Monday, June 4, 2012

Homing in on Progress.

With a full-time young family occupying the house, progress hasn't been as rampant inside the house as before we moved.

Here we see the beautiful & strong doors that Arnie made for us, with the trim in the entrance now also all finished & fitted (Except for skirting boards - one of the jobs I need to finish sometime soonish).

I've 85% finished the room upstairs which is intended to become my day office / guest room.
Arnie got us a large donation of used but good condition carpet tiles which were a perfect solution for the office floor & also the engawa walkways around the perimeter of half the house!

The doors Arnie made have been also been fitted. You'll notice the English style wrought iron latches. Not very in keeping with Japanese tradition, but they're something I always liked about old English houses. Besides, there are beautiful things from all over the world to be enjoyed so where there's a better solution whether aesthetic, functional, or both that works in harmony with what we envisage - we may as well chose that which seemingly suits us best for the long term.

Still want to fit the wardrobe with a mid level slatted shelf and have invested in a self-draining dehumidifier to install inside for warmer stickier summer months. This would also take humidity from the air within the room since there's the grille above the shoji doors but also ensure that futons and out of season clothing stored in the wardrobe won't begun to mould. A much better solution than the weak wooden slats they sell in home centres along with silica gel containers.

I also want to make some well finished shelves to go along the wall opposite the entrance doorway. This will house a flatscreen TV and media, decent speakers connected to our centralised component sound system and provide plenty of space to continue building a library. Need to make some perspex frames & windows to seal the gaps between the beams which overlook the central lounge too.
As all the new sugi ceilings are insulated from above - In winter these windows would be opened when we want to heat the office (Since hot air travels upwards). In summer they might be opened too for added ventilation. Still not decided if we'll fit air conditioning here. I'd rather not, but it remains to be seen how hot the office can become in the summer.

Right now it's June and the whole house is comfortable in terms of temps & humidity, so it seems the well insulated roof and overhangs may keep this house cool naturally over the summer. Time can tell us.

Once the weather had warmed up I removed the temporary plastic partitions, cleaned the original wooden slats first with engine cleaner acid, then soapy water before rinsing and drying. A few of the small wooden pieces had fallen out, but are safely stored to be glued back into place sometime. This now allows air flow between the 2nd lounge & our bedroom.

We're hoping that by the autumn we'll have our wood burning stove in the 1st lounge, so we'll be able to enjoy some of the radiant heat in our bedroom too, through this grille. If not, then we might have to think about fitting a smaller wood burning stove in our bedroom, instead of the (cheap Ikea) book cases that occupy the space right now.

So I still have many changes I want to make to many of the rooms, especially with regard to doubling the size of our old bathroom & utilities area (Which are a poorly made extension that's gone to come down!) plus making the kitchen a better & easier place for my wife to spend much of her time each day. But with these things some jobs take priority over others for available means. A view to the finished vision gets ever closer but seemingly never arrives, much like false plateaus when climbing mountains.

This here's the pantry door.

I've now finished plastering the walls and fitting skirting in the pantry too. Just need to deal with some minor cosmetic finishing, then I can get to work on putting it sturdy shelves so at last my wife will have space to store foods, both preserved and fresh fruit & veg from the garden - in cool, dry & dark conditions. Might be hard to show in pictures, but this is the pantry as it is now. I'll be changing the lighting and it'll look quite different lined with shelves of stored food, cooking tools, etc.

You'll notice the house doesn't have many pictures on the walls yet.
We feel we really want to get each room finished before deciding where to put up pictures & paintings.
One picture I really do want to hang is of Arnie & Shinobu to make the mark & show the two people who put in so much work to make our home what it's become.

Here's a peek at the window he's made... It's a copy (With improvements!) of something I saw 5 years ago at a Kyoto temple. Love it! - Another Arnie masterpiece!

I'm hoping to be able to have Arnie rebuild the corrugated steel roof using the tiles we collected from Shodoshima, as a first stage towards building a new bathroom & utilities room, but there's no mad rush at the present. Maybe after September or October once the weather begins to cool after the expected long hot summer.

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