Friday, 29 August 2014

Big leaps!

It's been a full-on couple of weeks since the last update. I had been continuing to install the plasterboard walls on the second floor, but when our friend Sace turned up with the panels for the kitchen floor heating, the focus switched completely to that.

Over most of a day, we put down a thin layer of expanded clay aggregate to level out the hollows left by my poor attempt at a liquid screed, followed by the panels you see below. Once these were down, five heating loops were laid.

We had intended to pour a liquid screed (pumped this time, not mixed by hand), but when we checked the levels, we has less than the 40-45mm clearance recommended by the manufacturer. I have to admit, the liquid screed was more or less a plan B, as we thought it'd be cheaper and we'd have enough height, but originally, we'd discussed a synthetic resin screed, which is what we fell back to. Sace made a few calls, and the next day someone came over to have a look and give us a quote. Three days later, they came a did it. The results were... spectacular.

The beauty of this system  is that it needs no drying out time. So the next day, it was ready to be tiled. Also, you can go fairly thin, down to 1cm or so (we had 3 to 4cm).

If feels so weird having a perfectly level surface to walk on in the kitchen, after about three years of something resembling the surface of the moon.

This of course took away the last large barrier to our kitchen plans. Long-term-readers may recall we ordered our kitchen over 2 years ago, so it was time to revisit that, check the equipment still existed, and make some minor changes. I'll come to that in another post (it's worth it).

But of course, everything else needs to be done before the kitchen install, not least the floor tiles. But before that, the walls and ceilings need to be complete. Right now, the beams are all oiled, and the clay plater has been treated with a silicate-based "primer". The plasterboard walls and ceilings have been jointed and filled, and I've tried my hand at skim-coating the rest of the walls, with fairly decent results.

The skim-coating and filling has also continued into the living room, and once all of this gets some slight sanding and some corners cleaned up, we're actually ready to start decorating!Well, that and the window sills need to go in first.

So, quite a lot of progress in the last three weeks, but the next couple of weeks will be mostly filling, skimming and sanding, I fear.

And for those who like a proper commentary, here's a short walk-through of the first floor as of today. Click here for a large version.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Early August update

Things are moving fast at the moment, so I don't have time to write much, but here's a video taken on the 10th of August, with a walkthrough of the first and second floors. Changes since the last vid include a screed pour in the kitchen to level things out a bit, much progress with plasterboard work, completion of clay plastering on ceilings, and beginning oiling the oak ceiling beams, which look lovely.

Have a look at it big, then compare to the previous vid.

Already this week a lot more has happened, so we'll take a look at that next week.

Monday, 4 August 2014

The beer tap question

The beer cellar location
In the next few weeks, we're going to get into the final stages of the kitchen floor, so it's time to make a decision on something I'd been considering for the past three years: whether or not to install a beer tap in the kitchen. A decision has to be made soon, as it would mean drilling a hole down into the vaulted cellar (the future beer cellar) beneath the kitchen to run a beer line or two up.

The future beer cellar, under the kitchen.

The questions are:

Where in the kitchen would be practical to situate a two-tap font?

On the island is tempting, but too prominent. Beside the sink might be practical, but the hanging cabinet makes it awkward.

Is it really worth it for me alone, and the occasional guest?
My wife is not really a beer drinker, and while I'll have a few beers on the weekends, I try not to over-indulge during the week. Would it be gathering dust most of the time? Do I really want to have to drink most of an 18 litre keg alone?

Would it make me look like an alcoholic?
I think a nice font in the kitchen would be a feature, and a discussion point, and in keeping with my home brewing hobby. But perhaps not quite the right kind of discussion!

There are other solutions.
I will move to kegging my homebrew in the future, but I like having bottles for sharing, or drinking several different beers in one sitting. And for summer parties, I could always build a kegerator and house it in the old pigsty behind the house, which I will convert to a garden room/home brewery in the next couple of years. For personal use, I can always pop downstairs to the cellar to fetch a bottle, or pull a glass. Or sit down there beside the beer tap to hide my problem :)

So what do you think? If you were a beer geek, would you like to have a beer tap in the kitchen?