The renovation of the ground floor of my house is just about complete

Stará Oleška 44 with the first snowfall of the 2023/24 winter, 24th November 2023 © Ricky Yates

Once again, I have to start a blog post with a sincere apology for the absence of any posts for a whole six months – the longest hiatus in the fourteen-year history of this blog. In recent months I have said to myself several times that I must start writing again. But then, there are always other things to do. But enough of my excuses, here is the latest instalment of the renovation of Stará Oleška 44.

Before the extension on the west side of my house was built, (on the left in the photograph), with a new front door into an entrance lobby and what is now my sitting-dining room, the way into the house was up a set of steps onto a open verandah and then through a door into what is now my study-bedroom.

One of the last things the previous owners did was to have two pairs of high-quality double-glazed uPVC windows fitted across the front of the verandah to enclose it, as you can see in the photograph. However, they left the existing single-glazed windows on each side of the verandah, unchanged. In November 2017, I had these replaced to match those across the front.

Interior of the enclosed verandah, 9th March 2017 © Ricky Yates

This photograph shows how one end of the interior of the enclosed verandah looked when I first visited the house on 9th March 2017. The photo was taken from the doorway of what is now my study-bedroom.

After K & K renovace nemovitostí Decín had renovated my study-bedroom in April 2023, Karel junior said that it would be perfectly possible to lay a matching wood laminate floor in the enclosed verandah, to replace the piece of old carpet and flattened cardboard boxes which were the current floor covering. The main problem with that being done was that the room had become the perfect place for things to be dumped that hadn’t been properly sorted 😉

View from my study- bedroom, through the old front doorway into the enclosed verandah © Ricky Yates

You can see some of them through the old front doorway in this photo of my renovated study-bedroom which appeared in the earlier blog post.

Over the Summer of 2023, I finally sorted and found new homes for most of the things and got rid of the rest that I no longer wanted or needed. And so in December 2023, K & K returned to recommence work.

Once the old carpet and cardboard was lifted, it revealed the very poor nature of the floor beneath. There were gaps between the floorboards through which it was possible to see the earth below! The verandah is elevated because the whole house is built on a slope. Therefore, K & K laid a new floor with 10cm of hardened insulation before laying the wood laminate on top. This additionally all but eliminated the two steps down into the verandah.

Karel junior also suggested that they could line the three outside walls and the ceiling to make the room both more attractive and improve insulation. The two following photos, both taken through the window at one end of the enclosed verandah, show the transformation K & K have made of the room. During the second half of this winter, my study-bedroom has been far warmer, retaining heat from my woodburner for many hours. The impact of the improved insulation.

The enclosed verandah before renovation commenced © Karel Konvalinka

The enclosed verandah after renovation © Ricky Yates

In January 2024, Karel senior returned and installed three shelves at either end of the renovated room.

New shelves in the enclosed verandah © Ricky Yates

New shelves in the enclosed verandah © Ricky Yates

With the fitting of these shelves, as with all their other work, the only problem they had was the complete absence of straight lines and right-angles. Everything had to be specially cut in order to make it fit.

And finally, at the end of January 2024, my dream of having bookshelves in my study-bedroom, came true. As I have discovered, Karel senior is a very good carpenter. He measured these two alcoves…..

Alcove in my study-bedroom © Ricky Yates

Alcove in my study-bedroom © Ricky Yates

.and then constructed these bookshelves in his workshop, before bringing them to my house on a trailer, in four separate sections and then installing them.

New bookshelves installed in my study-bedroom © Ricky Yates

As with the enclosed verandah, he had to overcome the absence of straight lines and right-angles 😉 Now all I have to do is get all of my boxes of books down from one of the two rooms in the roof space, get them sorted by subject and size, and stacked on the shelves. Unfortunately, getting them down the loft ladder is no easy task.

Bookshelves & loft ladder © Ricky Yates

9 comments to The renovation of the ground floor of my house is just about complete

  • Pauleen Bang

    Dear Ricky
    Wow. You are so lucky to have such good handymen. Lovely to see all the improvements. You are forgiven for your long silence and I hope you will write more often from now on.
    Any more changes to come?
    Love Pauleen

    • Ricky

      Hello Pauleen! Thank you once again, for visiting & commenting here, and for your forgiveness of my long silence. As I said in a previous post, one of the real problems I’ve had is finding people with the skills needed for the different improvements I’ve wanted doing. Karel senior did a brilliant job two years ago, tiling my roof, and he is clearly is also an excellent carpenter.

      To answer your question, as the title of the post says, the ground floor of the house is now basically as I envisaged it to be. The major task in the future is to get an internal stairway installed to provide proper access to the two rooms in the roof space & get rid of the drop down ladder you can see in the last photo.

  • Paul Shorten

    Well done Ricky , the transformation is quite amazing. You are fortunate to have local tradespeople that are passionate about the quality of their workmanship. I like that Karel junior was ready to share his thoughts in making suggestions that enhanced the renovations. You have used the available space to great effect and you can now enjoy being surrounded by your books.
    You have created a warm cosy space which will give you great pleasure .
    Time for celebration !

    • Ricky

      Thank you, Paul, for commenting here again. You are right, K & K do insist on a high quality of workmanship. Yes, Karel junior is very good at suggesting additional things that they can do which, of course, means more money for them 😉 But I’m very glad I accepted his suggestion of relining the walls & ceiling of enclosed verandah. It has transformed that little room and the improved insulation has been very noticeable during the second half of this winter.

  • Kathy Ferguson

    It all looks very smart and functional, Ricky, and how nice to have your books available again at last – both to read and to provide yet more insulation 😉 As others have said, you’re fortunate to have found such a skilled and reliable firm to do the work. I sympathise about the lack of straight lines and right angles. We lived for over 30 years in an old house which noticeably lacked both, so I know how tricky that makes it to renovate.

    • Ricky

      Thank you, Kathy! It does look very smart & it will be nice to be finally reunited with all my books, once I’ve finished bringing them all down the loft ladder. I did sympathise with K & K over the lack of straight lines & right-angles, something they mentioned to me on several occasions. It did mean that things took longer to complete.

  • Sean McCann

    Hi Ricky,
    Welcome back, glad you have returned to the blogosphere. More excellent workmanship from Karel pere et fils. Old houses are always full of surprises, odd angles and out of kilter surfaces; I’m told it make them quaint and adds to their charm!
    A quick suggestion for moving your books: use a small strong shopping bag, a hook and a length of rope sufficient to reach from upstairs to the ground floor safely.
    Enjoy stacking your bookshelves.
    Take care,

    • Ricky

      Hi Sean,
      Thank you for the welcome back 🙂 Very good workmanship as I’ve said several times. I don’t know about charm but the lack of right-angles & straight lines has slowed K & K down on several previous occasions.

      As for your book transport suggestion, unpacking them in the roof space & bringing them down in shopping bags is something I’ve thought of too. After a bit of a hiatus, I resumed the task yesterday & got another box down safely. That’s four down, ten to go 😉 Further progress report in due course.

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