Following on from my last post about “Fantail Cottage” and our plans to make it available to paying guests, we realised for it to work properly I had to do something about the bathroom facilities.
I built an emergency bathroom quite a few years ago with toilet and shower that has been barely adequate – a typical gardeners bathroom that has seen many of my muddy boots over the years so not really suitable for paying guests to use. The bathroom is located about 10 metres (up a few steps) from the sleepout as shown in the above picture. The bathroom is through that door on the right. So the plan is to extend it making it bigger and more comfortable to use.
However, nothing is quite as simple as it sounds.
Before I can do anything about enlarging it, there are a couple of quite big jobs to do first. Like getting rid of that big pile of clay (on the left in the above picture). All that clay got piled there years ago when I excavated the basement of the house. There was nowhere else on the property to put it so it just sat there eventually becoming part of the back lawn, so now getting rid of it was going to be a tricky, time consuming and heavy job.
I made a start months ago and using a wheelbarrow took it down the steps, over the bridge past the sleepout and up the other side of the gully to the very back of the property and then disposing it somewhere out of view — a total of some 50 odd metres up and down steep slopes, and Auckland clay isn't light. I could only do a half dozen trips before I was completely exhausted, so it was going to be a long, slow job doing it that way. Surprisingly, what I’d done in the above pic represents about 30 odd barrows full as it expands considerably when you break it up. The picture above shows how far I got before I realised I had to come up with a better plan.
I’d built it out of landscaping grade Macrocarpa and it was beginning to rot so it would need replacing at some stage. So I decided to demolish the ramp and build a retaining wall in its place, then I could fill the cavity created with all the clay.
I hasten to point out that this was Marie’s idea and a rather good one as it turns out.
So thankfully the job of shifting the clay became so much easier, and now I’m already starting to sense a feeling of space having now created a large flat area to work with.
There are still a few jobs to do before I can start on the bathroom. I need to rebuild a keystone retaining wall to hold the remaining bank up plus I need to remove those 2 punga ferns next to the bathroom.
The current problem is the weather as it’s been raining for the last week or so and there’s still several days of rain forecast, meaning I can’t do much more until it stops. So it's going to take another month or more yet before anything resembling a new bathroom will start to emerge.
In the mean time, I've been getting a few supplies together including a second hand steel bath (a really nice one) and a bunch of second hand glass bricks. I want one wall of the bathroom to be all glass so as to catch more natural light. The existing bathroom, which is little more than an outhouse currently, is quite dark and gloomy.
Watch this space.