It has been quite a while since I shared an update of our house renovations. The last time I wrote about what we got up to we started with the cement floor in the cellar. Since then, my parents have removed an asbestos pipe and put in a new waste water pipe, removed a concrete pillar and replaced it with a wooden pillar, added a water connection and continued with the concrete floor until the beginning of the staircase to the upper floor.
It was all ready for us to start plastering the wall and do other small bits and bobs that you only notice when you’re in the house.
My husband and I started filling the workbench with mortar in the back of the cellar for it to be tiled later. We did not even manage to fill 1sqm, we needed some more lime, went with our local bank card to withdraw money only to realise that either the one and only machine didn’t work and/or the pin was wrong! Of course, we didn’t take a back-up card (who does that?!), and drove back home empty.
This meant that I began filling a hole in the wall with stones and mortar and my husband started plastering surfaces.
The hole in the wall used to be a window that got stuffed with what looked like about 10 birds nests. Honestly, I don’t want to know and, luckily, there were not remnants of past or living birds. It may sound easy to fill a hole in a 50cm thick natural stone wall, but let me tell you, there is an art to this.
It is not easy feat to balance yourself, a bucket full of mortar, a hammer and other devices, whilst on a ladder trying to puzzle together some stones that magically fit when your mum finds the perfect stones one after another.
The other, for me, more exciting challenge was to plaster a wall. It wasn’t done with the same lime (chaux aérienne instead of chaux hydraulique). Sorry no idea what this is called in English, and also the sand was a lot finer than what I used to stuff the hole. The principle of mixing lime, sand and water was the same (3:1 and water to make it a little more liquid). It’s probably not everyone’s ideal Tuesday afternoon, but I enjoyed plastering my wall. There is something satisfying and accomplishing about seeing it all come together and also getting better at making the surface straight instead of all bumpy. I was a little sad leaving my wall unfinished and wished I had more time.
Bonus find: We’ve got a little waterfall. The construction in the back of the cellar against the natural stone was supposed to help with natural water and humidity. Turns out we get a bit more groundwater than anticipated. We haven’t yet decided what we’ll do, though it looks lovely when it rains.