You know that episode of Grand Designs when…. 

You know that episode of Grand Designs when…. after they’ve spent several  months/years  and tens of thousands of pounds more than they expected digging the foundations but at last the steel structural beams have arrived on site so everyone is suddenly optimistic. Then they try to put the beams together and they’re either too short or too long  and you think ‘could they not have measured better-did they not see the last episode of Grand Designs? ‘  I know it’s schadenfreude but it makes for compulsive viewing.  

It must be Karma for all my  comments in the past while watching the programme but my words came back to haunt me when the steels arrived at Stonehurst this week.  The steels are required to replace some seriously corroded steels that were supporting our ‘conservatory on stilts’ as we call the neo tudor addition to the back of the house which will end up being our dining room once the structural issues are sorted. 

So it all happened on Wednesday.  My wife, who was meant to be on holidays, went to work-she said that she had seen enough home renovation programmes to know where she would rather be that day. 

“She’s being overly negative” I thought as I heard the truck with the steels pull up outside.    We rolled the up to 8m long steels down on beer barrels three of us steering as we went, corners were interesting but we got there in the end. The steels were measured from the structural engineer’s drawing and would have been perfect except for one thing…the plan was that the steel would sit on top of the joist and the floor boards would be removed.  Unfortunately the beautiful original parquet floor sat on top of the floor boards. 

There were two options: cut the parquet flooring (difficult to do as behind a beautiful original built in bench running the length of where the beam would go); or move the plinths (original stone which beams were to sit on) by 3 inches.  Often, it is only when something is in situ that you truly get the full picture.  I find that it’s similar when I’m painting, and often have to reconsider or redesign the work midway to get the best result.  Sometimes the time and experience that you think will stop you making mistakes is only really useful in determining how you react to errors allowing flexibility in the face of adversity.   

In the end I chose option 2 which was the best way to preserve what was original and beautiful, but it didn’t make digging out the concrete pads and moving the plinths any easier!  The reality of renovating is that although you definitely make less mistakes over time there will always be challenges.  I guess how else would Kevin McCloud  get to do the same ‘triumph over adversity’ ending to every Grand Designs Episode!

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1 thought on “You know that episode of Grand Designs when…. 

  1. […] I have also come to value flexibility even more as renovations throw up unexpected findings (see my recent blog) and how you approach ‘variations’ will directly affect the length of time  a renovation […]

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