This is a tale of camaraderie, love for dogs, and the joy of building something beautiful.
Join us as we dive into the warm embrace of Preston and witness the power of human connections and look at a construction project that brought together a small community, fostered friendships, and transformed a house into a home and encompasses all the title claims 'From Kitchens to Cladding, Oak Frames to Breakfasts (and Dogs) in Preston Kent'.
Nestled in the picturesque valley of the Little Stour in Kent, England, lies the charming village of Preston, also known as Preston-next-Wingham. This idyllic hamlet, with its warm and inviting atmosphere, is a true haven of natural beauty. As you travel along the B2076 road, the serene flow of the main river, a tributary of the renowned River Stour, enhances the enchanting surroundings. Here, in this tranquil oasis, the story of Preston and our time their cladding, fitting a kitchen and mixing with the locals unfolds.
With a rich history dating back to the ancient Domesday Book of 1086, Preston has evolved into a vibrant and thriving community. Perched on rising ground, overlooking the marshes of the Little Stour river, this village radiates charm and character.
Just 10 miles east of Canterbury, it provides a peaceful retreat for those seeking solace from city life amidst the natural beauty and scattered village houses that add a rustic touch to the landscape.
On the way to Preston I pass Wingham Wildlife Park, a place well worth visiting. Wingham Wildlife Park has recently been re-investing in infrastructure, and has a number of new parts to the park worthy of praise, especially the new reptile house! As I pass through Wingham I am tempted by the aroma, and reputation of its legendary Bakers shop, the journey also takes us past Howletts zoo. For being a discreet countryside location there is a lot here in a small amount of space.
Visitors and residents are pleasantly surprised by the village's delightful amenities, from the traditional butchers' shop offering delectable cuts of meat, the well-stocked village store catering to every need, and also the garden nursery with its charming restaurant provides a rejuvenating escape.
As the construction work commenced, cyclists would pass by, exchanging friendly chats, showcasing the tight-knit community that thrived in Preston. The locals, like Geoff and his partner, who lived next door to the job, (and are friends with the client Paul), always showed genuine interest in the progress of the project, eagerly engaging in conversations, joining us in social activity and even participating in the Quiz and Dinner at the beloved Preston Gardens & Coppers. It's these simple moments that create lasting bonds, forging friendships over laughter and shared interests.
The client for this job was property developer Paul Jackson, from Waterloo Construction. As this is Paul's own house he created a team from the very best and we embarked on our tasks with enthusiasm and dedication. The project began with the meticulous installation of fascia and soffit, seamlessly executed by a talented timber framing company that Paul had enlisted.
With teamwork at the forefront, Paul's son Harry became an invaluable asset, lending a helping hand whenever his schedule allowed. This unexpected collaboration proved to be a godsend, alleviating the team's workload and further solidifying the bond between Paul and his son. It worked out well for Harry too, as he now works for me on a regular basis, proving that hard work does pay off. The team began the weekly ritual of meeting at the Garden Centre for a magnificent fry-up, made from the finest quality ingredients, and although I didn’t have it they also served a burger and chips that looks like it is to die for (see above).
As the cladding of the barn took shape, the true transformation began. Paul's easy-going nature and clear vision provided guidance, allowing the team to tackle each task with focus and creativity. The first fix work unfolded, involving the installation of radiators, electrical wiring, and ply sheathing.
This marked the foundation upon which the internal finishing work would be built, encompassing doors, frames, architraves, skirting, and kitchen worktops. Among the notable details was the stunning glazed oak frame, elegantly dividing the rooms and adding a touch of sophistication to the space.
Amidst the hustle and bustle of construction, the presence of two beautiful Alsatians, Rolo and Pip, added an extra layer of warmth to the project. For me, a self-proclaimed "dog man," the joy of interacting with these furry companions was a daily highlight.
As the job came to an end Paul gave his sincere thanks for a job well done, as a team we were over the moon at the outcome, it had been a journey and we loved every minute.
In the heart of Preston, beyond the construction materials and skilled craftsmanship, lies a deeper narrative, a story of unity, companionship, and a shared vision of creating something truly remarkable.
From the friendly interactions with passersby to the cherished presence of Rolo and Pip, this project showcased the power of community spirit and the joy found in working together towards a common goal.
Take a look at the finishes in these images!!
Preston became more than just a location; it became a testament to the enduring bonds forged through construction and the heartwarming connections that can be found in the most unexpected places, now the job is done we do not meet for breakfast anymore, but we retain the memories as a reminder of the small things that make a big difference. If you or anyone you know needs a carpenter with a keen eye for a brilliant finish please do not hesitate to get in touch. Thank you for reading my blog and have a great day!!