Just before we move in .. and fit the skirtings & doors we have our painter John Lowe back to the house to apply the final coat of paint this week
He’s giving all the walls in the house a coat with brush & roller plus taking the chance to fill any dings and marks in the plaster to give the best finish possible. After he completes we will fit the window boards and skirtings & doors which are all pre-painted and finished.
As before we are using the Johnstones Acrylic Durable Matt in white. The paint has a good clean low-shine finish and is wipeable downable with a damp clothable or with a sheet of Plenty!
Measure twice and cut once .. works for timber but equally for plasterboard as it is a real mess if you have to repair incorrectly placed holes. I have therefore been very careful to measure and re-measure the fixings for the towel radiators.
The towel radiators are electric and switched for each bathroom on the outside … so we can use them when the need arises. Finding the wall studs and ensuring that they are aligning with the fixing brackets is a bit of a nightmare and not always successful so we have to use rawlplug expanding bolts to fix those brackets where the plasterboard is hollow.
One of the more unusual elements of the interior design of the house are the concealed window blinds in the living room.
We have created a vertical space inside the walls above the long windows on the south and west facing windows. The cavity is approximately 100mm deep and goes the full height of the walls above the windows up to ceiling level. Inside the cavity about 3.5metres above the window we fixed a timber beam with pulleys. A 4mm plastic coated wire rope is used to raise and lower a timber beam (see photos below) which has a second set of lighter pulleys attached. These lighter pulleys will be used to raise and lower the window blinds inside the wall cavity. The window blinds will be made of a standard polyester fabric with a weighted bar stitched at the end (same as on a roller blind).
If the blinds should ever need to be replaced or a cord breaks the upper timber beam held on the wire cables can be lowered.
We just need to have the fabric blinds made up to fit the openings and get the cord and we can pull the whole contraption up into the walls.
We had to wait until the plumber had installed the sink tap and drainage and plumbing for the dishwasher before we could get the kitchen completed.
The finished kitchen looks really well with the stainless steel countertop and integrated sink combined with the gloss white drawer units built and installed by Colleran Kitchen & Appliance Studio based in Doora Industrial Estate in Ennis.
Tiling complete it was time to fit the shower and sink. While the plumbers fitted the shower I got on with the sink.
The sink is made from a timber kitchen countertop which was cut to size by my kitchen fitter – John Colleran Kitchens. All the wall tiles and the sink & chrome wastewater trap supplied by Tubs & Tiles in Ennis and tap from A&R Supplies in Limerick and finished and assembled and fitted by yours truly.
A few coats of hardwearing varnish on the timber and our custom sink is complete. Just have to get a few tiles for the splashback and sort a mirror and light and we are done.
With the electricity working we were able to get the underfloor heating system commissioned.
Ashgrove Renewables (www.ashgrove.ie) from Cork came to finish off the system fitting the Air to Water heating unit, storage tank and connecting it all up to the underfloor pipework. The Mitsubishi Air to Water heating system will provide all our heating and hot water requirements.
A few days later they connected and tested the kickspace heaters in the bathrooms & bedrooms upstairs.
With all heating systems installed we just have to get the plumber to connect the water for our hot water system and we are complete.
Finally finished the last few courses of the glass block wall for the downstairs bathroom.
It took a few days to complete. I set the first course and levelled them which was a bit tricky on the sloping concrete floor. Once the first course had cured I laid 3 or 4 courses at a time and clamped a level and timber to the end column of blocks to help keep them in alignment.
After snapping off the guide pieces on the plastic spacers and cleaning up between the blocks. I’ll give them a few weeks to dry fully before applying the final grout finish between the blocks.
All blocks, spacers, grout and steel reinforcing bars were sourced from the Glass Block Co. in Lucan, Dublin (www.glassblockco.ie). They had a great selection, competitive prices and very helpful with tips on installation for a rookie like me!!
After almost a month wait .. we finally have power at the house.
Our electrician Kieran Brennan had submitted the RECI cert to the ESB Networks and it was all pretty straightforward …. to that point.
However dealing with ESB Networks was a complete fiasco. It is hard to believe the arrogance, stubborness and sheer lack of professionalism in this organisation. From talking to others it seems that my experience was far from unusual and the reputation is well deserved.
We were given a date for connection, nobody turned up on that date. After several phonecalls we got a crew to come to site a few days later who immediately left as they said the pipework wasn’t in the exact position required. Within 10 minutes of their departure the issue was addressed (in spite of the fact we had not been alerted to the issue) but it took another week to get the crew back to finally perform the connection.
On almost all occasions it was painful to deal with ESB Networks with their failure to respond and a somewhat “wild-west” attitude to scheduling where nothing is ever disclosed and crews are roaming the countryside on-call to wherever the supervisor decides to send them (so you don’t want to anger the supervisor – a lot of tongue-biting is required).
You’d know there was a monopoly involved – in the lack of customer care or focus.
In any case we have power, paid a small fortune for a connection that was completed in an hour and hope to never have to deal with ESB Networks again.
All the rainwater and sewage pipework has been connected into the external tanks.
Rainwater from the main and side roof areas is going to a tank in the front lawn .. about 3750 litres in a large concrete holding tank with a pump to return the water into the house for toilets etc. With extra treatment it could also be used for drinking water but no plans for that at present.
The wastewater and sewage goes to a P60 sewage system in the garden. The percolation area has been cleared and pipework laid. By tomorrow it should all be covered over and we can begin to bury it all underground and prepare the levels.