Thursday, 29 September 2011

Break on through

Despite all the destruction over the past few months, there were still some walls that need to go, either to just open spaces up, or for new ways through the house. Last Saturday, Jörg and I removed a partition wall in what was the only pre-existing bedroom on the 2nd floor. This was "modern", being made of two layers of cement-bonded wood fibre which sandwiched a layer of styrofoam. This didn't really win much space, but did expose another oak beam and will make it easier to insulate the inside of the roof. We originally planned to have a roof window here, but with two windows in the gable and a new dormer, I think we have enough light! Well, that and it saves a few bob.

Down in the cellars/ground level, we have to open up a couple of new doors to avoid having to go outside when we want to get into cellar 3 and 4.

Opening up between cellar 3 and 4 was easy enough. There was a door here in the past which was simply bricked up with standard red bricks. No idea when this was done, but it's obvious on the little plan to the right, at the bottom left corner of cellar 4, highlighted. A hammer drill and a steel-capped boot later, we had a pretty wide opening (we'll probably have to reduce that to normal door size eventually).
The reinstated doorway between cellars 3 and 4.
Last night I began working on the doorway between the entry hall (aka cellar 2) and cellar 3, but that's not so easy. This is a relatively new wall (maybe from the 70s or 80s) made of 24cm concrete cavity blocks, and the mortar is pretty strong, unlike the older wall. I at least prepped it with a few cuts of the angle grinder, but ats it was late (and I don't want to be hammering/drilling/swearing loudly too late), I switched to removing plasterboard and the door frame into the vaulted cellar behind the entry hall. Damp is definitely a problem here, as the plasterboard was really soft. It might be better to leave the stone exposed so it can breath a bit, and see if we can control the damp by putting a new floor in, with gravel under it to break the capillary action. Still, we have a nice red sandstone lintel and posts to be cleaned up.
Exposing the original way into the vaulted cellar
So, this challenge remains:
Door needed here!
I made some progress this evening, but quickly realised I need heavier tools, like a proper sledgehammer.
From the other side of the wall.
Other minor stuff has been done throughout, like removing most of the remaining electrical cables, so it feels like we're ready to start putting stuff in, but I know we're not... We've also been discussing window design and what renders we should go for on the facade, not to mention what type of external insulation on the north and east sides.

Tomorrow the roof will be finished, when the remaining roof windows are installed. It's looking great, so more over the weekend.

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