It’s to be our home.
It may well offer accommodation one day.
And most importantly, it’ll be the offices for The Cornish Way.
But before any of that it has to become a tenable house again.
The house hadn’t been touched in years when we bought it, and our first move was to reverse its levels to benefit from the good light upstairs. We created a great space, but we had started in the wrong place.
We should have started by replacing the roof, but that’s a lesson that’s in the bag now.
The project started on June 8th 2015.
As the scaffolders raised their poles Nick Rawlinson and I demolished a few of the things that Minty has always hated about the house – the brown plastic conservatory had to go, as did the concrete arch. Knocking down the arch did reveal a good granite pillar that’s about five feet high, so that will be incorporated into the new entrance.
The roof came off quickly – about an hour a side, scary to think something so fragile had been offering protection to the inside for so long. I think it was the sheer weight of cement that kept it on.
The third element of Minty’s distain was the pebble dash render, and being the lowest skilled labour on the project, that job fell to me and my mate Kango.
Denuded of its render the house already looked better – although the quality of the granite used to build it was poor and I was glad of our decision to slate hang and re-render. It would have been a nightmare job to point, and I don’t think it would have resisted the weather.
Nick and Colin cracked on with the roof, insulation wrap first, then slates, while Ben tackled the walls. The top floor was battened off outside, insulated, wrapped, and is now mostly slate hung on the parking and street side. As I type the boys are attaching the battens that will carry the slate in the garden side.
The roof light took ages to arrive and the roof isn’t quite completed as a consequence, but the additional light it brings to the stair well and top floor makes the effort worthwhile.
Already, with only the walls insulated, the inside of the house feels much better, drier, as well as warmer. I know it’s the middle of summer, but a damp Cornish cottage can feel pretty grim at any time of the year when it’s wet outside.
Once I’d finished knocking off the render my grunt labour moved inside. The back bedroom has the Plen, and many tons of soil, against the outside wall. It’ll need tanking and insulating inside to create a dry space there too. I’m currently digging up the bedroom floor, having stripped the walls of render. No surprise, it’s damp, bordering on wet in there.
Next big thing? New windows, currently being made at Celtic Cross joinery in Trewellard.
There are three rewards for the work that leave me feeling happy as I fall exhausted into my bed every night.
One is the obvious improvements to the building’s looks, the second being how much better it feels inside, but the third is the number of positive comments we get from passers by. It feels that St Just is delighted to see one of its town centre houses being brought up to the standard this quaint, quirky and delightful town deserves.
As all this has been taking place Minty has kept her distance, but she’s far from removed. She has been working with her team at Bronco building the new Cornish Way website.
It’ll go live this week.
I hope to write another update in a few weeks rather than bomb Facebook with photos of the renovation. And a few weeks after that I hope to welcome guests and friends alike to the new Archavon.