the old woolshop
Old Woolshop home

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The Old Wool Shop
Diary of a renovation
Part 3: May 2005 - September 2005


Stud Walls
By April we had finalised the floor plan for upstairs in the big shop, we just needed to modify the metal roof trusses and build the stud wall partitions upstairs. Modifying the tie bars for the trusses was simple enough, they were individually cut, unbolted, drilled and rebolted. This modification allowed room for normal width doorways upstairs.

before modification room for a doorway now  
I then constructed the stud walls to seperate off the two bedrooms and bathroom. Partitions were also built under the eaves to give a 0.5m wide area which could later be used for laying pipework and electrics.
new studwork doorway new studwork nearly finished studwork

New and Old Doorways
Really the stud walls were the easy bit of building the new layout. We also needed to open two dooways between the big shop and the house, one on each floor plus a double door opening between the big shop (new living room) and the little shop (new kitchen/diner). This sounded more like proper building work as we would have to cut holes in existing brick walls and install lintels for each doorway.

The single doorways were reasonably easy as the openings were self supporting whilst I was putting the lintels in. However, the double doorway had to be supported whilst the lintels were installed. A hole was drilled above where the opening was planned and a length of steam pipe placed through it, this was supported at each end by acro props. Another prop was placed under the end of the roof truss. It was then a case of taking out the individual bricks, of which there were enough to fill a skip. Chiselling the bricks out also finished off my drill so we had to hire one to finish the job.


new upstairs doorway new upstairs doorway again new doorway to hall downstairs


new double doorway new double doorway again new double doorway from a distance

We still had a problem with the new layout. We'd spent hours working out were we could make the new doorway from the upstairs of the big shop to the upstairs of the house. The limited options we had for positioning this meant that some major stair modifications were needed. After many scale drawings we decided to move the stairs approximately three feet towards the existing kitchen and instal winders to turn the angle to the upstairs landing. The route to next door from upstairs would then be via a walkway back over the stairs.

You may have guessed that this job was going to take some time (ten days as it happens).
The first step was to remove the understairs cupboard and old staircase. I had ten steps from another staircase which I would use to form the basis of the new stairs.
I then worked out where the new flight of stairs would start and propped the new flight against the wall. Upstairs floorboards were removed and new floor joist headers installed to take the weight of the first floor were we were cutting through the floor. Approximately one square metre of floor was cut away to allow room for the new winders.

Once the new flight of stairs were fixed I constructed a set of winders to join the top of the new flight of stairs to the first floor, a vertical gap of 800 mm. The winders were hung using steel straps from the existing joists and a steel post was installed to support the 1st floor header around the stairwell.

old stairs removing the old stairs props to support the first floor
new route to upstairs new stairs (see line of old stairs) new stairs from the landing

Once the new stairs were in place I built the balustrade using standard stair parts and some improvisation. The lower handrail on the straight section of stairs runs into the underside of the first floor. The balustrade resumes on the first floor to protect the landing. Also part of this job was building the walkway over to the first floor of the shop. This was built in inch thick marine play and supported by some heavily bolted 3 x 2 timber. We tested it by two of us jumping up and down on it at once. Very scientific.

new stairs with balustrade new landing, newel posts and spindles new walkway to the first floor of the shops

Around the same time we decided that we'd had enough of living in a building site so I fitted door frames and doors between the house and the shops. The doors are reclaimed, hence the colouring and features. The step at the end of the downstairs hallway was rebuilt using some of our reclaimed hardwood flooring and we were finally able to start cleaning the house up.
The final touches such as plaster and skirting boards will be tackled when we are ready to finish off the big shop, but at least the stairway is now functional

hallway steps in hardwood hallway steps and new doorway to the shops looking back to the steps from the big shop

Leaking Roof
The previous winter had made it obvious that the roof and valley gutter to the little shop needed some serious work. The wall under the valley gutter was damp through the entire winter and many of the slates had slipped. We had intended to do the roofing work ourselves but in the end we got a good labour rate from some local roofers. They stripped, rebattened felted and slated in just a few days. I let them do the roofing whilst I prepared the roof for the new Veluxes that were to replace the old leaky rooflights.

At the same time we had the old cast iron valley gutter relined with a thick rubber liner, hopefully this would be the end of the damp problems we'd had in the little shop.

relaid roof valley gutter repair new Veluxes from inside


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