Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Lovely lads! Up the workers!

It's just like posts for ages, then two come along at the same time!

Here are the heroes of my building site! I definitely had a few problems finding the right people (I decided AGAINST the totally unprofessional electrician...who turned out to work for a (rehabilitated, admittedly) murderer... One of the plumbers knew him from elsewhere when he came to give me a quote... he said he would have left the site if I had employed him, but I knew almost immediately that he was a no-go, without anyone telling me anything at all. Electrics are so important, and all these things have to be safe. And I have to be able to work with the people and communicate well with them. My German vocabulary has improved massively since I started this project. I can now tell you all sorts of building terms and I know all sorts of stuff that I never even knew existed about the bones of a building.

But let's return to my heroes!

First of all, below, we have D & G. G has a VERY strong Brandenburg accent, and I try as hard as I can never to ring him. We understand each other much better face to face. G is a bricklayer by profession, but he can turn his hand to anything and has taught me a LOT already. He is always cheerful (as long as there's coffee always on the go!) and has an absolute 'can do' attitude, which I treasure. D is a jolly and kind man. A tad shy if I bring friends round; an absolute sweetie. In Germany, workers like to wear their 'uniforms' (a photo project in the planning), and these two are no exception. Here they are stripping the walls. They take on everything I throw at them with good humour and they are both as strong as oxes. "What....we don't need the lift to carry all those boxes of tiles up the stairs". They've hoisted massive, solid wood flooring over the balcony. Nothing is ever too much trouble for them. Love 'em.

D & G (really!!) - they can do almost anything. Really lovely. A tad slow!

Here's Herr H. The plumber. Also good-humoured and totally reliable. He's been here so often....various 'issues' arose with the installation of the heating, but he too, took everything in his stride, though he did admit that he'd never experienced such difficulties before and normally installation and new radiators would normally be a two day job. Let's just say that the chimney wasn't okay, and I had to have loads of extra things done in order to get the heating system installed and 'agreed' by the local 'chimney sweep' - a very powerful man (really a heating engineer extraordinaire, I think!) in Germany (and until 2013 a monopoly....only one man was allowed to tell the plumbers what was allowed, and what had to be changed, and when he was sick, we weren't even allowed by the Guild to contact anyone else until he'd been sick for three weeks). Then came Christmas. Then came new year. Snow. Ice. Difficulties going on the roof....oh you name it. I had the problem with it. But now it's all done and the heating system is safely installed in the kitchen.

Herr H - the lovely plumber

This is the plumber's mate... another cheerful chappie. I don't know his name, but he's another diamond geezer!

The plumber's mate

And this here is the "Schornsteinbauer" who had to fix aforementioned chimney problem. New metal 'thing' had to be installed because the 'sucking power' of the chimney wasn't sufficient for the new heating system, as it needed more Kw of power....or something like was much more complicated at the time, but all sorted now, so apart from the extra unexpected costs, it's becoming a distant memory.

"Schornsteinbauer" (chimney builder!) - this isn't it, by the way!
So that's it for now. More soon, as things are happening fast...must just remember to take my proper camera, as these were made on my iPhone. Not great. Sorry about that.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Baustelle - Building Site

Feb 2013!!!

I'm back... with a short post....loads of things happening in the flat....but VERY darn slowly....these photos were taken back in November or December, I think, and it looks slightly different now, but just wanted to post the inbetweenie stage. Sorry about photo quality....keep forgetting to take my camera, cos always got about a zillion other things on my mind to deal with.

So.... quick update.... all the nasty woodchip paper has been removed.

Mini-hallway...stripped.... bathroom on the left, front door straight ahead
 Decided to knock down the wall between the living room and kitchen....I like the way the two windows are the same (and quite nice, apart from being.... oh thing I'm not prepared, and can't afford to change). I am however changing almost everything else. New heating, new kitchen, new bathroom, no more nasty woodchip paper, new floors and hopefully a couple of new doors....eventually. It really is a major project...and as always, many unforeseen problems (I should say 'challenges') like to raise their ugly heads, but despite all that, I'm really enjoying getting on with it.
Knocked down the wall to the kitchen - so I did decide on open plan!!!

This is the tiny bathroom... there was a very stupid heating system with a large water tank and gas heater here, and rickety old shower in the corner (see previous post - here).... this now has a (small) bath.... and will soon(ish) have a new loo (wall hung) and I bought a really nice Duravit sink for 45 Euros, so that's going in some stage... did my back in putting it in the car, though!). I'm not going for tiles again....only behind the bath and sink (and on the wall behind the loo....not my idea, but in Germany, they love their tiles (but not these ones, surely to goodness!). The rest of the bathroom will be covered over with special plasterboard for wet-spaces (9mm EU rules!) and with darkish brown wood optic tiles on the floor and I want to paint the walls with a duck-egg blue. This option also means I can change the colour if / when I get bored and feel in need of a new look / update!

Mini-bathroom - nasty heating system removed - not a lot else happening here.

A good look at the (tiny) kitchen. I've finally worked out the layout and ordered it...installation date is 23 March, before my lovely Tischler (carpenter and kitchen installer) extraordinaire, Markus goes on holiday to New Zealand for 3 weeks. He's helped me so much. It's a really complicated thing to do.... so many things to think about... This shows all the pipes and electric cables etc... it's going to be, erm, cosy!!! With loads of help from Markus, I've ordered it all, and it's already there, but can't be delivered yet.... bought floor tiles today... they're called wood they look like wooden planks, but are actually ceramic. I toyed with the idea of beautiful concrete tiles from Spain but the cost and the installation complications, not to mention that they are so thick that the floors wouldn't be even into the living room without LOADS of extra work and costs, I decided on going much cheaper. It's always a compromise between money, time and decision-making. So, now I've decided, and at the end of the day, the layout and the size of the kitchen didn't seem worth the enormous cost. Enjoyed looking though....
Mini-kitchen....still looks pretty much the same - installation date 23 March!!! Eek
 And here we have the bedroom / study. This is now plastered and mainly painted. I'm going to paint one wall (the one on the right) in some kind of neutral colour... I like to keep the walls neutral in my bedroom, and keep pattern to a minimum, as I want to bring a bit of life (and regular change) in with my lovely Orla Kiely bedding!

There is now a wall radiator next to the window. There had been a tiny one in the corner on the left, which meant I couldn't use that wall, as well as it not being big enough to heat this room properly, and there weren't many other options. I'm not crazy about those wall mounted radiators, but it really was the best choice for practicality of space, and warmth.
Bedroom - stripped

So, that's my little update. More soon, as it's really coming together now.....slowly but surely.