A work in progress.

aug 16 161

Our long awaited conservatory is starting to take shape. Yesterday we added the polycarbonate and it was a pleasure to sit under it today and listen to the soothing sound of raindrops on the new roof. Some people might argue that a polycarbonate roof is not green and does not suit our lifestyle where we are trying to use less of the earths rescores. But we believe that the benefits will outweigh the carbon footprint for creating the sheets. We will now have a place to dry all our laundry, eliminating any need for a tumble dryer. We will be able to grow a lot of our food that needs the higher temperature and cover provided under the roof. The conservatory will work as very effective insulation for the rest of the house, reducing the need for heating considerably. It will also be a lovely place to sit and chat with friends and family. We built our framework from local trees and branches and bought 4″ by 2″ timber.

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Walls and floor.

Following on from this earlier post about the groundwork, here comes a post about the foundation and main wood frame construction on our reciprocal roofed roundhouse. We put down a layer of builders sand all over the floor area and raked it out until it was even. On top of this we placed a waterproof membrane. At the eight posts we added extra pieces of membrane between the concrete foundations and the posts.

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The sky is the limit.

sky blue

We are nearing the completion of our extension build. It has been a long laborious journey, hundreds and hundreds of hours of digging drainage ditches, filling tyres with soil for the retaining wall and stripping bark of the logs for the main construction. We have also managed to finish the whole mosaic floor, the only thing it needs now is a final layer of grout to smooth it out and a polish. We are happy with the results and will write a bit more about it and show you some more pictures after the final polish.

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Making a connection.

extension walkway

In Ireland you are allowed to build a 40 square meter extension to an existing property without applying for planning permission. There are quite a few rules to follow; the extension has to be at the back of the house, it cannot be higher than the existing house roof and it cannot be too close to a neighbouring property to name a few. We bought our small cottage with this in mind. We wanted to build a roundhouse with a reciprocal roof and to get planning permission for that in Ireland might have been difficult. When you are building with recycled and found materials you need to be flexible and it would be very difficult to submit exact plans for an extension or a house like the one we wanted to build.

cottage and extension

Thus we bought our cottage and went about our build, following all the guide lines for a planning permission free, 40 square meter extension. As the house is square and the extension is round we needed a clever way to connect the two. We decided to make a 1 square meter hallway for that purpose. The floor in the roundhouse is just less than 39 square meters.

This also made our build easier as the existing house roof not needed any cutting into to accommodate the extension. The two roofs come together over the new hallway.

bottle-wall connection

We started by removing a wall in a bedroom and found a lovely old fireplace behind the dry-lining.  We then rebuilt the wall further into the room, creating a walkway, ending at the outer wall of the cottage. After that it was time to knock through to create a hole in the wall and connect the old and the new. Outside the hole we built the new 1 square meter hallway to allow for the two parts of the building to come together. One wall in this hallway is made out of bottle bricks and the other is a backdoor we got from friends. It is practical and safe to have a door there as when we moved in there was only a front door in the house as the old backdoor had been blocked up and is now part of the bathroom wall.

wall removed

building wall


knock through


We rebuilt the wall where we had knocked through and created a small doorframe, as we wish to be able to close off the extension from the rest of the house at times. After that we put plasterboard on the walls and added bonding to fill larger gaps in the construction. All that is left to do now is to plaster the walls and ceiling and paint it all a light colour to make the walkway as bright as possible. The old fireplace needed the existing plaster knocked off and some bonding added  to stabilise the stonework before it could be painted white. It will not be used as a fireplace as we already have one in the kitchen with a back boiler that heats all the radiators. It will just be a nice addition to the walkway and we will put some lights in it for night time use.


glass wall


extension detail

extension fireplace

extension chimney breast