Diaries - Travel

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Between House And Barn Projects
The Diary of Our House And Barn Projects

September, 2005



September has been a month of lots of construction, but delayed reporting. We have moved and our internet connection has been either delayed (Marianne's place) or non-existent (John's.) Three weeks into the busy month, we were starting to catch up. Here's a quick picture story

September 4 and 5, Model Kitchen


The kitchen was starting to look real. We did our cardboard modeling and, after remarking again how small the place was, we were happy.

We drove around out back for the first time. There is a field road out there that gives a nice view of the back side of our little "schloss".

Of course there was also a lot of work to do. We had to make "hard" decisions, starting with the pavers for the front yard ("hof"). These concrete ones seem to be a good combination of old-looking but modern (lower price!)
Selection of tiles for the kitchen and patio is not as easy. We've settled on the kitchen ones, both the main tile and the blue accents. The idea is then to continue the same basic color out onto the patio. Once again, the ones we liked were "just a little bit more", but they seem good for both function and style. The smallest tiles may be accents in the kitchen, if we haven't run out of decorating cash by then.
Axel, our architect, came by for a quick visit. The highlight was an examination of the bee hive that had been exterminated a couple days before. Everyone seemed satisfied, except for the bees outside who were still looking for their old home. We hope they decide other castles are more welcoming.


September 12, Ofens and Doors

We went back to our kachelofen (tile fireplace) dealer, Mr. Blei, to work on making a final decision. Without too much struggle, we settled on this blue-green model. It's simpler than many others but still has plenty of detail - and it fits into our relatively small house.


Of course, we kept looking at Blei's doors too. Given an infinite budget, we could replace any of our plain pieces with wonderfully stylish and historic doors. As it was, we have been lured into a jail door, of all things! The idea of making the cellar door "a statement" rather than trying to hide it, has struck us. So, when you visit, be careful of a visit to our wine cellar. (Good idea while it lasted, but, later. the door had to be omitted from our project.)


September 13 through 15, Active construction

Out front, it looked a bit like a battle zone.The big wall had been removed, mostly because the foundation was weak and, reportedly, even some of the sandstone blocks were ready to crumble. Since this is what might keep cars out of our living room, we were worried and will appreciate a new, stronger, wall. (A few weeks later, we heard from the previous owner that it was exactly an errant car that had wiped out the original sandstone posts by the front door.)

Out back, the new patio had been poured. This still seemed pretty rough and, like much else with our dream house, a little small. Oh well, there are only two of us after all.

The kitchen had a new roof and it was much stronger than the old one. In fact, if a meteor is heading our way, we'll hide in here.

The details of the new roof showed that this is more than just throwing up some old tiles on new wood.

Inside the kitchen, things were getting hot. All the floors on this level are being covered with an isolation mat that is sealed with hot tar.

The new bricks were to finish the pantry.

Upstairs, the bedroom ceilings had actually been finished by the plaster people. Most of the walls that WILL have plaster were being prepared with metal lath.

Also upstairs, things were changing on the landing. The attic stairs had been partially removed. This stairway was being removed in favor of a deployable ladder - and a better view out our little window.

Meanwhile, Mr. Loehr showed an example of our windows. We opted for the simplest of window, largely because that seems right for our old house.

September 25, Weekend for Construction Inspection and Hope for a Garden Plan

The building continued and we even managed to receive some hope for our big back yard.


The first change was the reappearance of the wall bordering our "Hof". This wall will be strong enough to stop errant cars, that's for sure. Even the "fence posts" were rebuilt from reinforced concrete to protect our home a bit. Right now, it looks a little rough, but I think it will get better as it ages.

Inside, the floors were getting covered with piping for the heating system and miscellaneous wires. The living room has also become the place where workers leave notes for Axel when they need to clarify just what he meant to have said.

Marianne's friend Barbara, who also transferred from Rhine-Main to Giessen with her, brought husband Mike for a construction visit. Besides being nice people, this was a great deal because Mike is a real landscape architect, with ideas on how to handle our intimidating and weed-filled back yard. He went out walking through the tall grass and didn't even say "Why?"

Our next stop was to see the work of our terrazzo craftsman. We had already decided on this sort of floor for our entrance since it's traditional for this area and because we had seen some interesting work a few months ago. The bad news was that the man whose work we had seen earlier has since retired. The good news was that he had passed the work on to his assistant, who clearly knows the craft too.

He showed us a sun room he had done in a nearby town and, again, we were taken by the life and the color of this material.


Our last stop for the weekend was a garden show two or three villages west of Pommersfelden. We still weren't ready to make this a buying visit, but it was fun to get ideas. We saw a carp pond (no - too big)and a fountain(maybe). We saw from wooden flowers that looked real (easy care!) and real flowers that looked like wood . Throughout, the show celebrated with a German mariachi band while neighbor houses dressed in their finest.

The Last Week of September Progress.

Progress continues, some inside, some outside.

Outside, our wall now has a gate again. There was also a mountain of "stones" getting ready to go down as the surface in our "Hof" (yard between house, barn, and pigsty.

Inside, the shower wall had been completed. I'm sure this will look better when it's done. I'm sure.

Upstairs, more and more plaster was hitting the walls.



Diaries - Travel

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The Diary of Our House And Barn Projects