Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Window in the Bedroom

We fitted the window into the main bedroom at the end of last week, which closes that room up.

We have also made a large start on the guest area.  Hopefully the weather in the new year allows us to get the guest area wrapped and rendered, then it's a relatively small step to lock up.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Bedroom Second Coat of Render

Kylie has taken a week off work to help with the build.  Last Friday we started on the second coat of render for the bedroom and finished it today.  The walls are quite high in comparison to the others.

So now it is onto the guest area.  We started baling on Saturday which was quite warm (by Tassie standards) and will continue through this week, assuming I don't break Kylie.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

External Cladding

The external cladding is all but complete.  Finished outside the ensuite and the window seat on Monday.  Also did some more of the eaves along the front of the house

Finally finished the clerestory window, and put up the eaves and cladding for the guest area.

Hopefully the weather improves from the last few days so we can get the second coat of render on the bedroom.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Brush cutting walls

Friday was supposed to be my day off, but I had to go into work in the morning for a COAG Standing Council meeting. This meant that I spent the morning around Minister's from the Commonwealth and other States as they talked about high level Human Services policy issues. This is the first one of these meetings I have attended, and it was pretty interesting.

Then, as a complete change of tack, I changed out of my office gear and into flannie mode to go and work on the house. This has always been a job that I've been comfortable doing, as Derek says I'm not comfortable with the chainsaw, but brushcutting walls is a different story.

Of course Derek has to do the bits up high, but I can pretty much get to the sixth bale (ceiling height) without too much issue.

We're getting pretty close to finishing the bedroom walls at the moment, which is pretty exciting. Basically when this is done it is just the guest area left and then the walls will be complete (there is a little bit of cladding but that's a small issue). I'm planning on having a week off form work to help get that room done before Christmas, if that is possible.

We're getting really close to lock up now. There will still be a lot to do once we reach that stage, but it is extremely exciting.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

External Cladding

Last week I had the builder help me put up some of the external cladding for our non-straw walls.  A cement sheeting product that is quite heavy but very happy with the finish.  There's a little more to do but it is getting there.

Have also finished bailing the front wall of our bedroom.  Behind the plastic is a wall 9 bales high with some render on it.  If the weather allows (no wind and no rain) then the wall will have two coats of render and will be unveiled.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Bales for the bedroom and wildlife

Made a good start on the bales for the bedroom.  Managed to get up to ceiling height pretty quickly.  Have slowed down cutting the bales to get through the ceiling joist etc.

Work did slow for a little while as I had not one but two encounters with this little guy.  Scared me the second time as he was hiding under the scaffold.  Kept Lily in the ute and hoping that it doesn't come back. One of the joys of living in the bush.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Front Door

The weather yesterday left a little to be desired, so it was primarily inside work.  This included fitting the front door.

The days before we installed the window in the clerestory, some of the external cladding and some more eaves.

We were hoping to get some more of the external cladding on, however the weather was not favourable.  Next time the builder is back we should be able to fit some of the cladding.

Monday, October 29, 2012


Today I finished the render on the outside of the studio.  It is nice to see the outside of this area done.  Trying to make straw bales fit into a triangle with a round window in it was very challenging.  Looking forward to just doing straight straw bales for a while.

Waste Plumbing

Last week saw the waste plumbing all but finished.  The only things left to do, is install the pump and the high level alarm.  The absorption trenches went in in the rain and Kylie was a little sad to see all the bush go.  However we now have a clean slate and can control what we want to grow back or plant - maybe.  The photo below is after the land was cleared but before the trenches went in.

I had a fun half day cutting slots in the pipe.  Needed 120m of slotted pipe so it was either pay the plumber to cut the slots or do it myself.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Plumbing Waste

Today the plumbers were on-site to start the waste plumbing, septic and all of that.  The apprentice rang in sick which meant I was the apprentice for the day.  A successful day with the ensuite and kitchen being plumbed into the septic tank, that was also installed today (not going anywhere with 3000 litres of water in it).

Tomorrow the bathroom and laundry should be plumbed in, pump well installed and a good start made on the absorption trenches.  After that they should also start on the rainwater catchment.

In this process there will be a lot more soil moved around so the outside of the building will look different again.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Eaves, stairs and general progress

This week has seen progress on a number of fronts.  Had the builder back and we put up some eaves.  This also meant that I had the electrician wire up for the outdoor lights to be fitted.

Whilst the builder was on site we fitted the circle window in Kylie's studio and fitted some internal cavity sliding doors.  Now I just have to work out how to make straw bales curved.  We also have scaffolding back on site to help finish the higher bits of the straw walls.

We also had the stairs delivered and fitted.  Kylie and Lily are very happy now as they can both get to the guest area without using a ladder and squeezing between studs.  I am really happy with how the stairs have come up, they will match in with the floor very well.  The tops of the stairs in the photos are MDF which will be taped on to protect the treads whilst the rest of the build goes on.

This week should see the plumbers back to start with some of the external plumbing work, which will include the destruction of Mt Dunn and Mt Smith, as all of the excavated soil is placed back around the house.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

An update from the Project Director

After a week off the weather was kind and allowed the second coat of render to be finished on the front of the house.  Also managed to finish wrapping the bits at the front.

The house is really starting to look like a house now. There is still a lot of work to go, but there are windows, doors and roof and some significant walls! Derek and Glenn (the builder who occasionally helps us) will be starting on eaves tomorrow, and will hopefully get the front door in as well. We'll also get another load of straw bales delivered tomorrow, so we can start on our bedroom wall soon.

And to add to the exciting progress on the place, we should be getting stairs in the next couple of weeks. Personally I can't wait for that since the temporary stairs (stacked besser blocks) are really no the right height for me to comfortably walk up and down.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Some Windows

It has been a while since we have posted anything.  My excuse is that I have been too busy actually working on the house.

Some more straw bales, more render but for something different we now have some windows and a back door, shown in the photo below.

We also have all of the windows and french/sliding doors in the rest of the main house area (except our bedroom window which has to wait for the straw wall to be built). All of the garage and guest area windows are also on-site, but there is more to be done before they can be fitted. We may have some more photos up tomorrow.

It's really starting to look a house now, we're getting a sense of the space, which is really exciting. Can't wait for a break though, this has been a pretty hard push.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Day Off - Snow Day

The last few weekends we have been doing some work up on site.  However today is a day off because  of the snow.  Kylie hadn't seen snow on the land before so we went for a drive.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Good Weather

The last few days have been great weather and so more progress has been made with bales and render.

Managed to finish the first coat of render on the lower part of Kylie's studio.  Getting much faster at putting the render on and the finish is also improving.

And because there have been complaints that there aren't enough action shots (haven't been able to get Lily to take photos) here is a photo of me whipper snippering the wall  when Kylie was out helping on the weekend.

Today I continued the bales along the front of the house.  Needed to steal the plastic that was protecting the bathroom to protect the new work.  So here is the bathroom wall with it two coats of render.  The final coat will go on after the window is fitted.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sunspace Glazing Complete

This week saw the glazers back to finish the sun space off.  Really happy with how it came up.

Now there is just some painting for Kylie to do on the inside.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Second Coat of Render

The weather here was beautiful today so I took the opportunity to put a second coat of render on the bathroom and laundry walls.  Managed to get out some of the imperfections of the straw and first coat of render.  Still some improvement to be achieved but it is starting to look the part.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

More Rendering

Kylie came out yesterday and helped with some rendering.  Another wall and a bit done.  Slowly getting the straw walls up and getting the first coat of the render on.

Sunspace Glazing

Despite the wet weather the glaziers turned up last Thursday and installed the glass for the sunspace.  All the glass is in and some of the sealing is done.  They should return next week and install the flashings and finish sealing everything.  Really happy with the look of the space.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

More Straw Walls

It's been a while since I have posted something, and we're copping a bit of grief for it so here it is.

Progress has been made but it is a little slow given the cold weather.  We've been working on straw walls and getting some render on.  The electrician has also been back and permanently mounted the switchboard and installed a sub-board.

The straw walls for the bathroom, laundry and pantry are completely finished and rendered on the outside (some of the inside has render as well).  Below is a photo of the outside of the pantry and laundry, and yes it is very uneven and scratched up, it is the first coat after all.

We've started around the corner form these walls, which is Kylie's studio. I've made a fair amount of progress with it, but the bad weather and the need to try to maintain a complete plastic cover of the non-rendered bales has slowed things down a lot.  We're hoping for some good weather this weekend so we can get some render on the outside of this section, that might mean I don't have to spend all my time fixing the plastic back up when the wild weather rips it off again.

Above is the inside corner of Kylie's studio. This has come up a lot better than the previous walls, I'm really starting to get the hang of it now.

Monday, July 9, 2012

First Wall and Render

Last week I finished wrapping the first wall in chicken wire and aviary mesh.  Kylie had a day off work so we rendered the outside of the wall.  We are very happy with how it has all turned out given it is our test wall.  We learnt some lessons that will make the render of the other walls easier.  Here it is before the render.

And here it is after the first coat of render

Just need to give it another coat on the outside and two coats on the inside and then we can fit the window.  Once we have that sorted then we can get serious with the rest of the walls.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Roof Finished

For those of you not in Tasmania, the mornings have been frosty and the days short.  Despite that we have made some progress.  The electrician has moved the temporary board and we have started some of the permanent wiring.

The roofers finally had enough good weather to finish the roof.  Very happy with the final product.

And as for the straw walls, baling is going slowly because of the wet weather. We have also chosen the single most complex wall in the whole building to start with. But it is nearly ready for the rendering, just  a little more wire wrapping to go.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Straw Walls Starting....

So we have finally started with the straw walls.  Have started on a small wall to try and discover all the challenges we are going to face.  Been very interesting trying to merge the information we learnt on our workshop, with the specifications of the designer and random information from books and online.

But we are getting closer, with the next hurdle being the render and its application.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mezzanine Structure Built

Today saw the mezzanine structure in the studio go up.  Really starting to get a feel for the space that will be Kylie's studio.  Will also act as a scaffold for doing the bales.

The roof is working well as it still allows work to gone despite the rain.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Straw Bales - Finally

It has been a while in the making but we are finally at the point where we can start on the straw bales.  We had our first delivery over the weekend and Kylie is very excited - as am I.

So this week we get to start our first straw bale wall on our house.  Here is the first delivery stacked in the dining/lounge/kitchen. We did get a second delivery of 50 today, so picture this doubled.

The roof is getting closer.  Some ridge cap has been done as has some flashing.  Hopefully the weather allows for the roofer to complete the other bits.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Roof Sheeting

All of the roof sheets are now on.  Maybe another fortnight before the ridge cap, flashings and aprons are fitted.  However the roofer has done the major bits we need so we can move on.  We are very happy with the job so far.

There has been a pause in the build over the last two weeks.  Kylie and I visited my parents over the Easter weekend.  The main purpose of the visit was to get the family together as it was likely to be the last time we were all together as my father was very ill.  Unfortunately the Sunday after Easter he passed away.  Whilst it was expected it was a lot quicker then we all thought.  So we had another trip to the mainland for his funeral last week, and I will be returning in a few weeks to help my mother get some things in order.

Quite an emotional time at the moment, good to be back focusing on the build as a distraction.