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Demolishing The Divide Wall
Chanson de la Semaine

'Potters Field'

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Taking down the dividing wall

When we first viewed the house we realised the living room space was too small for what we were looking for. However, there was a wall dividing that room from the breadoven room, and so we took it on faith that we'd be able to remove that wall without the house falling down. Fortunately our faith was rewarded and Graham's brother, Keith - who is a structural engineer - confirmed that, as long as we followed a number of guidelines, we'd be able to remove it. And so we did.
First off, we had to make a hole at each end of the wall, large enough to fit a block of concrete called a pad stone. This supports the wooden beams which span the room and support the upper floor when the wall is removed. After they are installed and fixed we knock out a letter-box type slot from end to end. This allows us to slip the beams in and rest them on the pad stones. The beams are bolted together with 16 millimetre stud bar and then we begin the process of removing the stone wall beneath the beams. Outside Rog and Barb had prepared a wall of gabions whose purpose was to contain the rock coming out of the wall. More of that below. When the wall was removed we left a stub of wall, about a metre in depth either side, and finished this off by edging and pointing it. The stub was left for structural reasons - giving more solidity to the beams as well as the external walls.

Layout before and after
The Bread Oven Room

So, during the demolition and remodelling of the wall divide the breadoven was cleaned and restored. That involved lots of barbeque cleaner, wire brushes attached to grinders and elbow grease. Pretty happy with the result. This will not be a functioning bread oven but it will be a feature of the living room and will be wired for lighting.

The Gabions
While the wall was coming down inside, rog had the delightful job of digging a level trench to accomodate a row of gabions we wanted to install. The purpose of the gabions was twofold: they were to define the two levels of the garden, so, rather than a slope we had a series of terraces. The second purpose was to take all the stone coming out of the wall and give it a permanent home. The problem we experienced with our first renovation was what to do with all the material produced. Mostly it got moved from one part of the terrain to the other: lots of man hours. This time round we've been trying to avoid that as much as poss. That's the reason for the hardcore on the veg plot paths. Barb provided the technical knowhow, constructing the gabions from the kits, while rog hit a lot of things with mallets.
The Stairs
Before we started to rip the floor up prior to preparing it for concrete, we had to take down the old stairs. They were bloody heavy and had to be dismantled before they could be removed. I'm sure we can use the wood for something interesting.
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