I’ll post the progression of the build in future posts but wanted to answer the inevitable question “So where are you up to now?” and flashback from there. Also, things are moving glacially at the moment so by the time I’ve caught up the storyline, we should have some more colourful photos to upload. Our current ones feature a lot of dust tones.

Obviously, we bought the house – quite a story leading up to the incredibly anti-climatic picking up of the keys (and then both of us lying awake at night in a slight state of terror). The subsequent waking terror of receiving a £64,000 CIL notification nearly stopped the whole show abruptly a few weeks after that. A week of hefty negotiation and terse exchanges with the council just before Christmas managed to cut our liability down significantly (ie: to nothing). And exhale.

We’ll definitely put up some more detail on that one. Luigi has promised to copy/paste some of the emails he pounded emphatically into a laptop during that time for anyone else to use, if applicable; even if you just use it to irritate someone in the planning group at your council that would be a nice return of karma-balance.

Where we are now defies most everyday descriptions about houses. There’s not much of the original place left excepting a few walls and centuries old dust, but already the idea of how the house will look is hinting through the rooms (it helps if you squint). Dirt floors are a new kitchen feature.  The builders have been incredibly efficient stripping out – including the plaster down to the brickwork to allow the extra-thick insulation to be added as part of the EnerPHit conversion – and most of the inside of the house now stands in its naked glory. From the outside, it looks like an old lady with a new hat, as the roof has been completely replaced.  Alas, the avocado bath suite is now just a fading memory. I was toying with the idea that we could upcycle and reuse it in a bathroom design but Luigi kyboshed that idea while I was out of town. On the upside, the meat locker has accompanied it and nothing dodgy has been found. Yet.

  • Jason Orme

    Good grief! What a job you guys have on. I’m particularly interested to know the motivation behind going that extra mile for the EnerPHit standard as opposed to (more simply) maxing out on insulation and airtightness. Looks like a really ambitious project, though – good luck!

  • Jane Caccavale

    Great question Jason – this one for Luigi to answer! He likes to measure things. On my side, while I’m not really a tree-hugging-earth-mother-hippy-sort (although I would love to be and have the hair for it), it was such a great opportunity to renovate to an environmental standard we believe will be the norm for building in the future. Practically, I really hate a cold house, and the amount of insulation and glazing I was insisting on had us close already to the certification mark. I’ll write a post about the team we brought together from the very first weeks of the project – a great combination of architectural consultant/designer, builder, interior designer and energy consultants – where we did things a little differently and started 3D modelling every room with details, even including furnishings and living-patterns, from week one. From there, there EnerPHit elements clicked into the practical – for example we’ve managed to find a PassivHaus-compatible dog-door for our future greyhound pet. Ok, Luigi still arguing about whether I get the greyhound but the door has been delivered already and incorporated into building designs, planning, and air-tightness models from drawing stage.

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