So the Old Chapel was ours by August 2006. That, as it turned out, was the easy bit. By November we were locked in a series of long meetings with the firm of architects/surveyors we'd appointed. Over the next nine months we got to know Bridie, Steve, John (not to mention James) very well indeed and I think they got to know ( and eventually understand) us and our likes, dislikes and needs. (The word 'chunky' was bandied about quite a lot. And we had a few laughs, too.) We also built up a close - if not exactly warm - relationship with the planning department of the North York Moors National Park. But that's something I'd rather not dwell on here. Bureaucracy in action (or inaction) is not a pleasant sight but eventually, we got what we wanted, again thanks to Jon's dogged persistence and close attention to detail. We have approval for a totally new detached garage (with gym above), a larger conservatory, an oak front door and new stained glass windows to the front. I shall return to Alan and his designs later on.
Approving the architects' plans was reasonably straightforward and we made few modifications. They came up with a stunning design which gave us a sitting area that rose to the rafters, taking full advantage of the south-facing stained glass window at the front with a gallery to one side, which will be Jon's and my study. At first, there were only two bedrooms but we decided that we didn't need such a large dining room and half was then given over to a third bedroom. Once the walls were metaphorically in place, the work really began as in meeting after meeting we thrashed out large and the small from doors to lighting, central heating boiler to door knobs, floors and staircase to light switches. In fact, everything a house has, we chose manufacturer and style.
Therefore, it was with relief and not a little exhaustion, mainly on Jon's part as he'd done all the close vetting and checking, whereas my role was to chuck the occasional spanner into the works, that the tender document was ready and sent out to five builders we;d chosen between us. The builders have now had them a week and have another four to price the job. We will then draw up a short list of two builders, which will, with any luck and a fair wind, find us the right man for the job and a start date.