Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Stairs (still)

Pine handrail and copper balusters
So, after a nice distraction we’re back to the main job – installing the hand rail and balusters on the staircase.  The pine hand rail we’re using came from a 100+ year old house and, would you believe, is just about the right length.  The balusters on the other hand took quite a lot of thinking.  One early idea  was to get our friends to make one baluster each and then install what was sure to be a random assortment.  But we figured we wanted to finish this decade and dismissed the idea.  We then looked around for off the rack solutions and scoured second hand building places.  But not much really grabbed us and the few that did must have been gold plated going on the price. 
The challenge has been to get something that:
  • Fitted in with the overall “restored old house” ambience,
  • Met the building regulations,
  • Fell within the budget,
  • Could be installed by us, and
  • Had a warehouse, industrial feel.
We finally settled on 19mm copper pipe connected by brass plumbing fittings.  We’ve used the same approach to “hide” the electrical wiring and also, not surprisingly, for the actual plumbing.  Putting the pieces together is slow but giving me ample time to consider a few other outstanding problems.  Firstly, I need to find some non-slip nosing for the stairs that meets the regs but doesn’t look like it came from the Jetsons. There’s also an awkward bit on the landing that I’m not sure how a rail will work and, unfortunately, I’m in need of one more stair newel. 

Apart from that…. we’re close.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A nice distraction

Farm house and 2 storey garage
We got a little distracted recently when the opportunity popped up to remove some bits from my father-in-law’s child hood home.  The building, which is over a hundred years old, has seen several decades pass since it was someone’s home.  The avant-garde lean on the two storey garage provides a visual queue as to what will probably happen next.
Front veranda

One of the treasures we picked up was the original front door, with glass intact.  The plan is to ultimately incorporate it into our home.  But in the meantime it’s safely ensconced in the shed with the other treasures; 30 metres of skirting, 8 metres of pine handrail, 2 mantle pieces, 10 square metres of pressed tin ceiling (didn't I say I'd never do old tin again?) and a couple of light switches.
Front door
It was sad to see what had once been a modest but much loved farm house looking so dilapidated. Its broken windows had let in a flock of starlings and an apparently incontinent possum, while cattle had pushed over veranda posts in the quest for the ultimate back scratch. 
But despite the obvious neglect there was still a nice ambiance to the place as it almost appeared to recline amongst the old trees, occasional clump of jonquils and remnants of a picketed garden fence.