Tuesday, November 9, 2010

from the beginning (part 1)

It's been a slow ride into blog-world. Occasional email, phone and photo sessions have served to keep our people updated until now with where we are at with our little project but it's time to consolidate progress reports here.

As of today, we are several months into the owner-building of our house. So, I'll list a brief timeline of works and movements to date to bring us all up to the here and now before I dribble out more (ir)regular posts...

Jan 2006:12 months of searching before we found our hilly, bushy, rocky and oh so sweet 53 acres of Strathbogie. It also has a lined and insulated shed with firebox and kitchen...more than comfortable for weekending.

the view to next door

the shouse (shed-house)

July 2006: Planning permit for residence and b-n-b issued prior to purchasing the land.

Sep 2006: Settlement finally through - it's ours!

happy campers

Cup Weekend 2006: Blockwarming party and Johnno 40th. 4 days they did come and go, 4 days I cracked a beer well before lunch and 4 foot wide was the average smile. What a fun time we all had...

slow morning that day

2007: Looking, planting, weeding, sitting, exploring, photographing, weeding and exploring some more. Unfortunately, the ideal site for the house is right where the previous owner had a terraced vegie garden and dozen or so fruit trees just coming on. So, with heavy hearts, we dug out the trees and transplanted them back to Melbourne for distribution to family. Most of them live on...

garden / orchard / house-to-be

friggin posts in friggin hard friggin clay had to go
Mid 2007: Time for some earth sculpture. With the only flat spots on the whole 53 acres being the existing shed site and the dam wall, we got the big toys in. Luke Kipping did a great job regrading the internal road to follow the contour better and make some space for the house site. We made an early decision to keep the house on a slab. Both of us like them for thermal mass and solidity. Further, our place is surrounded by dry forest so a raised house on stilts was out. Then Luke performed some 13 ton excavator magic to cut and fill a decent work site. We'd gone with the big machine because we were a bit worried about hitting a big floater rock (we'd hit some beauties digging the temporary long drop) but didn't unearth more than a pebble! Also got a site cut for a machinery shed and used a grader to cut a site for house tanks. Of course, a week later it would dump 75mm in one day and then another 50mm day 2 weeks after that. Much clay and topsoil found it's merry way downhill and through the neighbour's fence....whoops! Hand formed some very pretty (if I say so myself) swales to cope with further floodage.

big boys toys

bye bye old driveway

hello house site

this will make awesome render

tank site

swoopy swales

the moulds think it makes ace campsite

2008: Worked hard saving the building fund, also worked hard on 58,932 versions of the main house design and then refined them into a 3D model in Google SketchUp. Got an architect mate (thanks heap Jonas) to turn the blocks and shapes into CAD lines and spent many hours to-ing and fro-ing between him and the engineer, ironing out the wrinkles and bringing everything into line with our view of how it works.
In the meantime, we commenced building a 12m x 6m x 3.6m high shed. Had a dodgy auger, so hand dug the pad holes, got 'em in the wrong place, re-dug 'em, formed up, got 'em inspected, mixed and poured all the concrete ourselves. Life, the universe and everything conspired to drag the completion of this sucker all the way to 2 weeks ago (and about 10 days before it's permit expired!).

stump holes
yay shed crew

she's a beauty (2010)

Early 2009: Fires, job loss, family loss, long term rental house loss, moving all our stuff to another rental. What a doozy of a start to the year.

Mid/Late 2009: Back on track. New job (3 days per week), new (second hand but ace) 4WD ute. Plans submitted for approval

Dec 2009: Building permit awarded for house. Game on...

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