Jun 23, 2013

What's up, downstairs?

We are quite satisfied how the atrium terrace deck turned out, and as a result we seem to be spending much more time outside than before. Now, the next step is to furnish it before we can launch the barbecue season, as inviting friends over for some Sloppy Joes and cold beverages has been the plan since the day one!

In the meantime, things are progressing downstairs. At the moment the progression is mainly demolition by professionals, as we have neither sufficient knowledge regarding some specific tasks nor the manpower required. Anyhow, as an update we would like to show you some before and after shots and share a few interesting details regarding the project. Perhaps afterwards, you will have a little bit better understanding what we are trying to achieve here!

A pile what was previously our suspended ceiling

Some of you might remember Minna's recent organising spree in the storage room. She also labeled all the boxes with Dymo to facilitate finding whatever one might be looking for more easily. We already knew back then it would only be a temporary solution because sooner or later, the story of the storage room would come to an end. So now, all our neatly organized belongings have been moved to a different location (that alone would make a funny story - let's just say it was done in the last minute and in the middle of the night).

Storage room before

And after the explosion!

We used to use this space as a storage, but originally it was built to be a cold room. The previous owner had converted it to a regular storage and thus a metallic cover layer reflecting cool air from the walls had already been removed. What was left in place was the original wall insulation - a 10 cm thick layer of hay mixed with a blend of water and cement. Quite convincing, isn't it?

Hay & cement

A curious detail of this room is an opening to a secret (of course, not that secret anymore) underground world. By removing the hatch blocking the maintenance entry, one can crawl to an unused underground space conveniently located under our apartment. The space is quite large, approximately about 70 square meters, and currently full of construction junk from the sixties. One day, budget and permissions from the municipal allowing, we hope to somehow utilise all this extra space.  

Those of you who are into "serious" renovation might find the following interesting. This project has a great variety of different hard core, muscle demanding stages: transporting away several truck loads of construction junk, blasting and exploding solid rock, dealing with drainage and possible radon exposure, preparing and casting a cement floor,  building new walls with water insulation, redesigning and crafting electricity and ventilation etc. So yes, basically building a "sub" apartment inside an apartment.

Deep down in the underground

Currently, the storage room is relatively clean. It has been stripped down to bare brick and all the junk has been carried away. So the space is ready for the big guns to arrive.

Stripped storage

The next phase of the plan is to knock down the walls in order to create an open lounge area, which allows the downstairs to open up. Even if our living room upstairs is quite spacious, we want to create an open space downstairs as well. Downstairs lounge, approximately 30 square meters in size, is planned to host different entertainment pieces, such as for example a piano and TV (maybe as an indication of some degree of maturity, we are thinking of moving the TV downstairs). The area is also meant for chilling out after sauna or kids to play. The space will also have an entry to a back terrace (yet to be designed and built) and to the backyard garden.

A space too bare for bone hiding

As the last renovation of this space had been done back in the seventies, there was a valid concern regarding asbestos. We actually had to send both a wall and floor tile including fixative to a laboratory to be analysed for asbestos before the tile removal could begin. Luckily, there was no sign of asbestos detected and we were given a green light. 

Now all the floor tiles and most wall tiles are gone and the floor has been grinded. Next, a steel-made I-beam wall-to-wall support for the ceiling will be constructed. Only after this, the walls of the storage room can be destroyed. So yes, we are serious!

Current situation

What can also be detected from the previous picture is that our beloved arch is also finally gone! The staircase will be disassembled and sent for sanding and painting. The old wall panels are to be ripped off from the whole height of the staircase and the walls will be smoothed and painted white.

Arch FINALLY gone

Pekka has also started designing the downstairs lighting, so that the lights would best complement the colour and material selections we are contemplating. The leading idea is that whereas upstairs is the place for some of the more delicate pieces, downstairs should be an area where in the future our little daughter can invite her friends to play and hang out, and we don't have to worry about them (ab)using the place. Therefore, it is quite fair to say that one of the key design drivers in downstairs is usability.

As there is a door downstairs leading to the garden a direct way for sand, mud and other organics to rush in is created every single time when the door is opened. Clearly, whatever we choose for the floor material, it needs to be able to handle the wear, tear and dampness entering with those materials. Conveniently, there is a classic floor material linking directly to the mid-century modern era - a slate floor, resistant to anything! 

Lately Pekka has driving himself to the brink of madness thinking (and rethinking, and rethinking) about the different options available - should it be which slate, which colour, monochrome or multi tone, geometric or natural layout, dark or light, thick or slim, smooth of rough, only inside or also outside or..? Once again, so much huffing and puffing Minna has wisely taken a step back until the top three choices will be presented for her for evaluation. Without a doubt, we will return to these later...!

Urho "pointing out" some slate samples

No comments:

Post a Comment