Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The day the (kitchen) wall came down

It really felt like a proper building site today. As well as the three guys continuing the roof, the general builders arrived to take down the back wall, lift the floor of the kitchen, knock down the wall between the rooms what will become the bigger kitchen and remove the rest of the chimney. All in a day's work!

Let's look back at the kitchen and former slaughter room/bake kitchen as they were when we first looked at the house in July 2010:

Former kitchen, July 2010.

Former... well, not a slaughter room any more, July 2010.
You can see how they then looked after a clear-out by January 2011 on a previous post, along with some of our ideas. Since then, we'd done some stripping down in these rooms, removing the dry walling. The wall between the two rooms was "modern", insofar as it was brick and not wattle and daub, timber construction like most of the internal walls.
The "slaughter room", April 2011, from almost the same angle
Floral pattern on plaster.
The oak beam spanning between the rooms was partially exposed by then, having previously been clad with wood panels. It is supported in the middle by a single post which we'll have to replace. Behind the back wall (at the left in the photo above) we exposed plasterwork painted with a floral pattern, probably applied with a roller or stencil. It still amazed me the amount of decoration and colours that were used before wallpaper became widespread. Or even after! This might not be that old.

The timbers and parts of the clay-based plaster on this wall are charred in places, perhaps attesting to the former bake kitchen role this room once had (as per plans from 1937, seen on an earlier post). Well, that and the chimney in the back-left corner, as seen in the photo below, with fire-powered pot still attached.

May 2011.
 The dark timber at the top-centre of the photo above is a former lintel, so it marks an original doorway into this room, which would have led from the small hall behind it in the days when the house was partitioned.

So how does it look now after one day of serious demolition?

August 16, 2011.

I can hardly believe it's the same room. The photo above was taken from outside, as the former bathroom wall was knocked down to make way for a new, thicker wall, suitable for an external wall. The chimney is gone, providing a view into the bedroom at the front of the house. Actually, I would have like to leave a bit of it in place to keep that corner closed, as I would have left the bricks exposed (but I was working, so couldn't poke my nose into their work).

The wall between the rooms came out pretty quick, really opening up the space. Till today, I couldn't visualise the size of our new kitchen, and I'm happy!

They also removed the tiled floor and the concrete layer underneath. The plan here was to lower the level a little, as it was 5cm higher than the floor of the former kitchen. Unfortunately, the top of the vaulted cellar (cellar 3) was higher than expected, so we'll have to figure out how to level things out without having a step up into the kitchen.

Top of the vaulted cellar.
The hole to the bottom-right was used for dropping spuds or the like down in the cellar after cleaning. I thought it might make a nice route for beer lines. The hole seen on the top left, beside he wheel barrow, was not planned, and is actually a breach over the vaulted entrance to the cellar. I doubt it's compromising the stability, but we'll have to patch it up.

So, a good day's work! Special thanks to Herr Keller, our architect, who popped in unexpectedly and set the course with a steady hand. The guys work really hard when they're here.

Oh, and the roof? Isn't that beautiful? The green counter battens look crooked as they follow the line of the original timbers underneath, which definitely are crooked (but I try not to let my imagination run too wild)
The roof with dormers, August 16, 2011.
I think work on the back roof surface starts tomorrow!

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