The workers have really ramped up the action a notch.
This is happening just outside our backyard, right now.
Perhaps the tradies are getting a bonus to finish before Christmas? the MotH asks.
Tradies or Tradesmen?
I’m not sure if other countries call workmen on construction sites:-‘tradesmen.’
We don’t either.
In Australia we always like to shorten things, especially names, so tradesmen and not called tradesmen, but “Tradies.”
If someone says they will, “See ya in the arvo,” or “See you thissarvy”– they don’t mean they will meet you in some seedy bar in town, they mean they will see you after lunch, in the afternoon. If I was to say to a friend, see you in the afternoon, I would almost sound British!
But I digress.
Tradies might be Electricians, Carpenters, affectionately also called ‘Chippies,’ Plumbers, Crane drivers, Tiler’s, Glaziers, Concreters or anyone that performs a trade and often this is related to construction.
These guys and girls, do a certain amount of study at a vocational college but most of their training is practical, on the job. It is usually an apprenticeship of three or four years. They are often very fit, strong and heavily tanned young men and their language is often colourful.
So whatever you do, when you visit Australia and the Home by the Sea, don’t ask for few ‘chippies’ with your meal! See you later on thisarvy!
We have a Practical Completion Date for the Home by the Sea, and it is very close.
Moving date will actually be a further couple of weeks after that. That gives the builder a chance to fix up all the defects, (hopefully none or not too many), prior to handing over the house keys to us and us handing him the big fat final cheque!!
It is getting exciting, but also somewhat daunting knowing what I have yet to do, before I can lay my head down on the bed in my new home by the sea.
The Carpenter returned to re-do the beautiful Western Red cedar roof on the alfresco area, and on the front panel above the famed and maligned cornerless window.
You can see him there hard at work, cursing and teasing me a little good heartedly for making him re-do the section at the front. He is a lovely guy, despite all his intimidating skeletal tattoos!
And for all his tattoos, I asked him if he would let his young daughter get a tattoo when she grew up.
“No way,” he said shaking his head emphatically!
“Good luck with that,” I thought, under my breath.
Further progress included the installation of the Energy Efficient Air Conditioner (an absolute must in northern Australia). Yay!
I won’t have solar power again for a little while, so the less we use it, the better for the planet, right? Mind you, the breeze that persists at the water’s edge might mean we can save a little of the planet’s ecosystems and shut it off for most of the year.
We see that the house has had a QA check and they have found some, well many spots to touch up with the paint. So there are blue dots of tape sprinkled throughout to identify the spots that need fixing with paint.
The bathroom mirrors and shower screens were installed. And I now have somewhere to hang my towel and toilet roll! Yay for that!
The stairs also were dressed with timber grade handrails this week.
All the timber work is to be stained in a teak colour.
We discovered that the lovely oak bedside tables we purchased for a reduced price, during a closing down sale won’t fit in our master bedroom with the existing bed frame. Darn it all.
They can go with the two lamps I purchased that were also a mistake. The MOTH took the opportunity to remind me that I had purchased seven lamps this year! Surely not.
**Lesson learnt here. Don’t buy furniture or lamps, without measuring accurately and before your house is complete.
We have a resident Mamma Kanga and Baby Joey in our park and sporting fields. Eager to find some freshly watered green grass, I spotted them safely tucked away behind the fencing this morning.
I am anxious to receive a Practical Completion date for the Home by the Sea, particularly after a rather intrusive incident at our rental townhouse which was detailed over at Something to Ponder About – [StPA]. Should you be interested in how to save a ton of money in real estate advertising fees and piss off a rental tenant at the same time, for no extra cost, you can read about ‘Mrs The World is My Oyster,’ on my other blog.
Despite not knowing exactly when we might be moving in to the Home by the Sea – we do know that the painting is complete and most plumbing and electrical fittings are installed.
Today, I met with the Electrician to position the pendant lights in the lounge area. He was such a very young man, to be in charge, but obviously highly competent at his job. It is a shame he had a long time girlfriend, as I do keep an eye out for a good quality future son-in-law. [lol]
The taps have been installed and we could have indulged in a shower or bath, if we needed to do so. We passed on that opportunity today as I forgot my towel….
The pendant lights were installed over the Island bench and the Oven and Cooktop are in!
Yay! Hot Christmas dinner – here we come!
The stove is an Induction model, and I am a complete novice in that realm, having only used electric ceramic cooktops for the past 25 years! I had to go out and buy some new utensils and pans. It is wide so I am hoping there will be no more juggling trays to fit in all the roast vegetables my tribe loves to eat on Roast nights.
Still to come at the Home by the Sea: Carpets, minor fixes, hand rails, cupboard shelving for walk in pantry and linen cupboard, mirrors and shower screens, as well as Landscaping and Fencing. And then perhaps, we are done! [excluding the re-do of the Cedar ceiling].
Surely not long now till we move to the Home by the Sea.
Our almost weekly visits to the house at times could at time seem over the top or fuTile, but humans being humans, mistakes are not uncommon.
On a large project such as a double storey house, and a large scale commercial building company, tradesmen’s crews work on multiple houses, at the same time. Add to this, there are so many different options and choices for fittings and selections, it is little wonder that mistakes occur.
And so, with this latest visit, we were pleased that we found everything in order.
Or was it?
The Kitchen and Laundry Cabinets and Splashbacks were certainly looking great.
The Benchtops had been installed, and were really looking smart under their protected covering. And the floor tiles and bath/shower tiling was all but complete – just the balcony to be grouted.
I worried that I did not have enough variation in the colour scheme in the upstairs bathrooms? I am regretting not adding a white subway splashback tile to lift the cold neutrality of the bathing areas. Ah, first world problems.
Even the garage door had been installed, but was not yet wired up. The electrician is to return to install and connect the lights, fans, power, cooking, and smallish air conditioning unit. (Notwithsdtanding a smaller carbon footprint, I live in the sub tropics so I have to a small A/C unit to be able to breathe and function in the humid summers we have).
I really was born in the wrong hemisphere!
This pic of me, is more my climate, of choice.
On returning home, from the site visit, I was proudly looking through the photos, when the MOTH announced that he had not seen any lights installed on the balcony. Almost simultaneously, I spotted a another problem, albeit a minor one. Sigh….
You might remember I said that this was our forever house, and we don’t plan on moving from there, until we are forced into a nursing home, or into the good earth itself.
Therefore, our design had factored in all the “Old persons’ gadgets and fittings, we could, such as Extra Nogging for future Grab rails in the downstairs bathroom, a wheelchair accessible walk – in shower downstairs, and a downstairs media room, a.k.a Mancave, [should that be MOTH cave??]. The Mothcave could quickly become a bedroom, if necessary for oldies who can’t manage stairs.
And also we requested:
Lever lockset doorknobs with a long easy to open handle, for potentially (sorry Manja), gnarled, arthritic hands! In fact, the MOTH went to a lot of trouble and emails to ensure there were NO round Knobs anywhere!!!!
We also wanted a lockable internal door to prevent break-ins via the hall. (One of the benefits of Social Media was that this had been a popular Burglary tactic, and design locks to foil this, if possible).
So on zooming in on the photo, I spotted this. Can you see it?
What a change a week makes. The Bricklayers are all but finished, so we can finally get an idea of what the base of the house will look like.
You might notice the bricks are different on the front of the house – a bit patchy compared to the rest. This is because there is rendering to be done on the front of the house. The rendering and wrapping of the corner of the house, abutting the two street frontages, meets the Estate developer’s covenant requirements – not so our wishes.
I suppose it adds a level of interest and a certain look to the estate?
The plasterers are finished the walls inside and the waterproofing of the shower recesses and wet areas have been completed.
Cladding the Second Storey
The scaffolding that has now been erected is necessary for the builders to install the cladding to the upper part of the house.
I was very excited to see bundles of vertical lined cladding and my treasured cedar roof arrive ready for installation on the next vacant block.
Of course the cladding is going to be painted.
I have chosen a Dulux Teahouse colour, at least I think that is what it was called. It is a bit hard to remember every paint selection, but in my head I have the colour hue itself, even if the name is wrong. It is a little bit like the cladding on this Stockholm house, (slightly different facade to ours).
Next week, the staircase will be installed and perhaps some cabinetry?
Progress has been slower in the last few weeks. School holidays might mean that the tradesmen have taken a break. But they were back at work early last week getting ready to lay the bricks.
However over the next week or two, the house will look a lot different as the external coverings are completed.
Weatherseal and windows have been installed. External and Internal doors to Laundry and Front of House. Now we could get much more of an idea of the ultimate size of the rooms.
I am being asked about window coverings. In building a house, you are required to think a long way ahead. Before you anticipate you need to do so.
The MOTH does not like shutters, yet everywhere we go – shutters are visible in many houses. I do agree I don’t want shutters everywhere, as it tends to look too much, but it does say Coastal, and we are at the coast.
Vertical blinds are out, and if it is curtains, they certainly have to be easily washable, otherwise they are major dust collectors, and blow about in the wind. And we do live by the water, when wind is a prevailing force.
If you have been following our building journey, at A Home by the Sea, I can tell you that we are yet another step closer.
The weather Gods were not kind to us this week, but it is becoming more and more apparent that our building team are the very best. The forecast of rain so concerned us given that our upper floor would be open to the elements and the floor is not at all weatherproof!
So we were extremely relieved when our weekly visit revealed the builders had finished the complete guttering and roof (at least the roof that is over all upper floorboards) in just one day.
Great team effort guys! (and girls?) *
*Note: No sexism on A Home by the Sea.
Perhaps they tried their very best given that a week of rain was on its way. I like that they are so conscientious and pro-active. They is very reassuring. We have come this far in four weeks!
And now the remaining roof, more plumbing/electrical on the lower floor comes next!
We decided to take some time out to support local business and mingle with the locals at the Boat Club. There is a great view of the Marina from there.
The large boat in the foreground of the next photo is a Marlin fishing boat, and the official weighing station is on the right of the photo.
Our weekly visit, this week, brought us a quick reality check. The house now looks large, and we can now get a full idea of its double storey scale on the property with the second storey timber frame going up. The roof will be installed next week, given no issues from Mr. Weather Man.
We are pretty happy with the way it is turning out. Although I expected some more winter sun to be impacting the al fresco area.
But then I ask myself: am I going to be outside when it is cold, or snuggled inside?
The front rooms of the house are drenched in winter sun – good for ageing folk who might ( I hope not ), develop arthritic knees and enjoy a good dose of morning sun, in winter.
Summertime will see most of the sunlight on the rear of the house, however this is the section of the house that will be airconditioned, and shaded by eaves, so I feel sure it will work out in terms of its comfort level.
Micro climate and Aspect
This is why we chose a north-facing property. Ideally, we would have purchased a property with the back yard with a north facing aspect, given that the garage limits half what is open to a northern face, as most garages face to the street in new estates.
However, you can’t control what type of structure is built on the parcel of land behind you in a new estate, and with smaller blocks requiring double storey houses to secure a family’s need in a residential house, the northern sunlight in a rear yard might be effectively blocked out by the neighbour’s build.
This is what happened in our previous home. It also equates to more energy use in keeping a home liveable, in winter, unless you are happy wearing thermals and coats, indoors.
Despite living in a sub-tropical climate, our former house was always so cold in winter; much colder than the northern facing townhouse, we are in at the moment. What’s more – because it is a townhouse, the garage can be located at the rear, so all the living areas and bedrooms can face north. Just glorious.
Days here in Queensland are so perfect during a winter day with cloudless skies, little breeze and low humidity; however, the nights can get down to single digit celsius temperatures. Not pleasant if you have a house style made to cope with sub tropical summers. Read: little insulation; lots of open plan rooms and large opening windows without double glazing.
So, a north facing block is for me, in my retirement.
Does aspect and micro-climate figure in your design for a new home?
The builder informed us an error had been made and they had delivered the wrong brick to the Little Home By the Sea.
I thought it had to be wrong, but what do I know?
Tim checked into it and found they had delivered the wrong bricks. Austral will swap them over. That feels a lot better now. I can sleep again.
This is the Wilderness design – Blackbutt – with two shadows looming over.
It even looks black. Quite different from the grey with white flecks, seen below. They realized the bricks delivered on the palettes that had sat there for several weeks were completely wrong. Thank goodness we checked.
The waterproofing was complete and excess soil removed and spread out. So now we were starting to get an idea of the internal size of the rooms and yard.
More will become obvious when the frame begins at the end of this week. Then it will really look like a house.
Looking forward to that.
It was a gorgeous day in the bay with only a SW zephyr. Perfect beach weather, really. How lucky are we to have a piece of paradise to retire too.