18th Jun 2012 - 19th Jun 2012
Less like a SHED !
When we looked at our property for the first time, with the listing realtor, he called our house a shed. Well, we have been trying to make it look like a house, not a shed, every since 2005.
We had three roller doors in the front. The first was converted to a large opening glass door. We are happy to report that roller #2 is now a HUGE picture window with a bottle wall below.
First a 6X2 framework was constructed to cover the whole roller door opening, which was 2.6 meters wide. Wanting to have continuity with the first door we carried on with two windows at the top. We decided to have the lower bottle wall 800mm tall. The angles of the framework on the wall section was to add strength but also, and almost more importantly, to add aesthetic value and break up the look of all the bottles. Cool, framework done and ready for the glass & bottles.
They keep advertising on the telle that New Zealand has a huge drinking problem & we all need to cut down on the consumption. Well, we were not helping out by sending e-mails to all we knew to drink more wine because we need the bottles. I even managed to hook about a hundred bottles from Dave & Christine, our neighbors, who were also saving for a bottle wall but decided we could use theirs and also be the test of how it is actually done. Cool, flying by the seat of our pants on projects is nothing new for Mary and I. Craig, our batch neighbor, really came through for us by emptying the recycle bin at the Kaihu Valley Saw Mill and delivering bottles to the cutting station for Mary. We already had a tile cutter from our flooring projects and this little table saw, with a diamond blade, cut bottles very quickly. We did become “bottle snobs” shortly into this project. We discovered that wine bottles with the inward facing dome projected more light so they were the premo ones to collect. I even started buying my wine by first inspecting the bottom to see if it was domed or flat. Also clear bottles were much in demand, for they really project the light through. Square and triangle bottles were also highly sought after. Since we only wanted the bottle ends to show this required the bottom 70mm (2 ¾”) to be cut off and the rest of the bottle sacked up for Craig to return to the recycling bins. This process meant that for every bottle you see in the wall their were actually two cut half’s and taped with plastic sealing tape to make the bottle brick. Hard to believe that this small wall required about 400 bottles, which Mary cut on the little table saw. As she was cutting & taping bottles I had to make trim for the window instillation. Table saw & router turned out ¾” X ¾” wood strips into nice looking, but simple, window trim for the windows.
Laying up the bottle wall was of course a learning curve but after the first section it went nicely, slow but sure when you are working with cement. The wall was laid from the outside, with the aid of a piece of plywood clamped on the inside to insure a straight wall. Mortar was mixed up by hand by me, in a large plastic bin. Mary set the bottles & we both worked to smooth the wall. Once the bottles were laid in a section they were left for an hour or so to harden up a bit. Then excess mortar was scraped off with a spatula and then final smoothing with a wet rag before the cement set too much. Once the outside was smooth the inside had to get the same before it became a concrete block. Since it is winter, ha ha, here now the days are short so the actual bottle wall laying took about 3 days. After it was left to harden for a few days we painted the concrete around the bottles to compliment the house. Grey and white on the outside and sage & red-ish-brown on the inside. Needless to say it was slow and tedious to paint around the bottles but as it progressed we were both delighted that we took this extra effort & made the wall look all the better in our opinion.
The glass portion was, once again, do your homework and get quotes. Because the picture window was so large we had to follow building code guidelines. Conflicting statements by suppliers made me go to 4 different glass companies to sort out the real requirements. Lucky for me the window was able to be normal window glass. If it had been just a tad larger it would have had to be toughened / safety glass which would have doubled the cost. As is was I could have gotten by with 5mm but chose to go with 6mm ( about ¼”) just to be on the safe side. When the glass man delivered the picture window the inside trim was already in and painted. I quickly ran a bead of calk around the trim and we were all set for our beautiful HUGE picture window to go in from the outside. It was no drama for the two of us to lift the 45kg window, with the aid of really cool pump up section cups made for glass installers. Told the bloke that I wished he would leave me one, as they would work great for doing bottom scraping on Still Dreaming with the use of SCUBA, but he did not take the hint---damn. Up she goes and plop, fit perfectly. I applied a couple of blocks to temporarily hold the outside till I could make and paint the outside trim.
When Mary arrived home from work that night we both just sat and stared, with wine glasses in hand, out our wonderful new picture window!!!
Less like a shed all the time mates!
Cheers from Schwantlen Down Under
Kaihu, New Zealand