Fitting the Beams in the Snug
So once the chimney breast was down, and the kitchen door moved we were able to see exactly what we were left with:
We needed to remove the beams that were already in the snug; one finished against the old chimney breast (which since it was no longer there meant the beam was too short) and the other finished against the stairs (which were about to be moved, so again this was too short.
We’d ordered two new beams ready to go in, and I wanted them to be balanced either side of the fireplace so that when you look at the new chimney breast (which we’ve not made yet!) they’d be symmetrical.
Because the fireplace will be a through-fire with the living room (they share that wall) they had to go in a very specific place as we’d already knocked the hole in the wall on the living room side.
There were a couple of issues with getting the new beams in. The first was that one of the beams would have to sit exactly where the doorway to the kitchen was. This wasn’t the biggest issue as the plan was to move the doorway, but it meant we had to speed this up and create a new opening – this ended up being the first job the builders did for us.
They were then able to brick up the old doorway so that they could sit the beam on block work.
The opposite side (the chimney breast side) of the beam presented a similar problem. When we pulled the chimney breast down, we realised that we’d not be able to sit the beam in the existing block work, and we’d need to build a new structure underneath it to support it. The plan was to build a chimney breast here anyway so that wasn’t a massive issue, but it means that the beam will need to sit on a Acrow prop for the time being.
The other wooden beam was a little more straightforward. The issue with this one is that it had to go where the stairs are currently. We knew this would be an issue and obviously it’s less than ideal as we now need to carry Ewan up and down the stairs as well as Harris – not particularly safe. The priority now is to get the new stairs in as quickly as possible.
The darker wooden beam is the old one – because the rafters are sat on it and cut around the original stairs we’ll leave this in place until we’ve got all of the new ones sorted.
To get the new stairs we need to get three more beams fitted. The biggest one is already in – it’s a steel one that was also fitted by the builders. This one will sit in the stud wall so won’t be visible (which is why it’s steel). The dividing wall between the snug and the hallway will be directly below it.
Initially we were hoping that they could sit the steel beam on the solid wall – but annoyingly the beam in the living room was sat exactly where this would need to go. Because of this the builders needed to build a new wall to support this. This will also be hidden by the new wall too.
Two smaller beams will run from this one to the front wall of the house and this will create the new opening for the staircase – this is a job that Lee needs to do himself and it’s urgent as we need to get these in place before ordering the stairs. It’s always the way – you start a job and it opens a can of words of other jobs that then also need to be finished.
The good news is we’re managing to cope with clambering over the stairs for the time being – it won’t be forever!