Journal: 13 September 2018

Week 13. Going backwards to go forwards.

Over the last 13 weeks I’ve been documenting in still and moving images the progress of the work at the Water Cabin. My intention is to produce a short video showing the various stages of the build and the journey we've taken.



For those who may be interested, I’ve created a dedicated Instagram account called Nor–Folk Stays. At present, I’ve predominantly focussed on filming ‘stories’ rather than posting lots of pictures on the feed. I’ve really enjoyed being on site and filming the work taking place whether that be Stanley lifting carpet tiles, us painting or the carpenters creating the frame. I’ve narrated the videos with some of the highs and a few of the lows.

So this is where we are now, week 13. Our initial time line says we are two weeks from completion. In reality, we are dictated by the delivery of the aluminium windows that will make the property water tight. For now, the windows have been boarded up with OSB board for security and to protect the cabin from the elements.



So what have we done since getting the keys? Submitting planning to the Broads Authority was our first priority which was swiftly approved. The following weeks involved speaking to contractors and eventually finding our builder, Pat. Ahead of him starting, we have been doing what we can ourselves, including:

  • Ripping up carpets, removing hooks and nails. There were lots!
  • Sanding back 80 years of paint.
  • Painting over the sanded wood. I am currently on coat 8 in the master bedroom. That wood is not going down without a fight!
  • Bobby has constructed decking with concrete footings, which has given us a great platform to watch the boats.
  • Refreshed the kitchen with a discounted worktop (£20) and fitted new screw fix handles on the carcasses. All of this in a bid to save money where we can. Amongst other things, a new kitchen will be phase two.



We have done all we can within our skill-set ahead of the builders starting – with their experience and expertise.

A week into the tradesman starting, the extension roof was off and the timber frame for the structure was in place. Week two saw them putting in a steel beam and new joists (for support) and opening up the attic and the wall to the extension.

The day the boards came down, opening up the living room was incredibly special. For the first time we could see the size of the space, no longer just a diagram. I have already pictured myself sat on the sofa on an autumnal afternoon with a coffee, watching the sailing boats pass by the window, whilst Stanley builds train tracks.



Week three saw the builders take down the final ‘internal’ wall from the kitchen to the extension to open up the new slightly larger dining room. This was a hugely defining stage in the build. As the building is stripped away, we are re-using and repurposing as much as we can – the old wall boards will now be used for the dining room floor. 

Two of the three Velux skylights have been installed but the third arrived and had smashed, so we’re awaiting a delivery. The light that these provide is spectacular, creating a bright space was always integral to the design.

The roof has been laid with felt, in-keeping with properties along the river.



The rest of this week will involve the insulation of the property, as we want to make the building as efficient as we possibly can.

I still have a couple of coats to do in the bedrooms but, given the stage the rest of the cabin is at, I’m not under too much pressure to complete my jobs. The incentive for us will be when the bathroom is fitted and we can stay there ourselves overnight.

This is such a special project to work on, I feel very privileged to be able to shape its future and enjoy it for years to come as a family.

I aim to create one other interim post ahead of the cabin being launched. In the meantime, please do sign up below if you are interested in staying with us for a holiday. You will be the first to know when availability and pricing is confirmed.


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