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New Old Farmhouse self-build Journey: Navigating lockdown

We’ve been following self-builder Tanya for over a year now. In this unique installment, she provides an insight into the impact that lockdown has had on the build.

08 June, 2020

We’ve been following self-builder Tanya for over a year now. In this unique installment, she provides an insight into the impact that lockdown has had on the build.

"Well... I'm not quite sure what to say about recent events, all I can say is things have not gone to plan.

In my last update, just before Christmas, we had just had our floor poured and the site was closing up for the holiday period to give it time to dry. While the trades were all away we took the opportunity to start the spray painting. To save a few pounds, painting was one of the jobs we were going to do ourselves and we knew it was not something that was going to be completed over night, so the sooner we got started the better. We did get off to a bit of a false start and the colour I had chosen looked completely different on the walls than I had pictured so it was back to the tester pots!

Early January, both the electrician and the plumbers were on site to get our heating system up and running, which would help with the drying out, and by 21st of January we had the heating on. That was a great milestone to reach as it meant we could now get ready to start some interior finishes. First up was paneling. I have a very talented brother and he worked tirelessly at weekends over the next month or so to meet all my paneling needs...I have a thing for paneling 😁

February brought many exciting decisions; we met with the kitchen designer to make some tweaks and finalise the design, we choose our quartz worktops, finalised the staircase design and picked all our doors, skirting and architrave. The tiler was onsite mid-February, and this was the start of all the design ideas I had in my head coming to fruition. It was an exciting and nervous time especially as I had bought some of the tiles online without seeing them in real life first, but I needn't have worried, I love them all ❤️

In March, the day I think every self-builder looks forward to, arrived, Kitchen Day. Honestly, I could not wait to finish work that day. Walking into the house that evening the whole place felt so different, it was starting to feel like a home! Momentum really started to pick up now, we were in the final straight and tentatively considered a moving in date over the Easter holidays. While the joiner worked on fitting our laminate flooring, I finished upcycling cabinets to be used as our bathroom vanities so that they would be ready for the plumber when he returned to fit the bathrooms.

Meanwhile in the background the Coronavirus pandemic was becoming an ever more real threat. I had been directed to work from home until further notice, bars and restaurants started closing their doors and in anticipation of shops closing we stocked up on paint and got some tiles that we needed for a small little hallway area. The day after a very quiet St Patrick's day, our worktops were fitted, the kitchen was almost done, so we started to coordinate the trades to get everything finished. The week of 23rd March was going be a very busy week, we had electricians and kitchen fitters lined up to meet and get appliances and kitchen lighting installed, our shower screens for both bathrooms were scheduled to be delivered and I had booked the carpet guys to come and measure up.

But, as I'm sure you already guessed, lockdown happened on the 24th! Everything stopped! Nothing happened! Of course, it needed to happen, and it was the right decision however it was still terribly disappointing...we were so close. I was able to work from home full time and my husband is a key worker. We made the best of the situation and completed jobs in the house we could do ourselves, mainly painting, cleaning and tiling the little hallway area ourselves, thankfully there was adhesive and grout left over.

The weeks past, much faster than I thought they would, Easter came and went quietly. I had by this time moved on from the disappointment and took each week as it came. In mid-April the contractor came back on site to start the ground works. As a father and son living and working together they were able to potter about the site and get the drainage and septic tank in which was great to see. In early May other trades returned site, on separate days and only one tradesperson at a time, to finish up the second fix plumbing and electrics. Schedules for getting services connected over the lockdown were all suspended but as restrictions started to ease we were thankfully able to get our Internet connection last week. We have also submitted our connection card to NIE and they are recommencing work on new connections from next week, so fingers crossed we are not too far down the list. We have also managed to reschedule the measuring for our carpets and get the shower screens delivered so we are finally getting there.

It really has been an unexpected few months and hopefully in the next month or so we can navigate through the final steps of getting the house finished. Getting building control sign off and everything else involved with getting prepared for our final mortgage draw down which I suspect will also look a little different from what it would normally, but we'll get there!

Tanya, xx"

Visit @new_oldfarmhouse on Instagram to keep up to date.

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