Posted by: Moon | November 13, 2010

6 Days hard graft, minus 5 walls and a Ceiling !

For the first time in a very long time, I have had a hard week at work… yes, you heard it right .. Work !

We have finally started work on the house, and hard work at that. Our builder, Maros works like  a hero, and between the two of us, we have managed to make some major structural changes to the place. I ache, that’s for sure, esp my hands. This is an old cottage we are renovating, and the Slovaks used to make things to last, compared to the modern buildings, and esp the wood formed building of North America, this baby was built to last !

So, cast you eyes back to the photos here, this is what the place looked like 6 days ago.

Here is what it looks like now !

So, to try to explain how and where we are in the house .. not going to be easy, but I’ll do my best. This is our kitchen ! just out of sight to the right is the large slope we saw before that leads down to the Wine Cellar. The wall with the holes is was the first wall we removed. This not only runs across the house, but also goes up to though the ceiling right up to the roof. Heavy large house bricks in two layers made this really hard work. Slovak bricks are bigger and heavier than English ones, and we need to keep all the whole ones we can for when rebuild the fireplace and the pillars that we need to leave to support the roof once the wall (where I am standing) comes down. I think I had cleaned and stacked over 2000 bricks in the last few days .

This photo is up in the roof / attic. The wall from the photo before came up through the ceiling and  held this beautiful old wooden door in place. We have no idea what to do with this door… it’s too nice for firewood !

Below is the old sitting room. A very small room, and behind the right hand wall, is another very small room, about 4ft wide and runs the length of this room. Very strange set up.. but suits us once these walls are down …

Here’s Maros getting stuck in, and note the large white concrete blocks used to build this wall… they are fucking heavy ! I must have moved about 40 of these damn things. You can now start to see right though the whole house. This photo is taken from the current kitchen end, right down to the first picture, and where our new kitchen will be. If you look behind Maros’ back, you can see the dark square that is the slope down to the wine cellar.. got it ?

This picture below is the reverse of that photos, looking from our ‘new’ kitchen back towards the old kitchen. Now, try to imagine, if you can, that the right hand side wall is not going to be there. Currently it is the external wall that holds the roof !.. but it will be knocked through, leaving us 3 pillars to hold the roof, but extend the width of the house but a further 5 feet. Behind the open door will be one pillar and then further down another. The red square is the typical, Slovak furnace, It seems as if we have got a little lucky, and this one is a modern one that we will removed at a later date, and remove the chimney. We can’t do that now, as temps will plummet soon and could go as low as -20, so we need a source of heat for us to work in. But, this will be moved, and will be the heat source for the house.

We have done a little more since these photos were taken, and I will blog on that after another week of work. What I will say is that we have discovered an absolute gem ! you can see the white ceiling in the photo, well, 2 days of work has bought that ceiling down. It’s a disgusting job, dust and shite everywhere, and it’s a form of plaster that is mixed with straw and wood. A really tough job to get it down, and filthy work… but ….. we knew there would be some wooden beams underneath. We saw in our ‘new’ kitchen the beams that we though would run the whole length of the house, and they do !!.. the best thing is these beams are the old, original Oak beams, and they are stunning. With some renovation on them, they will be perfect for our house.

The far end has caused us a little rethink. These old beams are a little disorganised for our bathroom. That’s ok as we were not going to have them on show in the bathroom anyway,. but with the structure we wanted…. well, there would be no support for the, so we are rethinking the design at that end.

So, after spending my last 6 days endlessly moving rubble out of the house, we have made some great changes. We are delighted our builder is a good man, who works his nuts off. I haven’t worked with that many builders, but I have never seen anyone work so hard as him. He speaks a little English, and lives in the village, and I would recommend him to anyone.

Next week will be much of the same, removing the radiators and piping, and then we have to think about actually building something !!!

Meg is no help btw, curiosity kill the cat apparently….. hmmm, I think it might have something in store for Meg !

Happy Days



  1. Wow I can’t believe the change! You’ve done absolutely loads – can’t wait to see the house as you transform it.

    • Demolition always makes a huge difference, it will slow down the progress when we have to actually build some things !

  2. Wow you must be wrecked, what a week! cant wait to see the changes happen. Sounds like it is going to be a fab house.

    • We hope it will be, and old traditional farm house is the aim !

  3. Now I know why you are going to bed early and not watching the football! This is a massive job. You are lucky to have a dedicated builder.

    • He gets paid by the hour, and when he is there, he works damn hard, it’s the Slovak way …. yes, a huge job, but so far, working out well… very excited by it all… but exhausting !

  4. Funny that you would demolish first. Here with my renovations, my contractor is building in walls first for my extended kitchen and putting in the new foundation for my office before we demolish the walls in the old kitchen and bedroom. I’ll post before and after pictures later.
    But you have done a huge amount of work. Congratulations.

    • I agree, but it’s because none of these internal walls are holding walls, so they may as well come down now, and we can see what we have and the space we have…. long long way to go, but it’s all good…

  5. Ha better you than me. Those blocks do look heavy, I’d have keeled over after that lot. Call me to help with the painting and decorating.

    • I’ll hold you to that, but I am not paying travel expenses !!

  6. Wow, you are making good progress, aren’t you? And it takes courage to make those kind of changes, and vision, too! More power to your elbow!

    As to that lovely door, here’s what I would do. I’d sacrifice three or four foot off one end of the living space up there, and turn it into a ‘junk’ room, using that door for access.

    It’s a dream I have for our own (very long) loft space. Living space in the centre, three or four foot partitioned off at each end for junk storage with full sized door access instead of stupid little traps.

  7. looks like fun, but a word of warning, in my experience old houses are actually held up by the walls that are within them! from the photos there doesn’t seem to be anything but wooden beams and not an acro in sight !!! an acro is a temporary support system that could save your life when knocking down old walls. Are you doing the demolition alone ? Be careful, sometimes when walls are knocked out from old houses the ceiling above can stay in place for quite a while before it gives way, a hard frost will do it if it’s going to go.
    good luck, wish i was there.

    • Don’t panic… I am not doing this alone, we have had roofers and builders in and I am doing with our builder. The oak beams have always supported the roof are still there, and we are making sure all is supported as it should be. Some new internal walls going up today, with supporting pillars etc….. I would not attempt this alone !!.. so get a flight over here .. could do with you !

  8. Lots of hard work, but will be amazing when it’s done.

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