1890s Miner's Cottage Reno
Hi all. Thought I'd make a record of what we've been up to with our little miners cottage. Will post pics of before, during and after.
We live in Hepburn Springs, Vic (next door to Daylesford) which is a very popular tourist town about an hour and a half west of Melbourne.
Last November (09), my partner and I bought possibly the smallest 1890s miners cottage in town, on half an acre, right in town. The living/kitchen area is a little under 6m x 3m and two bedrooms are a little under 3m x 3m each. The bathroom is 3m x 3m. Very "cosy".
There is presently no driveway so everything we've done so far is hard physical work. Materials carried in and demolished materials carried out.
We are both women, although I am pretty strong and can handle the hard work and Tanya, my partner is a trooper which equals the same thing.
I have done a little carpentry (some of my apprenticeship) and now am doing cabinetry work for a company in Ballarat as I couldn't find a local chippy to take me on (female, 41 years old). Have had a go at plastering and a few other things so will pretty much do anything and everything myself (Not electrical/plumbing as don't want fallback if something goes wrong. I like to know insurance will pay at the end of the day)
Ok.... so far
When we moved in we had a lot of tidying up to do, inside and out. Many ute loads of rubbish as the property was not well presented for sale. Oh well. Money in our pockets really.
The house didn't have a real kitchen. It was basically a ratty old bench, topped with cement sheet, painted silver with a very old, rusting, cast iron enamelled sink. Also a wood stove, recessed into the wall which has a very old tin chimney attached to the wall. very quaint when seen from the outside of the house.
The floorboards are baltic pine that had, until we uncovered them, never seen the light of day. They were covered by manky lino and carpet. Under the lino was newspaper dating back to 1927. We kept a few pages of course.
The floor sanding guy needed more joists put in before he could sand them as they were spaced at about a metre so I got under there and used some timber I found at the tip that was meant for under house storage shelving. Problem solved in a few hours and he came back and did the floors.
Yay. We were underway.
To get a working kitchen we brought in assorted temporary furniture and then proceeded to gut the living/kitchen area. The ply board had to come off and the framework had to be modified to be ready for plastering.
We widened the front door opening and put in a nice colonial style, hardwood door with upper glass panels. We stared at the door for weeks proclaiming our love.
The bedroom door openings had to be moved and made larger as they were built for midgets.
The wall where the fireplace is was a catastrophe. The stud work had old termite damage. Thankfully termites were long gone. The only stud that went top to bottom plate was the corner. Even some of the top and bottom plate was eaten. We pulled the wall carefully apart, without props (crazy hey, but it was fine) and I rebuilt it in place.
I battened out the ceiling without having to remove the existing one and still have 2.7m high ceiling. Cool.
Then the plastering....
Hard to live amongst all this chaos, let me just say that.
As it's an old house and nothing is square or plumb or level, everything is difficult but with persistence the plastering was completed and the house was prepared for a kitchen.
As I work for a cabinetry firm who give all their staff cost price, well then that's where the kitchen was coming from.
I came up with the design for a full wall kitchen and had it cut out on the cnc machine at work. The boss kindly allowed me to put it all together after hours (early starts and late finishes).
I also used some vic ash floor boards that I had tucked away and glued and screwed and clamped them to a chipboard base. After that, sanded sealed and ployeurethaned it. It came up very nice.
I had a little experience in installing but not a lot and so around this time I was sent out on installations at work. Perfect timing. Maybe the boss new it would help me?? Got the cabinets home and installed over a couple of days.
Took a while for the glass splashback (a bit of a splurge for us) to happen but now it's all in and is fantastic. So nice to have a kitchen after not having one for about 6 months.
I must say, if you are considering a small kitchen like ours, put drawers in all your base cabinets, including the sink cabinet and run the trap outside. You would be amazed at the functionality of it. Can't emphasise this point enough.
Ok, so. Painted and almost finished except for skirting boards and hanging doors (will be external sliding).
At the start of winter, things got slow at work and being casual they asked if I could use time off, any other work out there I could do for a week or two? I went to the bank, topped up the personal loan and asked for 4 weeks off. This turned into 5. All good.
I began the process all over again but on the bedrooms this time and full time not weekend style. Had to get it done in the short time I had. It gets cold up here, a few degrees cooler tha Melbourne.
Basically gutted the rooms and removed the wall between them. Then took out the windows (tiny) and rebuilt the back wall of the house to take a large colonial window in one room and double doors in the other.
The dividing wall was rebuilt to take a little space from each room but giving each a built in wardrobe. They are small but the space saving of storage is absolutely needed here.
Had to batten out the ceiling...again. Lots of stud work to do.....again. Plastering...again. Nothing straight...again. You get the idea.
Still have to finish skirts and archs and put doors on wardrobes but hey, that's not much.
The double doors will lead onto a deck that I plan to build before Christmas. First a driveway will be put in and we are presently planning that. No way will I be carrying anymore building materials down that slope.
Today we'll be cutting a few trees down, close to the back of the house (make room for that deck) and having a big bonfire (beers of course)
I will be back with more as it progresses.
Love this site and all who contribute.