Saturday, April 24, 2010

Day 33: Walled in

Today is the day I can add "builder's labourer" to my CV. After the gym this morning, I went down to the block to ask Bob the Builder back for morning tea, or to see if he would like a cuppa brought down. Stos and Dad were already there, chatting away, then were asked to help hold up one of the timber frames for the wall while Bob put them in place. I had a bit of a look around then headed back home, only to be called back to be asked to help hold up the back frame of the lower level. Bob normally flies solo so I don't know how he manages if he doesn't have labour on call. Walls were not what we expected; the aim was to have had the sub floor laid by today. However, as it has been raining, he could not put down the foam insulation for the floors, so switched to walls.
Now that the walls are up, we are getting a sense of perspective on the size of the rooms on the lower level. We also had a look at a cross section of one of the poles supporting the house and can see that when prepared, the centre feature pole will be a beautiful red (the wood is ironbark and the poles are reclaimed telegraph poles). After helping Bob with another wall, we headed off to a home ideas place to try and see our Colourbond(tm) choice in a larger piece, but the size and the lighting wasn't much help. Please Mr Bluescope, establish a display where the materials can be seen in daylight, all in one place, with the capability to contrast colours. This would be an enormous help in trying to agree on our external wall and roof colours.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Day 31: Part 2 - Maypoles anyone?

Lots happening this week. The erection of the pole supporting the structure of the upper level will get the neighbours wondering! We haven't explained to many people that this is a pole house so I think this will cause some bemusement. The poles for the rear deck are due to go in by the end of the week and Bob should also have the sub floor laid. These wonderful balmy days are great for making progress on the house; I feel a bit guilty as we really do need rain, but we hope the breaking of the drought (if it does happen this year) is delayed until July. Bob has also suggested that we order the grates for the ensuite shower so that Pete can start thinking about the plumbing requirements. Once I get my weekends back, I will be more than happy to oblige!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Day 31: Part 1 - My creative space

This is a bit of a cheats creative space. There's not much creating going on with the current state of the day job but this is a WIP from the Japanese Kaleidescope Patchwork course that I did at Kimono House in March. It was our first free weekend after weeks of packing and moving and I was really looking forward to a day of learning something new. As you can see, I have finished two squares and am working on a third. I have no idea what I will make from these, but am enjoying the stitching when I can squeeze a bit in. The sashiko stitching is so simple and effective but does require some concentration to get the right lengths for the stitches and the spacing. I really loved the description of the stitches as floating grains of rice. The class was relaxing and the other participants were lovely. Picking out the fabric was also a revelation. I have never really understood how people get started on a combination of fabrics to go into a patchwork project. I was walking aimlessly around G J Discount Fabrics when I saw the green and yellow fabric and knew that this was the cornerstone of the project. From there I was on to the green homespun as the contrast and then I spotted the leaf fabric. Coming up with a third was harder; I liked the other piece I picked, but in the back of my mind thought that it wouldn't work with the others, and almost relieved when Jan said the same thing. I have found another piece but haven't worked it into a square as yet. Looking forward to the day job easing off in the next week so I can get back into this.

Day 28: Floored

A lot of progress today. Bob has laid the sub-floor and we are starting to see the floor plan take shape. And there are decisions to be made. He called last night to say "You know how I said you wouldn't have to pick the exterior colours for a while..........". Well he has been working out how to link the deck to the house, has figured it out (it's different to other decks he has built) and needs to order some flashing, which needs to match the colour of the house. While we have an idea what we would like (most likely grey), we weren't prepared for this and certainly weren't prepared to have to make a decision by Tuesday (tomorrow). There is a bit of flexibility, but in a way it is good to come to a conclusion. So last night was spent playing with the colour visualiser on the Bluescope steel site, and Bob has dropped off his samples so we can get a better idea of the colours. I might add that Bob has also told us that he likes to use blue and have timber finishes. We don't want a blue house, are OK with timber windows and I want a red front door. Whose house is this? Lot's of interesting discussions to be had. He does approve of our choice of roof colour, so that's something.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Day 26 : Two levels

The entries are a bit thin at the moment as it is the time of the year when the day job turns into the night job and the weekend job as well. However, we now have a second slab for the lower level, stumps for the upper level and a few holes for the poles that are going to hold the lower level up. This was completed by Day 23 and Bob is having a hiatus until Monday while the concrete cures. It's also starting to get to the point of making some decisions - standard or specific plumbing requirements for the lower level and the type of heating that we want, as this needs to be incorporated into the sub floor. We have just gone for standard fittings on the lower level - while we haven't decided exactly on what sort of loos we want, it's not our highest priority. However the heating is a biggie; Bob is keen for us to go with hydronic heating as he thinks it's best in the long run. It is more expensive but is cheaper to run in the long term and has been recommended by two people who have recently installed new heating. Stos has taken the plans to Bobs heating supplier, and we await a final quote. We had ducted hydronic heating in our last house and really liked it. The form we are looking at is the wall radiator variety. I'm not sure that I want heating units taking up wall space, but it is installed in modules to suit each room and I'm told you don't notice it after a while. We shall see!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Day 20: The best kind of slab

Well, despite the threat of rain, a few spots of rain, then some real rain, the slab for the garage went down yesterday. I have never been so excited about concrete before. But the biggest development is the installation of the builders loo. This means things are getting very serious. The picture on the left is from the back of the block and the dug out square section at the front is where the slab for the lower level will be laid. The shot on the right shows the fresh concrete for the garage floor. Other activity this week included spraying for termites, as required by the building regulations and a couple of routine visits from the building inspector. The next lot of concrete is going in on Wednesday, with various other plumbing related goings on in the interim. Then Bob the Builder can get on with putting in stumps and starting to lay the sub-flooring. Pete the Plumber will also start putting in plumbing for the lower level, so we need to have a chat to him about any specific requirments.
The weather is really starting to turn; cold, blustery and rainy today. I've spent most of the weekend at the day job, because it's that time of year when Saturday and Sunday are just working days in casual clothes. But we have managed to get out; last night was dinner with the Family and R's prospective in-laws at the venue for her wedding reception. Tonight we've just got back from seeing Date Night with The Landlady. This is not a film that Stos normally go and see but pickings are a bit slim at the moment and he did get a laugh out of it. I expected more quirkly humour from Tina Fey, but it did have some very funny moments and the cast is quite impressive. Recommended for a bit of silly escapism, but give me 30 Rock anyday.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Day 17: My creative space

I often look at the contributors to Kootoyoo's "My creative space" weekly meme. It's fun to see what clever people are getting up to. Now that I have a blog to provide a link to, I thought I'd play this week but I'll take a different approach and show my creative space as the empty block. I think of it as our creative space because while the design is done, there's a lot of creating to be done over the next 8 months in putting together a home as opposed to building a house. We have some ideas as to what we want the exterior to look like but the interior will come together along the way as we get to see the spaces being created. Some of the ideas that we have may change completely as the project evolves, and that's OK. I suspect there will be lots of interesting discussions with Bob the Builder on this as he has also has some ideas on what the place will look like, given that he designed the house specifically for our block and based on our input, which is quite different to his normal style. At least he's as passionate about it as we are!

Day 16: "It has begun."

I love that quote from the pilot of Battlestar Galactica's re-make when the hot blonde Cylon announces the recommencement of hostilities. But I'm using it in a good way - there's movement at the station or, rather, on the block! It actually started yesterday but I got home from the day job (way) too late to see the progress. However Stos reports that the ground was levelled and cleaned up and today trenches have been dug and some framing put around the location of the slabs. Bob the Builder had called to give me a status update and also to tell me that a level had disappeared from his truck. I do hope that this was not a local issue - someone in the street reported a similar incident attributable to a local, which is very disappointing.
Anyway, the front pile of dirt is where the garage will be and the pile towards the back is the lower level. I hope this means that the concrete will be poured this week, which will be very visible progress. Note the very healthy lemon tree at the back of the block on the left.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Day 12 - she's like a rainbow

I like the Rolling Stones (who doesn't); "Gimme Shelter" is one of my favourite tunes and makes my running songs playlist. Not so with "She's like a rainbow". Too token hippy, trippy for my liking. But when S dropped off the pashminas that he had bought for me in Singapore, that line was the first thing that came into my head; the beautiful vibrant colours of the shawls that he had chosen for me really jumped out of the bag. Now when it the chill at the day job becomes too much, I'll be able to pull out one of these babies and keep toasty and with this range, I'll be able to accessorise with whatever I have on. It's great to have friends who will shop for you and can be absolutely trusted to pick out the right thing. The only stipulation is that there was to be no orange as it's not my colour, otherwise I left the choices in his capable hands. S has dark hair and an olivy complexion, so is drawn to bright colours, particularly purple and orange. Very different to me.

Good Friday was spent with some work colleagues of Stos's. K and T put on a wonderful barbeque (including fish and prawns for us hypocrites). They are entertaining and generous hosts. Food was delicious and the company was enjoyable; a very pleasant way to spend a day that can be a bit dreary.

Bob the Builder was in contact on Thursday - the building permit is finally ready for collection and he will be starting next week. At last, some progress!