Dream house, dream life, yeah right. Dream on…

Posts tagged ‘cracks’

26 Million dollar table

This Summer there were a few days that hit ‘roast’ on the thermometer. On one of them I hosted a few friends  for a BBQ on the terrace.  I don’t think any of them realised what a miracle it was that we were seated at a table.

 

See this was my table.

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And this was my table the day before…

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And this was my table leg…

2014JAN12 005aNot only had the bottom broken off, but further inspection found it soft and spongy all the way up.

When the leg first started breaking off I thought I could maybe cut all the legs shorter and put on castors. But when I realised the extent of the damage I was devastated. This was MY table. I bought it from a clearance table when out shopping for a 1/5th of the original price and somehow managed to fit it in the car. I then had a prolonged ‘discussion’ with a man in K&D who insisted I didn’t want to varnish it as I would have to sand and recoat it every year. He insisted I should ‘oil’ it. I didn’t want to oil it, I wanted a table I could wipe clean before eating off it.

I pointed out that the tin of oil he had handed me instructed one to “sand back and recoat every 12 months” and that having grown up with wooden boats I certainly hadn’t had to revarnish them every Summer. I finally walked out with my can of marine varnish. I loved how that table came up.

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That was 8 years ago.  It was re-coated in the third year.  It should have been redone a couple of years ago but somehow it never made it to the top of the job list. (Funny that, since I was stripping and varnishing floors and painting walls etc that year.) There were a couple of cracks in the top that were starting to lift with the rain. Two years on these were serious rifts in the wood. But it was usable. At least it was until half the leg fell off.

‘Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability… ‘

Well I thought I did, until I tried to replicate the angles cut at the top and bottom of each leg. I turned it, turned it again, picked it up, looked at it closely, stepped back, held straight edges across the angles,  but I could not find a way to cut the new leg to replicate the old. I ended up coming inside and phoning my reno guru who talked me through how to cut them – which still didn’t make much sense. I walked outside, picked up the new leg, turned it  around and wham, there was the angle, so easy to replicate. Don’t know why I couldn’t see it before, I tried holding it every way possible.

Once it was cut I needed to replace the bolts. This was the tricky bit. I thought I would have to figure some new way to bolt all the way through, but amazingly Bunnings had exactly what I needed – furniture bolts (and an employee who could tell me how to install them – put a nut or two on the top section, then use them with a spanner to screw the bottom section into the leg.)

2014JAN12 007a 2014JAN12 008aI eyeballed the angle for drilling the holes for the bolts and no one was more surprised than I was when I got it right the first time – the bolts slid into the table bracket like they had been made for it.  I’ve also put plastic ‘feet’ on the end of each leg so they are no longer sitting directly on the cement.

TaDah! Dinner is served.2014JAN12 017

Later I pulled the table back into the carport and dug the bad wood out of the cracks, scraped and sanded  the varnish back to raw wood. The biggest of the cracks had almost rotted out the entire piece –  the ends of the slats were barely resting on wood at all. I knew my skills didn’t extend to replacing the edge of a circular table, so I stuffed the hole with wood glue and sawdust, clamped it, let it dry, stuffed in some more, let that dry and then filled the top with wood filler.

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I thought I would probably have to paint the edge of the table black to hide all the filler, but  after the first coat of varnish it was not that noticeable.

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Eight coats of varnish later and the table is back to it’s former glory… although it’s a different colour. Much more like teak and a range of tones  instead of the solid gold that it used to be.

I like it.

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(Yes, every time I tried to take a photo it had been raining.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tour Time: The Living Room

The official description of this house is 4 bedrooms, 3 living areas. When we moved in, from a much smaller house the number of ‘lounge rooms’ was confusing. No one knew where to  find anything 🙂 So they became the ‘sunroom’ (off the 3 children’s bedrooms, the lounge room (previously featured in the new study/salon/craft room) and the living room where we essentially did live.  Open  plan from the kitchen this room takes up one side of the house. I often say “I’ve bought a house with  no walls,” and this room is a perfect example. L-shaped it has the kitchen bench at one end, double doors and a door to  the hall on one wall, a small piece of wall on the opposite side and an L with 3 sides of windows.

I’ve just spent a couple of weeks with  it covered with  drop cloths and plaster dust.  It’s strange, but it was hard to  find pics to  show what it used to  look like because  I moved stuff around after Mum died, and I have  strong memories of  previous arrangements, but not necessarily  photos of them. One constant – the TV has always been in the corner, so it was visible from the kitchen as well as all of the room.

(Click the image for a larger view)

My father liked television, it was always on in the evenings. After he died I don’t know if it was habit or company or what but Mum always turned the tv on before the news. So it’s interesting that I haven’t actually watched tv in this house in nearly 18 months, and in fact none of the TVs are currently even plugged in, let alone tuned in. (But don’t get between me and my computer or I’ll hurt you ;))

The kitchen end of the living room has changed from  seating to  dining and back again over the years.

I bought the stools from a market just after Mum went, they were a horrid 80’s ‘teak’ orange so I stained them walnut.

The organ only moved into the room when the carpets came up in the lounge.

The L – full of sun all year round.

Those shelves were really annoying me.

That was the before. Several weeks of filling cracks, painting the ceiling,  prying shelves out of walls,  filling holes,  filling more holes, sanding filler, filling along the edges of the windows and cupboards and door frames later, I could finally start painting. I’m still  working on artwork, but…  ta da!

It feels so good to  get rid of that cream (well  okay, it’s still on the windows and the kitchen, but progress has been made!) The walls are  white duck half and the trim is Lexicon.

It’s really hard to get this colour to  photograph properly with  so many windows around it. It’s Dulux Azure Blue, the same as in the study/salon. To me it’s a bit deeper  than it shows on-screen. I love it more every day. I have plans for the cupboards over the bench – hence why they haven’t been painted yet.

From the kitchen – the curve is from the wide-angle lens. (I know nothing is straight in this house but seriously it’s not that obvious.)

De-Shelving

I’ve spent today removing the glass from my bifold doors and sanding and varnishing them ready for the new glass. With any luck  on Monday they will have 5mm shaved off the outside edges (“De plane, de plane!” Sorry, I digress,) and be hung. And that will essentially finish  stage 1 of the renovations. Scary  stuff.

The living room doesn’t have  many walls – it’s essentially  three walls of windows and one of doors. It did have  two sets of built in shelves.

The first thick Tas oak shelves built by my  father in the  late 70s. The pillar they are on is actually a chimney. When we moved in there was a small wood burner in the flat below, and an oil heater in this room. Dad hated oil heaters so it went  so fast I don’t remember what it looked like. The shelves were built to  accomodate a revolving selection of plants from the large glasshouse that Dad had in the back yard.  I don’t seem to  have many pictures, but I have mental images of them stacked with  begonias and coleus, overflowing with  colour.

Hoewever everything I own seemed to be too large or wide or just didn’t fit on the shelves. And the couch was too close to the coffee table and looked clumsy pushed against a shelf.

They also seemed to make rearranging the room impossible – their position in the middle of the room seemed to define all the spaces around them. They had to go.

Problem is, my father built things to last. I didn’t realise until later, but I could have climbed the things instead of a ladder to paint the ceiling! Each shelf was attached to the wall with a 30cm dynabolt (long bolt into  a metal tube that  expands  against the brickwork.  The bolts were placed through holes through the depth of the shelf . The holes were covered by a facing of 1cm thick timber that was not only nailed on but glued too. Each shelf was in 3 pieces – but not just a diagonal seam – it had a another angle in it (hard to describe and not really visible in this pic – the middle shelf was like a jigsaw piece, it interlocked.

Chisel, hammer, more chisels, pinch bar, just getting the strip off the first piece took  some 30 minutes hard work.

One section of shelf the bolt simply wouldn’t  shift so I ended up pulling the whole thing out of the wall. It managed to pull a pulverised brick out with  it. This was the second layer of  filler  in that hole

The phone plug was half way up the wall. Not just inserted in the plaster – oh no, that would have been too  easy, it was mortared in againt the bricks.

Nearly done. A full week of  filling and smoothing and setting and filling.  Of course the originsal wall isn’t flat or level, so that makes it hard to work out what level is smooth.

One edge of this hole is actually  several millimetres higher than the opposite.  It could be worse, the house across the road has textured plaster – every  mend is visible for ever. Renovation there is going to have to start with coating every wall with plaster board.

All in all, although I KNOW where the patches are, most people can’t find them so I’m pretty pleased.

In the opposite corner we had a built in tv unit.

I actually designed these shelves 20+ years ago and we had them built. Practically the tv was too far away from where I put chairs, and again limited the rearrangability (oooh a new word!) of the whole room.

So, lifting off the tops was relatively simple (got to find a good project to reuse that timber).

Then the strips were screwed into the wall – simple. Some of the screws weren’t even filled as they weren’t visible.  Well, three of these long screws managed to strip themselves as I tried to undo them. Tried levering them out of the wall, but they wouldn’t shift (the wood broke around them). No hope of hammering them far enough into the wall. I ended up  using a combination of hacksaw, pliers and brute force to make them break at the top of the thread.

However the green plastic plugs were still in every hole and wouldn’t pull out, nor push in enough to get plaster over them. So the neat little screw holes had to be opened up with a chisel and the front of the plug sliced off. Oh great, more gaping holes to fill.

I used the better part of two large tubs of polyfilla in this room (the ceiling cracks weren’t deep, but they were plentiful). Sometimes I feel like I am singlehandedly keeping Bunnings in business. Plastering done, time to paint.
Coming up – the living room reinvented.

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