"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Protection from above

As you know, one of the reasons we went to the farm last week was to get the ceiling boards installed.

As always, when one orders materials from the local Co-Op, they don't deliver first thing in the morning - our order only arrived at about 11.00 a.m., equating to the loss of half a days work!  Given that rain was predicted, the ceiling board had to be stored indoors, creating chaos as expected...
Everything got moved to accommodate the ceiling boards
But I knew that was going to happen...

Our architect had asked for a ventilation unit to be installed - for the roof area.  
Ventilation unit
Unfortunately, we had not anticipated the cold air / dust / draft / noise (of the wind in the sisalation) that this unit would cause.  Which meant that we had to put up a ceiling of sorts, as soon as possible.  Even though we had covered the initial wooden unit with a piece of perspex (left over from a job we had done for a client at a job in Cape Town) and into which we had drilled holes, and which we had then subsequently taped up three quarters of those holes with duct tape, the draft was totally negating the insulation of the double glazed windows, and the warmth which was being produced by our wood burning Dover stove and internal chimney!  So a ceiling board was completely necessary.
First scaffolding tower
However, with the height of our ceiling, a simple thing like installing ceiling board entailed hiring scaffolding - and lots of it...

We love the height of our ceiling, as it helps with the heat in summer - and it creates an airiness and openness which you have to experience to believe!  However, given it's high arch, it is not easy to get to, nor work on.  And we wanted to retain as much of the exposed roof beams as possible.
The first board goes in...
The boards for the side beams were no problem - the guys installed extra mounting batterns, and measured and cut the board to size, prior to installing.
A combined effort
But when it came to the centre boards, it was a case of all hands on deck.  RMan had to help the guys hold the 3.6 mtr boards in place against the roof beams, whilst I clambered up the scaffolding to mark the cutouts which were required.  Squirming and ducking round the three of them wasn't easy, but it was exhilarating LOL

That took two days to complete - and entailed the four of us moving the erected scaffolding and scaffolding boards en masse around the room to save time, as opposed to pulling it down, re-placing and re-erecting it all in it's new position.  Whatever furniture we had, was moved in and out of the house each day, and there was plenty of dust, dust and more dust.  It doesn't seem as though we have too much scratch damage to the floor, and I'm sure that a coat of tile sealer will sort that out.  If only we'd thought of getting wheels for the scaffolding, our lives would've been a bucketload simpler LOL
Dinners - mainly barbecues - were eaten wherever we could make a spot in the chaos each evening.  And we experienced sleeping in each corner of the room - wherever there was space to plonk the bed each evening became the bedroom area :)
Sanding the joins in the ceiling boards
But I had no concept of dust until it came time to closing the joins between the ceiling boards with Cretestone, and the subsequent sanding / skimming of those joints!  Hectic!

As you can see in the above photo, we had newspaper draped over all the kitchen surfaces, to help control the dust.  And Muggins here helped to place them there.  However, Muggins ignored them when she switched on the (gas) stove to boil the kettle - and nog, Muggins had the cheek to wander off.  Yes, naturally, the wind blew the newspaper into the flame, and yes there was a fire, but thankfully, no lasting damage was done.  I can't believe that I was such an idiot!

Joining and skimming the boards took another day and a half - with the final half a day being devoted to the builders trying to make a trap door.  Within 20 minutes of RMan getting involved, the trap door was complete!

Were the four (not the budgeted two and a half) days all worth it?

Well, I believe this picture answers that question...
The ceiling completed - the trap door is
visible at the far end
I think it looks absolutely stunning!!

And the difference in temperature?  Well, prior to the ceiling boards, the unheated (i.e. no Dover stove nor Dover stove chimney) temperature inside the house when we woke in the morning was 11oC (51oF).  After the ceiling boards were installed, the temperature was 21oC (70oF)

I believe that says it all...!

Now, all we have to do is re-hire the scaffolding (with wheels this time) so that we can paint the ceiling boards, and varnish the frame of the trap door and the exposed roof beams :-)


  1. I think it looks beut and the pic with the lamps looks so cosy.

  2. Just love your ceiling. I cant wait to see it painted.

  3. African Bliss - the room got cosier as we progressed :)

    slowvelder - Reckon that could take RMan a while - he's determined to paint it himself - and I guess he'll have me near to help move the scaffolding...:)

  4. Wow, what a project. I can imagine that was not a fun day getting those up to the ceiling. But it looks fantastic! But I am curious, what is behind those two wood doors in the last picture? Is that another room, or are those not even doors? Your home is beautiful.

  5. Jane - Behind those two doors is going to be phase 2 of our build - a ground floor bedroom for RMan and I, with two upper bedrooms for when our daughter and grandson come to visit.

    We are building as we can afford it... Thankfully our design allows for that :)

  6. That's quite some ceiling you have in there...what an amazing place you are building for yourselves.

  7. Mr H - Thank you - hopefully it will look amazing... when it's finished LOL

  8. Looks very very good Dani. Congrats on getting that phase finished.

  9. tffn - Thanks - yes, one more hurdle completed :) Love it!

  10. What a project but what great results, not only visually but also for your comfort! It's the old case of one thing leads to another.

  11. I had no idea how beautiful the inside of your home is. How exciting. I love how open it all feels. Betcha can't wait to see it painted and finished up!

  12. Leigh - Thank you. Yes, I too follow the "one thing leads to another" mantra - I love order as chaos creates unnecessary confusion I feel.

    Tami - Patience - not one of my greatest virtues, but I am having to learn it LOL

  13. nice work! kind of reminds me of a children's book called .. 'If You give A Mouse A Cookie' .. where one things leads to another :)

  14. Mrs Mac - Thanks :)

    Hmmm - perhaps I am a mouse in disguise...?

  15. Wow - that is a big project and YES very very dusty. But your final photos really shows off how great it looks. Congrats. Emily

  16. emilysincerely - Thanks - can't wait until it's painted :)


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