Greatfield House was built in the 1960’s but then changed in the 70’s, 80’s & 90’s, so was a ‘hodge podge’ when we, Sarah and Mel, bought it in 2020. We aim to bring it all together as a single home, in the most sustainable way that we can. We are currently mid project, it’s a work-in-progress and gives an opportunity to see a few things mid installation.
The house was known by all the neighbours to be an ice box in the winter, so we’ve gone for multiple types of
insulation, with solid and blanket insulation in the galleried roof areas, and internal blanket insulation, on all the external facing, internal walls. We’ve installed an air source heat pump, this is our second house to have one, and with this house we’ve gone forvlow heat, low profile, underfloor heating. Our last property had it running with radiators. We only have one area where the heating is in currently, and we are already noticing the different way that this feels to standard radiators.
Trying to maximise natural light in the house was also an aim, so we’ve ended up knocking out a lot of internal walls, and adding some steel in, as well as knocking in additional windows (some are already in, and some are still waiting to get installed).
An additional aim was to future proof the house for things we might want later, like solar panels, so we are adding in all the cables, and choosing locations, as well as making sure the roof is structurally able to hold a significant amount of weight, so that any future install is just a ‘plug and play’ activity.
In the garden we are focused on trying to learn about growing our own food, and are starting to already bring down our food bills as the produce starts coming in. We have a veggie plot, small poly tunnel and green house going, as well as some raised beds. We've also been trying to encourage more wildlife into the garden, with a small pond just gone in, and adding more insect homes, and wildlife friendly plants.
We’ve been trying to look at some water management around the property, as there are a few boggy areas, and we've put in a gabion wall to act as a French drain, and to retain some soil we dug out for a small extension foundation, to minimise the movement of soil off site. We’ve also got a 3000Ltr water butt system, and although we don’t use it as grey water, it has been more than enough to water all the veggies and keep the new wildlife pond topped up.
Our general motto has been to reuse things as much as possible, and we have been repurposing all the wood we’ve taken out into other things. It’s been an adventure. We’ve even found things like our house having one roof on top of another, that partly blew off in the 1987 hurricane, and wasn’t fully taken down! We’ve learned a lot and are happy to share our experiences.