Saturday, March 23, 2013

Again, a loooooong time has passed without updates. The flat I mentioned in the last post is mainly done, except the owner now wants to install central heating (great idea to replace the boiler just after we finished tiling the kitchen!). Only she didn't have time and energy to deal with plumbers, so the place is still sitting empty and half-finished (and half-full of old crap still).

In September work started at my home. We were scheduled to switch from combi boilers in every flat to a central wood pellet boiler in the cellar, which involved a stainless steel liner in an old chimney (inlcuding grinding out the flue to enlarge it), running big pipes in abandoned flues and just about trashing all the bathrooms, replacing the sleek combi boilers with pumps, meters, heat exchangers and plenty of exposed copper and PVC pipework - and of course plenty of rewiring, as the bloody boiler requires 3-phase 400 V power! The installation went on well into November and the hot water supply STILL doesn't work properly - the plumbers have to change some menu settings and replace a relay in every flat.

On Dec. 21 we had our little personal apocalypse when the top floor flat burned out and the firefighters flooded all three flats below. All my personal belongings (except for the mattress and some other minor items) were saved, but the plaster ceiling suffered and the oak herringbone parquet had standing water overnight, even though we used every bucket and tub we could find in the house. After MUCH debate with the insurance company, the floor was taken out to dry. Currently, the new subfloor is in and we are trying to finish some while-we-are-at-it wiring before the painters come in on Monday to scrape the old paint and skim-coat the walls and ceiling. Then it's on to painting and re-installing the floor. I'm still not sure how much I trust the contractors and what I'll let them do.

I also rewired parts of my cousin's flat (below ours), pretty much in the nick of time to prevent another fire. Some of the wiring was 100 years old and completely brittle. A note of caution to everybody: flush halogen fixtures are a sure way to fry the wiring inside the ceiling, especially (but not only) if it's old! And bare wires in a wooden (plaster and lath) ceiling are a sure recipe for disaster!

Progress at the farm has been minimal. We did get the WC tiled and mostly finished (only missing sink and door plus some painting), the better part of the bathroom is tiled, the bath is in (but not tiled yet) and two floors are done.

I removed the floor from the last post again, you can read all the gory details here:

We also installed a new larch floor in the small bedroom. This one had been stored in the house for months, so it worked fine. It still needs to be finished though.

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