New facade for ground floor of the cottage

August 17, 2018

Sooner than expected we are already working on improving the ground floor of the cottage. We amaze ourselves how much we have achieved in what was supposed to be the long Summer Siesta. Maybe we get used to the climate a bit after being here for over 6 years now. My focus swiftly moved to the cottage after making progress on the old coal storage building. I needed to move forward with this to stay motivated with this huge project. It's nice to have multiple projects in progress at the same time, although there is always the danger that you don't finish a few. One of our followers asked me what we want to do with the old coal storage building and I realized that I had never mentioned this - sorry for this - but better late than never. The ground floor of this building consists of the 3 loading rooms; 3 trucks could be loaded with coal at the same time. These 3 rooms of 4 by 12 meter will basically remain the same, so just rectangular areas. In one of them Ans would like have her workshop for working with glass (she followed a course for this in Sweden earlier this year). The second and third room are still kind of undecided, but I like the idea to use this as multi-purpose rooms, but including a kitchen facility in case we use these for giving parties. We could also watch movies on the backside wall and we could perhaps make our office there. I will write and update my followers if we progress with this huge project.
This post is mainly about making 3 arches out of concrete.

Groundfloor of the cottage

The ground floor of what we call the 'cottage' has never been fully developed. The former owners used it for keeping birds and storage rooms, but all done very basically. We have stripped almost everything to the basic structure like you can see on the attached photo. The cottage has been build on the bedrock wich is sloping down. The ground floor was necessary for the upper floor to keep up the whole building. It's our intention to make it look a bit nicer and make them into storage places for gardening tools like a lawnmower and a cultivator. As you can see on the photo of the current situation, the wall of the section on the right is still there. Reason: I am not sure if this wall is a supporting wall or not or assisting in the support of the terrace above as the concrete beams contains some tiny cracks. It's probably ok to remove it, but I am rather safe than sorry, so either I am placing studs under the concrete beams before I remove this wall or I will leave it completely as is. The walls which will be built on both sides of the doors will support the beams so these will either assist or take over the support of the old wall.

New facade design

I have done my utter best and creative skills to show you how it will look like. My skills on this field are very poor and I am using the most simple graphic editor MS Paint. So what you see looks quite ugly, but I am sure that you will change your mind when I will show photos of the factual new situation. We have tried to keep the design in line with the design of the rest of the building, using the same materials, shapes and colors.

Concrete arches

I decided to make the arches from concrete, which will rest on hollow square blocks of 20 x 20 cm, which I will fill with concrete and reinforce a bit with some steel bars. For the round sections of the arches I needed to make a form first, which I made of left over OSB material (did you know that OSB stands for 'Oriented Strand Board' also known as 'flake board' as it's made of chips / flakes of wood glued together). It's not really super ideal to use for concrete forming as it's not water repelling, but I just needed it 3 times only and afterwards I throw it away as after expanding due to the moist of the concrete it will never go back to it's original thickness and become weak. Concrete is heavy - 2.5 times more heavy than water - so the form must be strong, especially on the outside of the form. The photos show in detail how I did it. The rounded shapes have been done by plastic glass sheets - also knows as acrylic glass sheets or in Dutch 'plexiglass' is the common name for it. I reinforced the concrete with rebar of 8 mm, so I can use the arch for sure for support of the terrace above the ground floor. All 3 arches have been made and although you can walk on it already it takes a few weeks at least to harden and get the strength it should have. I will post updates about this project when progressing to the next step.

Short updates about La Mina

  • Grapes
    The grapes are not ready yet. We have measured the sugar content a few times and we need to wait a few more weeks. To our own surprise the mildew problems were not as devastating as we thought; we have more crop than expected, although the birds don't mind a lower sugar content...
  • Rain
    August has sofar been an exceptional month. Ans her prayers and birthday wish for rain have been heard as it has regularly been raining since August 7. I am writing this post with the pleasant ticking sound of the raindrops on the fan shaped leaves of the Washington Palm trees; so far today 35 mm has come down and it's still counting. The average rainfall in August on Mallorca is just 1 mm and including the 35 of today the counter stays at 70 ! What a bonus and - needless to say perhaps - it affects the temperature in the good direction; right now it's just 20 degrees Celsius.