workable.

We selected two pairs of tile colours from the Gemini Hillock range (from CTD in Exeter) – Light Grey/Dark Grey and Cream/Mocca, and spent a fair time allocating the pairs of colours to floors and walls.  I transferred the results into a set of drawings, one per room:

Jason Ogilvy very quickly tiled the ground floor, and moved on to the bathrooms.

The shower room
En Suite 1 – shower
En Suite 4

We’re delighted with the tiles – they have turned out exactly as planned, and Jason and his mate Ian have done a grand job, getting the right colours and the right grout for each colour.


Potton delivered the 2nd fix joinery pack last week.  This contained all the internal doors, the door hardware and material for the door casings, architraves and skirtings.  Phil, the carpenter working for Andy Wilton, has been on site all week, fitting the doors and architraves.  The skirtings will be left until the oak floor has been laid through most of the house.

The doors look superb..

Wardrobe doors in the Guest Bedroom


All this week, Tom, Matt and Paul have been in installing the electrical fittings.  We now have consumer units (fuse boxes) in the Plant Room and Loft, electrical sockets and switches throughout, and most of the light fittings, where we are using down lighters.  Western Power are scheduled to connect the house to the supply on 8 October – another significant step.


On Monday last, Complete Kitchens delivered much of the kit for the kitchen, and started on the installation.  They have had to pause while electricity and plumbing catch up, but the time has not gone to waste, as they have been manufacturing our Corian worktops.


Liam has been back again, installing the LPG supply for the hob in the kitchen, and adding some more water pipes.


On Monday, the decorators come in to start waxing the doors with Treatex painting the walls, leaving only the final coat.  Monday also sees the delivery of 150m2 of engineered oak flooring, and work on the water supply to the house and drainage.  Exciting times, and still on programme to complete in late November.


Finishing the brickwork

In July, the brickies had started laying the facing bricks on the outside of the house.  I’d mentioned the difficulties of delivering bricks to site, and that we were then about to order special, cant bricks for the junction between the bricks and timber cladding.  Nothing since has made any of that any easier, and the wonderful weather this summer has not helped.

As the bricks have gone up, we have been delighted with the look of the bricks themselves, and the job that Chris Cox’s men have done.  The bricks dry (eventually, when the rain lets up for a while) to a varied light red.  Whilst the rate of broken bricks is a bit high, there’s really nothing to suggest that they cost £200 less per thousand than the perfect article.

When the cants finally did arrive, the bricklayers could put on the final ‘soldier’ course.  Ibstock, the brick manufacturer quoted 10 weeks delivery for cants in the Hamsey Mixed Stock brick, so we looked for an alternative.  Ibstock suggested Cheddar Red, which is a more distinct red, and has a smooth (not sand-faced) finish. We thought that they would make a sufficient contrast to the Hamsey bricks, and decided to use them.  So we ordered 700 cants, and a number of special specials for internal and external corners.

The picture shows the junction between the brickwork, with the cant bricks in place, and the timber cladding.  The black strip at the junction is a lead flashing, to prevent water finding its way behind the cladding and into the wall cavity.  Mark Allen did a nice job of cutting and laying the lead, finishing it with Patinating Oil.  The corners were finished with fabricated leadwork…

There is a lot of detailing in the junction between the cladding and bricks.  Thanks Josh.

The Chimney

The major remaining piece of brickwork was the chimney, and the chimney breast in the lounge.  We plan to install a

Stovax Riva Studio inset log-burning stove, and took advice from Mark Broadhead, from Kenwyn Stoves in Great Torrington.  Mark made some helpful suggestions, and I drafted a design for the chimney, drawing on data from the Isokern website.  Isokern make pumice flue liners, that are the standard way of venting a log-burner.  The design is shown below: