Mary Branscombe (marypcb) wrote,
Mary Branscombe

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a week of building

we're not finished - but we're getting within tantalizing distance

Instead of CAT 5 we were persuaded by a friend to put in CAT 6 so we can put a Gigabit Ethernet card in the server for when wireless gets faster. Simon found neat wall boxes that let us use prewired cables rather than crimping our own, so little Dave has promised to use the CAT 5 they'd put in for us to pull the two CAT 6 cables through instead.

Monday morning Mark the plumber started fitting the soil pipe from the hall through the wall of the existing bedroom and inside the top of the wardrobe and out again so it runs along and fits into the soil pipe outside. Noisy and messy but we'll box it in afterwards. We plan to put up a whole wall of shelves and cubes when this is an office, so it won't look too odd either. The bathroom door and frame came out last thing Friday evening, so there's just a dust sheet tacked up instead of a door; not a problem as we only had cold water in the kitchen tap and the loo cistern on Tuesday while the plumber plumbed. The new water cylinder is bright green and much bigger. The old cistern was yellow and bulged alarmingly! Behind it we found a bottle of Gaymers Olde English cider that's now balsamic vinegar! Pipes run everywhere for a while: in the new shower room upstairs, in the airing cupboard, up the wall and out to the back loft with the tanks in...

Tuesday gets even worse when the plasterers turn up to do the hall ceiling and explain they haven't costed for replacing the moulding so I have to send them away and await another quote. This and shopping for the shower valve and shower tray cause a title friction and as usual we end up at the place closest to home (plumbers merchant at the end of the street) to order the things we've hunted all weekend for in many shops near and far. But I realize this had to be done or we couldn't have got what we wanted in five minutes, plus we had meatballs at Ikea when we went to buy the sink so it's worth the pain.

So the shower will have: corner opening doors that open out on both sides; a ceiling rose overhead; a riser with a normal shower hose and head so we can hold it in our hands to wash difficult bits; a dual control to allow us to switch from one to the other.

The 900mm shower tray arrives at the plumbers merchant the next morning; it's too large to fit in the car!

The mess of pipes in the bathroom is covered over by the plasterboard wall; the mess of pipes in the middle hall is covered over when the new ceiling goes in; this doesn't have the long slope of the previous one as there isn't a four-foot drop in the loft any more. Everything starts to look much neater as the pipes are covered and the gravity tank in the top hall is boxed in.

The rain fades away so they go back to working on the roof. They rebuild the dangerous gable in wood rather than broken bricks and the tiles arrive to go on the front. That's been tiled now, though the rest of the front slope is in progress and the flat roof waits for the flat roofer to come back from holiday. All the brickwork outside on the party walls is finished and the coping stones are on.

Plumbing continues, with the pump that will feed the shower and sink upstairs with hot water going in. This entails plenty of soldering of pipes, which made for one hot plumber. The builders were working on the roof while the plasterers (Dave the plasterer plus a mate) whizzed round the bed room and the bathroom. They now look like real, finished rooms rather than a hole in the roof, which is amazing in so short a time. The smaller run of stairs arrived and was fitted; slightly narrower than the main stairs, with a lovely thick stair post as well as the newel post. This is to hold up the raised roof area over the top landing on to the roof terrace where we have a curved rooflight. sbisson a dome! we have a dome! we're living in the 21st Century now!

The glass door to the roof terrace has changed again; it seems it can't be a door and a swivelling pane too, even though big Dave has one in his house, so the door will be just a door and the fixed window will be a pivoting window for the top two thirds. The door will have a bar across a third of the way up to match. This will give us more ventilation; I particularly wanted a window we could open without the kitties wandering out, Just In Case.

Fitting the smaller staircase and the new ceiling in the lower hall and putting up the plasterboard under the main new staircase has been the most intrusive bit because they've been working in the hall and plaster bits have been coming down and getting everywhere; but the Daves have been very good at vacuuming up and the stairs and hall floor are cleaner than usual after they've done ;-)

Went out on Friday to decide on the flooring for the bedroom; I am sentimental about solid wood rather than a thin layer of wood on top of blockboard because it just seems more real! Having looked at more expensive options in the wood yard suggested by the builder and at a mix of really expensive gorgeous reclaimed wood and really cheap reclaimed wood that was either nowhere near enough or parquet in need of a huge amount of work (me: it's like a big jigsaw! sbisson a big jigsaw with tar on one side and carpet on the other) in a reclamation yard, we went back to the first place we looked - the Natural Wood Flooring Co. There we found nice wide oak boards, prefinished in oil rather than varnish, with a nice feel and the right colour and enough grain to look good but without a pronounced bevel around the edge, for far less than anywhere else and probably about as cheap as the high-quality laminate. It needs to stay in the house for 10 days to acclimatize (7 if the weather stays as hot as it was on Friday and Saturday) - the Daves were keen to be able to lay the floor sooner than that but I think the roof terrace will keep them busy for a bit longer! We also bought the shower cubicle and shower rail and handset. On Saturday we were in town for lunch at Jenny Lo's Tea House (yummy Szechuan food) so I trekked out to the British Bathroom Centre in the heart of Hampstead Garden Suburb (Dave the plumber: they're everywhere - BBC web site: branches in Hampstead Garden Suburb and Staples Corner) to get the overhead rose shower head. The one I wanted wasn't in stock but they sold me an even nicer 6" one even cheaper (£18 instead of £28). Still to buy: toilet, taps, terrace tiles and - er, coo, is that it? Oh yeah, something for the bathroom floor: either bamboo, cork or carpet, I think.. Towel rail too!

Nipped up to take some more pictures. Stood in the bathroom with my head under the roof window; I just fit in the very lowest part of the window so sbisson will bang his head there! The plaster has dried so quickly in the heat; it's beautiful and smooth. I notice they've put a sort of woven tape over the joins between the plasterboard for it to grip to? The terrace is feeling more like a nice space, though the tarp makes it monstrous warm even in the cooler weather today. The sound of rain on the tarp is so relaxing; it should sound good on the roof light too.

I'm sure I've forgotten some of what happened this week already. And I still need to chase the sculpture people about the terrace railing... onwards and upwards!

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