Our bedroom is the first to have become inhabitable. The first pictures here were taken during the last 2 weeks of July.
To start with, Arnie built a strong wardrobe section above the old Wardrobe, where there had previously been an earth wall. Boxes of things can be stored up there and now there's a strong frame on which a thick metal clothes rail has been fitted.
The upper doors will be sliding type of the same finish as the ceiling. Unfortunately the design on the main sliding doors of the wardrobe was half damaged from soot collecting on it, but it was old and in need of replacement anyway. To be completed later...
The plasterboard framing for the walls was carefully measured by Arnie so the edges of board would be screwable directly in place with minimised trimming and waste. Shinobu then filled all the cracks and screw tops with GL putty, leaving the surfaces ready for me to mask, then plaster using Eco-Wall (A cream coloured ready mixed plaster made of crushed abalone shells - very durable!)
Arnie & Shinobu then set about fitting new bedroom ceilings. Originally they'd been Japanese Cedar, but some of the wood was damaged and there were spaces between them meaning dust could get through from the thatched roof, a problem with these very old Japanese houses, not least because there was a thick mix of hay & soot (from the indoor fires) sitting on top of all that wood! No wonder the people we've spoken to who knew this house said it got easily dusty on windy days!
Arnie's solution here was to use a router to cut channels into the side of each new Cedar plank so a spline (Also stained) could be fitted in between. Ends of each plank was cut so they would fit above one of the dark brown support slats, so the wood appears endless.
Each plank was first oiled, so the stain wouldn't blotch, then once coloured treated with Sellac.
A nail gun was used to secure wood onto the slats & edges and finally some thick insulation was placed on top. The finished result more beautiful than it appears in the pictures and we're looking forward to lying in bed and gazing at the ceiling.
8 x 7W LED dimmable spotlights were fitted, two either side of the alcove (Where a small wood burning stove will be positioned in future). By where each bedside table lamp will be fitted is an electrical socket - controlled by the second dimmer on the wall at the entrance.
Note the walls are an off white cream colour, not yellow! - Unfortunately the camera over emphasised the yellowness when pictures were taken - probably due to incorrect white balance.
Since the end of July when the ceilings and eco-wall plastering had been completed, I've taken up residence in the bedroom and spending 2-4 days / late evenings a week decorating.
I learnt how to plaster with eco-wall. Took a bit of trial and error (The alcove walls were a bit too uneven so I re-finished with a sander, which made a helluva mess and took me one evening just to clean every surface including the ceiling!) but I learnt to use a flexible stainless steel trowel (The plastic one they sold at home-centres for the job cracked!) and to do a thin first coat followed soon after by a thicker second coating as the first one dries. The finish is very good. Not perfectly flat, but it fits with the build & age of the house as well as the few remaining wattle & daub interior walls. My guess was right I think. By the time I finish all the plastering inside I'll be well qualified to repair the cracks on the outside walls perfectly.
In all, I used about 35 litres of cream coloured eco-wall for the bedroom and about 1 litre of paint to cover the two original walls above the shoji doors.
My first week's tasks also included being in the bathroom (There's no hot water yet, only a cold well-water fed hose which I use as a shower - no hardship as it's summer and I prefer having cold showers to refresh me this time of the year anyways!) for about 3 hours dissolving the glue from the shoji paper and washing off all the soot that had collected on them. After the 1st lounge and perimeter corridor are both finished I'll put on new paper & tune the doors to run effortlessly & smoothly.
All new electrics have been fitted and the wall plates are dark brass.
On these pictures there are still no skirting boards or oak flooring.
That was when the room really begun to take shape.