Thursday, January 21, 2010

Yes, I'm still here

Needless to say, I'm not a good blogger.
Anyway, I'm back to attempt an update on proceedings.

Obviously a lot has happened since my last post. As we had to move out of our own home by a certain date the pressure was on to make our new home habitable. The weeks leading up to the move-in were quite hectic. I was fortunate enough to have good friends, helpful work associates and understanding tradesmen who were willing to trip over each other in order to get us in.

I spent many late nights at the house trying to get things done and by doing so I had the privilege of being the first person to sleep there. It was actually supposed to be a 'sit-down-on the-threshold' sort of a rest but it turned into a 'fall-asleep-in-sitting-position-and-fall-over-backwards' sort of event. The sudden thwack of the floor on the back of my head woke me up and convinced me to turn off the power tools and go home.

This is how the front looks at the moment. I can't wait to finish off the facade with the stonework, steps and paving but the inside jobs are taking priority at the moment.

I also need to fit the gable vent over the portico.

A work mate of mine offered to help out by installing the front door. He did this on the day we moved in.

The glass on the door and side light is triple glazed which is not just energy efficient but makes cleaning so much easier. No need to fiddle around the lead light.

Not that we've actually even thought about cleaning it yet. I'll paint the door first.

Carpet was installed a few days before we moved in.

The toilet was operational when we moved in but we had not yet installed any internal doors.

Installing the bamboo floor was a big job. Haven't quite finished it yet but we got enough done prior to move-in to be able to place furniture and build the kitchen. We had some good friends helping with the flooring for the petty payment of a pie and a can of coke.

The bamboo looks and feels great.

There's the half installed fire place.

I spent many long hours building the kitchen.

Dishwasher and stove ready for connection.

Laundry cabinetry.

The laundry joinery went together so much easier than the kitchen....

Wall tiles in the bathroom. Originally I intended to do this myself. I'm so glad I didn't. The tilers did a great job and in good time.

Floor tiles.
Unfortunately the shower screens were delayed by 4 weeks so we frequented the bath tub for quite some time.

Here is my masterpiece. The one thing that I have built myself. The mantlepiece is a nice and bulky piece of cedar. It was milled over 85 years ago and has sat at a joiners timber yard just waiting for me to come along.

This is what it looked like when we moved in. Isn't the floor dirty?

Did I mention that the bamboo flooring takes a long tome to install?
It is actually quite a simple method but when you're installing 100m2 it does take time.
This is the stone facing for the fireplace wall.

I have oped for the' ledge stone' in the same colour toning as the natural rock of the area.
The installation is a messy process but very enjoyable.

The trick with ledge stone is to keep to a horizontal line. The linear aspect enhances the proportion of the space. The larger stone at the base gives a solid feel to the wall.

I love the warmth of the stone. This is going to be a magnificent place to sit and enjoy.

That's all for now. Hopefully I will have time to blog a bit more in future. The last few months of last year were hectic beyond belief.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Stairs, paint & fireplace

This week the stairs were installed. That means no more ladder climbing!
The stairs were measured, detailed and installed in little over a week from go to whoa.
The stair installer arrived at 7:30 am on Wednesday and was gone by 2:00pm having completed the installation. We had the stairs built by a company called' Slattery & Aquroff'. I highly recommend this company. They are very professional, they communicate well throughout the process, they are very efficient and produce a fine quality product.
The treads and handrails are Vic Ash and the balustrades and stringers are MDF & pine, (which will be painted white).

The underside of the stairs will be built in for storage.

A view to the top landing.

Opposite the landing is my office.

The box for the wood heater was installed on Friday along with the flue.
The wood heater will arrive soon.

The ceilings were painted and the first coat of colour went onto the walls on Saturday.

I know I've spoken before about work being done at mates rates but the fellow in the photo above has gone above and beyond the call of duty.
He rang me a few months ago and asked me if I was going to paint the house myself. I told him that I was and he said, "How about you pay for the paint and I'll do it for you?"
So there he is in the photo above, a professional painter sacrificing his Saturday morning and asking for nothing in return. It's humbling really.

So there I am, measuring, cutting and building. Even though I am totally exhausted having worked around the clock for the last few months, I am still enjoying the process and the light is at the end of the tunnel. I have been very fortunate to have family & friends to lend a helping hand along the way and we're almost there.
All for now.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


In the last week the plasterers have been on the job. Two very good tradesmen working at mates rates. As the house is not your run-of-the-mill job, I told the plasterers to have a good look on site before pricing the work. They saw the nature of the work involved and proceeded with no qualms. However, I have since been told that there has been a fair bit of swearing going on up in the attic......tricky angles apparently.

The plasterboard sheets were delivered and stored in the garage.

The ceiling battens & ceiling lining went up on the first day.

Walls awaiting the plasterboard.

Plasterer busy at work. Both of the plasterers appeared on an episode of 'The New Inventors' last year. They now charge extra for having their photos taken.

We sound-insulated selected internal walls.

The ground floor plaster has been stopped up and only needs the cornice to finish off.

It's a messy job.

This is the entry foyer showcasing some of the angles that were the cause of much profanity. That's the designer up there completely oblivious to the mayhem he caused.

This is the room over the garage.

....and so is this.

...and again.
The house is coming along nicely. Once the stopping up and the cornices are complete the ceilings will be painted and the walls given the first coat of paint. After that we have about 550 metres of skirtings and architraves to install.
All for now.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Busy times

Sorry about the long delay between blog posts. Yes, the house is still proceeding at a healthy rate. So much so that I have little time to spend on anything else hence the weeks of blog absence.
I have spent much of the past few weeks insulating the attic roof. This has been a very time consuming process as I have devised my own insulating method based on multiple air spaces, bulk insulation and concertina reflective foil batts. Most of my nights have been spent on site working by the light of an electric lantern. Consequently my design & drafting work has suffered a bit lately but thankfully my clients have been very patient.

The external walls have been insulated with reflective foil concertina batts. This type of insulation has a thermos-flask effect and works by creating 2 air spaces and creating a greater surface area because of its shape. It also reflects radiant heat and does not hold or emit heat.

I had the wardrobe insert5s built by the joiner at work. Mates rates.

A couple of weekends ago I enlisted the help of a first year carpentry apprentice. He built the bath hob and cut in some shower recesses. The plumber has also been to do his in-wall plumbing prior to plastering.

Upstairs in the attic I have insulated the perimeter walls with concertina batts and bulk insulated internally.

The attic roof has had a lot of thought ad attention bestowed upon it. An attic roof, as a rule, is a hot box in the summer. The temperature inside a roof in summer can be over 70 degrees Celsius, so building a roof in one can be troublesome. The main problem with summer heat gain is RADIANT HEAT. To combat this I devised my own insulation method. Firstly there is a layer of reflective concertina batts suspended 100mm from the underside of the roof. Then there is a layer of R2.0 Bulk insulation suspended on reflective foil sisilation 100mm below the concertina batts and 100mm above the plaster ceiling. This method creates 3 air gaps and prevents the bulk insulation touching the ceiling.

This is an excerpt from my daily planner when I first devised my insulating method. If you want to understand the importance of air gaps for insulating, try this practical demonstration.
Next time you have a cup of coffee, touch the side of the cup with your fingers. As you hold your fingers there notice how unbearably hot it is.......can't hold it for long can you? Now move your fingers only 1 millimeter away from the side of the cup........
The problem with bulk insulation in ceilings is that in summer it heats up and transfers that heat directly onto the ceiling and into the house. Providing an air gap and blocking the radiant heat in the first place will dramatically reduce the summer heat gain.

Electricians have roughed in in readiness for the plasterer.

The scaffolding was off-hired a few weeks ago and the site fence will also disappear soon. The site toilet made an early exit as it was blown over in a wind storm.
A lot more has happened but that's all I've got time for tonight. Must do some drawing work for those patient people.