Monday, July 1, 2019

home(t)raveling 2.0: week 105 = 2 years!


Well, it's a bit awkward to say but we've been caught in such a wonderful and overwhelming whirlpool of love, exhaustion, work, amazement, things-to-do, hurry, hugs and stress (but the good one, you know!), that we hardly acknowledged the "official" day - the actual, accurate date, aka "the anniversary". Not that we haven't been super incredibly happy and grateful to complete this beautiful and crazy two-year ride, since this Thursday, June 29th 2017 when we traded a big bunch of papers with our signatures on them for a big bunch of rusty keys to a rusty ruin.

the kitchen: 2 years ago (before) ; 18 months ago (work in progress) ; and now-ish but not finished yet (after).
We have been, indeed, super incredibly happy and grateful ever since. Even though welcoming and living with a baby in such a big and chaotic renovation project is challenging and takes a toll on your mental availability. Everything but the absolute priorities becomes irrelevant. Everything pretty much becomes just another line on a seemingly endless to-do list. And each to-do list becomes little more than another page among pages on the to-do-lists' scrapbook.

the living-room: 2 years ago (before) ; 18 months ago (work in progress) ; and now-ish but not finished yet (after).
Alright, let's cup the crap and get specific: over the past 2 years, we eventually managed to:
 - survive and maintain a decent degree of mental health (some would argue on this - they may, we won't),
 - define a first phase of work, aka Phase I, aimed at setting up a 90 square-meters apartment we call "the house",
 - destroy, empty and clean most of the spaces out of and around the house (we call them "the ruin"),
 - renovate/build the house to the point it is liveable and comfy (kitchen, living-room, 2 bedrooms, bathroom, toilet),

the staircase pantry: 2 years ago (before) and now-ish (after) ; same with the call-it-the-lobby, 2 years ago and now-ish (after).

 - "almost" (aaah, the joy of never-ending finishings) complete Phase I, which also included waterproofing and insulating the roof and changing some windows, as well as setting up a storage and laundry room and taking care of the staircase (deep cleaned ; walls and ceilings painted ; still requiring wood sanding and oiling, but we'll do!),
 - take care of the garden, cutting, pruning, cleaning, removing tons of accumulated dirt, garbage and junk,
 - create some nice open, outdoor space under the hangar: to chill, play and live as much as the weather allows,
 - have a baby! (we weren't so sure we'd be able to, back then: exhausted, skinnier than ever and 6kg less each...)

on the first floor: 2 years ago (before) and now-ish (after) ; looking to the bathroom*, same pattern.
Well, of course we also worked part-time to make all this possible. And tried and kept some social life, hung out with friends, shared a coffee or beer regularly. Climbed twice and finished a book once a year. And that's pretty much it. Talking about friends, all this was only possible with their invaluable help and support: for hard work and strong arms, for fine tools and skilled hands, for good advice and great ideas, for food and drinks, for company, gumption, love and laughter. So, well, thanks to y'all so much, again and again and again. Some special and warm thanks to the few professionals who helped us, too: Mr. K and Mr. T (!!) the hempcrete cookers, Mr. S the hunter-gatherer electrician, Mr. X the stunt plumber, the 3 crazy plasterboard jointers, the minions under the roof, the mighty eco-stove team: the sorceress and the wizard. And last but not least, the C. brothers for some expert, colourful and loving brushstrokes.

2 rows: upper = then, lower = now. the closet in the first bedroom (W&F's) ; the first bedroom (W&F's) ; the second bedroom (the family's).

We're so thankful that they all did what they did and did it so well!
And we're so proud that we did everything else with our own four hands:
learning, enjoying every moment and living with the mistakes!
Now, let's face it: we're on for another 2 years, insh Allah. And another 2 years after that.
And another 2 years after that, and so on.
For now, we'll inaugurate home(t)raveling 3.0 asap to keep updating these columns at the same, steady pace
(translation: "doing what we possibly can with the blog, posting randomly with an unpredictable schedule").
If you want to follow the next steps, stay tuned here or come say hello in the Ariège!

That's all folks!
We'll take a short nap
and get back to work, for
"This Sagrada familia of ours
is not going to build itself,
is it?"

of course, with the bigger picture, some stuff that still needs to be done
starts to become visible... season 3 is on its way!


* about the bathroom(s): we built a new one next to the bedrooms on the first floor. This old one on the ground floor is still practically in its original state (once you pass the cool reclaimed and recycled sliding door). We want to refresh it someday and it's officially a part of Phase I but, you know, it CAN wait...

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

home(t)raveling: the side projects

#3 - the shoe rack and bench for the lobby

We're back today with a new side project for this never-ending home renovation of ours! Like the previous one and the one before that, it's been bouncing and spinning at the back of our heads for quite a while now (boing boing boooing!)

the lobby, just mopped and clean, waiting for a shoe-lution...
But it never seemed to be important enough for us to dedicate some serious time and availability to it... Apparently, there was always something more urgent to do first. Life's like a gigantic game of Go: you would love to put 3 or 4 (or more!) stones on the goban at the same time (and you desperately need to put at least 2 at once). Yet the rule is clear: you can only put one per turn, so you have to face it and make choices... Life lesson #1, learned.

Now, as you may have noticed already (well actually no: this is a terrible spoiler of a long due post from March... but it'll come. Eventually. And you'll be the first to hear about it!), we repainted the staircase and the ground floor lobby in a colourful way over the winter and spring. We also refreshed the closet under the stair and removed all the stuff that was piled around there (and this, you CAN indeed have a quick look at it here!). This side project was about designing and building a piece of furniture that would be both a shoe rack/chest/storage and a bench to sit on while putting on/taking off one's shoes. We wanted it to invite people to take their shoes off. And of course, we wanted it to be homemade with reclaimed material, to be comfortable and sturdy, as well as - according to our standards - to be good-looking aaaaand... to blend nicely in this little space! Was that too many wishes at the same time? Have a look:

putting the idea into practice: wine-boxing, measuring and cutting, wood-pegging and glueing, clamping and work-in-progressing!
First thing first, we tried something with the compulsory wineboxes. Each standard 6 bottle-case can fit 2 pairs of Wallis' shoes and, well, 2-ish of Futuna's. We decided to go for 3 standard and 1 double (12 bottles) boxes/drawers per raw and a 2 rows structure, so it fitted enough shoes but was still sittable on... All we used were some leftovers of 15mm OSB pannels (from the false ceilings and insulated double-wall of the 1st floor bathroom), some "white" wood glue and a handful of 6mm wood pegs. And quite a few sheets of sand paper too (old school, no powertool involved).

the structure of the shoe bench and chest, raw and ready to be framed.
We designed and built the body of the bench/chest without bothering with feet: just left them for later. Glued and assembled the first floor, then prepared the second and kept working. We decided to add and extra double-winebox drawer on the run, just before cutting and glueing the second side pannel. As always, we were more full of enthousiasm than real skill, we had to deal with small millimetric issues, minimal arguments with orthodox orthogonal-ness (??) and applied concepts of tight fitting-ism (???). Nothing new under the DIY skies. Well, under ours at least. After a few hours, it looked like this, though:

We then started to imagine the feet and had a very intense, nice and vivid dream of a frame with rustic joinery that would embed the whole piece and make a little armchair-like arm on the opposite side of the extra drawer. Sounds terribly vague when said like this, but Wallis understood and she saw the picture and she looked convinced. So we did it... Reclaimed pallet wood from our local seller of new, heavy double-glazed windows and sliding bays: these guys always have so many huge pallets and A-frames for the windows to be shipped safely. They do nothing with those, they have to pay to get rid of them and you get to salvage pieces with nice lenghts and sections, suitable for all kind of super cheap furniture and stuff. Nothing too fancy, just regular untreated pine or fir, but it's free, available and it does the job! So, we cut, sanded, fitted and joined. We tried it, made some adjustments, sanded and finished with a mixture of linseed and turpentine oils. Left some long feet to set the final sitting height at the last minute - and adapt to the tilted floor if needed...

the mortise and tenon frame: drawn, cut and pegged ; then mounted on the chest and ready for a little bit of paint and a proper seat.
Finally, we figured out how to deal with the seat: we'd use a few of the old floor slats we removed from the old water closet on the first floor: before building the (new) bathroom, we replaced the wooden floor from this area by 'hydrofuge' waterproof CTBH (and no Mr. Duck duck Go, CTBH does not stand for "Christian Temperance And Bible Hygiene", it's definitely a type of agglomerate wood pannels). We picked the nicest slats to replace some damaged ones in the two bedrooms, and kept the rest just in case, to be used someday, to burn on a Saint Jean's pyre or who knows... A few pieces were selected, sanded, cut to the desired length, asembled together, sanded again and oiled with the magic mixture before being screwed to the bench. Perfect, smooth fit. And a nice feel to it. We love it! How about you?

old slats sanded, oiled and screwed in place ; close-up ; finished bench with a few wine-cases oiled and a touch of wakame green!

EDITED JULY 7TH: and the last detail that you won't see today: finally, we needed to add some cool knobs/handles so the drawers would open easily. But we were unsure what material to use... A loop of thread or leather? wooden knobs? metal handles? We ended up with 2 nice options we're really happy with, but our camera has been on strike for a few weeks now (which is why the last 2 posts are illustrated with the smartphone's pics and some have low res and others are plain blurry... Sorry for this, btw. We're working on it...).
So, you'll have to wait until next post or until the next sunny day for a quick update on this! we've taken these 3 pics today and are very very pleased to share them: how do you like this touch of I used to rock-climb in the 90's ??

pieces of a retired, super-vintage climbing sling for the handles ; a few Catalan cava corks for the knobs, and voilà!

and that's all folks:
Take care
and enjoy the summer!
many hugs from F, T and W ;)


Tuesday, May 28, 2019

home(t)raveling: the side projects

#2 - le TRUC mural pour les épices...

...dont on parle et rêve et qu'on imagine en songe depuis des mois en se disant qu'un weekend d'hiver au coin du poêle, on aura l'occasion (enfin!) de passer à l'action et à la réalisation. Et nous voici fin mai (déjà!), aux portes de l'été suivant, heureux et fiers de vous présenter le TRUC - sur des airs connus qu'on ne vous sifflera pas*. Non mais!

ça se passe tout à gauche, juste avant d'arriver au poêle et, preuve à l'appui, c'est là depuis le tout début: c'est le recoin où installer le TRUC.

Pour résumer le TRUC en quelques mots: quand on a posé la faïence et monté la cuisine, il y a à peine plus d'un an, on a laissé au fond à gauche, un petit dièdre de mur blanc: nu, nu, nu et contre le mur une échelle (ça non, non non).

Nous, on s'voyait déjà préparant des quiches, en dix fois plus beau qu'un meuble IKEA le TRUC s'étal'rait.
 On sentait déjà, les fragrances riches, qui de ses tiroirs se dégageraient. Voilà voilà. Bien.
Du coup, au vide-grenier le plus chic de l'Ariège, on a chiné dix tiroirs fatigués.
On a poncé, lessivé, tout l'manège - et au final: ils semblaient en noyer!

les tiroirs: au naturel ; décrassés et poncés ; traités et passés au mélange d'huiles de lin, térébenthine et essentielle d'agrumes.
Ensuite, on a ajouté dans le creuset du TRUC un petit bidule de cuisine récupéré pour 3 sous (littéralement) à notre Ressourcerie préférée. Le porte-rouleau de Sopalin® mural style archi-ringard très rustique, avec 4 petits tiroirs en faïence assez mignons. Il coûtait (littéralement) 3 sous parce qu'un des tiroirs en faïence et en question avait disparu et que le bidule, du coup, perdait beaucoup de son intérêt. Mais en jouant de la scie et avec un peu de confiance...

On a pris la peine, de le regarder, le bidule crotté, nous qui ne sommes pas capitaines (??)
Et on a vu not' peine, bien récompensée:
Sans le tiroir du porte-rouleau, sans son tiroir cassé, On a trouvé un beau bibelot et nous on l'a ach'té.

le style ringard rustique du bidule (un modèle sans tiroirs), juste pour donner le ton ; et quelques coups de scie plus tard...

Bon, celui-là, c'est fait. Hop. Au(x) suivant(s)! Finalement, il a fallu mettre tout ça en situation et commencer à faire des essais, projeter tous ces grands fantasmes de bois noble sur le petit dièdre de plâtre blanc, mesurer, mettre à niveau, faire des choix et - pour parler comme un entraîneur d'équipe de foot - être solides sur les fondamentaux et faire preuve de réalisme sur le terrain. Donc, peu à peu et pas à pas, on est arrivés à un TRUC qui ressemblait à ça:

Il suffit de monter le TRUC et c'est tout de suite l'aventure
Laiss'-moi empiler les tiroirs, ça fera un' jolie devanture.
L'herbamare et le cumin aussi, le persil, la sauge et la sariette
Rangeons-les, guilleret, guillerette: il suffit de monter le TRUC.

les morceaux du TRUC ; le prévisionnel du TRUC ; les étapes de la réalisation du TRUC ; et le TRUC fini en situation!

notre conseil: en cliquant sur la première photo et en les faisant toutes défiler très vite par pressions successives sur la flèche droite () de votre clavier, vous aurez l'impression de voir un court film d'animation en stop-motion. Et nous, on s'épargne le temps et le travail de le créer pour pas grand-chose. C'est qui qu'est intelligemment flemmard**, hein?

Bon bin ça sera tout
pour aujourd'hui, on dirait.
Ah non! Il reste cet autre
MACHIN mignon mais pas assez
pour un post entier à lui tout seul:
"Peaufining la kitchen", qu'il s'appelle.
Bises de nous 3

en voici toujours une, tiens! ; puis une autre tant qu'on y est, hein ; et pourquoi pas cette troisième, en attendant mon scalp?


* à propos des airs en question: non et non, on ne les linkera pas ici. ce sont des classiques de la chanson française, c'est pas bien difficile, nom de nom! Demandez à Shazam ou à vos grands-parents. Débrouillez-vous... Nous notre bac, on l'a déjà.

** à propos d'intelligemment flemmard: il s'agit d'une expression tyipque empruntée à une prof' de mathématiques du lycée du Castella à Pamiers, aussi tristement célèbre pour sa méchanceté légendaire et sa gueule de porte de prison que pour son inégalable et apparemment inépuisable collection de pulls à glands, à pompons et autres flocons de neige. Si toi aussi tu l'as connue, laisse un commentaire et on t'enverra une carte postale exclusive "pull à glands"!