Disaster and triumph

We’ve a disaster and a triumph in the fortnight since my last report on the Martinborough build.

We knew things were going to slow down building-wise, because Bruce had a date with the surgeon’s knife in Masterton Hospital to have a gall bladder removed. It seems he’s been crook most of the year and it took them a long time to figure out what the problem was. Poor guy – working on our job must have been miserable for him at times.

Fortunately most of Bruce’s big jobs were finished. The exception was installing a big door in the old kitchen wall, but more about that below.

The disaster was a flood in the new kitchen, caused by a couple of gib wallboard screws puncturing a water pipe. It was a few days before Liz discovered it (I was in Wellington, preparing our Ngaio house for sale).

Liz had an early morning visit from Wayne, our plumber, who had to cut into our brand-new weatherboards to get at the problem. Major grrr…

There’s been much to and fro-ing with the insurance company, which will cover the damage. It could have been much worse if Liz had been in Wellington with me. Bruce wouldn’t have discovered it because he was at home recuperating.

The MDF sides of some of the cupboards have soaked up moisture, expanded and will be replaced in the new year when the kitchen company is back on deck. The vinyl lifted and expanded. It may not need to be replaced, but the flooring company wants to make sure no bubbles remain when it dries. If there are bubbles, the entire flooring has to be replaced. They’ll check in two months’ time.

It was very distressing for Liz, who was beginning to enjoy the best kitchen we’ve ever owned, after what has been a long, problem-plagued build. But fortunately the kitchen is useable and we’ll just soldier on.

Meanwhile, today I finally got the new room ready for painting. It was a slow process, mainly because of all the exposed beams. A million and a half nail-punch holes had to be filled and sanded.

It was made worse because beading is nailed alongside all the beams. We would have preferred the beams to protrude cleanly from the ceiling, but Bruce said that eventually cracks would appear in the adjacent plaster – as has happened in a similar ceiling in his own home. One might have hoped the over-the-top building strengthening the Council insisted on would have prevented crack-inducing flexing. Apparently not. But it should still look reasonably OK, because the beading will be the same colour as the ceiling.

I spent a good part of today protecting the beams with masking tape and tomorrow we start the undercoat.

The triumph

The triumph of the week has been the final installation of a new back door in the old kitchen wall, where I had removed the old kitchen bench. Light from the big area of glass has transformed the room.

Sun streaming through the new door in the early morning.

Early morning sun streaming through the new door. The TV set will eventually be on a much larger entertainment unit. The newly recovered antique sofa from Uncle Bruce’s house will go into the new room and be replaced by a couple of leather recliner chairs from Wellington. A matching settee from Wellington will be against the far wall.

Also transforming the wall has been our new Sony 55-inch TV screen. It’s wonderful. The MySky HDI and home theatre system had been moved over from Wellington. We get Sky in this room but also in the new room (on our Wellington 32-inch TV) and the bedroom (on a 24-inch TV we got free with our Panasonic heat pump, which has just been installed).

Glenn installing the heat pump. It's cooling abilioty was welcome while I worked on the ceiling.

Glenn installing the heat pump. It’s cooling ability was welcome while I worked on the ceiling.

Sky is available on all these TV sets because of cabling installed by local electrician and TV expert Wayne Thomas. He added a wireless system that lets a suitably doctored MySky remote change channels anywhere in the house.

So our altered and extended home is close to being finished. We’re keen to get the new part painted before Christmas, and then we’ll be able to install the rest of the furniture: sofa, armchair, chest of drawers, table and chairs.

The biggest sub-contract job left to finish is electrical work. There’s still a lot to do. If only we could chain our sparky to the house until he’s completed all the work!

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