Monday, September 26, 2011

Concrete shoes

Another week has gone by and now the footings are in, with reo bars sticking up to accept the blockwork that's going to form the base of new walls for the living/dining/kitchen area and also the retaining wall to the garage, sorry carparking, area.  This apparently freaked out the neighbor who was concerned a multi-storey block of flats was going up. 

It's also now a flattened backyard, with nothing remaining of the vegie patch at all!  All the new stormwater pipes are in under the new flattened area too.  The good news is that the cracking on the south-east corner is probably just due to stormwater accumulation, so may only need repairing rather than a big structural fix.  We'll see how it turns out when it's had a chance to dry out and the structural engineer reassesses things.  The roof framing is a bit of a concern, with a lot of warping to the purlins, so we might have to look at replacing them. Not so much from a structural point of view, but more because the new part of the roof is metal and so will have dead straight lines, making the old tiled roof look even more wonky in comparison.  Apparently some of the roof props were resting on the ceiling joists and so not really doing much propping properly at all!

On the inside, we've been looking at furniture layouts for the living space too, concerned that it's going to be a tight fit, but it's still hard to tell how big the space will really seem once it's got walls all around and a ceiling in.  I'm pretty sure that we should get some custom joinery desks made for the study so they fit exactly, but we've got a while before we need to do that. 

But at least this week it was only a very short walk to the site meeting, as we're round the corner at Milly's place.  Ruby tolerates Charlie's incessant whining we think (check out the look on her face), but they seem to get along most of the time at least.  Noah the cat has made himself scarce, probably quite sensibly really. Off to Chris and Jenny's tomorrow for the next ten days or so....

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Making progress

Demolition works are pretty much done - all the stuff by the demolition subcontracter is done, including taking out a lot of concrete and other junk on site, so it's all looking a lot cleaner now.  The back half of the house is now completely open to the elements, but it's giving us a good idea of how the open plan area will look like.  It's going to be great to have the really large window overlooking the entire back yard, and to have the light flooding in to that side of the house.  I'm a bit concerned that the kitchen/dining/living area a lot smaller than I had thought, but I'm hoping the space is still deceptive at this stage and it will seem larger when the proper ceiling heights are established.  

We finally found a couch that we both like, by going for a really deep one which is low but allows for adequate slouching so I really hope it fits in.  We'll see I guess; it is hard to tell at the moment.  On the flip side, the master bedroom is bigger than I expected, just by demolishing the flimsy cupboard that was there before.  Even the 2nd bedroom which will shrink when the master bedroom cupboards are installed, still seems nice and generously sized.  We've also had our second site meeting, this time with our landscaper, and are all set for him to do major earthworks before the footings, particularly for the retaining walls, get started sometime later this week.  

We're also about to move house again - our first housesit in Highett is nearly finished, and apart from the inconvenience of a longer commute and not having all the bits and pieces around us that we might like, it's been pretty good overall.  And Ruby and the resident cat, Moggett, are finally getting along quite well! We can't really complain though about living rent free for two months.  It's going to be a bit piecemeal for the next month or two, with moving every week for the forseeable future, but hopefully some more sits that are a bit longer are also on the cards.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Thunderbirds are GO!

 Finally, finally, finally we have a building permit so the builder can actually move onto the site and get started officially.  After many frustrating delays (not helped by a very conservative building surveyor apparently) we finally got a permit last Thursday 1st September so now it's all systems go.  Here's hoping we can still be on track to finish by next Easter.  The builders haven't wasted any time at all, having moved straight onto site to start propping up the roof in preparation for the demolition work.  Just as well the weather has been dry, as we can now see straight through to the sky.  But it does show also why the house is so cold in winter - there's so little insulation in the roof and then just the tiles between the ceiling and the sky.  Looking forward to having a properly insulated roof which should really make the house much more pleasant in summer as the thermal mass does keep it pretty cool; hopefully cool enough to do without airconditioning, which we can't afford!  

In the meantime, we're getting towards the end of our first house sit, some 6 weeks after moving out, and so are urgently looking for new places to live.... hopefully something will come up soon as we're homeless at the end of the month.

Demolition - phase 2

Phase 2 involved the carport and the laundry demolition (actually done on 10 July).  A big job as the laundry is not only bigger but also had internal walls and lining.  After cutting the power and water (thanks George) it was all systems go with an even bigger skip than last time but a slightly reduced construction crew.  Some pyromaniac decided to get rid of some of the excess timber by burning it in the BBQ; a fine idea although I don't think the fig tree nearby appreciated the bonfire that resulted.  We also managed to turn water in the stormwater pipes to steam coming OUT of the downpipes! The carport was a much easier affair to get rid of, although the posts were pretty obstinate being set in concrete and bricks.  But finally, the day ended with the laundry gone and the skip full.  Poor Ruby doesn't know what's happened to her home, which is not just a pile of debris! Here's an unpdate on the backyard panorama, nearly 2 months after the demolition, with jungle grass taking over both the backyard and the vegie patch.