PROJECT MANGING THE SELF-BUILD
The couple approached several local building contractors to price for the entire build, but the quotes were prohibitively high and so Mike decided to manage the project himself, with Eileen taking charge of the paperwork.
“We tried to use local tradesmen and materials wherever we could, but juggling so many different people was hard work, ” says Eileen. “In the end we employed six different plumbers, and of course then no one was willing to take responsibility for the finished work.
” Erecting the post and beam oak frame went without a hitch however, and was completed by the Oakwrights team in just four days – proving to be the highlight of the build. The exposed frame sits on pillars which have been built into the reinforced blockwork of walls of the basement, and the beauty of the oak imbues the house with instant drama and character.
“Oakwrights were incredible, and the four guys who made up their site team were absolutely superb workmen, ” says Eileen, who had enjoyed visiting the framing yard to see the frame being constructed. “They arrived when they should, worked really hard and were polite and tidy. They just never stopped and were a real pleasure to have around. The crane dropped and broke a piece of oak one afternoon, but its replacement was cut and delivered by the following morning – one of the advantages of modern technology.
” The Leatherlands tackled a great deal of work on a DIY basis, installing the insulation and laying the underfloor heating pipework, which is connected to a ground source heat pump. They even fitted the incredible solid glass bridge, which appears to float across the entrance hallway to reach a glass floored viewing gallery above the vaulted sitting room. “It took Mike and seven other firemen to lift the laminated glass bridge into place, ” says Eileen. “It weighs half a ton, so we were just praying that they didn’t get a callout when it was still halfway up. ”