Saturday, March 21, 2009

Small update

In early February we managed to clean out a lot of stuff. The kitchen is empty except for the sink cabinet and one base cabinet (the sink is still connected to the plumbing and even though the water has been turned off years ago I got a stubborn drip trying to disconnect it, so we left in place for the time being). The remaining furniture has been stored up in the attic. The base cabinet we left was too heavy to get up the stairs, we'll have to store it somewhere at ground level.

The front room is empty too, except for a side board we're looking to find a new home for.

We then proceeded to remove all plaster in the front room and most of the kitchen (one wall can stay up). The kitchen is done, the front room about 2/3 done. Some of the plaster in the back room, back hall and bathroom will have to be removed too, but not as much.

I finally drew up a floor plan in Autocad, here's a quick screen shot:

I already drew the new bathroom design (red). Grey is old construction. The pink structure is our idea of an enclosed porch or something like that.

Hopefully by the next time we go there (Easter) the trash pile will be gone, as are the 4 huge pine trees threatening our roof, the neighbor's roof and turning our back yard into something like a cave. If we're lucky we even already have the gas service pipe in.

I already replaced the 100mA main GFI breaker (RCD) with a new 100mA one in order to get up to modern code (besides, they're basic life insurance and to some extent fire protection). A lot of wiring will have to be redone though... the original wiring (the whole village did not get electricity until 1949) is in horrible shape, the cloth and rubber covered wires are actually bare copper by now. Originally there was one(!) circuit with the meter and fuse outside in the yard, when the new panel and meter were installed in 1976 the morons left the original feed in place and live, that means there was a hot wire dangling around somewhere in the back yard. The original cloth wiring is now restricted to the kitchen and the outbuildings, but that's more than enough.

The big room won't be rewired, we will only change the height of the sockets (they're too close to the floor for my liking) and add a few. My brother and me already redid the front hall, the only thing we need to add is a permanent 3 way switch (originally the only light switch was like 3m from the front door), we only stapled wire to the wall so far, which is legal but extremely ugly. As we don't know the exact size of the future front door yet we didn't want t put the final switch box in yet.
At least one outlet would be nice too. I need to find an unobtrusive location though, as we want to keep the ancient look of the hall.

The back hall and bathroom wiring are 1970s but a complete mess. Wires coming out of the middle of nowhere and going nowhere, the entire thing is fed off the ancient cloth wiring in the kitchen,... some serious hack work. Oh, and again, one single light switch next to the kitchen door, none at the other end.

Small room: don't know yet what we can keep... one outlet definitely has to be rewired, it's just connected to an extension cord buried in plaster.

The outbuildings have a light and a switch each, nothing else and need a full rewire.
A lot of the inside wiring is routed on the outside of the exterior walls in order to avoid going through the kitchen which is a bad idea - the junction and pull boxes aren't sealed against the weather, so we constantly have a cold wind and lots of dirt blowing through the entire conduit system.

If it's possible technically and legally we don't want to buy a new boiler but take the boiler out of our Vienna apartment which is only 6 years old but will be rendered obsolete by the new whole house pellets boiler next year. If we take this one we'll definitely need a chimney relined.

We still haven't decided what to do about the rising damp - Mr. Martin recommends to excavate inside and outside and install vertical insulation to keep moisture from seeping into the foundations sideway. I don't feel too confident this will suffice. I talked to a guy who had the stainless corrugated steel thing done at his place and strongly advised against it - said it ruined the walls. So now we're fretting whether to have the walls cut open or just let Mr. Martin do his work. The latter would allow us to keep the original wood floors in the kitchen and big room.

The kitchen ceiling will definitely stay up, the paneling has been installed to conceal the fact that one beam has been replaced. We asked a few experts about the insect damage and were told not to worry.

We still need to get the furniture out of the two halls and the small room though. Aah, lots of work...