Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Cellar, seriously

Pretty much every friday, for the past 2 years whenever i was asked what am i doing on the weekend, i replied "Working on the cellar". Last month i finished it.

When we bought the house there was a door that went to a small cavity under the house. It was about 3 feet high, 6 feet wide and 10 feet deep. We used it as garden tool storage. I don't have any 'before photos', ok I do but they involve me in my PJs finding xmas presents.

I had my wine stored at my mums' place, but with her retiring i didn't trust her with my collection. So I started digging. Or chipping. The "soil" was essentially clay and rock and the area was so confined that i couldn't swing an pick. I started with a hammer and chisel and then slowly progressed to get a pick happening. I'd chisel and pick the dirt lose and scoop it in to buckets left over from grouting the bathroom and make a pile in the backyard.

18 months into the dig, The Big D visited and had a look and said "Marko, a hammer drill would make easier". So after a $50 hammer drill purchase i discovered in 4 weekends i could dig about the same as it took 9 months.
1) The floor to dining room, which i swear is still perfectly level, I don't care what the spirit level says.
2)Em had an awesome idea of using perspex/pvc sheet to show how much got dug and the cool dirt. All the supports were welded by me.
3)I removed a brickwall that was supporting the dining room floor and replaced it with a big heavy beam and posts. Also where i taught myself welding.
4)The height of the original dirt floor. I pretty much dug about 5 tonnes of dirt.
5)Paved floor courtesy of Emma because I had a dummyspit due to her not being able to decide on the paver pattern.

All in all the space is about 3x4 metres with 40% shelving. The wine is all databased and its location is documented.

1) The crappy chinese lanterns were not my idea. I have to fix the lighting and electrical (get rid of the cord wrapped around the beam and so forth) but electrical and car stuff bore me to tears and i just can't make the effort to learn. Plus its hard to kill yourself welding, plumbing, tiling, sheet metaling, etc but having been shocked 3 times working in construction, i'd rather leave it to others.
2)Cheap MDF + left over timber floor stain = sweet finish
3)The ethnic artifacts were my idea
What you don't see is i had to mix and pour 350 kilos of cement to act as a step from the small door to the floor. You can't see the bull horns above the door either.

So what do you do with five tonnes of dirt? Apparently landscape the backyard (my idea was have a big pile of dirt).

Here's me getting rid of one bucket, it was followed by another 150 or so. The tree in the foreground got chopped down - it was only 3 metres from the house and over 10 metres high. So it had to go any way, it also meant that i spent 3 weekends chopping wood.

This is the "after" picture. Em's comment is "The after shot is supposed to look better than the before shot". 5 Tonnes wasn't enough to fill the space so i had to dig another 1-2 tonne from the bottom of the block and carry it up (our block drops 11 metres from the front to the back).
1)Where the tree was, now replaced by a wonky clothesline that doesn't matter how much cement or welding i do to still wonks.
2)It took 3 months (12 weekends) to build all this. The timber sleepers have pins through them that hold it all together. Each hole for the pin took about 45 minutes to drill. To save time i didn't bother putting pins right in the corner. When i put in all the dirt the corner subsequently split. So in an effort to save 3 hours of work, i had to spend 3 days digging the sides out, rebracing it with crappy looking strap and refilling it all.

And that's that project done.
Next the Deck. Or stairs from the road to the house. Or amphitheater and firepit/lamb spit.


LFW said...

So when will the bowling alley and the lap pool be put in?

seriously though, this cellar looks pretty damn wicked, good work dood. I'm amazed that you have done all this.

cheers to you

your pal


practicecactus said...

you piss head

The Frase said...

Very impressive on all counts!

And as an aside- thats one of the things I love about pretty much every South Australian I've met: they're serious about wine!

Mark Selan said...

LFW - Down the line I do plan on building a skate ramp. Even though i don't skate.
And Em wants a lap pool bad. But it ain't happening, the building is doable but the cleaning would kill me.

Practice - Originally planned to run a pipe to the kitchen so we could have a beer pull, but keeping the keg cold in the cellar was going to cost too much. But i've saved room for Home Brew.
And booze is the only way that i can make it thru the day

Da Frase - Thanks! We are extremely lucky to have three best wine making regions on our door step.

d. said...

nice work, man. everyone should have a secret underground room to serve jesus juice in.

Komala said...

That is hardcore, dude. I salute you!!

Mark Selan said...

Dillon - Sleep over! I'm Bad! Don't tell your mom. All Credos I live my life by

Komala - Thanks. Best wishes in finding your own home to renovate and never finish.