After the purchase of our building we were convinced that a building with such a long and diverse history must be hiding a priceless treasure somewhere in its bowels which we will once discover. So far unfortunately we discovered only couple of surprises in the form of critically damaged parts of the building. The third issue in a row which required immediate action was leaky tin roof over building extension. Water entering through holes in the roof considerably damaged the ceiling of the room located directly below this roof.
Another problem we discovered during inspection of the cellar was related to base of the pillar carrying lintel and part of ceiling above the largest room. Similar to cellar’s vault-ceiling this base was weakened by long-term exposure to humid environment. We therefore reinforced base of the pillar with a concrete casing which now firmly holds it. The concrete casing will be supported by construction debris the whole cellar will be filled up with later on. This will provide the pillar with sufficiently strong and stable base.
After detailed inspection of cellar situated under one of the rooms we found out that its vault-ceiling built of brick is largely damaged due to moisture. Bricks in some places disintegrated when touched just with bare hands. The room above this cellar is the largest of all the rooms in our building and we plan to place brewhouse exactly into this room. Brewhouse equipment has considerable weight which significantly increases when filled with water during brewing process. A question arose whether the cellar ceiling can withstand that weight and will not fall down.
Debris from the first three rooms was successfully cleared away and now it came time to clear it away from the last two rooms as well. Could there be anything more pleasant than a Saturday spent doing physical activity? We were not able to determine the answer to this question so we decided to get over it. We rather took shovels and we finally sent debris into the past. All that was left are just nicely cleaned rooms ready for the next phase of reconstruction.
Floor in rooms of our building was covered with decent layer of debris after removing old plaster from walls and ceilings. At first glance, it was clear to us that one could just hardly arrange for better scenery for World War II film making. We therefore approached several US film studios with mutually beneficial cooperation offer. For better imagination we even filmed a short battle scene in the premises and we attached it to our presentation. The answer however was not coming.
The previous owner of the building did a great job and removed the old plaster in almost all rooms. But there was still one room left where captivating patterns on the walls and timeless oil paint unmistakably proclaimed that Stalin died just recently, West Side Story is being introduced on Broadway, and Sputnik will soon plunge the world into silent amazement. We therefore did not hesitate a second. With enthusiasm and revolutionary chants on our lips we started to chip away silent witnesses of the past until an adobe brick wall did not pop up from under their thick layers.
After we successfully found a suitable location for setting up brewery enterprise a time has come to roll up our sleeves and get to work. Our unequal struggle with the nature and its elements tirelessly decomposing what was once proudly called the cultural center has begun. As a first thing we decided to remove dense vegetation which prevented any movement around the property. With a feeling which the first settlers of the Wild West once experienced, we step by step liberated surroundings of our building from the rule of the endless bunch of bushes and creeping plants.
Our decision to convert home brewing into a legal microbrewery enterprise and use the family house we have available for this purpose is firm but the question remains what will municipal and state authorities think about our intention. During our visit to local Office of Construction, Environment, and City development we had an opportunity to take a look at city’s Land Use Plan. We learned that our house unfortunately is located in the zone dedicated to family houses only.
A need to tidy up the woodshed belonging to the house became inevitable. This place was hiding significant amount of things which have been piled here for ages and the ravages of time left their clearly visible footprints on them. Future use of all these things was very questionable. Their next destination was therefore set to either recycling plant or landfill. Tidying up the woodshed turned out to be a lengthy process since the amount of things that could be found inside was enormous.
Reconstruction of family house which should give shelter to brewery has begun. The first phase of reconstruction work is focused on the room which originally served as kitchen. After reconstruction brewing stand will be housed in this room. Removal of old oil paint which covered kitchen walls approximately as high as 1.5 meters (5 feet) above floor turned out to be the real challenge. Removal of original wall cladding was equally difficult. The work of tilers was apparently honest.