Friday, November 26, 2010

Warm and cozy... almost

I was talking with my niece, and she said as long as the house was warm for Christmas, she could handle anything! So the long anticipated day finally came to turn the heat on in the basement. Room by room the underfloor pipes pressured up nicely. But then the front bedroom with all the pipes in the corner wouldn't cooperate. Thoughts of having to destroy our concrete floor came to mind... and we did have to break it in one area.

I have no idea how the plumbing/gas guys knew where the pipe was punctured, but I'm really glad they found it quickly, plus it was in the corner.

Of course, this was never supposed to happen because the concrete is supposed to be ~4 inches thick everywhere. But in this corner with all the sewage pipes etc, the rock had not been cut very effectively and so the framing screws punctured the pipe. Grrrrrr... You can see how thin the concrete is in the picture. We'll need to ask JF to come back and patch things up (and guarantee that the concrete really is the thickness required).

After the excitement of all this, we now have a wonderfully heated basement which also helps heat the rest of the house (although don't worry - we've got heaters on the ground floor too).

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Connected and Flushable

We have stairs!

They're just temporary, but it means the two floors are now connected.

We also have a flushing toilet. Although it's not what I'd call private...

And running HOT water. So it's almost time to move home... (just need a shower)

That's the gas heating system and the pipes in the right hand corner. Almost ready to go!

Getting the plumbing connected has not been without it's trials, there was a pipe going through the purple insulation stuff that was too close to the outside of the house and managed to freeze, cutting water to our top floor tenants. As you can imagine, they were thrilled. Of course, I'm writing this after the issue has been fixed. I'll let you imagine the fun that ensued.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Brick work

A little post after a busy week on the JTW project...

The masonry work is almost complete. It still needs the "ferblentier" to finish the metal work on the top edge of the roof. But it's looking good.

We've cleaned up the interior of the house and moved things around in preparation for having the hole cut for the stairs to the basement. We also cleaned the floor of the kitchen as we need to get the plywood floor in (hopefully this Friday). Another milestone came from taking down all the plastic inside our storage room (the former purple room!). It was amazing to see the space really open up now that all the studs and plastic has been removed. Marc's dad has almost finished framing the new bathroom and walk-thru closet on the ground floor. Once that is done, there won't be any more walls to move (except the entrance - but that doesn't count coz we're not touching that until next year!).

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Framing and the Roof

Finally, I'm posting some pictures of the basement which now has a floor!

In the basement we are using a gentleman called Yves (Karukera Construction) for the work on framing all the rooms. He also made the steps down into the English courtyard, which is now complete!

All the rooms except the mechanical room have their interior walls framed now. We're really getting the feel for the space now that all our plans are coming to life.

You'll also see the purple insulating foam that has been sprayed all over the exterior walls. It feels positively warm to the touch.

Marc and his dad have also removed all the old pipes and wiring, which was a huge job. The ironmonger that came down the back alley the same day must have thought he'd hit the jackpot!

And let's not forget all the brickwork that's well under way in the front. They have put the new cornice on top and it's just about visible under the green drapes. (Our house looked fabulous for Halloween ;)

There is a (hopefully small to rectify) problem with the water seeping through the wall in the front wall. It's right next to the end of the delta membrane. I've no idea why the contractors didn't do this area. It looks like they ran of the membrane and figured it'd be OK. Hmmmm.... no idea. Anyways, we will have to figure something out.

The problem area

The roof was completed today - yes, it's a Sunday, but it has been beautiful weather (although pretty cold) so the roofing company finished off the work from last week. It was a good surprise since we didn't expect it until tomorrow, however we learnt from our not so happy tenants that they arrived at 7am this morning.

As for our living conditions, we have moved in with Marc's parents! This is working well except for the hugely long commute in the morning. What should be a 45 minute journey is taking a good 2 hours and more. :( It's good to get to know them better, and helpful for my French! We were going to move into the caravan in the back garden, but a leaking water pipe in the house, led to a decision to remove all the pipes and so now we've no sink, shower or toilet. What this means is that I think we'll stay here in Les Coteaux until the house has somewhere to wash and somewhere warm to sleep (I'm not too worried about waiting for the kitchen to be installed). Don't ask me when this is going to be! We're just working hard on making it happen...

Talking of the kitchen and bathroom, they have been the most difficult rooms to demolish. The kitchen had 2 layers of drywall on top of plaster and the ceiling had a layer of drywall, lots of wood with really long screws (that had to be individually removed) attaching it to the old plaster ceiling. When we ultimately removed the ceiling a huge amount of black soot came down, but no pictures to show the state of me after that!




Yesterday I rented a jack hammer and removed the tile in the kitchen floor (this was fun!) while Marc and his dad started to frame the new bathroom on the ground floor. Marc also used the jack hammer to remove a few pieces of rock in the basement that would have caused problems putting walls up.

Lots of progress, but still soooooo much to do...