Friday, August 04, 2006

Guest flat saga

The downstairs flat, which will mostly be for guests to use, had two bedrooms, and also a separate room which was used as a hairdressing salon by the prevous owners. Businesses in homes need to have separate outside access in Cyprus, and not have doors into the main part of the house, so an internal wall had been built to block off part of the living room.

The people selling the house offered to get rid of the wall, the pipes and the mirrors, but we thought it would make a good bedroom so we asked them to leave it. Tim is using one of the rooms as a music studio (with friends there recording, as I type...) and we wanted to have two bedrooms available for guests. The salon room looks out onto the front porch, so it gets morning sun, and is a reasonable size to make a double room. When we moved, we put our old double bed in there, and it fitted well.

When we heard that we were having guests from Lebanon unexpectedly, we realised there was no chance of getting it ready in time so they had the other bedroom, where there are two single beds. But we thought it would be a good idea to get the salon room finished, in case of further short-notice visitors.

We managed to buy a sink to be plumbed in the corner where the hair-washing place was. But as the pipes need to be moved (meaning the floor has to be dug up in places) Richard didn't want to do that himself.

We have a friend in the building trade, and he said he could arrange for a plumber to come, but he didn't know if it would be before the August holiday (which is basically two or three weeks at the start of the month).

The next thing to do was to cut a hole in the wall for an internal door, so Richard did that. He didn't make it very big - he found some metal construction holding up the plasterboard - but sufficient to get through.

Then we learned that it's not possible to buy doors directly here. Apparently they're all made to order by carpenters. We asked our friend to recommend one. Richard told the carpenter we wanted teak to match the other doors, then asked what sizes he could make. The carpenter said he could make any size door - what did we want? Richard said it was an internal door... and the carpenter said in that case there was just one standard size. So much for all doors having to be custom made! We asked him to make it, and amazingly it was produced just over a week ago. It looked enormous, but never mind.

Unfortunately, carpenters don't fit doors. We needed a builder who would cut the hole to the right size and actually fit the door. We were told it would probably happen in September...

On Monday, the builder arrived. He looked at the hole. Uh-oh... he didn't have the tools to cut metal, but could get hold of them. And he needed to borrow Richard's step-ladder. Actually it was a building supervisor, and two assitant builders (who did the actual work). But when they had gathered together the necessary tools, they cut the hole, and fitted the door.

However they said they couldn't fit the frame trim because the carpenter has to do that. They don't have the right tools. Nor did they fit any handle on the door (we apparently have to choose and fit those) although they did put in a lock. And told us not to touch the door for 24 hours, while the sealant in the wall hardened.

In the afternoon, the plumber (and his assistant) arrived. They discussed where exactly to put the sink. They told us that the pipes needed to be moved.

'Yes,' said Richard, 'we know.'

'Ah, said the plumber. 'I don't have the tools to dig holes. You need a builder for that.'

Apparently the builder who needed to dig the hole (or supervise it) was the same builder who had been there in the morning supervising the door fitting. The plumber phoned him. The builder said he hadn't thought about it, so he would come back later with equipment to dig up the floor. The plumber drew lines on the wall and floor to show what needed to be done, and said he would come back after the builder had been.

On Tuesday, nobody came.

On Wednesday, nobody came.

By Thursday, we realised that this job wasn't going to be done until after the August holiday, which probably means September some time.

Ah well. At least we tried.

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