18 October 2009

The renovations update

Well cash is tight - what's new? But we are plodding on.

The back walls of the house, kitchen and bathroom are now cleared back to their original width and the accumulation of dirt and rubble that had been pressing against them has been cleared away. A massive, manual effort as we had no access for diggers or excavators. We estimate about 3 feet by 3 feet by 80 feet of soil and back fill was cleared away. Whats that in volume about 480 square feet, wow nearly the same volume as a local flat here in Hong Kong!

The slope behind the house is now cut back to a safe distance and has been reinforced with a cladding of wire netting over poured with concrete. Weep holes are also now in the wall to allow any accumulation of water to escape out rather than backing up behind the concrete (as it was before).

The back walls have been repaired and additional brickwork added to fill up the holes left behind by the excavations. The whole of the exterior of the house is now ready for final painting.

The kitchen has been designed, delivered, installed, argued over and then partially re-installed after the stirling efforts of probably the worst kitchen fitter ever to have graced Hong Kong (and I do not mean me or Nuch). A relative of Ray Charles I reckon.

The bathroom has been rebuilt and tiled and now sports a new shower and sink but we note now that the floor may need to come up and be redone as our intrepid workmen set the floor to slope away from the floor drain. Indeed it slopes in exactly the opposite direction.

We have all the shower fittings and the sink fittings ready to be plumbed in but as the water is not connected yet we are awaiting that to occur first.

Talking of water, we have re dug two wells, one for flushing water and one for boiling water. Both wells will need clearing every sixth months as the weed growth is pretty rapid. The main potable water is till being supplied from a third well much higher up the hillside and is providing clear, sweet and consistent water.

Inside the house the floors have been re levelled and all the old hollow concrete removed and replaced. Whereas before there was in internal and open gully to take away the water that was leaking in through the back walls, we have now hopefully stopped the leak by digging back the debris outside, resealing the walls and floor and also adding a polythene liner under the floor. Let's see.

The windows are in as are the front doors but due to the odd decisions of others we note that the mosquito doors are upside down, an easy fix but it does mean more concreting etc. Amazingly when you look at the house the windows appear to be crooked but in fact the windows are vertically aligned , just the walls are not!

The outside sitting areas are now fifty percent re floored, the covered area in front of the kitchen and bathroom has been completed and we will have this completed with a waist height wall to enclose it to the front. The remaining outside area will be re-floored this coming week.

Also now completed is a rejuvenation of the front parapet wall which was rather badly finished and rough. A new facade wall of bricks has been built up in front of it which will be cemented over next week ready for painting to match the house.

What's left, well the electrics and the plumbing and the internal decoration. I would say we have broken the back of it now and although we don not have the cash to complete it just yet we estimate about a month's more work is needed.

Once all that is done we can think about furniture and a house warming party.

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