September 2006

The arrival of our second daughter has slowed our progress somewhat, our first new effort has been to commence work in earnest on the main kitchen. We have been using a kitchenette which was put in when half the house was rented in the 60's, it's a bit small but it is usable. The main kitchen was built as an addition to the house in the 1880's and replaced an earlier building to the rear of the house, the foundations of which are still visible.

The foundations of the original Kitchen


When we first bought the house we cleaned out the kitchen and found that the entire floor was destroyed by dry rot. A shame as the flooring material was actually cedar.

The kitchen as it was when we purchased the property

After removing the floor we found that there was insufficient clearance between the floor and the ground and we needed to remove several cubic metres of dirt to allow sufficient underfloor clearance, this was a fun activity achieved using a wheelbarrow and shovel

The kitchen with the floor removed, the bricks in the centre of the photo were supporting the bearer

After digging to increase the subfloor space

As mentioned above the kitchen was constructed in the 1880s we suspect that the materials from the original structure were reused, in the photo below you can see stones that have previously been in a chimney reused in the wall of the kitchen

Stones covered in soot which had previously been used in a chimney

After digging out the floor we dug new foundations for the stumps that would support the new bearers and joists. the new subfloor was then installed.

The new subfloor installed (almost)



April 2007

The time has come to finally complete the floor in the main kitchen. At this stage we have decided to put down chipboard flooring and then we will probably lay a hardwood floor over the top once we have completed the other works to be done. The ceiling was covered with fibro at some point in time and from what we can see the original VJ boards are in good condition underneath. The possibility of damaging an expensive hardwood floor whilst doing this work made putting chipboard down an attractive option.

The new floor installed

Since the original floor was destroyed by dry rot due to excessive moisture we needed to get some more ventilation happening. There were only two vents in the the kitchen, one under the outside door and one under the door into the rest of the house. The 100mm pipe in the picture below runs under the floor to the right hand side of the chimney allowing some airflow to the area that was worst affected by the rot. The pipe goes out through a hole in the wall created for the plumbing at some point in the past. We were reluctant to knock any more holes in the western wall in case we destabilise it, also knocking a hole in a 14" thick stone wall is a somewhat daunting task. In any case the original floor built on the dirt lasted over 100 years so when this one needs replacing we're not likely to be around to worry about it.

The western side of the room showing the subfloor ventilator


The next tasks will be to repair the plaster, removing the bottom few inches and installing skirting boards as the there were none fitted, the walls were simply plastered down to floor level. The fibro ceiling will also need to be removed, then we can think about fitting out our new kitchen.

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