Tomorrow I need to get up early to discuss plasterboard boxing in of pipes and other electrical bits that simply could not be buried into the concrete joists as that would compromise their structural integrity. Work with plasterboard seems to be a rare and specialised skill in Italy, and is the domain of painter/decorators and not builders.
So they arrived on Friday morning to box in the extractor pipe in the bathroom and also the electrics in the lounge. When we got there though, to my horror, I found that they had built an enormous coffin-like box on the ceiling that just stopped before the end of the room because of flue for the wood burner. I had a bit of a hissy fit and called the builder in, who blamed the electrician for leaving the wiring pipes exposed and not channeling them into the wall. I then rang the electrician to get him round to the house. He blamed the position of the wiring on the builder who had told them not to damage the concrete joists……etc etc.
I demanded that it was sorted out because I would not accept an enormous great box, the length of the room, stuck to the ceiling. Poor Jamie then spent the afternoon dismantling the whole thing.
The metal tracking seems to me to be too large for the purpose, and I just felt they were using what they had rather than what worked best. I am quite clear about how it should look and so tough luck if they do not agree; worst case scenario we will do it ourselves. I think they now understand that we are not a push over and again, thank goodness, we are able to pop in most days to see what is going on and to spot potential problems before they happen.
Well not always. The wooden lintel over the bedroom doorway being a case in point. Originally there was a tacky 70s archway over a corridor; we removed the arch but an iron lintel had to be put in for support. Rather than just plaster it in, and because we have no original beams in the house, we thought an old beam would look good to cover the lintel. The carpenter turned up with a piece of polished wood which had been ‘aged’ and this was inserted. When I came to the house I could see the joins and the colour differences in the grain where the different pieces had been joined together to make it fit over the beam. Once seen I couldn’t stop noticing it and it really began to annoy me. I had clearly explained that I wanted an old piece of timber, hollowed out and inserted to look like it had always been there. And this was not it.
So I got the builder to knock it out and off we went to the local reclamation yard to find our own piece of aged wood. After a short search we found a piece the right length and thickness, complete with wormholes and old hand made iron nails. They cut it and hollowed it out for us and finally sanded it back ready for us to wax. Result. And, although the builder probably thinks we are barking, it will be inserted in the next few days. This new ‘old’ piece didn’t cost us any money either as we swapped it for the wooden bannisters we had removed from the house. They would have been dumped otherwise, so I am glad we kept hold of them as it doesn’t feel quite so wasteful.