Sunday, 9 October 2011

More mindful destruction

It's has felt like a long week. Monday was a holiday, and although it seems to be generally frowned upon to work on such days, I took the opportunity to remove the last of the wattle and daub walls that need to go while we have a container to take it away. Now we have the start of a new hall which will give access to the new guest bathroom and the bedrooms on the first floor. Well, after a bit of work with a chainsaw (which I am not licensed to use, so I don't have one).
New doorway at top of the first stairs.
From the bedroom. The old door, left, will be closed.
Doing a couple of hours every evening after work meant that small tidying jobs quickly added up till the 7 cubic metre container was filled to about 4-5cu.m. Yesterday, we added a bit more as we began to clean down loose clay plaster from the ceilings. In some rooms, we'll leave the beams exposed, meaning the whole fine-coat of plaster has to be removed. Considerably more challenging that I originally though, in terms of the labour and energy needed, scraping away with shovels. A channel was then cut on each site of the beam to allow for nailing in a mesh to support a new layer of either clay or lime-based plaster.

Dirty work, but looks great after.
The kitchen, see below, also needs to be done like this. The clay here looks burnt, so we're not sure is this from a fire in the past, or if it is simply from decades of open fires in the old bakehouse.

Kitchen ceiling. Not looking forward to doing this.

In those rooms where the beams will be plastered over again, we simply removed the loose material, leaving most of the fine clay layer. In a way, it felt sad to be scraping away this stuff. The decades, or even centuries (at least 1.7 of them!) have left a mini stratigraphy of lime and paint, all taken away in minutes.
Ready for meshing or reed matting.

Having tired of this work on ceilings, which was tough on the shoulders, Joerg and I switched upstairs, where one final, large piece of clay had to go. The bit of ceiling above the new bathroom. This was going to be easier, as we could remove it from above, exactly like I removed the floor of the top attic levels. First step, remove the floor boards above the bathroom. An internal wall will later surround this hole, unfortunately taking a chunk from the room above.

Floorboards gone.
Once the clay and lathes were removed, it gave a nice aerial view of the future bathroom below. Most of the beams running vertically in the photo below will be removed (except those that play a structural role), leaving a bathroom with a 3-4m high ceiling, a real contrast to the low headroom in the rest of the house.

Looking down into the bathroom.
Looking up to the apex of the new gable dormer.
Feels like we're getting really close to actually start putting things back into the building, rather than ripping out!

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