Our new Energy Performance Certificate

EPCsIt was with some trepidation recently when Neil from the Severn Wye Energy Agency came round to assess The Secret Acre’s new Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). This was after all the independent validation of our smallholding’s whole eco-makeover!

When we found The Secret Acre in 2013 its EPC stood at a lowly score of 44 (in band E). Continue reading

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Proper insulation, we’re never going back!

HomeEnergyLossWe’ve banged on a lot this year during the smallholding’s eco makeover about the need to invest in proper insulation, ahead of spending on eco bling.

But it didn’t really strike us until we moved in last month, that this is the first house either of us have ever lived in, that has been fitted out to the modern building regulation standards of energy efficiency introduced in the last decade. Continue reading

The Recycled Kitchen

Kitchen going in 1One of the great joys and surprises of The Secret Acre’s eco-makeover has been our bespoke recycled kitchen.

From the outset, Emma has been dead set against buying commercial kitchen units. You regularly hear of people spending tens of thousands of pounds on commercial kitchens which all tend to look frankly so cheap and nasty you wonder why they bother. The answer is of course because we are told having a bespoke kitchen made for you is astronomical. Continue reading

Six Months In: Moving, Snagging & Landscaping

Six monthsIt seems hard to believe, but just over six months into the smallholding’s eco-makeover, the excellent builders had stuck to both the timetable and the budget and we were ready to move in.

So after lots of internal finishing in September, and a disappointing lack of readily available Triple A rated energy efficient appliances, we finally booked the removal van for the start of October, worried only by the alarming amount of stuff we had to pack up.

Now safely in, we are starting to work through the inevitably long list of snagging issues, top of which on day one was the alarmingly absent manhole for the bathroom sewer! Continue reading

M is for… Morso

MorsoI can’t remember if a woodburning stove was on our original list of eco-bling for the smallholding’s eco-makeover, but like the range style cooker, it was simply taken as a given.

Of course no-one does woodburning stove style quite like the Scandinavians, and we quickly decided that only a Morso would do for our relatively contemporary extension.

What proved less easy was interpreting the relatively old installation regulations for a modern extension. Continue reading

M is for… Manhole

ManholeOur top tip for moving into a newly refurbished home would definitely be to make sure, preferably before you use your new bathroom, that you have remembered to connect it to the sewer!

So it was, 48 hours before we moved in, that we found ourselves at the smallholder’s hovel casually cleaning, snagging and dreaming where our furniture would go. As we gazed around outside the front door I idly remarked that I couldn’t remember when the trench had gone in to connect the new front bathroom to the original sewer running across the front of the property. Continue reading

M is for… Moving

Moving out 1Finally just over six months into the smallholding’s eco-makeover, the big day arrived for moving in all our unnecessarily large amount of stuff.

A week of unprofessional packing, cleaning up after the builders and writing out an unfeasibly long snagging list, led to a mere four hours of highly professional stuffing it all into the removal van, a near miraculously quick two hours of unloading and a highly commendable lack of any breakages. Continue reading