It is again time for the electrical bunny with the plutonium heart. Yeah, you know the one, the one that just keeps on going, the one who calls himself “the regenerator”. And he likes to restore his old crummy house until it becomes a mansion. A proud villa. A house of some pretension.
But lo and boohoo, I cheated a little this time… I hired builders! Ha! I hear a collective gasp. No need to worry, however – I was up there with them all the time. Mostly in their way, but as passionately determined as ever. Our target for regeneration was, this time, the helmet of the house – also known as the roof.
Back in not-so-distant 2007, I restored (sanded, painted, cried and nearly fainted) the roof by myself, thru gargantuan effort (flip back for reminiscence). Well, the roof – the fucking roof – refused all my tender loving care, and in the past few years of megawinter, it opened up and said aah to water.
I furiously swore to get back at it. Trust an angry man to not sway from the path of revenge…
We began to cut it open like it was a tin of sardines made out of butter. Let there be no doubt what a joyous occasion it was.
The miserable 80-year old sheet metal well and truly dispatched, all rotten wood was chewed out, and in with the new, the kind that you can knock on. Tock tock!
The old insulation – sawdust – was scooped out, and replaced by fluffy ekovilla (recycled newspaper). Sawdust is a fine natural breathing material, and potential mould had been kept at bay rather effectively. However, sawdust does not insulate as well as “modern” materials (like recycled newspapers, hehe). This is an invisible but major improvement to the house.
New beams where needed. I must say, I was prepared for the worst. In the end, I’d say we got away with far less than the people on my favorite TV-show, the British Grand Designs. (Watch it! Intoxicating!)
Ah, they are truly a thing of beauty, the timber battens over strong waterproof underlay.
My daughter Scarlett calls all cranes “Cranky”; it’s a character from the Thomas The Tank Engine children books. Well, here comes big Cranky, lifting a pallet of tiles like he’s been to Gold’s. It is quite amazing to see the arm go ten meters up and then stretch out over the house, all the way to the back. Cranky sure has some tricks. Please do not drop the pallet, because it would just go through everything all the way to China.
What kind of tiles have I chosen? The suspense must be tangible, but if you lower your gaze, you are about to discover….
Black glazed clay tiles from Monier! Not the cheapest. Just the best. And they look sensational. Glossy, like glass!
You have no idea how long I pondered on materials, on tiles, on shapes and colors and so on. When I had decided on tiles, I soon knew it had to be clay tiles, because this material has been around for at least 600 years and if it was good enough for the Chinese Emperor, it was good enough for me. No moss-friendly concrete for me, please. And then I fell in love with glazed clay tiles – it’s like porcelain – delicate, yet lasts forever (as long as you don’t drop them…). Or when was the last time you wore out a porcelain surface? The final choice was the sleek “Scandinavian” bend, common on houses from 1800-1930s.
The final prep, streetside with little Cranky. Badabing badabong. I die with this roof. It will probably outlast Scarlett’s grandchildren, too…
Is it not just? I mean, is it not? I could just eat this roof – it looks like liquorice candy! It is a fairytale roof, without the ugly witch in the oven.
Can a man get any happier? No. He most certainly can not. And then the bills came in.
A little bonus section:
For those with eagle eyes, you may have noticed a faint change with the rest of the house in picture number eight. “Somehow”, the corners have grown fatter, the lower panel taller and chunkier, and the midsection has been adorned with a border of blocks. It gives a really solid stance to the house, and looks positively charming. It took some cutting… god bless Makita.
You see it now? Also, as you can see, the little roof was not left behind. And do notice the new silver drainpipes! And after this, I began work on the windows. And. And.
Hey, it’s a hobby/a disease…