Construction 46: Main entrance - completion of the staircase and stone jambs

15/12/14 | ۩ |

After placing the stones at the base of the main walls, I can finally see the shape of the ground floor plan.
One of the rooms outlined is the main entrance, in other words the first room we get in after passing the front door.
In this case it's a small square area where three openings bring us to the loggia (through the main door), the cellar (a small door gives access to the brick staircase) and to the upper floors.
Both staircases are placed in front of the main door. The left one descends to the basement, the right one climb to the mezzanine and to the piano nobile.

I changed this scheme many times before the final version. At first I planned a wider space, conceived to impress all guests. Then I realized that my first idea (see picture on the left) reminded mostly to the sixteenth-century genoese entrance hall, still visible in many old buildings. It is so far from the middle-ages constructions, where entrances were smaller and directly opened on steep and narrow steps (hard to climb but very easy to defend).

The final look of the entrance is drafted here, after some changes to the shape of the stairs:

Now let's leave aside all theories and get down to practice.

I've been working on laying stones along the outside walls and filling in some gaps. Now I'm going to spend some time on the entrance.

First of all I need to complete the vault of the staircase and the brick walls, connecting them with the stone walls of the ground floor.
Beside the last step I lay the lower stones of the jambs, connecting them with the brick wall till the spring of the vault.
Stone cutting must be more accurate here, because these parts of the wall will be visible inside the house. I need to check every piece to verify its shape and its right position, perfectly aligned with floor and walls.
Neverthless, I can work it out manually without the use of electric tools except for some bigger pieces and finishing touch over the fixed structure.
That's a good advantage, considering that the lack of dust allow me to work in the warmth of my home.

To make the walls grow along a vertical line and keep the floor perfectly horizontal, I build a wooden framework. I'll talk about it in another post, here is only to say that the white rope you see in the picture above belongs to that framework and it marks the floor line.

The shape of the door is very simple, just a rectangular opening framed by a stone lintel and jambs to regularise its profile. It will be closed by a wooden door hinged on the left side and opening toward the entrance.
Only when the frame is finished I realize that it's far too high, so I must decrease its height by cutting the stone jambs and changing the lintel, broken during the process. A waste of materials that the customer will surely add to the bill!
And I can reveal in advance that it'll not be the last time I broke something. The assembly of the door is not going to be a piece of cake...

In the meantime, the barrel vault reach the last step. Here it must curve to coincide with the stone wall and the lintel. By recycling the cardboard I used to build the vault, I can arrange a curved support to help me building this last part of the shingle.

For now I'll stop here. The vault has been finally built and is waiting to be finished (varnished and glued to the walls). For the walls to keep growing on, I'll have to work on the floor first...


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