Sunday, 28 September 2014

Let there be light

Milestone alert!

To see a video of this, have a look here. Yep! Pretty much a year after I laid the cables, and thanks to our Elektromeister friend, Sace Bakan, they are now hooked up doing their job. We now have a few working light and sockets, which makes a huge difference after three years having to bring an extension cable and light everywhere we went. It also feels like a working house, as we're getting near enough to the decorating stage.

Oiling of the beams on the second floor has continued, which certainly darkens, and livens the wood up.

In this shot, you can see the effect of the oil, as the base beam is partially oiled, and the diagonal on the right not yet oiled.

So we'll be getting some nice contrasts when the plastering and painting is done in this room.

Meanwhile, I've spend most of the past two weeks jointing, skimming and sanding, to get the final plaster surfaces ready for decorating. I skimmed the green boards in the kitchen yesterday, including the ceiling, and while it's far from perfect, a touch of sanding should do the trick.

Of course, the small details take time, like the transitions between old and new ceilings, which I did as simply as I could.

And of course, some more moulding and sanding needed, but it should look good once complete.

We also made a start on making the window sills, with the help of another friend, Werner, who has stuff like this brilliant table plane. I want one.

The sills are being made from glued laminated timber, so solid wood, but less risk of bowing or warping. My original idea of reusing some of the original solid oak floorboards as sills was a bit unrealisting, as they were not as straight as I thought.

We bought enough timber to make 24 sills, and the process is simple enough. We do some tricks to make it look thicker than the 18mm it has, by gluing a strip underneath. Once the basic shape has been cut and the fit checked, we'll round the edges with a router (slight rounding), then sand/polish them and oil them, with some final surface treatment to allow them to stand up to wear and tear.

And our tiles arrived just over a week ago, ahead of schedule. They'll stay in the barn for a few more weeks, till the kitchen ceiling and walls are decorated. Greener than we thought, but every tile is different, so it should be a nice effect.

And it's worth a video ;)

Monday, 15 September 2014

Mid-September mini-update

Work isn't going fast enough for me, despite the fact that every free hour the past week has been on the building site. But we did take a short break for a few days the week before, to visit Legoland and be tourists before school starts again, but small things have been lying heavily on my mind.

Skim coating and filling has continued in the living room, "bedroom" and office, while dry walling has resumed, this time in the hall, which had been neglected for some time now.

The stairs got some tender loving care from my wife and a Fein Multimaster, so the old grey paint is gone, as is the ugly cladding that used to be on the underside.

And the old brick chimney in the kitchen got a facelift with some joint a l'ancienne to repoint it with some very attractive mortar. Here's a before and after.

Actually, that was quite a lot of before and after in one shot. Plastering, plasterboard, floor, ceiling...

And for the gluttons for punishment, here's a another walk-through with the highlights from the past two weeks.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Kitchen is Coming

A phrase that strikes more fear into my heart than a winter in Westeros. Kitchen is coming. Week 46. Second week of November. This means a lot of things have to fall into place, at least in the kitchen, before then.

But let's take a look back. We actually got our original kitchen design done about two years ago. We naively thought we'd have it installed within six months, but that's pretty much a recurring theme with our renovation. SInce the plastering, plasterboards and underfloor were all done a few weeks ago, it was time to get WohnFitz (renamed from Schäfer & Fitz) back again to remeasure, and a few days later to revise the plans and make sure the equipment we ordered was still available.

As it turns out, the only thing that was no longer available was the double sink in farmhouse style, so we opted for a single basin, but with a draining board. We slightly shifted the island so there was more space between it ans the other kitchen units, and swapped around some presses with drawers.

I still regret not having an oven at chest level, but I'm happy with the overall layout. And given the wonderful 3D renderings from Frau Krieger, we can imagine how it might look quite well.

Yes, it could look like this!

So what has to be done? We ordered the floor tiles last weekend, so they should arrive from Italy in about a week. This is them.

Although there were paler versions of the same range available, we chose these to give a contrast with the vanilla tone of the kitchen units, so they work quite nicely together. We plan on laying them in about four weeks, so we've got that much time to sand down the filler/skim coats on the walls, paint the ceiling, connect the wiring and get the sockets running, apply whatever finish we decide on to the walls, and paint, if required. Not too much, actually, in the scheme of things.

My biggest issue is deciding on the wall finish. Either a roll-on plaster to give a slight structure to the finish (fine sandy grain), or just paint onto the skimmed walls. Then there's colours to choose. I could really do with tips from an interior designer to give some options, as my head is too full of construction details that need to be finished elsewhere.

Anyway. We're getting there, and the plan to move in before Christmas is still possible.