Monday, 22 April 2013

Putting the roof back on!

Finally some of the structure is going back on and we can see some real progress.  The below pic is the rear dormer but it gives you an idea of how big the master bedroom will be.  The opening in the middle is for the french doors and side panels. It's 2400mm by 1975mm. There will be a Juliet balcony in front of the doors.

This is a view from the front of the property. There will be a large flat roof in the middle. A 1200mm by 600mm fixed roof dome window will be placed here . This will hopefully brighten up the front of the lounge as well as the stairwell.

Annoyingly my council's building control insist on triple glazed windows for the flat roof windows which bumped the cost up.

Slight change of plans. I have decided to put two Velux windows in the bathroom and not put one at all in the walk in wardrobe. As the walk in wardrobe will only get minutes worth of use a day I didn't see the point of having natural light. Also it would turn the small room into a sauna in the summer as it would be so hot. I sourced Duratec roof windows -which are made by Velux but rebranded as Duratec. They're an older style made by Velux but come in at around 35% of the cost of a Velux equivelent. So a lot cheaper

Duratec Window   They come with a 10 year warranty which is an added bonus.

This roof should be tiled and weather tight by Friday or Monday at the latest.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Boys Toys- ceiling speakers

Finally some fun stuff-I am bored of looking for light switches , windows , bathroom taps. Some of the toys I want - Audio gear.

As explained earlier the whole house will be decked out with multi room audio. All the rooms will have ceiling speakers.

I got in touch with Simon at Bartlett's Hi-Fi in London. I explained what  my requirements and budget were and Simon came up with the below package.

For the Lounge

I will be having a 5.1 home cinema set up which will have 3 Monitor Audio CT-265IDC for the Front Left, Centre and Right. Ceiling speakers aren't ideal for a 5.1 set up as it's hard to separate the left, right, centre , rear speakers from one another as they're firing downwards. The good thing with these speakers is that the tweeter is directional and you can point it to where you're sitting which helps address the problem of being able to focus the sound. They are 3 ways speakers so should be able to handle most frequencies with ease.

The 2 rear speakers will be Monitor Audio CT265-FX. These speakers have dipole tweeters to help with the rear surround.

To handle the bass I am going to go for a R370HD subwoofer. It comes in various colours to match most interiors. I am waiting till the interior is done before I commit to this. It will most likely be white or oak.

The kitchen diner, will have 4 speakers, the bedrooms will have 2 and the Study will also have 2. These will all be Monitor Audio CT165. There are perfectly good for background music and do not need to be as focused as the 5.1 speakers however they still have a directional tweeter.

The bathrooms will have one speaker unit in the ceiling but the speaker will handle both the left and right audio. These will be Monitor Audio CT165-T2.

Outdoor Audio

I will have  a pair of speakers outside. I am going for a pair of white all weather  Monitor Audio CL50s for this.

Overall I am very pleased with range of speakers that Monitor Audio provide which is why I have gone with them. The speakers are very pleasing to the eye , as well as the ear and have a good range that suits most budgets. 

A big thank you to Simon at Bartlett's Hifi. He was extremely patient through the selection process and worked very hard to get all the speakers within my budget. 

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Wiring infrastructure - audio, video and networking

I plan to have multi room audio and video in each room. I do not want Sky boxes on show so plan to store all the audio and video gear for the whole house in the cupboard under the stairs. I need to run speaker cables /video and data cables from here to each room in the house. 

I am running a total of 4 cat5e cables and 2 coaxial cables into each room.

To make this easier I bought 200meters of the cable below which has 2 strands of cat5e and coaxial cable in one strand. 

This makes  life a lot easier as instead of having to run 6 cables into each room I now only have to run 2. One strand will come out in each room where there is a TV and another strand directly below the TV . I will run ducting in between the TV and the point below in case I  need to join cables/ run something below.

The reason I am running the cable to the TV point is not just to carry an aerial signal but also most TVs are now smart TVs which have iPlayer, 4OD, etc built into them so need a data connection.  Not only that should I ever want to use a HDMI Matrix to supply video all over the house , use an IR changer or HDMI over cat5 I can upgrade. I am going to use Apple TV2s running Plex to watch movies ,TV series and Netflix. I find wireless networks too unreliable with carrying video which is why I want cat5 cabling throughout.

The bedrooms will have two strands as will the study. The lounge chimney breast will have one strand, as will the wall for the new extension opposite the kitchen should I ever want to place a TV here, finally I will also run a cable to the pillar in the kitchen for the option of a small TV here and in the bathroom.

In total I will be installing 19 speakers in the house, broken down as follows.
Bedrooms and study will be having 2 ceiling speakers.
Ensuite and downstairs bathroom will have a single stereo speaker unit ( single speaker that handles both left and right sound via one unit)
Lounge area 5 speakers for the 5.1 home cinema 
Dining area will have 4 speakers
Outdoor speakers will have 2 speakers.
To wire all this up I bought QED multicore QX16 four core speaker cable. One strand will have 4 cables inside which will wire up two speakers. This makes wiring up a lot easier as instead of having to run two cables into the bedroom, study and bathrooms I only need to run 1. For the dining area 2, ,3 for the lounge and 1 strand for the outdoor speakers.

By using the cables above instead of having to run 8 strands of cable into each room I now only need to run 3.

Finally I plan to run HDMI cables from the cupboard to each TV point for the bedrooms/study and lounge I prefer good old fashioned HDMI for this rather than HDMI over cat5 as the technology right now is very expensive for the good units and the cheaper ones have reliability issues.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Bringing down the roof!

The last thing you need in the middle of a build is a bank holiday weekend to slow things down, thankfully despite the bank holiday we're actually two days heard of schedule. Unfortunately the building work is the boring part and there isn't much to write down that is exciting.  Three RSJs have gone in and the new floor joists have gone in for the loft conversion above. Roof tiles have been removed from the rear wall where the RSJ protrudes , these will not be replaced as a dormer will be going along here which will house the Juliet balcony doors and window panels.

Tiles have also been removed along the side of the bungalow , this is where the gable wall will be built to maximise the space in the loft.

The tiles on the roof are the original concrete ones and 80 years later are not in the best of shape so I have decided to replace all of these now whilst we are removing half the roof rather than reuse. I am awaiting the quote for the tiles but this should come in around £1500.  Damn it that contingency fund is getting eaten into.