Work is continuing just as quickly as usual, with all the crumbling walls now gone. There’s so little left -pretty much only a propped-up front wall which we have to restore and not replace – that I can barely bear to see the barn in its current sad state. I know I said I would try to enjoy every stage, but I was kidding myself. I want this destructive phase to be over and to see walls again. I’m cushion-over-eyes pretending it’s not happening, so no progress photos for you 😉
On the other hand, I still feel we’re lucky the collapse happened, because it has exposed the true condition of what’s left. It feels kind of comparable to an old kitchen you’re trying to dismantle and rebuild. Pretty solid when all the cupboards (four walls) are intact, and the worktop (roof) is on, but the minute you start to take it apart after the dishwasher has flooded (Storm Doris) you realise it’s just a load of soggy wood, dead pigeons and bits of unidentified rusty farm machinery. Or maybe that was just my kitchen.
To be fair, it’s really only me who feels this way. Thankfully, none of this fazes our fabulous building team. In fact, everyone assures us it will eventually be a much stronger and better building which will last decades longer. If it had been a pure conversion rather than the part-rebuild we’ve been forced to take on, we’d have been maintaining it forever. Basically it would have been ancient walls propped up with new mortar.
But… I remain the sentimental person who from the beginning wanted to restore this building, not re-assemble it from its component parts. So I’m gradually getting more used to every loss, but I’m still grieving.
I need more time.
Enough of the negativity.
I’ve chosen the type of flooring I’d like. Well, some of it, anyway. It was going to be porcelain tiles nearly everywhere (practical when you’re having underfloor heating), and Yorkstone flags in the hall, for a bit of non-authentic barn floor authenticity.
But that was all before I fell in love.
It’s polished concrete and it’s totally gorgeous (if you have a thing for industrial chic). Much cheaper than Yorkstone flooring, easier to lay and practically maintenance-free. And yay it’s coming within budget for the hall and kitchen dining room.
And, and, and anyway… it’s more in keeping with how the original 18th century concrete floor would have looked, she says trying to sound like Kevin. Throw on a bit of cow sh1t and you’d hardly know the difference. (I’m pretty sure he never said that.)
We’re away for a bit of a break, but next week’s job for the builders is to start to dig the foundations for the rebuild. Bit scary budget-wise, because they don’t know how deep they need to go. We’re pinning our hopes on solid clay, as the nearby bore-holes mostly indicated, but it would be just our luck to find an exactly barn-shaped 20 foot deep layer of sand immediately below.
Next job for us is reclaiming some of the bricks and slates, if the builders haven’t done it all before we get back.