Since I have known Richard, he has always been very practical and very hands on, first with his cars and then when we bought and did up a small bungalow. I was always impressed by the fact he learnt new skills quickly and was able to turn his hand to anything he wanted to.
Just before our first child was born in 2002, Richard decided he wanted to have a go at building a house. I was more than a little nervous about this project as we had only done a little bit of DIY before and neither of us knew anything about building really.
We looked at a few plots locally put there was one that really caught our eye. It was originally a pub car park but the owners had closed the pub down and converted it into a cottage and 2 houses and was selling everything off. We looked at the plot a few times, went away and thought about it, came back to look at it some more and after a lot of consideration decided we would go for it..
The main thing that drew us back to the plot time and time again were the views of the rolling countryside. Standing on this empty plot and looking across the fields was just breathtaking (as was the wind coming off the fields!!)
So once the plot was officially ours we planned out our design and Richard got Auto CAD and taught himself how to draw up house designs. When we completed our design we got it printed out and submitted it to the local planning officer. It was a long and nervous wait to hear if we had got planning permission or not, most people we knew did not get permission the first time so we were anticipating a negative response.
By some small miracle the planning officer passed our design first time and we set off on what was to become an epic house building project.
Everything that has been done to our house so far, with exception of the plastering, has been done by Richard with a little help here and there from his dad, brother, my brothers and of course me :o)
I like to think I was an interior designer in a previous life, mind you how many of us think that!! I think Richard would probably beg to differ as we have totally different taste when it comes to interior design which can often cause minor disagreements!!
We are currently on our 9th year of building. That does sound a long time, and had you asked me when we started building if I thought for one second we would still be building 9 years on then I would have probably laughed hysterically at you, but the reality of it is, life just simply got in the way!
3 children later and a battle with cancer almost complete means our beloved house has taken a back seat but that does not mean there is no progress.
Richard has worked tirelessly on the house on weekends and days off and do you know what? Not even his chemotherapy stopped him! He would have his treatment on a Tuesday and by the Friday was back at the house working. In the 6 months of his treatment he has fitted out 2 bathrooms, laid underfloor heating, finished slating the garage room, installed solar panels and laid floors. His utter determination has seen him get over the sickness and exhaustion and back out to our plot within days of that horrible combination of drugs.
So where are we now? Well below is a collage of a few pictures I have taken throughout the build. The plan is to hopefully be in the house by Christmas but who knows what else life has to throw at us first! It will be worth it in the end!!