The building work commences

Zoë details the first building phase of her renovation project as the foundations are laid for her two-storey extension

Meet the owner: Zoë Sheridan-Wasey

Zoë is a former marketing manager for a popular stove and fireplace manufacturer, a career she enjoyed for ten years while simultaneously undertaking five renovation projects. She has always loved home renovating and interior design, but this is by far her largest project to date: renovating, rebuilding and extending a large family home on her dream acre plot in Devon. This time, two small sons are competing with the build for her attention, while a completion date of Christmas 2014 is looming…

Follow her blog over the coming months as she charts the highs and lows of the build.

We’ve finally got the tenders back on site and the builders have agreed to start on the renovation to turn our old park keeper’s cottage into a spacious family home. The torrential rain of late, has meant that the lawn and grounds we’ve spent the previous year tending are now turned to mud – just in time for the ground works begin.

After a week, and some sunshine at last, this all seems a distant memory as the foundations go down for the new section of our build. Luckily, we had good foundations under the existing extension to pass with the buildings inspector for the second floor extension. After all this time revising tenders and waiting for quotes to come back, the speed at which work is now progressing is surreal and I can already see the house starting to take shape.

One thing I’m really glad to see the back of is the old oil tank for the Rayburn cooker in the kitchen that used to burn money as well as oil! In its place, we’re planning to install a ground source heat pump. Although the initial outlay for such things is fairly large it should pay for itself in the long run; plus, we’re never going to have this opportunity again and the south-facing land is perfectly suited to the technology. Hopefully, when the time comes to dig the trenches for the pipes the Devon weather will be kind to us and our lawn.

One unforeseen consequence of the build so far is that our three and five year-old sons can’t believe their luck at having their own personal diggers and dumper trucks in the garden, although it also means they can’t be let loose outside without constant supervision. They’re already asking if the house will be finished ‘tomorrow’. Things are moving along quickly at present, but not quite that fast!