Saturday, 26 February 2011

The Schweinestall

Location of Schweinestall.

Let's begin a tour of the outbuildings. On the map to the right, is a small building (highlighted green), approximately 6m x 6m, marked as "Schu", just to the north of the house. This is the former Schweinestall, or pig sty, with a tobacco drying house, built around 1924, and which has lain unused for quite some years.

From the ground plan in 1922, it looks like there was an earlier building, not so deep (perhaps measuring 6 x 3 metres), already here, so perhaps this was a major extension and the blue shading on the cross section in the building plans from 1924 (below) indicates some earlier, reused structure.

Building plans from January, 1924.
The south facade (see photo below) isn't constructed exactly as planned, but I think it's prettier. In fact, even though it's more recent than the house (by at least 80 years), and the materials used were cheap and not the best quality, it has a nice rustic charm.

The chimney indicated on the plans no longer goes out the roof, but it is still present inside.

South facade of Schweinestall, February, 2011.

Lower level.
The lower door leads to the former pig sty, which was more recently used for chickens. There's not much natural light at this level. The windows at the south are small, and there's only one low window on the north, just above ground level, as it's built into the slope behind the house. On the left are concrete walls behind which can be subdivided into a number of stalls. The right is a wood and chickenwire construction. Each side of the walkway has two wooden posts supporting the large beams above.

The door at the top leads into a former tobacco drying house. Instead of getting a ladder every time we want to get into it, it's easier to walk around the back where you can duck into an opening in the wall (see photo below). The neighbourhood kids like to play in here, apparently, but so does the Marder.

Schweinestall viewed from the north.
The top level is open and roomy, and as befits a drying house, there's plenty of air moving through. We've applied to change the use of this building, with the idea of turning it into a work room/home office. The architect suggested putting a toilet and running water into the lower level which is a good idea, giving further options for the future. The top level door, seen below from the inside, would be turned into a window, as would the rear entrance, with access to the top level being provided by a small staircase within. This is probably still not enough for light, so a roof window is proposed on the eastern roof surface. Whether we do this conversion in the next year is dependent on how the main house work goes, and if not, a home office can go into the top attic level of the house instead.

Top level, February, 2011.
From the side, it can be seen how the current extension to the house makes for a bit of a tight fit, so once this is removed it will open up the back. The photo below also shows the degree of slope of the garden immediately behind the house, with a small retaining wall immediately behind the extension. Ultimately, we'd like to level this area with a retaining wall further back, to form a terrace with easy access to the kitchen.

Schweinestall viewed from the east, February, 2011.


  1. Can you grow tobacco in your area?

    The pictures look great. I hope the renovation is going well

  2. I guess so, as they did in the past. The previous owner of the house told us how she and her friends, as kids, would pick up scraps from the drying house and the attic and try to make their own. I'll have to check out more about when and where it was grown. My wife tells me there were fields of tobacco in the Rhineland-Palatinate when she was studying in Speyer.

    I'll be happy to have hops! :) Maybe tobacco would be a nice experiment for my retirement...

  3. Oh, and nothing has really happened with the house yet. But we've almost got planning approval, just one last step to do with fire protection. :/

  4. So I couldn't find the bit where you write about how you're putting a small brewery in here must be getting late for my tired eyes :)

  5. That's coming in the next post :D