Thursday, 29 September 2016

Sofa Bed and worktops

23rd September

John Lewis sample
Over the last week we've been trying to get to look at samples of worktop for the galley and bathroom. A trip to John Lewis in Sheffield gave us one option not holey satisfying. Hunting round on the internet can point you in the right direction but you still need to see a sample to know exactly what they look like.

Adam from NB Briar Rose mentioned Silestone, so I had a second longer look at their website and found a possible. A supplier in Doncaster had samples, but sadly not the one, a couple more possibilities.


With a hire car we were able to visit another kitchen showroom. Russell & Hutton had big samples which for us was good to see if there was a bit more life to some of the Silestone. In the end the best we have come across was the worktop we were resting samples on to look at! Daria has a mottled look to it and has more life than just a uniform slab. We made a short list and these have been passed onto Finesse.

Sofas on display

Having made a note of the measurements for the sofa a week ago we headed to see Michael Roberts at Sofa Bed Barn near Bradford. At Crick Boat Show we had chatted about what I was after and today we went to confirm dimensions, choose fabric and get the ball rolling.

The normal range of fabrics didn't have quite the shade of red I was wanting, so I was allowed to look in the drawer of samples. Most of his sofa beds have a drawer or box underneath for storage and this one was crammed full. Several options came to hand and were compared with the other fabrics we will be having. I could have matched it to the dinette, but that wouldn't have been interesting. But there was a chenille of a very close colour with a gold in it that stood out from the others.

Michael has several designs that he has adapted or made especially for narrowboats. The Hampton is designed as a sofa which opens flat and with the addition of a pouffe it will fit across a narrowboat to make a bed. You can get this made in several widths from a single bed to 5 ft 3" wide. The gap we have is just under 4 ft 6" so the mattress will be made a bit smaller. I need it to sit under the gunnel, so the height is being reduced to fit. We don't have enough space for the full width pouffe, but want it to be used to make a small occasional single by adding it to the end of the sofa a bit like the green pouffe in the photo. The pouffe needs to tuck into the gap under some shelving when not being used, but can be pulled out as an extra seat if needed. So it will be made almost square. The base of the sofa is a storage box which will get used for spare bedding and then the pouffe is also a box which I will keep my crafty bits in. 

All the amendments are easy as everything apart from the mechanisms are built on sight. Since we last visited the ground floor has become a workshop where the frames for the pouffes are made.
The lead time is around four weeks, but if Oleanna isn't ready for it Michael will store it until it can be delivered to Sheffield. 

Finesse Open Day

17th September
This weekend both Finesse and Tyler Wilson were having open days where people could have a good look around at the current boats on build and talk to all the people that mattered. We headed over towards the end of the day on Saturday and there were quite a few visitors milling around the yard. Finesse now have a container fitted out in a similar style to a narrowboat for their office. 

Oleanna had her dust sheet removed and had had a bit of a clean down before the open day. Apart from a couple of finished boats she was the nearest one to completion that Finesse had worked on. A spurt over the last week meant that various things had happened.

Most of the light fittings were up and the oak trim covering board joins were in position. Light switches and sockets in the most were also on.

The spice and herb racks had been made, nice and simple, hopefully enough room for all my jars. Underneath is space for our knife block and the piece of timber with the hole cut in it is for a double socket.

Above the cooker was an extract fan. We hadn't been expecting this, but Julia was insistent that every boat should have one. The amount of condensation you create by just cooking some pasta warrants one.

Behind the pull out triangular cupboard a drawer at the bottom had been installed. This means that anything stashed away in the bottom back corner will be reachable.

We overheard one lady being shown around saying, "There's no freezer compartment!" That's right. At times our current fridge isn't quite big enough for the fresh food that we buy, so we have dispensed with the icebox at the top. On our current boat the icebox only manages a pack of frozen peas and some ice cubes, so is a waste of space. The lady was shown the pull out freezer under the dinette.

The bulkhead shelf unit was in position. The top shelf should be deep enough for me to have a bowl of bread dough rising up there when the stove is lit.

The bathroom ceiling laminate was up. This had been waiting for the cabling to the solar panels to be put in place.

The colour of the laminate was matched as close as we could by the paint on the cream panels in the rest of the boat.

Wooden handles had been added to all the bedroom cupboards.

The base of the bed was also complete. The rear section is hinged to access the area behind the two drawers. This area will be for deep storage, such as winter clothes in the summer.

The cratch board was in position, but not the horizontal as this would have been bumped into by visitors.

The front doors were also in position.

Kim who is doing the upholstery arrived with the fabrics that had been ordered for the curtains. Sadly only samples that were no longer needed had arrived so we weren't able to choose a fabric for bungs in the bathroom.

A discussion regarding how the dinette cushions will work and how high they should sit. The consensus was in line with the gunnel so as not to cover any of the wood work.

We had hoped to be able to get everyone together to discuss various things, but with the number of visitors this wasn't going to be possible. So snatched conversations were had with everyone.

Ricky had got together various samples for the worktops. The granite we had been wanting is only available in 30mm, which is too heavy to have at gunnel height, it would affect how the boat handles. So we need to have another look for worktops that are available in 20mm and made from an engineered stone as this is less fragile.

A few more questions regarding the batteries still need to be answered. Ken will get back to us next week with the information required and final prices as without knowing the cost we can't make the final decision.

The launch was chatted about and Julia is going to get in touch with Tucky to see where might be suitable places south of Manchester north of Stone for this to happen.

Even though it was a busy open day for them all it had been well worth the trip.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Fabrics and handles

Visit 9th September

Since our last visit the carpenters have all been on holiday so we weren't sure how much progress would have been made, but we were pleasantly surprised. Kris had plenty of questions regarding shelves in cupboards, how many, would we like them fixing in place or to be able to adjust their heights etc. As most cupboards I know what will be going into them I made a list of large items to measure which would determine heights of shelves.

The back steps were in place, these are held in position by a big keyhole bracket. This means if you lift them they will become detached from the rear bulk head. One question from Kris was how we wanted the lower doors on the rear cupboards to work. One single door or a bi-folding door with a bolt in the middle. We opted for the bi-folding door. This means we can lift the steps and position them so that they sit vertically against the rear bulk head, the then exposed side of the cupboard door will be able to open giving us access to the lower cupboard. But should we need the whole door to open the steps will need to be removed, the bolt in the middle lifted and the cupboard door will fully open.

Discussions with Louis about the engine bay and positions of the various items going in there brought up that it was all going to be very tight with the boiler and hospital silencer. The lower starboard side cupboard was intended for my work tools, but Oleanna has more storage than our current boat so these could quite happily be relocated elsewhere so that the boiler can be housed in the cupboard. This decision was made as the Boat Safety regulations were complex for the boiler (gas) to be in the engine bay and the instillation would be a lot easier in the cupboard. This also frees up space in the engine bay.

The fridge is now in position and just needs a final adjustment. The bike slot next to it has now a finished drawer below with handle. Not sure what will go in here as yet, maybe shopping bags.

All drawers on the drawer tower have handles and the position of a shelf in the top cupboard was discussed.

The cooker position has been tweaked giving us a bit more space between it and the dishwasher opposite. The wooden surround has been brought forward to cover the sides of the cooker and also help anchor it into position. The granite work top will curve out to meet it.

Samples of worktop were looked at, there was one that was close, but not quite the one we have in mind, so a new sample will be sought for us to look at next weekend.

A stainless steel guard will be put over the woodwork on the cabin side to protect it from the rear burners on the hob.

An adjustable shelf has been added into the triangular cupboard. When this is closed it pulls out on heavy duty drawer runners so that you can access the corner cupboard. This cupboard will have a pan drawer at the bottom so that I can pull it out into the gap and access right into the back corner without having to empty everything out. Above this will be a shelf for things that don't get used quite so often.

The freezer is now in it's drawer under the dinette. There is a small amount of space next to it to be able to slot something else in the drawer, not sure yet but I'll find something.

The broom sits where the corner bubble stove will be positioned.

As the small shelf unit was in position and the trim has been fitted on the underside of the cabin sides I was able to measure up for the sofa and pouffe. The gap under this shelf unit will enable the pouffe to slide into the corner out of the way of the door into the bathroom. It will pull out to either be sat on or lengthen the sofa to make a single bed. We now need to arrange a visit to Bradford to see Michael at Sofa Bed Barn to get the sofa made.

The small box on the bulkhead is for light switches.

Looking down the cabin towards the stern. The ceiling panels are now in, the light surrounds are up waiting for the fittings to go in. Trim on the joins of the panels is mostly up, just a few bits missing.

The windows are on order at Caldwells.

The gap in the floor on the right is where there will be a radiator. The floor will be filled in once the plumbing is sorted.

The towel rail is in position in the bathroom waiting to be plumbed in. The flooring for the bathroom will be ordered shortly.

The sink cupboard is in position and doesn't need supports on it's front edge. The position of the sink needed finalising. At the moment the top of the unit is only a mock up and the sink has been centred on the doors. If it wasn't for the gunnel it would look fine. However as soon as I saw it it looked odd, so it will now be centred on the top, front to cabin side. Just hope it looks more meant than it does now.

The composting toilet is now in situ and the plastic urine tank is under the floor. The toilet only comes with a short length of vent pipe which would reach up under the gunnel, but our pipe needs to reach the roof. A hunt is on for the right diameter pipe to be able to extend it.

This shelf unit will cover the majority of the vent pipe and be handy storage.

The bedroom is all in position now. Wooden handles will be used on cupboard doors. But the two big drawers under the bed will have handles similar to those in the galley to cope with the weight that they will have inside them.

The water pump is in under the steps and cupboard doors are going on. Trim up to the ceiling is also being made to fill the gap above cupboards.

During our visit we got to meet Kim who will be doing the upholstery and curtains for Oleanna. We discussed how I wanted the curtains to work, a choice of three hanging methods. Tab tops, eyelet tops, or just a sleeve in the fabric. The later is what I went for. I like curtains to be functional, cut out the light and keep you warm, both the other options would let an amount of light in even if they are blackout lined.

In the bedroom our front doors have little surround to them, which may cause us a problem as we were wanting to have a blind here. The amount of space for fixing a blind isn't good. On our current boat we have roller blinds that are quite compact and are spring loaded. If we can make one of them work for Oleanna that would be good. Photos were sent later on to Kim, measurements need to be checked over.

Our bathroom portholes will need some form of covering, spring sunshine can flood a boat at sunrise even through the smallest of windows. Curtains would look wrong though so it was decided to have a couple of bungs made to fill them. These will need rubber backed fabric so some samples have been sent off for.

Blinds in the galley will have to be fire proof so more samples are on their way with a hope that we can get a colour to match the curtains. Hopefully all the samples will have arrived by next weekend when we will next visit as Finesse and Tyler Wilson are having open days.

At the weekend we will hopefully be able to have everyone in the same room at some point to have a final discussion about the batteries, lithium or wet cell?

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Bathroom Sink

Visit 18th August

You'll have noticed a few changes here on our blog. Once we are on board NB Oleanna this will become our cruising blog, leaving NB Lillyanne behind. So every now and then Mick is adding bits and bobs to it.

As two weeks have passed since our last visit and it sounded like there would be quite a bit to see we headed to Sheffield from Goole.

Oleanna has been joined by a shorter boat in the fit out shop which is at the spray foamed stage. Piles of boxes surrounded Oleanna as all the appliances have now arrived. Some have been installed others like the fridge, freezer, toilet and Alde boiler are waiting to go on.

Outside on the port side the water filler and overflow have been added on the gunnel. The stainless steel tank has also been fitted under the well deck. As yet we don't know what volume this holds, but as we will no longer be flushing the toilet our water needs will be reduced.

The most noticeable change inside the cabin is that all the cabin side panels have now been fitted and the window openings have been cut in them. Although these are currently covered in plastic, to help reduce the amount of dust on board, the amount of light inside is great. We are big fans of natural light.
Where the openings have been cut extra spray foam is being used to fill any cavities left by the window. Hopefully our windows will arrive soon and we won't have the problem as happens on most house builds, waiting for the glass to arrive which holds everything else up. Luckily on a boat you can crack on with other things.

In the bedroom the ceiling is up although not fully finished on the panel joins yet. One lonely light fitting had been put up to show us what they would look like through the boat. We liked the oak surround. Not having any power on board yet meant there was no point in putting a bulb in.

The wiring is now in for our bedside lights under the overhead cupboards. These lights will have a narrowed angle to their focus so that each will only illuminate one side of the bed. In the corner by the bedside table is the wiring for one of the switches. This will just be a small switch. Next to this on the side of the cupboard we will have a double socket and a usb charger.

Under Mick's bedside table is our washing machine, snuggly fitted into a cupboard. A few years ago we saw a boat at Crick with the washing machine in the bedroom and thought what a good idea it was. You can put your dirty clothes straight into it out of the way. This is also a condensing drier, which empties through the same pipe as the washing machine does.

A thin cupboard with shelves sits on top.

The bathroom has been mostly lined with blue laminate. The underside of the gunnel has been finished off with oak trim. The gap in the blue is so that pipes can be added from the urine tank (which will be below floor level) up to the gunnel so that we can empty it with a built in or hand operated pump. We will have both should the electric one fail.

The shower is now in position, still with the taps to be added. The cardboard on the floor is protecting the shower tray. Behind the shower and under the gunnel are three shelves for storage. The small switch will work the shower gulper, this pumps the shower water up over the side of the boat as the shower tray is below water level inside so needs a helping hand.

This bathroom door is hung, with it's door furniture.

The ceiling is still to go up in here. This has been delayed as the only space big enough for our 250 watt solar panel is above the bathroom and saloon. So the cables need to be run in for this. Once they are in the ceiling laminate will be glued in place.

This area is where our sink will be. I chose an oval sink which will go across the corner. Paul the chippy had some questions for me about this. On NB Lillyanne our current boat, our cat has her litter tray in a cupboard under the sink. This is a good place for it as we go to the toilet in the bathroom too, it doesn't get in the way, it is where it can be cleaned easily and she gets a bit of privacy.

The problem is she is not a standard cat and does not sit down when she goes to the loo, so needs more of a plastic crate than just a tray. Now that they have the sink the cupboard can be made, but fitting a rectangular crate into a triangular cupboard was making it rather big for the space.

Paul had cut out a template for the crate and then drawn out a plan of how he saw the sink working in the space there is.

We scratched our heads for a while and then decided that it may be better to have the whole thing open underneath. So float the sink. All the gubins, pipes etc and underneath of the sink will be hidden behind a cupboard which hopefully will have enough space to give us a shelf too.

If it is possible to just float the sink with it's cupboard and granite surround that will be great, but should the need arise two chrome poles could be added to help support the front edge. This will leave plenty of space underneath for Tilly's crate. I hope she likes it!

The TV mantel has been made. The opening on the top right is where the TV will be, mounted on a swivel arm, so that it can come out from the recess to access the slot in it to play DVDs. This unit will also house a digital car radio and a PVR. We should have space left over for DVD and CD storage. All the sockets will be hidden behind the panel on the top left.

The piece of wood next to this is what we call the Houdini Shelf. This will be fixed to the cabin panel above the TV mantel so that our cat can have a great view of all that happens outside. We were asked if the TV mantel would suffice for this, but it is a good 8 inches below the bottom of the window, how is a cat meant to snooze and watch the world at the same time?

The end of the dinette has back boxes for double sockets and a double gang CAT5 socket. The CAT5 is so that when we are moored in areas with numerous WiFi signals we can connect to our router directly, therefore avoiding our devices getting confused as they do currently.

The dinette was in position. The backs are slightly angled for a comfier sitting position. There is a lip which will help hold the cushions in position. Behind the seats is a narrow shelf. We know that we will end up putting things on this, but it serves to cover storage for a drawing board and model making materials. A section of the lid and the side open up for access.

The galley now has most of the cupboard and drawer fronts on. Masking tape handles are in pace to help open them. The corner cupboard behind the dinette is on runners so can pull out to reveal the contents right in the corner.

The dishwasher can be seen here. I think we may have to buy a few more plates to fill it even though it is a compact one.

Corner shelves are on the right, under these is where our cat Tilly will have her food bowls, just out of the way so we don't kick them.

Opposite the dishwasher is the cooker. This has to sit slightly proud from how it would normally be fitted in a kitchen so that the back rings are a safe distance from the cabin side. The doors of the oven and dishwasher open fine, but a mental note of making sure the opposite one is fully closed will have to be made as there is only just enough space.

The vent at the rear of the cooker will mean that the cabin panel above will need a bit of adapting to reflect heat away from the cabin side. So a section of the oak frame will need to be removed and replaced with stainless steel.

Beyond the cooker is a gap for the fridge, then a slot for one of our folding bikes. Below the slot is a small drawer. This helps nudge the bike up so that it can sit partially over the swim of the boat, meaning it can go further in.

As yet I'm not sure what we'll put in the drawer, but I know it will be filled very quickly when we move on board.

Opposite the bike slot is the stack of drawers. The fronts of these and the cupboard above them have been made from one sheet of oak, so the grain follows through from ceiling to floor. Between them and the dishwasher is a cupboard which will house a pull out larder.

The starboard side of the galley has a thin MDF work top at the moment, this will actually be the template for the granite tops to be shaped from. The sink and tap positions still need to be marked on them.

The electrics cupboard still has all the wiring coiled up inside. This will eventually have doors over them. The back steps are off the boat at the moment to make access into the back cupboards a lot easier.

One bit of homework will be to find some simple low profile handles for the galley units.

In the engine bay, not much has happened as yet. Until a final decision is made on the type of batteries we are having the engine can't be ordered. We are still waiting for some information to come back regarding the Victron inverter/charger, the solar panel controller and the domestic alternator before we finally make our minds up on this.

So the engine bay stays dusty for a while, cables and pipes wait to be connected up. The stern gland is visible at the top of the V, this is where the prop shaft goes from being driven inside to revolve the prop on the outside. A gland which is packed with grease stops water from coming into the engine bay

The engine will be one of the last things installed as it gets in the way of everything else being fitted as it is quite a big lump.

Outside on the starboard side cables for tv aerials have been brought through where there will be a socket for us to connect the aerial.

Also here we will have a socket for our 4G internet aerial, which we are likely to fit onto a heavy base to sit on the roof.

Today we broached the subject of a completion date. In the autumn we have to be on the other side of the Pennines, Our hope is that Oleanna will be ready in time for us to move on board in Sheffield, put NB Lillyanne on the market and then head over the Leeds Liverpool Canal to get through a stoppage on the Bridgewater Canal that starts at the end of October. We are mindful that we don't want anything to be rushed for the sake of it. So hopefully in a few weeks we will know better if this scenario will be possible. Otherwise we will need to find somewhere to launch her and move NB Lillyanne there to meet her.

A very good visit, lots of questions asked and answered on both sides. Things are getting very exciting!