Updated: Dec 18, 2019
It's been a couple of months since our last post and what a crazy couple of months it's been. Mid-September we had a 6 week opening deadline that has sadly slipped... quite a bit! We always knew a renovation would be challenging but I don't think any of us realised the time involved in trying to fix underlying problems in a building that we can't really change the structure of and have to bring it 100% up to modern building code. But as someone once said "if it's worth doing, it's worth doing right" or "good things come from hard work" or "spend a penny to save a fortune". We've been looking really hard for inspirational quotes that justify the delay! But as trite as these might sound, there is truth in them.
We started to get the bathrooms ready to install after completing the fire separations and adding extra sound insulation (we decided we needed more when we heard a clear conversation from the adjacent bathroom despite having achieved the code requirements), only to find when we removed the vinyl flooring that the subfloor was wet and the underside of the vinyl was mouldy (yuk). That was true in most of the rooms (unfortunately not the one that we had lifted the vinyl to inspect a few months earlier and were lulled into a false sense of security). So the remedial work started and we are now about ready to instal the new flooring, but first the wall finishings!
Please reserve judgement (it's still a work in progress), it's a little out there for some tastes but we're pretty confident it will work (there are lots of crossed fingers and toes). All the plumbing is ready to go for the showers, no bath's despite there being a tub (remember we're trying to save the planet one bath tub of water at a time), and the wall finishings are fully installed around the tubs.
And then the cold weather really hit and what we were told about the amount of insulation under the building being sufficient to keep our pipes from freezing was (as we originally thought) woefully incorrect! So, armed with tools, wood, insulation of various types and some warm clothing, Riley once again adopted his superhero persona of "Moleman" (shhh, don't tell anyone his super secret identify).
Around each pipe exiting the building there is now a rigid insulating foam box, with Rockwool insulation and soon blown cellulose fibre too. One cool thing about this renovation (and the delay) is the opportunity we have to do some research and development of techniques and processes for bringing some of these beautiful old buildings up to modern standards and able to meet modern expectations. We have temperature and humidity sensors dotted around the building to determine the conditions of some of our key spots (such as around the pipework, the loft and a couple of our rooms). This will give us some really useful intelligence that will help the future operation of the building and future projects. What's slightly frustrating is that we know more work is needed on the underside come spring after we've done another levelling out of the building, at that time we can spend a` little more time and complete the underside renovation as we'd originally thought necessary. Working outdoors in the cold is not quick and requires recovery time between short stints in order to keep people safe and healthy. So while it has taken a couple of weeks to get the underside of the building more adequately protected from the elements to get us through the winter, inside work has also been progressing.
Ok, it doesn't look much right now but we're excited... we have a bed in every room! We were told they were quite a desirable asset for hotel guests. We opted to build our own bed frames so that we could integrate power sockets into the base and have some much needed hidden hotel equipment storage. This has been a design and build project all of its own, the first one taking a lot of thought, trial and error before having something we were all happy with. And next year there will be some exciting further developments to these beds (we even have our future developments and refurnishing planned out). Probably more important than anything though is the mattress. We have chosen a Canadian company that designs and manufactures its mattresses in Canada. They are latex free, have 828 individually wrapped coiled springs and layers of different types of foam, including gel infused to prevent overheating. Not only have we tried and tested them (extensively) ourselves, but friends also have them and have had some of the most comfortable nights sleep in their lives. Everyone has slightly different needs when it comes to mattresses but we think these give us the best of all worlds. And importantly, from a company that shares our values!
You can see in the image above that the same tin in the bathroom carries on through to one of the walls on the bedrooms, maybe the theme is making a little more sense now?? We can't wait to have the rooms completed so that they can be furnished and dressed but we still have a few steps left.
We've pushed our opening date until January to take a bit of pressure out of the system but we are looking forward to inviting our first guests as testers and feedback machines towards the end of January. Maybe you'll be one of the lucky ones to get an invite for a night. If you were interested in a free night, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know that you'd like to join the party! We're going to add names to a draw and we'll let you the exact date if you win a couple of weeks in advance.
Bring on the next few weeks!