2011-04-12: The "pump-house" for the pool is covered now.
2011-04-12: And the pool has been lined with concrete.
2011-04-12: The "wooden house" 3 plots further down the road is coming on in leaps and bounds. The roof beams are now installed.
2011-04-12: Our walls are coming on, but not yet ready to start doing the dry-stone wall outer skin.
2011-04-12: We noticed on this photo that the brick columns left and right of the opening for the garage door didn't interlock with the side walls, and these will be rebuilt correctly.
2011-04-19: The round columns on the terrace and next to the kitchen window have been prepared to have the concrete poured.
2011-04-19: Theory and practice are sometimes not the same. In the application for planning permission, it was described in great detail that the workers would have to wear hard hats and steel capped boots etc. The practice seems a bit laxer.
2011-04-19: The garden wall to the road has been topped off.
2011-04-19: The first layer of plaster has been started on the inner side of the wall. There will be two layers, so that the bricks don't show through at all.
2011-04-28: View from the entrance to the plot.
(The yellow box behind the windscreen of the van contains the complete plans and specification for the house as it was submitted to the local authority for planning permission.)
2011-04-28: The garden wall from the road
2011-04-28: The front side of the house (to the street). The windows are from Ruth's studio, the office, and nearest to us, the guest bedroom. The front door is to the right of the white pillar in the background.
2011-04-28: This is the end of the house where the bedrooms are; the windows are for the main bathroom and our bedroom. there will be two more windows above them when the wall is finished. (The main windows for both bedrooms are in the walls which are at right angles to this one)
2011-04-28: The doorway nearest to us is one end of the passage separating the kitchen (left) from three "service rooms" on the right. From front to back: the room for the air-conditioning and heating, the scullery with a sink, work-surface and washing machine (where Ruth will do her dyeing), and the obligatory "paella kitchen". The temporary door at the other end of the passage leading into the garage.
2011-05-03 - The outside and inside of the garage is nearly completely plastered now.
2011-05-03: From left to right: Ruth, the site foreman, Pepe (the construction company owner) and our landscape architect, María-Pedro.
2011-05-03: At the weekend we had 160 litres of rain per square metre, which corresponds to 1/5 of the annual rainfall in Xativa, so the pool has to be pumped out again. The ground is so soggy (we have had 2 weeks of heavy rain), that the lorries can't deliver the stones for the outer house walls!
2011-05-17: View from the site entrance. In the previous two weeks there has been a lot of rain - it wasn't raining on the 17th (but did rain again on the 18th!).
2011-05-17: The garage is plastered inside and out.
2011-05-17: Where this pile of sand is, will be the front garden!
2011-05-17: Most of the inner walls have been plastered now, too. The house will not be quite as "open plan" as it looks here, as some additional inner walls will be constructed of plasterboard after the roof has been added.
2011-05-17: More piles of sand.
2011-05-17: These are the access hatches to the septic tanks. we have had some problems with the rain filling the tanks because they are at the lowest point in the garden - then they overflow onto the neighbour's garden (to the left in the photo)! We have to make some changes, as I don't think the neighbour will be very happy if he is flooded from the tanks after they are in use ;-)
2011-05-17: This is the inside of one of the chambers of our septic tank. Antonio thinks part of the solution to the flooding problem is to increase the depth of the tank by another 1 meter. We are also going to change the landscaping of the plot a little to divert the surface water, so that it doesn't collect on top of the septic tanks.
2011-05-17: This is the slope directly below the hatches to the spetic tanks, where the water flooded the neighbour's plot. Looks OK now, doesn't it? Deceptive!
2011-05-17: The view from near the septic tanks back to the house.
2011-05-17: The stones for the outside of the walls have been delivered from the quarry. As you can see, there are piles all round the house.
2011-05-17: They have just started to build the dry-stone walls.
2011-05-17: This is what the two guys in the previous picture were working on.
2011-05-17: More stones!
2011-05-17: The pool is ready to be tiled now. You can see that the corners and the edges at the bottom have been rounded off, and the surround completed.
2011-05-24 - Here's the tiling of the pool. The whole pool was done in a day, according to Antonio.
2011-05-24 The weather (despite still having a number of rainy days) is improving and getting quite warm, so an improvised awning has been rigged up above the pool while it is being tiled.
2011-05-31 - Two weeks after the work on the stone walls started, they are up to the window sills all the way round the house.
2011-05-31: The pool is completely tiled now. It rained (again!) the day before and so there is already some water in the pool. The spring in Xàtiva has been very wet, and at home in Germany we have been having record dry spells this year.
2011-05-31: Our architect, Antonio, was very sceptical about using the light brown tiles for the pool rather than blue, but he agrees the finished result looks good!
2011-05-31: The final height of the wall is marked out with the temporary metal poles and the string attached to them. The whole house has been marked out like this, and you can see the string in several of the photos. The two windows you can see will be in our bedrooms (left) and bathroom (right).
2011-05-31: This is a view from the lounge. You can also see here the temporary poles marking the final width of the doors onto the terrace - the gap between them and the brick wall will be filled with the stone wall, which is quite thick.
2011-05-31: We hope that the tiling and surround of the pool is going to be safe with all the heavy building equipment that is going to be be moving around over the next months!
2011-05-31: As you can see, the stones from the quarry are quite irregular and have to be squared up by chipping them into shape by hand. If you compare them to the stones in the wall, you can see this makes a big difference. These guys are very quick at knocking the stones into shape. They like this stone from the quarry and say it is easy to work.
2011-05-31: The guys preparing the stone and doing the stone walling are Moroccans and gained their skills building dry stone walls for farmer's fields. There were originally four of building the wall, but Antonio wasn't happy with the quality of the work of two of them, so now there are only two and the guy with the sun-hat who mixes the cement that gets poured behind the stones to fill the gap to the brick wall.
2011-05-31: All the sand used in the cement for the stone walls is sifted first to remove any small stones and then hand mixed in this container.
2011-06-14: The security bars are being integrated into the walls as the walls are built. This is to make it more difficult to pull them out if someone tries to break in. So the bars and window sills have to be added before the rest of the wall is built around them.
2011-06-14: We are having the similar tiles inside and out (but of different finish - the outside ones shown here are slightly rougher for better grip in the wet)
2011-06-28: The dry-stone walls are coming on, and the security bars have been positioned in the windows which the stones have reached. The bars will be screwed in place later.
2011-06-28: This side faces to the road and is nearly ready for the roof to be assembled above it.
2011-06-28: You can see the concrete back-filling behind the stones here.
2011-06-28: We find the sequence that things are done is quite different from the order in northern Europe. The tiles in the garage and outside areas are being laid although the roof still hasn't been delivered or assembled yet.
2011-06-28: We have had three extra storm drains added in the garden, after a neighbour told the site foreman that if there is heavy rain, water runs across the garden from the road to the plot below us. This is one of them in the foreground. they collect the excess surface water and are connected to a large pipe which takes the water across the neighbour's land to a road below.
2011-06-28: The inside of the storm drain.