Tuesday, 21 June 2011

December 2010

Rene in the kitchen just before ...
 December arrived, and we had in the meantime bought some materials for the kitchen renovation. Reason: The original kitchen floor was really worn to the point that we were starting to worry that we might fall through it!! The old floorboards were just really bad, and the floor was sagging and not level at all, which meant that the structure underneath was unsound as well..

Myself chipping away some of the
uneven bits
So seeing as we had the materials, we decided that now was the time to get it done... 2 weeks before Christmas!! Suffice it to say it was probably the most stressfull 2 weeks ever.. because once we had the old floor off we could see what we wereactually dealing with, and only then did we realise what a huge amount of work it would be.

What we saw was quit a shock. The old supports/beams were hardly resting on the foundation, they were all loose, and I believe that if we had left the floor as it was, they would surely have caved in. So we had to remove everything, which left us with a hole in the floor, which sloped from the sittingroom side to the kitchen window side... this would have to be levelled first of all. Then there was the problem of having to build a false wallon the sittingroom side  for the new beams to rest on..

Jan and Andreas mixing cement for the false wall
Andreas did a stirling job of helping Jan to mix the cement needed for the false wall. To build it we used Hob-house bricks, which is a concrete brick that is about two bricks wide, and two bricks high, with an air pocket in the middle. Anyways itwent rather quick to get them in once Jan had made a mini-foundation for them along the sittingroom side of the kitchen.

Jan smoothing the "foundation" for the false wall

With copious amounts of coffee, he managed to get it all done quite quickly. This left us with nothing much to do except wait for everything to set, and dry.. we would only be able to continue the day after.. By now we had about 1 1/2 weeks before Christmas...

Adding the new beams

We then laid out some waterproofing in the form of black builders plastic, and after that we started to lay the new beams, these were 15cm thick, 60cm apart, and resting on a 7cm thick plank on either side of the kitchen. Jan nailed in small wedges to help keep them in place, and this would be the beginning of our new floor. It was quite exciting at this point though because the prospect of actually having a level floor with no sag for the firt time in two years was BIG!!!

Bubby and Laika
The dogs though this was all rather strange behaviour, and sat for a while watching us work. The next step though would be to get all the waterpipes in place. Jan decided to place the pipes under the flooring, which is what they do in most overseas houses. This prevents water from freezing in the pipes in winter, and you have the added benifit of not having visible piping. After that we had to bring in the chipboard sheets for the purpose of creating a nice surface for the laminate which we had chosen. These went in quickly, and we were soon able to lay out the non-slip insulating layer of foam, and start putting down the first rows of laminate.

The laminate flooring completed
Before we moved all the furniture back, we painted the walls, and sunk in the electrics for plugpoints as well. This was a big thing too, as before that all the appliances in the kitchen would run of on singular plug - in the sittingroom!!! So no more cables all over... :-) We decided on a nice subtle yellow for the walls, and that mixed with the white floor gave a nice Scandinavian feel. It was quite strange to see the "new" kitchen taking shape.

The completed kitchen
The window side of the kitchen

The layout has changed a bit since, and we have also added a built-in shelf on the far side, which is what you see when you come into the kitchen from the stoep. The ceiling has also been painted white, and the beams varnished. Jan reconstituted all the old floorboards to make a corner cupboard for all our odd things, and brooms etc, he also used the old floorboards to make the shelf I mentioned earlier, and to make a door between the sittingroom and our bedroom... :-) So nothing was wasted. We managed to finish about two days before Christmas, which was great, seeing as we had decided to have a traditional Danish Christmas this year with most of the trimmings.... hehehe. But I tell you - It was great fun to do the kitchen, and in hindsight even though it was stressful, we learned a great deal about our own capabilities!!

The corner cupboard the Jan built :-)

Our garden at Christmas... quite green and lush!

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