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  #1  
Old 07-12-2013, 05:40 PM
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Default 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

Ok, this isn't a "show off how much money you've got" thread, quite the reverse actually :( This is the result of thousands of hours of hard work, & to get to this position, 3 previous total ground up house renovations across 25 years with me doing 100% of the work. Some of you have seen some pictures of work in progress before, but now the planting has matured, & all the periphery work is done, it's looking really good.

When we took this property over, it was a complete mess. You couldn't even walk on the grounds. it was just 8ft high brambles. The house weather tight shell was intact, as was the barn/garage frame, but literally everything else has been renovated/built. Apart from some machine hire, & a bit of labour help for concrete laying & boulder positioning, I've done every last bit myself, & mostly reclaimed materials/scavenged stuff.

Landscaping - especially water gardens, are my other "passion". Massive work. Over 400 tonnes of boulders, & in the grounds, we've moved over 16,000 tonnes of earth, planted 160 trees, etc, etc. This isn't a garden, it's a bloody park, lol!

Anyhow, apart from relocating the dragon carving (happening next Tuesday), I'm done, & I mean done for good. This is my last ever renovation & landscaping project. Am I proud - hell yes!

Edit: I've just noticed, there's no scale context to the boulders/waterfall. Each boulder weighs between 2 & 5 tonnes each. Waterfall is 8 foot high & pumps at 8USG/second.
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Old 07-12-2013, 05:48 PM
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Default Re: 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

Beautiful estate there Andy. That's quite an impressive amount of work you did. Gotta love that English countryside. All you need now is a couple horses.
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Old 07-12-2013, 05:50 PM
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Default Re: 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

Absolutely Fantastic!
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Old 07-12-2013, 06:01 PM
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Default Re: 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

Thanks guys! I'm really keen not to give the impression of privilege or wealth. I was brought up in my early years in an orphanage, & crawled my way up from there. All funds for this house were generated by previous projects, & all the work was mine. We're talking 10's of thousands of hours work. Every evening, every weekend for years & years. Essentially, we bounced off the back of our own work. The only thing I was ever privileged to receive was a crazy hard work ethic.

BTW, hardly an estate. It's about 2 acres.
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Old 07-12-2013, 06:08 PM
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Default Re: 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

Which makes it even more impressive.

Just kidding about the estate part.
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Old 07-12-2013, 06:09 PM
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Default Re: 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

Fantastic! Looks very tranquil, great place to just be at peace
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Old 07-12-2013, 06:15 PM
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Default Re: 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

Looks stunning.
I have but a tiny vague idea of how much work that actually was.
Must feel like a lifetime achievement - and it is!
The best thing is: It's (almost) finished. Congrats. Enjoy it.
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Old 07-12-2013, 06:45 PM
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Default Re: 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

Congratulations Andy.

Every time I have finished a remodeling job, I have promised myself I will never do another.

I hope you don't sucked back into another one. I find that they chip away at my soul and turn me into an ogre.

What kind of roof do you have on there? I can't tell if it's an asphalt shingle or something else.
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Old 07-12-2013, 06:56 PM
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Default Re: 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

This is absolutely beautiful!

You have no idea how much money this property would be worth in South Florida. Probably upwards of 2 or 3 million USD

That's a crazy amount of work, and to think you did it yourself if crazy.

Congrats man! That's a ridiculously awesome accomplishment!
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Old 07-12-2013, 06:59 PM
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Default Re: 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

Wow, floored. Words fail. Just wow. The dragon is amazing. Did you carve that? Makes me want to torch my house and live there. Can I? Pretty please?
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Old 07-12-2013, 07:00 PM
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Default Re: 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

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Wow, floored. Words fail. Just wow. The dragon is amazing. Did you carve that? Makes me want to torch my house and live there. Can I? Pretty please?
Me too! I call top bunk :P
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Old 07-12-2013, 07:14 PM
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Default Re: 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

Awesome! We're in the process of building a house now, and our contractor is being slow. Can I expect to see you on site bright and early monday morning then? :-)

Seriously though, that's an amazing job. Looks great!
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Old 07-12-2013, 07:40 PM
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Default Re: 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

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Originally Posted by keep it simple View Post

BTW, hardly an estate. It's about 2 acres.
Having spend my entire life in two major cities, anything over 1/4 acre or bigger is an Estate in my book.

Now, if only there wasn't so much land and water between you and I, or else I'd say when's the house warming party!!
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Old 07-12-2013, 08:15 PM
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Default Re: 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

My jaw is stuck in the open position. Wow!!!!! Stunning, amazing, incredible, beautiful and to think you busted your ass and did it all. What incredible talent, dedication and drive.

How long does it take to cut the grass?

To think I'm dreading going out to do the much needed task of trimming our shrubs. I have no excuse but pure laziness.

Congratulations.
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Old 07-12-2013, 08:25 PM
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Default Re: 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

Very nice work indeed.
Is there a cricket pitch? Or croquet?
Now how do you do all that and have time to post so much on here, or make drums?
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Old 07-12-2013, 08:31 PM
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Default Re: 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

Lovely pad Andy. The effort has not been in vain.

Obviously photoshopped though.........there's not a cloud in that English sky!!
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Old 07-12-2013, 08:36 PM
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Default Re: 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

Oh Andy, that's absolutely gorgeous, you deserve to feel proud. You also deserve several beers. The dragon is MEZZIN!
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Old 07-12-2013, 09:15 PM
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Default Re: 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

Wow - the dragon carving is actually a thing of beauty. Quite remarkable. I hope you are blessed with plenty of years to enjoy the fruits of your labour.
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Old 07-12-2013, 09:47 PM
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Default Re: 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

When I saw your place for the first time Andy, I think I mentioned how wonderful it was to you. It really is beautiful and you deserve every bit of pride you're expressing - and a damn sight more.
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Old 07-12-2013, 09:55 PM
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Default Re: 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

Beautiful, beautiful place, Andy! Kudos to you! You deserve all the rewards of your labor.
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Old 07-12-2013, 10:02 PM
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Default Re: 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

That is beautiful work!

Love the split surface driveway look...

..and that water feature is really nice!
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Old 07-12-2013, 10:15 PM
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Default Re: 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

Wow! Very beautiful work Mr. Crosby! Congratulations! Does this mean I have to place to stay when I get out your way? And does this mean you now have time to play even more often? That's always good!
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Old 07-12-2013, 10:24 PM
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Default Re: 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

An amazing yardscape. A little piece of heaven at your doorstep.
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Old 07-12-2013, 10:26 PM
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Default Re: 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

What a wonderful place - a dream....

Bernhard
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Old 07-12-2013, 10:29 PM
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Default Re: 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

Agree with Bon about the English countryside. As Blake(?) said, "a green and pleasant land". Your beautiful grounds and landscaping and house are obviously a labour of love with a modern rustic aesthetic (not unlike your taste in drums).

Just wondering about the Leaning Dragon of Andy ...
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Old 07-13-2013, 12:02 AM
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Default Re: 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rmandelbaum View Post
great place to just be at peace
Exactly the reason for doing it :)

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Originally Posted by Arky View Post
The best thing is: It's (almost) finished. .
Yes, the end is very much in sight.

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Originally Posted by TTNW View Post
What kind of roof do you have on there? I can't tell if it's an asphalt shingle or something else.
they're hand thrown clay tiles. Stainless steel pinned into oak batons. It gets damn windy up here!

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Originally Posted by Nobartholem View Post
That's a crazy amount of work, and to think you did it yourself if crazy.
yes, if you thought about it at the beginning, there's no way you'd start the job.

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
live there. Can I? Pretty please?
yes Larry :) Both kids are moved out this month, so there's plenty of spare room.

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Originally Posted by Naigewron View Post
Can I expect to see you on site bright and early monday morning then? :-)
Sorry Naige, but no. I've had enough!

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Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post
Now, if only there wasn't so much land and water between you and I, or else I'd say when's the house warming party!!
That would be cool :)

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Originally Posted by dmacc View Post

How long does it take to cut the grass?
If I'm topping it, about 45 minutes. If I'm cutting & collecting, about 1.5 hours.

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Originally Posted by opentune View Post
Now how do you do all that and have time to post so much on here, or make drums?
I'm an absolute workaholic. I have to be doing something continuously. I'm an 18 hours a day guy - 7 days a week. of course, my wife has no issue with that - yeah right!

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Originally Posted by Pocket-full-of-gold View Post

Obviously photoshopped though.........there's not a cloud in that English sky!!
Nope - 28 Celsius here today, & it's been like that for the last two weeks :)

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Originally Posted by Magenta View Post
The dragon is MEZZIN!
That's Cedric, & he's getting re-housed next week :)

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Originally Posted by richkenyon View Post
I hope you are blessed with plenty of years to enjoy the fruits of your labour.
That's my biggest worry, & just my luck. Get it finished, then climb into my box :(

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Originally Posted by BacteriumFendYoke View Post
When I saw your place for the first time Andy, I think I mentioned how wonderful it was to you.
Looking a lot more finished now Duncan :)

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You deserve all the rewards of your labor.
Thank you, & yes, but there's always someone who deserves it more than me. However, I put the work in, so they can all bugger off :)

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Originally Posted by Otto View Post
..and that water feature is really nice!
Water feature is also the ultimate beer cooler :)

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Does this mean I have to place to stay when I get out your way?
Always welcome Bo :)

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Originally Posted by harryconway View Post
. A little piece of heaven at your doorstep.
Thanks Harry, & yes, that's how it feels :)

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Originally Posted by Bernhard View Post
What a wonderful place - a dream....

Bernhard
Thanks Bernhard. When I did my first house renovation, I thought it was tough, but this one is by far the most work of all the renovations I've done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anon La Ply View Post
Your beautiful grounds and landscaping and house are obviously a labour of love with a modern rustic aesthetic (not unlike your taste in drums).

Just wondering about the Leaning Dragon of Andy ...
Yes Grea, there''s a lot of my character in this property. It relates very much to the drums too. The whole house is oak framed in the traditional 14th century style. No nails or screws. It's all willow peg jointed beams. Those oak beams you see on the outside, are the same beams you see on the inside.

& Yes, although Cedric has always had a lean, he's getting a bit unstable, hence his rehoming next week. Quite a job actually, as he's 23 feet high & weighs 4 tonnes!
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  #27  
Old 07-13-2013, 12:40 AM
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Default Re: 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

You are an amazing man. I don't know how you do it all, and still have loads of posts here. What are you posting with one hand and shoveling with the other? You're insane! Did you carve Cedric?
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Old 07-13-2013, 12:57 AM
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Default Re: 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

You shall hence forth be know as Midas. You have touched your 2 acre estate and turned it to Gold. You have touched Guru drums and turned them to Gold. Some where along the way someone touched you with the proper work and life ethic. I hope you do spread it to others along your way. Absolutely stunning little estate. It shall be called the Manor of Midas. I would love to sit on the platform above the waterfall, listen and just think good thoughts
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Old 07-13-2013, 01:01 AM
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Default Re: 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

Cue the freak weather disaster that ruins everything in 5...4...3...2...




The water in the waterfall isn't reclaimed at any point? You're just pouring water into the ground there? Why not make a small pond and put in a pump to circulate?
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Old 07-13-2013, 01:13 AM
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Default Re: 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

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Did you carve Cedric?
No larry. it was done by a friend of mine who carves dragons for a living. It's still the only one he's ever carved in the vertical. Took a while. Cedric was an old oak that had died in situ.

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I would love to sit on the platform above the waterfall, listen and just think good thoughts
Thanks Grunt, & that's exactly what I do. It's my favourite place :)

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The water in the waterfall isn't reclaimed at any point? You're just pouring water into the ground there? Why not make a small pond and put in a pump to circulate?
Water is recirculated, & filtered through 12 tonnes of gravel. Evaporation is replenished naturally through rain water diversion. You can drink it - no problem.
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Old 07-13-2013, 01:33 AM
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Water is recirculated, & filtered through 12 tonnes of gravel. Evaporation is replenished naturally through rain water diversion. You can drink it - no problem.
That's super-cool then. Do you have any pictures of the reservoir or reclamation device? I've never heard of that!
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Old 07-13-2013, 01:48 AM
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That's super-cool then. Do you have any pictures of the reservoir or reclamation device? I've never heard of that!
I'll have a dig through my old photo's, but it's essentially a big underground reservoir filled with gravel & flow channels so water doesn't stagnate. A sump pit at one end housing three multi stage impeller pumps of different capacity. The waterfall itself is butyl rubber lined to 8ft either side, so all water is captured on the way down (including splashes). The liner extends beyond the top of the fall & acts as a rainwater collection area. Similarly, the whole bottom area is gradiented towards the underground reservoir, the whole being controlled by an overflow so levels are self regulating. I also have our ground source heat pump elements running partially through the reservoir to improve underfloor heating efficiency (with air source heat pump backup). I doubt there's many who've integrated a waterfall reservoir into their domestic heating system. System designer = me :)

Biggest challenge = selecting, mapping out - transporting & placing naturally shaped boulders weighing several tonnes. To make it work, it had to be assembled twice. Once for fit - photographed & laser measured, then dissembled - foundations in, then lined, then reassembled. I didn't know it would work until the first time I fired it up, & by then, it's too late to fix if it's a screw up. It worked :)
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Old 07-13-2013, 03:33 AM
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Default Re: 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

Gorgeous Andy, absolutely stunning. I seem to remember you posting some pics a while back when you were having water troubles after a bunch of wet weather. Looks like you've "tamed" it considerably.

As with your drums, your artistic flair seems to come through. Making all this work the way you did goes beyond financial means ... it is about taste.

You do make it difficult on the rest of us ... I can't possibly show these pics to my better half...!!!

Well done (again)!

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Old 07-13-2013, 04:40 AM
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You do make it difficult on the rest of us ... I can't possibly show these pics to my better half...!!!
Yeah, I showed my wife, she wants your house! It is beautiful, I love country settings.
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  #35  
Old 07-13-2013, 05:25 AM
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Default Re: 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

It humbles me to see this. Not only can I not do any of these things, I don't know how to conceive of any of these things.

I could mow the lawns.

There are in this life a few exceptional people, people who do many things well because they have very fine minds. You're one of those people for sure, Andy, and knowing that makes my life better. Anyway I guess it does, how I'm not sure.

I'm definitely going to make the trip up to see you once I'm living in England. I'll call first.

Please have beer.
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Old 07-13-2013, 06:02 AM
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Default Re: 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

Jesus, Andy. Wow. I mean, that's incredible. Stunningly beautiful and a story behind it that inspires awe, at least for me. Like dmacc says, it's hard to complain about trimming shrubs (which is something I've done many times) after seeing this. And the best part is, you earned it.

And there are Guru drums inside this place? Save a place for me next to the other Larry.

Larry, you can have the bed. I'll take the sleeping bag on the floor. And the Gurus.
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Old 07-13-2013, 06:04 AM
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Default Re: 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

What a beautiful property! You must be very, very proud, especially having done the work yourself. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 07-13-2013, 09:23 AM
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Default Re: 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by keep it simple View Post
BTW, hardly an estate. It's about 2 acres.
Room for a pony! ;)

More than one, if you get miniatures. You'd never need to mow the lawn again.
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Old 07-13-2013, 12:22 PM
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Making all this work the way you did goes beyond financial means ... it is about taste.
Thank you, that's a lovely thing to say :)

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I love country settings.
& they're getting harder to find on this little island.

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I'm definitely going to make the trip up to see you once I'm living in England. I'll call first.

Please have beer.
Beer at the ready Jay, but I'm more of a wine head :)

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And there are Guru drums inside this place?
Yes, they live in my loft above the barn/garage.

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You must be very, very proud, especially having done the work yourself.
Yes, for once, I am :)

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Originally Posted by Magenta View Post
You'd never need to mow the lawn again.
Did the pony thing before the daughter discovered boys & cars - no thanks. They may well "mow" the grass, but the product of said mowing is a PITA if you just want to walk in & otherwise enjoy the surroundings. Not exactly cheap either :(
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Old 07-13-2013, 01:01 PM
Jeff Almeyda's Avatar
Jeff Almeyda Jeff Almeyda is offline
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Default Re: 7 years of hard work - finished! :)

To say that I am impressed would be a severe understatement. The fact that you did this yourself elevates it from a beautiful landscaping job to a personal artistic statement.

I wish you and yours many happy years there.
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