Friday, December 31, 2010
Hi Out There...still on vacation with family this end of year, and it is getting pretty chilled here in mountainous Nevada !
Since I knew I would be traveling to the US, I acquired a small, new collection of vintage items (sold on ebay in USA) for the house under renovation. When we moved a lot of things moved on and more to go...but I indulged in this new collection for our life in the country ! A small herd of vintage cow creamers. Well, at least one is not a cow...unusual to find a steer creamer, but now I have one... They will reside in the new kitchen and will join two that are already waiting at the Campsite in South Australia. There are some really excellent ones in this small collection--they look really great. This orange dot one is especially cute ! A few are good sized too. I may even nominate one or two to do occasional brekkie service too ;)
Sunday, December 19, 2010
|Front of the house, just a tad of gardening done|
The front yard has been mowed, just to keep things under control really. And we have done some weeding in the front garden beds too. And removed some dead shrubs that were hiding under a lot of weeds. But due to summer, we will not be planting under the double front windows until autumn.
|Back Foyer door, touring entrance to renovation zone|
I have done a tidy up today before you got here, so much of the dust and rubble is removed, and things are about as tidy as they can be given the real serious construction and fit out work underway.
|Kitchen looking from back foyer across to Dining Room|
So come around here and you will see the kitchen and then beyond it, the Dining Room area.
Now you are standing in the kitchen, the sink will be under the window. In the pic below left, you can see the old fireplace has had its top "ceiling" raised up so it is a more usable height (especially for Ian, who is quite tall) and also suitable for an extractor fan to be installed in it. You can see that the walls have been plastered and smoothed over. The upper cabinets will cover up that old pink painted area. The floors in the kitchen are already tiled, but to protect them from construction mess, we had to cover them with heavy cardboard and so you can't see the nice tiled finish (it does look very nice, lovely mid grey-beige rectified porcelain tiles from Italy--Bella !).
|Kitchen, view 1|
Beyond you can see a pic of the Dining Room, with the leadlight windows in the far corner. Because there is little construction required in this room (it was a later addition to the house), it is being used as a storage and staging area. Left is a close up of the leadlight detail.
And around through to the left is the Lounge (Living) Room. There was a wall on the right side, and that has been removed. It makes the room a nicer proportion. The part that was a hallway is the pink colored part. We have come to realise that at one point, the ENTIRE house was painted in this pink color--oh my !! We will be changing that when we get to the painting work (February). The smaller pic of that room shows the view of it to the front and the dark door you see is the one to the front verandah. The ceiling in the hallway was higher than what was in the lounge room and the beams cannot support two sets of ceiling material, so the old ceiling material is taken off and this week gyprock ceiling will be put up and matched to the rest of the ceiling pattern in that room.
The Lounge Room fireplace will have a combustion firebox, which we have already purchased. It will be fitted and installed early next year. The firebox will have a matte black metal faschia surround and a charcoal-coloured slate hearth on the floor in front of it, these have already been ordered and will be fitted when the firebox is installed. We won't be using the mantel you see (which is not original, but has likely been used as a decorative piece recently). This one is not wide enough for the firebox we have selected. So we will have a new one made to fit, probably mid next year sometime.
|Lounge (Living) Room, with hallway wall removed|
|Front of Lounge Room|
Below left is a photo of the Office/Library. This first year will see us using the gas heater inside the fireplace. But in 2012 we will be replacing that with a gas fireplace, whcih will make for a lovely cozy place for my late work calls or a quiet nightcap.
|MBR: now with dressing area and beyond, a door to 2-way bath|
Below to the left is a photo of the Master Bedroom, now it is comprised of two adjacent rooms, which really were very small, especially the one you see in the step up. A huge amount of work has been done here, the thickness of the small stub of wall you see between these two spaces was the thick slab of wall that previously separated them. Ian removed 2.2 metres of wall and now it is gorgeous and smoothed and plastered very nicely. But it was a big mess, with jagged rocks jutting out of it, and all the packing around them was mud that over decades turned to never ending piles of dust !
This piece of work required some real engineering too. The wall removed bears some weight of the roof. A large beam has been placed across the stubs of wall left (to either side of the opening) and to reinforce it, there is a steel beam on each side, holding it up firmly, and on floor between the steel beams is a steel beam support welded to each side. So a frame to add support. This has been verified to be over spec by an architect...so we are good with this and I have photographed the "guts" of what is underneath the tidy plaster job.
The room you are standing in will be the sleeping area, and then you will step up into the dressing area. We will be installing built in closets next year, probably a month after we move in (this fell off the prior-to-move-in cut off...just cannot fit it in prior, but it is one of the first things coming up on the list after we've moved...requirements design spec to be done in February). The dressing room had a door from a small hallway just to left of the red gyprock sheet holder you see in the photo, and it has been bricked up and finished nicely. From hallway you would never know there had been a door. IN fact, the whole wall has been improved (this wall was a poorly constructed one, and needed some restoration work).
The doorway from the dressing area is into the bathroom, which will be a two-way bathroom, with one doorway from our room and another from the back foyer. Creating this doorway was a smaller scale repeat of the wall removal described above, as the wall this new doorway is in was also stone, with wickedly big stones jutting through right where we wanted the new doorway. Ian cut through them them with a grinder, which was a real piece of work to do ! It was also thick, so the doorway frame had to be quite deep (an expensive doorway and more engineering).
|Bathroom, now with concrete subfloor|
Below right you can see the tiles we will use. The greyed beige on left (upper left corner) is the floor tile. The white will be wall tiles, for wall in shower and then for a half wall all around vanity and bath areas. Above that will be the decorative frieze you see below, topped with a pretty cap of chunky white tile border called "Candy Stripe" for its pattern.
In the other rooms you may not have noticed the work to "chase" the walls and embed the conduits for the electricals. We have been very careful to work out where we needed powerpoints (outlets) and light switches. Nearly all of them in the house were in exposed conduits and chunky boxes sitting on walls or on the architraves. Only in the Dining Room are these already installed and concealed neatly (that room had space under the floor boards and is newer construction than the original parts of the house). In the bathroom pic above you can see one channel cut in the left hand wall, it is for a light switch and outlet. It has been done in all the other rooms too, but has already been neatly plastered over. It is a messy job to do, Ian has been painstakingly chiseling into the stone walls to create channels for the conduits. Then he installed, plastered over. I am sure I am simplifying this, it was a big piece of work. Also, we had to consult safety codes, especially in the bathroom, and then ensure the master electrician we have working with us agreed (he did, guess we did our homework on AS/NZ Wiring Rules well !)
Through the back foyer, and out the door, you see the back area where the guys keep their tools and things. Including an old antique bed found in the old shed. We might use that in the spare room, or may not keep it it all, who knows...just not working that part of the plan quite yet. The back area you see will become the Phase 2 work, which will be designed after we move in in March. Then work to begin mid next year. The far corner you see on right will be a secnd bathroom, and next to it will be a permanent laundry (temporary laundry will be in back foyer). Then to the left will be a sunroom area. Including space to paint, relax and opening to a patio and undercover entertaining space.
|Work Staging Area in Back|
Well, hope you enjoyed the tour. We are pleased to report to now be a bit more than mid way through the project. Started mid October, a week late due to settlement delays beyond our control on the house purchase. We are really exhausted from all the work, especially Ian, who has worked so hard on all of it, there 7 days a week most weeks (minus a very few rare breaks, maybe only 3 days in this time). I have begun to go in and do weekend construction clean ups...and it makes a difference, so will be continuing that each weekend. We have been at it 2 months now. I am the Procurement and Finance Officer, Ian is Engineer Plus a Lot more on this job !! We have a full agenda for January and February and most things are on track or a bit ahead. We have some dependencies on the plumbing work (plumber time is very hard to pin down and secure), so we will be looking at what we can do to reduce the schedule risks there. We also await Ian's shed, which has slipped to January, though perhaps December was overly optimistic (we have had to wait for local council approvals). The kitchen design is done and is on track to be fitted in February, in time to have the benches (counter tops) done prior to move in.
So, more to do ! Ian is full time on this endeavor. I will take 3 weeks leave in Feb and March to do painting, other fit out work, and organise/oversee our move out of Campsite and into House on or about the first of March !
|Happy Holiday Cheers from Kim & Ian|
Meantime, hope you are ready to enjoy a lovely holiday. I will post again while on holiday, will actually have more time ! I hope to get in a bit of painting too :)
Happy Holidays to all !
Sunday, December 5, 2010
The Campsite does have an interesting tree. A cherry tree. In fact is is an espaliered cherry tree, someone in years past went to a lot of trouble to train it to grow along wires. It is a fine tree now, and has a lot of fruit on it. And for weeks, every day, Ian walks by the cherry tree and has been telling me "the cherries are ripe." Or "we should pick the cherries before the birds get them." Or " the cherries are ready to pick."
I did some looking on the web to try to learn what variety cherries these might be. I was not able to determine exactly, but learned that the ripening season is slow this year, due to cool weather and much rain. The cherries have not been ready to pick, nor have they looked or tasted ripe !
But they are very pretty and look stunning and red, as in these photos. And two days ago, they all turned deep burgundy color, sweetened up, and indeed...NOW the cherries are ready to pick and eat ! I will be going out and picking more cherries (first batch is in a big bucket in fridge)...Before the birds get them all !
At the House (old stone house under renovation is The House, rental house is The Campsite), I did a bit of gardening last week. Weed pulling and a lot of it. And I got a snap of these stunning pink roses in front of the verandah.
Up in the back garden, I have some fine roses, David Austin varieties by the looks of them. Bright yellow Golden Celebration, a couple pink ones (including one named Eglantyne), peachy hued Abraham Darby, and a lovely delicate white one with the most amazing rose fragrance I have ever smelled. All shown below.
The white one is called The Nun, I only know this because it is one of two shrubs of over 70 that has tags on it. I can just make out the scratched name of the plant on the metal tag dangling from a small branch. The plant is a bit frail and small compared to the others, but it produced the two white flowers you see, plus one more. I think it is a special one and worth some work. I will be seeing if we can bring this one back to a more glorious and vigorous state !