Monday, July 11, 2011

Plaster and paint

Well.. I had an update half-finished, then the Firefox tab got reloaded and everything was gone. Given how annoying it is to embed pictures in Blogger, especially if you're as HTML-illiterate as I am I don't know when I'll get around to showing you some pictures.

A brief summary: the small back bedroom and the large front room are plastered and finally ressemble rooms again!
All other rooms are waiting for loose ends to be tied up before they can get plastered, such as installing a WC window, fixing the kitchen ceiling, having the plumber install the gas lines and finish the plumbing... oh and the kitchen door frame needs to be installed, the front door needs to be replaced,...

Last week I felt completely burnt out from university exam season so I didn't do much. We fixed the roof of the pigs stable (the one with the purlins resting on nails driven into the ends of the rafters) because the lowermost purlin was completely rotted and had come loose. Incredible but true, this was a DIY project that went perfectly smooth and took just as long as we'd expected! Take down the tiles (as we were told hand-made concrete tiles, at least 50 years old), rip off the damaged pieces of wood and nail up a new purlin (spare found in the attic). Replace the tiles, done!
Still looks slightly odd (saggy), but it should last a few years until we completely replace the roof. Actually we should replace a few tiles too.

On Thursday I decided to take up another necessary but unplanned easy task, repainting the street-side windows. The old ochre and beige paint job was flaking off in huge sheets and looked absolutely dismal. I spent a few hours scraping off any loose paint, sanding and then slapping up a coat of dark green paint. Next I plan to spackle, sand and apply a second coat. I'm incredibly impressed with the Osmo paint I used, it's even better than their white paint! Not much of a smell, easy to apply and covers very nicely!

Oh, and of course I also need to reglaze the windows and paint over the fresh putty once it's ready. I'd love to try different kinds of glazing compount, but that seems to be a US phenomenon. Around here you can get natural linseed oil putty, beige linseed oil putty and brown linseed oil putty. That's it!
Ideally I'd do the reglazing in winter (linseed oil putty tends to crinkle when exposed to direct sunlight as it sets) but I don't think I'd want to leave the windows with up to 3/4 of the glazing missing for so long.

On Friday I started to trench the walls for the gas lines. Our plumber is very affordable (he runs a rural one-man operation) but the downside is he tells us to do most things ourselves. We installed all the drains (ok, that's easy, our drain pipes aren't glued but just stuck together using bells and o-rings but still it requires some creativity) and did all the trenching. The only thing he did so far was cutting, bending and soldering the copper pipes.
I used an angle grinder with a diamond blade to score the walls. It makes the actual chiseling easier and keeps the trench sides cleaner, but it's incredibly dusty work! I started with the doors closed, but had to stop less than midway because you couldn't see anything! I continued with both front and back door open, that was bearable. At least I finally found a decent respirator mask that seals properly around the nose so I can wear goggles without having them fog up every few seconds. While marking for the cuts I discovered that the ceiling slopes considerably towards the front door, at least 5cm. I'm not 100% sure, but I think the old concrete floor sloped too, so it seems to have been done on purpose (only I don't have the slightest idea WHAT purpose!). I definitely know some older houses where the hall slopes considerably, maybe because they're built into a hill or something. It can't really be for water runoff since the front door usually has quite a tall threshold.

We also completely redesigned the kitchen using the old 60s cabinetry. The sink will be replaced with a double sink with drainboard (the old one was a double without drainboard) and a dishwasher instead of the narrow cabinet that used to reside next to the sink. The stove moves in next to the dishwasher where the large hutch used to be. The hutch in turn moves sideways in front of the door we bricked up. That puts the stove close to the sink and away from the door. Even makes running the gas lines a bit easier. The refrigerator will go in next to the table where the old electric stove was, rather than in the back hall on the other side of the door we bricked up. The upper cabinet that used to threaten people's heads and necks when sitting on the bench will move across the room above the sink where it's useful for dishes and other stuff and won't likely cause any injury. The way it used to hang I couldn't sit down on the bench unless I slumped over the table because the back of my head would hit the cabinet if I leaned back!

Next: finish the trenches for the gas lines (I guess we're about halfway done), finish painting the windows, get a carpenter to build a WC window, install it, get a frame for the new front door and replace the old one...