Construction Update (Week 8)

Welcome to the 8th week of construction! This was initially supposed to be the final week of construction, but, unsurprisingly, it will be extended…but only by one week. This is really not a very long extension given that delays in getting materials due to COVID-19 was the primary cause for the extension. This was a busy week. First, the wallpapering was finished, the vinyl flooring was put in, the outdoor roof canopy was built, and the indoor lighting was installed. For the ceiling wallpaper and a couple walls, we chose a standard white color wallpaper. We did this in order for other elements to stand out. Namely, we left a couple walls without wallpaper, which we will paint ourselves later. We plan to have a few friends and families come over and take turns making their splash on the empty canvas, and we can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with (more on that in a future update)! For the bookshelves we chose a “wooden” look for the wallpaper, and I’m quite impressed with how genuine it looks next to the “real” cedar shelving. As this will be mostly covered by books anyway, we weren’t too concerned about how it would turn out, so it definitely exceeded our expectations.

Next, the indoor vinyl flooring (MW-1642) was put in (33 sq. meters x ¥4,300 = ¥141,900). The pattern is called mattonella wood karin (マットネラ ウッド カリン), perhaps due to the resemblance of this quince cheese (which is apparently made from fruit born from the Chinese quince plant (karin in Japanese). A finished example of the same tiling can be found here, given that I couldn’t get very clear pictures of ours yet (below).

The bulk of the work this week was the installation of the outside roof (price to be updated; scaffolding work (¥80,000). First, holes were drilled in the red brick tiling outside (all of this tiling will go, and we will replace it with grass). Then the structure was built. We modeled it from typical wood canopy designs such as ones seen here. The canopy itself has a diagonal slope to it from south to north as we had to match the angle with the property line where it meets up with the public sidewalk.

Lastly, the lighting was installed. We are using Philips Hue White Gradient bulbs along with their motion sensor and hub to bring a little IoT to the library. The idea is that when someone enters the library (using the key-code which will be installed on the door later), the sensor will automatically kick on the entrance light, and, likewise, switch off when people leave. There will also be switches to manually control the lighting (placed near the back), but a remote-controlled dimmer switch will be placed near the entrance for easy access to control different brightness and modes for the main floor lighting.

Next week (week 9) should be the final week of construction updates. After the construction is completed, I plan to move on to documenting our next tasks, which will include organizing the furniture inside of the library, stocking the shelves, getting the website and catalog set up, and many other tasks yet to come. Stay tuned!

Post script: After the long week, construction continued into Saturday, so I will just add here what was done (because it was surprisingly a lot). First, the toilet (Panasonic’s Arauno S141 (アラウーノ S141) ¥165,000) and toilet sink were installed. The toilet is self-cleaning and makes bubbles in the water, which avoids splashing. Although the price was a bit higher, we decided this would be a worthwhile investment given COVID-19 and having better sanitation in general. The sink is from IKEA, which consists of the GUTVIKEN wash basin (¥9,000), the GRANSKÄR water tap (¥9,990), the LILLÅNGEN wash basin cabinet (¥8,000), the VISKAN countertop (¥7,300), and the LILLÅNGEN legs (¥2,000).

Next, the kitchen sink was also put in. This sink is from Sanwa Company, and is their PLAIN-K petit (プレーンKプティ) (W1200 no stove/black) model (¥52,700). The reason we ordered from several companies was the result of searching for the best price while getting what we needed for the library.

In addition to these major installations, the electrician also installed several other devices such as the toilet fan, the toilet “control center” (if you live in Japan, you surely know all about these, but I’ll just link here anyway), and a new sleek breaker panel. Lastly, the railings for the kid’s reading area were built, and some of the bricks for the outside wall were put on (using the Harukabe Construction Method, see weeks 1 & 2 for details). The bricks themselves are about 1cm thick, and are attached using a proprietary adhesive (専用接着剤). Okay, so that officially wraps up a (very) busy week 8!