La Petite Touche
The Renovations to the Residence
Renovations Phase 2 - November 2011
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The Renovations begin:
First clear all the tiles left by the previous owner from the winter salon.
Week 1: Three guys turned up on 10th November to fill in the hole in the winter salon's ceiling where the old staircase used to be (now removed). So a ladder is now required, from the Great Room to get to the first floor in the second part of the house, until the staircase is fitted which won't be for a little while yet.
Week 2: Then the masons arrive (on the 14th) to start the demolition and preparation. The wall that divides the kitchen is demolished revealing a broken beam, which will need to be replaced (expected and in the budget) and is now held in place with the ubiquitous acrow prop or 2.
Next the old ceiling in the lingerie is removed and the floor dug out. Apertures are made in the kitchen and winter salon walls for the new doors. The floors are dug out / filled to the correct levels. (A small digger is hired to help with this work!)
Week 3: This week (commencing 21st November) saw more progress on the "demolition and preparation" phase. Trenching work for the drainage, concreting up the new doorways and the removal of the broken beam have been the main events of the week. The chauffagiste also started the preliminary work on the underfloor heating system for the great room.
The beam removal process deserves a little more explanation. On Thursday afternoon a Manitou (large fork lift) was delivered and parked on the garden heralding something more than had happened to date. The following morning, early, the menuisier arrived with two of his colleagues. The first task was to shore up the kitchen ceiling with acrow bars on either side. By lunchtime all of the masonary around the ends of the beams had been cut away and the beam itself was now held up only by the nails holding the upstairs floor in place. No visible means of support! By half past two the Manitou had been brought into action (by putting its arm through the kitchen window) to support the beam as it was removed and it was in 4 pieces on the ground. At around 600kg it's not light!
The new beam 7.15metres long and 350mm square was delivered on Friday afternoon. It was lifted by the Manitou off the truck as though it was a small plank, and then lowered to waist height so it could be planed. It was then left like this for the weekend.
By the end of Friday the drains had been glued up and placed in position and in the Great Room, had disappeared under a layer of sand which had been tamped and smoothed ready for the next phase.
Week 4 started with an active day again – much excitement and many people on site as the new beam was slid (actually that makes it sound too easy) into place. It involved the attentions of the Manitou driver, 4 carpenters and some assistance from the masons. After what was actually only about 45 minutes it was in situ. The next job was to acrow it into place and build its concrete ‘sleeves’ around it at either end. By the end of the day this was all accomplished.
The carpenters were also putting the framework above for the ceiling upstairs into place and the masons continued their work to line all the floors with polystyrene and the reinforcing mesh, pre-concrete. By Wednesday the concrete bund for the quarter circle stairs in the great room had been completed and the Plumber/Electrician was on site putting in the first fix electrics and plumbing before the concrete arrives. The floors downstairs are now all ready for the concrete layer having had sand, polystyrene, plastic sheets and reinforcing grid laid. The end of the week saw the masons starting the "piquetage" (picking out) of the old "enduit" ready for it to be repointed as "pierre apparente", if it proves to be possible.