Sunday, 13 July 2008

Developed concept plans

Hello everyone; this week’s blog post is a little different from normal. Instead of typing in the text, I'm dictating it. No, I haven’t employed a personal assistant; I'm trying out a computer dictation program.

I've been spending so many hours a day typing, I've been getting a lot of pain in my hands and arms. I'm not able to cut down on the amount of writing I do, but I can hopefully find a way of cutting back on the amount of time I spend pounding away at the keyboard. By using a dictation program I might eventually be able to reduce my keyboard time by 25% or so. It takes a lot of getting used to, though. You have to speak very clearly, and even then it's not 100% accurate. You always need to go back when you’ve finished, and correct the mistakes. Iain has tried it out, but didn't get very good results. Maybe the program didn't like his Stoke accent!

Last weekend we drove down to Wellington to see a rugby test between New Zealand and South Africa. Even though we've lived in New Zealand for over three years, this is the first time we've seen the All Blacks play live. The atmosphere at the match was excellent, and it was great to be able to cheer the All Blacks to a home win. It's a refreshing change for English people like us, to be able to support a national team that isn't woefully inept. :-)

On Friday our architect, Phil, sent us the developed concept plans of our little house. He's added a carport on the eastern side of the house, and we think this will not only be practical, but will also help to visually balance the roofline. At the moment the plans show a store and woodshed on the southern side of the house, but we've decided to get rid of these, which will open up the back of the house, and allow more light into the bathroom and laundry. We think a couple of cheap sheds off the driveway will do the job just as well, for a fraction of the price.

The pictures below give a rough idea of what the front of the house will look like. (Apart from the fact that Blogger has mangled the colours for some reason; must be going through its Blue Period.)

Two views of the front of our house (click for a larger image)

The choice of cladding will make a big difference to the way the house looks. We think we’ll probably go either with board and batten, in a plain wood finish, like the first photo, (except not blue!) or else with a vertically grooved board, painted red, as in the second photo.

The 'board and batten' cladding style --
it looked good when I uploaded it! :-(

The 'Shadowclad' cladding style (this is our rental in Titirangi)

The developed concept plans include a specification list, so we’re now at the point where we can get some quotes from builders. This is an exciting stage of the process, but it's also pretty nerve wracking. If the quotes come in way over budget, we may have to rethink our whole plan, give up our dream of a one-off cabin, and opt for something a bit more standard. We’ll also have wasted all the money we've already paid the architect. Still, we knew the risk we were taking when we started off down this road, and as they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

About three months ago, we started collecting seeds from trees whenever we went out for a walk. We've been planting them up, and we now have a collection of seedlings of various native trees, only a couple of which we know the names of. Hopefully, some of these will survive long enough so that we can plant them out in our new garden. Next week, we’re going to make a start on growing some fruit trees. The climate here is mild enough for lemons and olives, so we're going to collect stones and pips, soak them overnight, plant them out, and see what happens.

Well, I'd better go now, as it's my bedtime! Catch you again soon.