This is where the exciting stuff begins – the building. That was until we hit concrete, literally. But a bit more about that later. First off, it was time to knock out what was left of the back window and door frame. With a few support beams in place, the builders made relatively quick work of taking down the double brick. For such a small section, there were hundreds. And hundreds…
Then the old clad ceiling had to come out so that it could be levelled off with the new one. It was a shame, I did love the look of them but on closer inspection, they were a bit dodgy. The kitchen ceiling was actually a false one. Yes, it covered a semi-rotting yet beautifully patterned old plaster ceiling underneath and had been hung more than 30cm lower. I was inclined to remove the newer one and reinstate the old higher ceiling but it was beyond saving. Even with the lower ceiling, the height in the room was fabulous anyway – have to love old houses for that! So that meant that the RSJ (support beam) could fit in the gap between the old and new ceiling avoiding the need to have an obvious bulkhead aka beam. A new gyprock ceiling was installed and allowed for a seamless connection. BONUS.
As you may remember, I hammer-drilled away the old terracotta tiles that were in the back section and it revealed some gorgeous old tiles in what would have been the original outside loo. Unfortunately only a small patched remained but it was great to see that little piece of history. It also revealed the concrete sub-floor, which I was expecting. What we weren’t expecting was how thick it was. Oh yes. More than 400mm thick. It was at a higher level than the kitchen floorboards, so unless I wanted a step up in the middle of my room, it had to be levelled out. Inch by inch.
This quite literally took a week to do. It was an extra week of work that I wasn’t expecting so it added to the cost and timeframe. But was well worth it. As the builder had to use a wet saw, there was concrete mud and dust flying everywhere. You think you’ve covered everything up and protected it, but it still managed to get in everywhere!!
Next job was to lay a new timber floor. The builder did a superb job. There’s something delightful about the smell of freshly cut timber. I had literally been walking a plank to get outside for a little while now so this was bliss. Now the room started to feel cohesive and livable!
Now as you can see from the picture to the left, there was a tiny little window in what was the laundry (original loo). I would guess that where they installed the window used to be the door to the loo. The window had been roughly installed and painted shut. It had to go. Bye, bye. I scoured the internet for a replacement window.
Problem #1: The space I had to work with didn’t fit any standard window sizes. Problem #2: Custom made was too expensive.
I do love my googling and my persistence paid off. I found a company in Queensland (another State for those visiting from overseas) who sold random leftover windows. I got a solid oak double-hung window shipped down to Sydney for less than having one made. A saving of well over $100!