July 12, 2011

#1 Progress?

Whenever we start a project like this...there are the doubters...there are the enthusiasts....and there are the folks who just run and hide.  Depending on the hour, and the prevailing winds I can be any and all of those!

This is the view down the cross street from #1.
The Gros Cloche is just around the bend
 The work at this point is lonely and dirty, mostly removing what we don't want and cleaning the slate for what we will create.  Like most old homes, this one had a warren of small rooms which we will open up and create a more open living space.
This will be the main room. I am standing in the food prep area
on a mocked up counter.
 As we develop the plans for this project we have realized that we are creating a home with a grand kitchen, no living room, no dining room, but rather a grand cuisene that will include a couch and a dining room table. Just semantics? or a profound shift in the way we live?
This is the view from the "prep area". There are two windows on each side of this grand room, and on a hot day there is a nice breeze from East to West.
 The home is on an interesting street, there seems to always be something to watch, and I have already lost hours to sitting in the window watching the theater below.
This is the master bedroom window, and it has the best view, long and down the cross street.
 So far my days have been typically varied, rough electrical, some plumbing, lots of demolition; sometimes clean and sometimes in a cloud of centuries old dust.  The begining of a project like this one often has me sitting on a box of torn out something....overwhelmed, and wondering what to do next.  I often make lists so that as one task wraps up I have something to move onto without losing my hardfought inertia.  Its tough when everything needs to be done, and the scheduling seems to prevent anything from happening.  Soon we will move onto larger tasks as I get some new walls built.
Another coffee break?!
 The building has 7 apartments and we are the top floor for most of ours.  This has opened the possibility to, first climb onto the roof!, and second, to use the as yet unused attic space.  The views from the roof are great, all of the ancient rooftops bouncing along under the church spires.
Bordeaux's main catherdral, Pey Berland, in the distance.
I wondered here if Pat knew what was on the other side of the chimney?

Here is where we cut out the ceiling which will become a mezzanine in Oscar's room, with access to attic storage and perhaps somehow a roof terrace, but that's unlikely.

 This home is not nearly as old as Martel was. Bordeaux was a roman city way back when, and the foundations of this building start tospeak to that history, but this building in its current state dates from the 18th century.  Over the centuries, in Martel, there were all sorts of modifications, arches, windows, fireplaces...  Here in #1 there are few items of character like that, so we will try to hilight the ones we have.

This is the old fireplace flue.  I am trying to  devine a manner to reuse it for a kitchen barbecue.

A  pillar in the grand room (kitchen) 
 The Bordeaux Stone is a lovely warm amber colored limestone, very strong in compression, but like butter in its density.  In fact there is an entire new set of tools for finishing the stones, it is a stone you can almost sand smooth and you can drive a nail into it to hang a picture.  Just when I was starting to understand the stones in Martel!
boxes of demolition
So far the biggest obstacle is the removal of material. I have about 8 cubic meters of plaster and brick that I need to get rid of..... I'm still working on a solution that does not include carrying boxes down 63 winding stairs to the street.  And I'm hoping that I can get the new materials delivered through the window on a crane. 
Master bedroom headboard
I can call this image The End.  At the very farthest point in this home is the master bedroom, and the long  trapezoid of a plan ends in this narrow 10 foot windowless stone wall  it will make a splendid headboard and a fitting END.