After creating the kitchen, we were wondering how to use the ceiling space, we loved having the new dormer windows in and we did not want to lose the light this provided. So, we decided to make a mezzanine on top of the beams. It is not a big space but we started by putting blocks on the beams to create a level surface for floorboarding. Luckily we had a pile of these boards in the roof space and did not need to buy too many more. Tom spent hours and hours getting the levels right but after this was done and the flooring boards went in it all happened really fast. We suddenly had another room up in the air. There was a tiny little gap in the wall, it reminded us of arrow windows in castles, wanting to keep this we decided to use thick perspex and turn it into a window. The piece of wall underneath we had smoothed into a sort of rustic ledge. The sun comes through this gap first thing in the morning and gradually moves down the opposite wall, it can be so bright that occasionally I will think I have left a light on.
We only had a ladder to get up and down at first which was a bit hairy at times. We kept our eyes out for a suitable staircase and finally managed to grab a set of stairs for the bargain price of 20 euros, they fitted in the gap with less than a cm to spare and once shortened a little fitted in perfectly and are now screwed into place.
We then set about insulating the roof – oh this sounds so simple….. We had bought a load of rolls of insulation that had been sitting in someone’s barn for a few years, it was new but just a bit tatty so having gone back and forth collecting it all we went ahead with putting it in. Have any of you had experience with this stuff? It is possibly the worst thing ever to use! It was a good plan, we had put up the suspension rails that the plasterboard would attach to and the idea was to poke the insulation behind the rails therefore keeping it in place. We needed to use a few layers of insulation to make sure it was thick enough so cut it to size, piled three layers togather and began trying to push it behind the rails. I have started itching my face as I type this. We were wearing paper suits, goggles and gloves but the goggles kept steaming up so had to be given up on. If I planted my face in the insulation once I did it half a dozen times. We were both itching all over, sweating, swearing, frustrated and still we had not even got one bit in place. I think it was when I ended up head first in it for the 35th time with my eyes open that I had a complete hissy fit. Time for a rethink. We ended up buying slabs of insulation that was thicker and far less bendy, it slotted in behind the rails without argument, no itchy eyes and eating mouthfuls of the blimmin stuff. Sometimes it is worth trying to save some money and sometimes life is just too itchy to worry about savings!
Once this mammoth task was done the plasterboard could go up. Again this was something that is a lot harder than it looks but finally it was done and we could then seal the joints. We covered the whole ceiling with a rough paint/plaster sort of stuff called Crepi, it hides a multtude of sins and gives a nice rustic finish. So the ceiling was done, Tom fitted the ceiling light, the floor was done, all the insulation was in and now we could start using the space. Tom’s niece was the first visitor to sleep up there and loved it. We have been given some carpet so recently fitted that which has given it a warm and cosy feel. I have gradually started to fill it up with bits and bobs to store (I am hoping Tom does not read this and realise just how much I have squirreled away up there) Next on the list is to make some curtains to cover the eaves space and hide all the bits and bobs. There are still a few finishing touches to be done but to have created a useable space in mid air with a beautiful view, feels great!
These blogs are just short excerpts of much bigger chapters! I am currently working on getting a book published about our journey so far in order to assist funding for the Earthkin project. If you would like to be informed when the book is available, please subscribe to our newsletter, thank you.