Restoration 101 – 11 – Covering the black

Now the kitchen has been installed and making life so much less cluttered I thought it was time to cover the exposed black beams scattered throughout the house.  They are on every level and must have been a fashion statement back in the 1970s when the house was built.  But, for us, they definitely must go – the blackness of them, that is.

Black beams and trims
Black beams and trims

We hadn’t decided on colour schemes at this stage so all beams were just undercoated in white.  What a difference!  No longer was the eye immediately drawn upwards to these imposing black stripes across each ceiling.  The worst part of this job was masking the surrounding timber ceilings.  It had been suggested that we paint these also, but Jim & I are both fans of natural timber so that suggestion was quickly discarded. Being vertically challenged made the job just a little more difficult, also, as I had to climb one or two more rungs of the ladder many times while painting even one beam (other folk could have managed with saw horses!).  I have previously learned that I am “No. 1 messy painter” – I look at a paint pot and the paint jumps on to my hands (and arms and feet and hair…). And if the paint jumps on me then it only stands to reason that it will fall on the floor also… so, not only do I have to constantly move the ladder, but I must also drag drop sheets with me.

More black trims in bedroom.
More black trims in bedroom.

I set myself a beam or two to undercoat each evening while hubby cooks tea – not a bad deal!  And, when the beams are all undercoated, I begin on the window sills – also black to be covered in white! More masking and many more fiddly bits. I have never loved painting… I love it even less now!!

Oh well, a job must be done…but the top coats will wait until the major paint job gets tackled.

Black replaced with white in bedroom.
Black replaced with white in bedroom.
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Restoration 101 – 10 – Tiles out, new kitchen in.

Progress 2Now the kitchen has been removed the old tiles had to be lifted. They were cracked  and we will replace all the floor coverings thoughout the house anyway. Guess who was given the job of lifting the tiles? Yep, yours truly! What a horrible job!!  Armed with spade, crow bar, ear muffs and some sort of jackhammer I was on to it!  Dust, noise, tiles flying everywhere (out the window as I tossed them on to the trailer)…

Lifting tiles.
Lifting tiles.

And when I had had enough of the noise and dust there was still gib to be removed from small spaces, more to be fitted on the ceiling, a couple of windows to be inserted and the space created from the removal of the old kitchen to be filled.

And yet another tool for me!
And yet another tool for me!

Eventually we were ready for the new kitchen…a bit of a mission getting it up one floor but the wide windows proved very beneficial!

Kitchen windows going in.
Kitchen windows going in.

It was all installed in one day ready for the electrical and plumbing the following. Then it was a matter of unpacking and arranging my cupboards and pantry.  It was like Christmas being able to remove things from boxes that have been stored for a year or more. So many cupboards… so much space!

New kitchen.
New kitchen.
New kitchen.
New kitchen.
New kitchen.
New kitchen.

And the placing of weatherboards outside on the new wall was completed… we’re ready for a break!

New weatherboards.
New weatherboards.

Restoration 101 – 9 – Out with the old…

By April 2013 I really had had enough of the old kitchen!

Old kitchen.
Old kitchen.
Old kitchen, pantry on left.
Old kitchen on right with pantry on the left.

Two bodies in it and we had a traffic jam; I couldn’t reach the knobs to turn on and off the elements without reaching over the elements; if the fridge was opened that caused another blockage to bodies; there was no oven (but at least the microwave fit comfortably in that space), cupboard doors didn’t shut; no dishwasher; the old expel-lair in the window rattled with every wind … and ‘yuk’ black cupboard doors and bench tops. There were two positives – the pantry was reasonably large and the sink looked out to sea.

So, our search for the “perfect” design began.  Having planned a large kitchen for our new home in New Plymouth and several “spec” homes we built I had a good idea of what I wanted and what I didn’t.  We had a large space to work with here so the task wasn’t too difficult.  Probably the greatest subject of debate was the colour and the bench top but soon we arrived at the final plan, the kitchen manufacturer and the price.

And then, the worst part of the job – dismantling and removing the old kitchen!

But while we were organising this the men made the most of opportunities and fitted permanent windows and doors…

Fitting the new lounge window.
Fitting the new lounge window.

first the lounge window then the sliding doors and window downstairs.

Out with the old & in with the new.
Out with the old & in with the new.

By mid-October we had the new kitchen ordered and under construction. So the old one needed to be removed – what a job!  The call went out for volunteers and I went out for a women’s breakfast.  Did I really think it would all be clean & a blank canvas when I arrived home?  No way! What a mess!!

A few large holes to be filled!
A few large holes to be filled!

Lunch was on the BBQ for the helpers and the trailer was full with the first load bound for the dump. Another clean-up in the morning and more help arrived to continue the dismantling.

As can be seen from the photos, the kitchen had an “overhang”. Now the old kitchen has been removed the wall and window on the left of the photo is also to be removed and a new floor and wall installed to make a little more room and a continuous flow to the outside appearance as well. This was not a place for children…

Mostly gone 8

Note the props... they are still in place! (Explanation to come).
Note the props… they are still in place! (Explanation to come).

Restoration 101 – 8 – Heating

It seem that we had a bit of a break from renovations over the summer months. The house was perfectly liveable although the kitchen was a very annoying feature.  We spent much time considering new kitchens and planned to have one custom-made and installed later in the year. A holiday away from all the unfinished projects brought renewed inspiration and many visitors were very happy to put up with so many imperfections and gib still falling off walls!

But the time was approaching when we needed to make a decision regarding heating.  We had huddled through a spring with no heating (the previous heat pump was too damaged in the earthquake so we removed that before moving in). After much deliberation and many changes of plans, we agreed on the type and placement of heater. Now, Jim and I both love wood burners, and Jim believes he had found a way that would have allowed us (Council Consent required) to install one.  But neither of us are spring chickens, we were both working full time and we have, as I have previously mentioned, a spiral staircase to negotiate before entering the main living area. To arrive home at 5 pm on a cold, dark winter evening and have to set and light a fire plus bring in firewood brought the sensible side out in us! We agreed on a gas fire, turned on with the push of a button and complete with flames for the ambiance.

Stage one. Note cupboard behind fire.
Stage one. Note cupboard behind fire.

So in March (autumn here in NZ) hubby and grandson built the frame for the gas fire complete with TV and recorder/DVD/whatever box above. As can be seen in the photo we put these items in a corner of the lounge to allow the least possible intrusion into the room.  There is a cupboard that is now tucked away in the back of the corner – I placed some current newspapers and magazines in there for posterity before it was sealed off! And, of course, the heater was installed by a qualified installer!

Next step complete as we now have heating and a TV that doesn’t take the focus of the whole room or block any of the view.

Wall is complete and useable for now.
Wall is complete and appliances are useable.

Restoration 101 – 7 – Block-filling & strengthening

Christchurch is still a “shaky city”. The shakes are fewer and further apart and most of the time we don’t even notice them. When we moved into our home in September 2012, however,  there was definitely still some palpable rocking of the ground below. And all new buildings now must be “earthquake proof” and repaired buildings must also “come up to code”.

Temporary bracing.
Temporary bracing.

An early inspection of our home showed it was well short of said code and the concrete blocks around the first floor were not even filled with concrete – hence the bracing before we even moved in.

Soon hubby Jim and grandson Caleb set about drilling holes in the blocks and filling them with concrete – rather a long, tedious and messy job…

  1. Drill hole in concrete block large enough to insert funnel (of sorts) into hole.
  2. Mix sufficient concrete to fill hole (unknown quantity).
  3. Hit-&-miss operation to actually pour concrete into holes as these were, obviously, at the top of the rows of blocks and very close to the floor above.

    Some blocks were missing entirely.
    Some blocks were missing entirely.

Various funnels were tried and tossed aside, concrete disappeared into holes and somehow the task was done to builder Jim’s satisfaction – not a quick fix as this procedure took place over many weeks.

Next up was strengthening of the internal walls.  Although this may not have been absolutely necessary to gain a “pass” in the code, hubby felt it was necessary for our peace of mind in the current shaky situation.  I mentioned in a previous post that the house came with a couple of quirky “bubble” windows.  Well, I was definitely not a fan of these but we didn’t want to remove them entirely in case future owners are real fans of the architect & his quirks so we elected to cover the lounge “bubble” window from the inside while installing the Batts, ply and gib. Another excuse for doing so was that the frame was substantially damaged and needed to be replaced anyway.

Ply on walls before window disappears from internal view.
Ply on walls before window disappears from internal view.

And now we feel much safer … 🙂

At this stage we are still “camping” … cooking on the barbecue, carting dishes up and down stairs to wash, but we do have a shower in our bathroom, a comfortable bed to sleep in and a wonderful view to behold! Summer is coming and all is ticking along nicely in our peaceful world on the hill…

Restoration 101 – 6 – final recollections

In my previous post we did a quick tour of our house.  Now I’ll just clarify a few more quirky features (again copied and pasted from my email updates back in 2012) 

Each entrance to the stairs has a door – a sliding glass (oval) door with an ornate glass door knob (could be worth a bit on Trademe when we’re ready to replace the doors with solid ones!); the bathroom basin actually protrudes down into the pantry;  there are two hemispherical glass windows – a trademark of the architect, well-known local (recently deceased) Peter Beaven. Both of these windows we have covered on the inside cos they really are so ugly, but they can be seen from the outside. There are unusual spaces & cupboards here and there, black exposed beams and lovely rimu paneling above one’s head in the lounge. 

Rimu panelling and black beams in downstairs lounge/entranceway.
Rimu panelling and black beams in downstairs lounge/entranceway.

And to continue…

 So far, as I said, windows have been replaced (with temporary second-hand ones) or glass. We will eventually replace them all with double-glazed windows that match to protect us from the snow!  

Temporary windows installed in living area. Yes, they are upside down - it's a man thing!
Temporary windows installed in living area. Yes, they are upside down – it’s a man thing!
This photo shows end window to be replaced, walls strengthened with ply, beams and panels on ceiling and pink/purple/red window on the right.
This photo shows end window to be replaced; walls strengthened with ply; beams and panels on ceiling, and circular window on the right.

Actually, we plan to add a deck extending from the lounge but that will happen after the new kitchen, bathroom, re-gibbing, re-vamp downstairs,………. The lounge walls have been strengthened with ply under the gib & I’m looking at getting that finished (plastered & painted) sooner rather than later so I have somewhere to relax that appears to be “normal”! Jim & Caleb installed a handbasin in the downstairs bathroom-cum-laundry this weekend – one smallish task out of the way. The plan is to work three Saturdays (Sunday is a day of rest at my insistence!) and have the fourth one off, though I’m yet to see if I can hold the man to this!

And here endeth my email accounts so I will now have to resort to my hand-written diaries. As we progress you will see that changes to plans did occur – the first being that we decided to keep the glass doors.  These have been re-hung but there was really no need to replace them and they remain a feature of quirkiness – minus the glass handles!

So, until next time…

Restoration 101 – 5 – recollections still

Back to my email diary …

Prior to these windows going in we had plywood over the gap which, of course, made the room rather dark & dismal.

Temporary windows in sunroom.
Temporary windows in sunroom.

The second-hand windows are now in place on the western wall of the sunroom/dining room – wow! What a difference! So much light! The afternoon sun streams in – it will be a hot-house in the summer! And the view is lovely – trees with their spring foliage. Actually, we have many trees around the section – cherry blossoms that literally sprung to life the weekend we moved in and a couple of kowhai looking radiant. I am yet to see if tui frequent the trees but do hope so.

They do! And the other birdlife is so sweet to hear on a summer morning 🙂

Cherry blossom from sunroom window.
Cherry blossom from sunroom window.

 

But we’ll move back to the spiral staircase and up half a dozen steps to the second bathroom. The toilet is tucked behind the door to the left and to the right is the sunken bath with metal “guard rail” and large bench space with handbasin – unusual and ugly! 

This photo was taken before we moved in – the mixer had been removed from the wall by the previous owner so we showered downstairs until hubby fitted a new one.

Sunken bath.
Sunken bath.
Top of staircase looking into bathroom.
Top of staircase looking into bathroom.

 

Up another half dozen steps and into our lofty bedroom – another quirky room, complete with seven windows, the biggest of which really does have an awesome view as you’ll see in the photo. The wardrobe is really bad so that’ll be re-vamped and, as mentioned before, we are yet to get a bed that is able to be carried up the staircase.  

Our view from bedroom.
Our view from bedroom.

This room is definitely the warmest in the house as there is even a fan hanging from the lofty ceiling.  

The carpet in this room is fine but we will probably replace it anyway to keep it uniform with the rest of the house.

Looking back, it was such a blessing to move in in spring, though we did have our cold moments as you’ll read in the next post…