Saturday, June 11, 2011

Ojakalda Demolition

The demolition phase of the Ojakalda house renovation work is continuing. This is a project I've been thinking about since well before we bought Ojakalda, one which I think will add a lot to the value of the entire property. The house is even closer to the river than the Paia house. It's quite small. Various people have referred to it as a doll house, though I tend to think of it as a cottage. The house has curb appeal, which is a little harder to see right now. On a practical level it will add living space on the property. Paia gets a little crowded when people come to visit. We also plan to winterize the smaller house, so that when we come early or late in the season we have somewhere that's easier to heat and have running water.

The old siding came off in May, and more recently the chimney and old stoves were demolished, leaving new holes in the roof that I'm assured have been covered.
There have been additions to the house to add both a side entryway and a front porch. These were done with studs and boards instead of logs, so we'll need to do some reconstruction. The walls here will need quite a bit of insulation.

The furniture was moved to the Paia garage during May to keep it safe for the duration. More tables (I think we already have 4 or 5), a decent wardrobe, a commode, a couple chairs and numerous odds and ends.
The attic is quite low, though it has some nice timber structural work overhead. We'd hoped to use it for loft space, but this may be a bit difficult if we need to insulate above the ceiling instead of above the roof. There was a lot of garbage in this space as well which mostly got thrown out. Almost all the old insulating material, sand or chaff is cleaned out.
The space over the porch is even lower.
Inside the builders have torn out not only the stoves but the old block firewall which separated the kitchen from the big room. They also removed all of the wallboard and sheet goods that were installed during the Soviet period, leaving us with the original log walls. Our current plan is to leave this as one large studio-style space. We may put a counter in between the living and kitchen areas, but since it's a small house I'd like it as open and sunny as possible. We'll also add a third window on the wall facing the river. We'll probably use the house mostly as guest quarters, but if some future buyer wants a studio I think the space would be ideal.
The ceilings are a little low, only 2 meters, 13 centimeters from the old floor level. We probably won't be able to insulate below the ceilings because of this. They're in good shape, so I probably wouldn't want to in any case.
Feliks claims that most of the inside walls need to be covered, though they look fine to me. I like some of the details where they've been patched. On this wall it looks like there used to be a wall dividing the big living room.
And here there was a window before the front porch was added. I think these give the walls a lot of character. The logs will need to be chinked to keep out the cold (in addition to the outside insulation we'll add), which is one of those concepts that Feliks sometimes has a little trouble with.
The foundation will be the first thing to reconstruct. I want it to look like the better parts of the old one. This has large stones below, with a row or two of red brick on top to level it out. I suspect at least the stone part of the foundation is fairly old. We have a decrepit barn foundation at Paia made of the same stone, which we'll partly dismantle to extend this below the additions.
The stove and firewall demolition yielded a lot of usable red brick which we'll use for the upper layer.
Feliks' crew has started digging out the old foudation where it only has the brick layer. We'll do a little regrading to get the new logs well above the ground.

Inside the crew will need to remove quite a bit of soil to allow the foundation work to be done. I also plan to pour a concrete slab under the whole house to deter any rodents from digging up under the house.
I hope to get at least the shell of Ojakalda finished this year : foundation, outside walls, new windows, new roof and floor. With any luck we can also get the water line in, an inside bathroom and an electrical system completed. We'll have to see how much things will cost and how fast the crew works. I've noticed they're being much more careful than when we did the first house, which is a very good thing. They have a better idea of what kinds of things I want preserved than they did then.

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