Summer Kitchen Renovation Part14: Electricity, Roof … and Water!

We have arrived at a kind of convergence of interdependencies & the end of the working season:

  • To continue working on filling the walls we needed to get some electricity preparations done.
  • A late decision to put in a masonry stove got entagled with the roof (since a chimney is required and penetrates the roof.

Electricity & Walls

I deliberated whether to put in electric cables directly into the walls or in pipes that would provide access for re-wiring in the future. This needed resolution in order to continue building up the walls.

Initially, I wanted to put in just a peripheral pipe for the main lines. There were two places wires were going to go through thick walls and three places where they were going to cross from the first floor to the second. These transitions were easy to handle now but would be very difficult to tend to in the future without pipes.

After doing that we decided to put in secondary, thinner pipes, to all outlets and switches. This is the busiest box we have:

… and then, as planned, Iulia went ahead and experimented with a straw-rich cob mix (inteded to both reduce structural load and increase insulation) … we explored different ways of mixing … and arrived at a very nice material:

She was able to do some placing of the material … including a worker who came for one day then disappeared:

but her elbow was still healing … and she was pushing … and after almost injuring herself again … we decided to stop with this work for this season. It became clear that we were not going to the walls closed for winter … and so we stopped thi work. It is also getting colder, less pleasant to work with earth, and it is now risky to continue to work with earthen materials that may be subjected to freeze-thaw cycles.


In the midst of all this, we finally got connected to the main water supply. After months of waiting for approval from the water company (after years of waiting for a water pipe to be installed), the installer arrived with a water counter from the water company … and we could make the final connection. I dug down to our existing water pipe:

I had plans to make a connection in such a way that if necessary we could go back to pump water … but there wasn’t enough space left for my plans … so I installed the pressure reducer … which went smoothly enough:

Then, despite a feeling of inhibition, I cut into the existing water pipe that we put in 9 years ago:

… and then started a shitty and difficult work session that ended with us connected to water mains. I hate work that requires brute force and cannot be resolved in a thoughtful way!


During all this time I was already immersed in building the late-addition masonry stove … that will come in a separate post.

However as things started to converge … parts arrived, the stove arose, the chimney system was figured out and ordered … I decided to get to work on the first half of the roof … the one that would not require a hole for the chimney.

We setup a pully system with which Iulia could send up to me small batches of shingles:

From there I was able to load the shingles onto the roof:

The shingles are covered with very small stones and when they are moved around they shed some of those stones. That added an undesirable slippy quality to the 30-degree roof slope and so I used the broom to sweep between batches.

I then carried the shingles to the other side of the roof where I needed them:

There was a learning curve (still on it) of how to lay them properly. I made a few mistakes that had a negative aesthetic effect, but did not compromise the water-shedding functionality of the roof … which over 3 days was completed:

… and I said goodbye to this half of the roof … becase unless I am missing something … I am actually done with it!

Next up … massive stove project!

Leave a Reply