installing the stairs – the prequel

We are living with a pretty adventurous entry situation for the last couple of month and although I got used to it pretty fast it still is the most impractical entry situation for a construction site. (you should see us handling tools and heavy stuff up there… also the 3 ACC-blocks which lay in place of the first 2 rungs are quite challenging)
But now it’s time for our new steel stairway to shine! Do you remember we ordered stairs at the trade fair a couple of month ago. It was finally delivered to us weeks ago which led us to the next item on our to-do-list: to built a solid foundation for the staircase.

We splitted this activity up to two weekends. On the first we prepared everything for the foundation and on the second we got our hands on mixing concrete.
For mixing concrete you need a serious amount of sand so on the first saturday Martin and I got up really early to go and get some from Martin’s workplace.
(It comes in pretty handy to have such a great partner-in-crime who is able to drive all those big machines. Although he’s behind the computer all day long he enjoys to get back into the drivers seat every once in a while.)
We unloaded the sand at the treehouse site and waited for a friend of my Dads who owns a (supercute) excavator. Tiny but pretty handy when it comes to digging holes for the sewer or the foundation..
I was supervising the whole digging process from above while Martin and my Dad helped downstairs preparing the hole.
Everything worked out pretty good and at the end of the day we also had a perfectly working sewer. (the last part of the downspout wasn’t installed until now!)
We choose a simple galvanized steel staircase with grid stairs (we thought it might be the best idea because with all the wet leafs during fall, wooden stairs could get really slippery and wet leaves freezing onto stairs would be even worst. We hope for the best and that the leafs won’t stick to the steel grid).
Stay tuned for the second day where we cast the foundation.



Some time ago Ray and I attended a workshop about how to use beton cire within your home.
Beton cire is a great way to upgrade your kitchen countertop or use it instead of tiles in your bathroom. (We are going to use it as a floorfinish while Ray will use it in his new bathroom).
The Beton cire Atelier of Sandra Graller is situated in Viennas 17th district in an amazing neighborhood (and house!) We met her a few month ago at the trade fair and talked with her about the material and her workshops.
Back then I was amazed by the professional look of her fair booth and the beautiful corporate identity Sandra created around her business Beton Cire.
We have been lucky to chat with her before the workshop started and I was not at all surprized to hear that shes got a professional background in advertising and marketing. But after several years working for an agency she changed tracks and started to get her hands dirty with beton cire. After a loveatfirstsight-meeting (businesswise spoken) with her dutch supplier they asked her to be the chief agent for Austrai and so she started the business and didn’t regret it eversince!
You can tell that she really loves her job, the material itself and the contact with both, companies who purchase Beton Cire from her and private persons who want get to know more about the material and try to embelish their homes and try themselfs as Beton cire craftsmen.
After a quick introduction regarding the different surfaces and finishing options we started to mix a bucket full of material…
You can choose between a lot of colors. The plain material and the suitable amount of pigment will be supported to you by Sandra (or any other supplier). Fold it under and strain it through a sieve.
Add the ace resin (actually it’s better the other way round: add the pigment/betoncire mix to the ace resin) and mix everything until it gets the consistency of ice cream. (that’s a hard job… Ray worked up a sweat)
We started smoothing it on to our surface. We used special scapers but normal ones (and some skills) will do the job as well. the Beton cire layer is really thin but super durable.
We tried it ourselfs and it was really a hard job. After the first layer we waited about 20 minutes and started over with the second layer on top of the first one. I tried a rough and a smooth finish on my panel just to get an idea of how it works.
Sandra prepared two panels the day before so we could sand them as well the same day. And I think sanding is the hardest part of it…
You have to add a lot of pressure, the machine is pretty heavy and you’ll always keep in mind that you don’t stay too long at the same spot to get an even surface with a nice calm look.bcire017
After you’ve dry cleaned the surface from all the dust you can seal it with a special wax or a synthetic varnish depending which surface you did (f.ex.: bathrooms demand the synthetic varnish to stay water resistent…)
We’ve learned a lot and it was a great way to get a feeling with the material. Looking forward to our beton cire floor!
Thank you Sandra to share your story and the possibilities of this amazing material with us!


bathroom in progress

Sorry guys I didn’t manage to upload a post yesterday. But I was crazy busy preparing, helping, buying stuff for our bathroom. So let’s have a look what happend so far. I already shared an inspirational moodboard of our future bath a few month ago and our amazing cement tiles…but seeing it all finally come together is a whole nother story!
Smashing! But so good to share the progress with you!

Fast forward, I have to admit we didn’t tile the floor ourselfs!
Those cement tiles are really expensive so we thought we better leave this task to the pros! Sometimes you need to step aside and hire someone that will save you so much of your time, nerves and money (professionals work so much faster and they know every trick while you probably need days to get it – and most likely a couple-therapy as well!)
My dear renovation hero, Kim Vargo of yellow brick home, wrote a sophisticated post about DIY vs. Hire a few days ago – check it out at their blog – nothing further to add her brilliant post!).
Although we didn’t tile our floor, we did the preparation for the tiling ourselfs. We needed to make sure that the height of the shower tray and the tiles are almost the same and we sealed the edges and the tray itself with the provided sealing tape. I can highly recommend the Bette Floor shower system. Everything (except the drain!! had to order it separately!) is provided with the tray. Let’s see how it turns out showering the first time… I’ll keep you informed.
We bought a marble windowsill corresponding our vanity. Speaking of that…
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Here’s what we did: We found this beautiful old marble vanity in the basement of the house and brought the upper top to a stone cutter. (marble is such an incredible heavy material!!! I couldn’t lift the top myself.. thought it was still bolt-on! hahaha)
The stone cutter drilled the holes for the drain of the sink and the tap.
We are going to refurbish the base and reinstall the top with the sink and the tap. I can’t wait how it will turn out.

Back at the bathroom I watched the professionals tiling the floor. They used a special tile adhesive and put the cement also on the back of the tile (back buttering technique) that way they could correct the slight differences between the tile thickness. (Those tiles are hand made that’s why they vary a little in thickness.)
What do you think of it so far!?
I really love it.

And there’s another preview I can show you:
Robert, my cousin already installed our switches and plugs. We used the retro-inspired series from Berker which is called “1930”. I really like them and the color goes so well with the strong white of our walls! Now it’s just a matter of time until we can move in…