It seemed like an eternity since the mezzanine floor had been started - the supporting beams had been installed during the building of the thick adobe walls a year and a half ago. We worked hard on the design of the floor area, narrow at the top of the floating staircase, past the door to the roof terrace then opening up to provide a sitting area, before narrowing again above the main entrance door, then widening again to give a good space for the office over the kitchen.
Ed had faced the outside edge of the beams with curved steel and then made a banister to match the curve, glueing thin strips of plywood together. He then installed thick cables from the roof beams through the bannister to the curved steel frame below. Narrow steel uprights would be welded to the steel frame and slotted into the bannister above, but this could not be done until the flooring had been completed.
The installation of the flooring was a challenge from the start. Although Ed had done tongue and flooring before the complicated design of the mezzanine space meant that it would not be a quick job......and Ed had a list pages long of other work to be completed....None of our workers had any knowledge of carpentry, and the wood flooring we had seen in Sucre was not of the standard we required.
So we advertised on the Workaway work exchange site for an experienced carpenter whilst we made endless trips to Sucre trying to locate the necessary tongue and groove flooring planks. We had so many false leads and promises of deliveries that didn't materialise (all too common in Bolivia) that we were overwhelmed with joy when we found enough dry flooring for the mezzanine. Even better, we had an English carpenter from Workaway lined up to arrive imminently.
We discovered very quickly that first world carpenters and third world materials don't work. Our volunteer complainted bitterly and consistently about the quality of the wood which, to be fair, was not good by British standards. But we thought that an experienced carpenter would be able to overcome the challenges of third world standard wood. After a week of continuous vocal frustration he threw in the towel, having only completed a quarter of the floor space. So it was down to Ed to finish the floor.
Some planks were better than others, and although we had asked the carpenter to mix up the different grades, he used all the best wood. Ed was left with the sub-standard wood and a lot of space to cover.
|Mind the gaps!|
|Ed and Sky work well together making the pieces fit as the wood stock gets low.|
|Ed places the last piece of the jigsaw in the floor.|
Being able to walk around the mezzanine gives us a new perspective on the views outside.