Sunday, 1 May 2016

Main Bathroom Remodel

We are still amazed that a house this size never really had a main bathroom. The one that did exist was an uncomfortable layout of toilet in its own closet and a bath and basin in a separate but adjoining room down a small corridor. As we looked at how best to locate one, the only logical place (due to waste and drainage options) is where this two room bathroom configuration was. To make it work better though, we decided to knock through into the bedroom next door. One of the main reasons for this was the fireplace:

It was completely hidden when we came to view the place but a nice surprise as we went round finding what was here. It seemed such a shame to leave it in a bedroom on its own, so having the opportunity to make it a feature of the main house made total sense. We knew that by knocking through it would make this room HUGE! But, it felt like a house this size could take it, so off we went at knocking through the old partition wall....

Taking down lath makes a right old mess (but does provide plenty of future firewood):

Once cleared out, it gives a real sense of how the room would fit together:

So then we got on to re-configuring the ceiling...

 Another messy job but once free of debris, Mike got on to constructing the new joists:

A view from above as I hammered in the nails on the joist hangers:

The old water tank that was up in the loft - we had considered taking it down, but after draining it and trying to lift it (impossible) we just decided to leave it in place...

Once the joists were in place it was up with the plasterboard:

And as Mike kept hitting his head on the old door frame, we opened that up to put in a taller one:

Underneath the old opening was a even older door frame. It must have been in place when this bit of the house was a barn. Not wanting to get rid of it, we relocated it to the opening of the old airing cupboard, so that it could act as a frame for some new (reclaimed ceiling joist) shelving:


Once the walls and ceiling were covered with plasterboard, we got the plasters in to coat the room: 

A few weeks drying time gave us a chance to choose some colours. And as we loved the tiles of the old fireplace, we decided to theme the room around this. So blue and orange were the order of the day, with Chinoise on the walls:

And a Wapping Orange tile for the shower wall:

Mike rightly looked impressed when the tiling was all done:

And next we got onto sanding the floor... 

With a very reasonable hire from a local company, we had a
floorsander and edger for 24hrs. It made good work of taking back the old lacquer:

and was really good fun to use! The end result was really impressive:

And as we had to replace some of the floorboards with new, we added some wood dye and varnish to help blend them in:

After a few coats they were starting to blend:

And after a final sand and coat of oil - you couldn't really tell the difference:

The room was really starting to come together, with the plumbers coming in to fit the bath, sink and toilet and shower unit:

The last piece of furniture for the room was a towel rail. We'd been having a real game trying to find one big enough, and made appropriately for the heating circuit we were connecting it to. So, Mike said he'd like to make his own! 

Very impressed by his bravery, he had a lesson from Richard on how best to solder the joints:

The finished article looked really impressive and once tested for pressure it was up there at 6 bar!

- well done Mike!

It's going to look lovely in place and really tie the whole room together:

So, as a final treat for getting the first room in the house complete (after a year) 
we spied an interesting old cabinet in a local junk shop and thought it would fit just perfect in this new space, so we bought it:

Can you guess what it used to be?

All that needs to happen now in this room is to hang the door and at some point put some shelves up, but everything in here is good to go! It's really exciting to finally tick a room off!! And once we get around to testing the water, we might just be able to have that long awaited bath - ahhhh, bliss!

Friday, 22 April 2016

Totally Totty for Tiling

I did my first bit of tiling this week and you know what - I loved it!

After a short lesson from Mike I was away. He gave me a good tip with the spacers -  rather than sitting them in the corners of each tile and grouting them in, you can reuse them by using them on their edge and facing them proud of the wall:

Tile adhesive mixed, it was up on to the wall and a tessalation in a brickwork pattern. 
By measuring carefully and taking my time, I found the whole process quite medatitive: 

The lower edges needed some spacer support:

And you can see how different the floor level is from one side to the other:

There were a few tricky components to keep clear of:

But once it all went up I was really impressed:

Next it was time to grout:

And once polished up the shower got installed

I'm really proud of it and now going to attempt the remaining 3 bathrooms AND the kitchen floor!

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Raising the Brickwork

Mike had been a bit concerned about the height of the cooker hood in the old fireplace opening:

 It wasn't much of a problem for me but because of  his extra height we decided to raise the opening and finish off the brickwork surround by reclaiming the old bricks. 

Once finished, it looked fab:

We had noticed a damp patch on the external wall, and as this was going to be a cupboard later on we thought it would be a good idea to introduce an airbrick into it at this stage, so we did:

We also had the flue installed to the old bread oven:

Meaning that we could test it out:

It had great draw up the chimney and will be the ideal pizza oven when we move into the kitchen!

Laying Laminate and an update of Solar Thermal

Gaining in confidence recently, I was keen to lay the floor in the teachers en-suite bathroom. 

So, after securing the mash and mess of floorboards underneath, I applied a space age looking underlay for troublesome floors and sealed up all the gaps:

Next it was a case of laying out the boards so that they had a good mix of pattern and clicking them into place:

A few pipes to cut around and test out my precision (which has never been that good)

But I was really pleased with the finish:

So by the time the bath went in - it looked like a proper room!

And whilst all this was happening, we had the solar thermal tubes installed:

They were filled and tested and looked neat against the Solar PV:

A few more tests with the header tank and soon we were producing 60 degrees heat from the power of the sun - brilliant! 

So with this system, the wood pellet boiler and the PV, we're pretty much relying on nature to heat us and apply us with electricity to power each system, which really is fantastic!