Sunday, 28 June 2009
I've just realised that the only plans we've posted on the blog are the first set we had drawn up, which were designed by an architect. As you may already know, we had to abandon the original design because it would have been too expensive to pay someone to build it for us, and too difficult for us to attempt ourselves as first-time builders.
So here, at last, are the plans of the house we're actually building! Iain and I decided on the layout together, and I produced detailed sketches which Phil (our tame architect) then transformed into proper plans that would cut it with the planning department. Not so much Grand Designs, more like The Playschool School of Architecture ('Which window will it be today?'- the square window!)
The sitting room's not a bad size; in fact, it's bigger than the sitting room in any of the houses we've lived in since we got married. The kitchen is compact, but no smaller than the kitchen of the rental we're in at the moment, and that's plenty big enough for us.
We're not bothered about the size of the rooms, but there are a couple of things we think will take a bit of getting used to. Firstly, the lack of storage (there's just one small cupboard in the entire house) and secondly the fact that we've effectively only got one usable room, so we can't get away from each other very easily. Still, there's a whole lot of outdoors to escape to!
At long last, we've completed the wall framing, which is quite a milestone! It's taken us six weeks to do what a team of builders could have accomplished in a couple of days, but we're chuffed to bits about what we've achieved so far. It will take us as long as it takes us, and fretting about how slow we are won't help us to finish any faster.
The two photos below show us both in action, nailing the ribbon plate onto the top of the external walls. We're using clamps to make sure the ribbon plate is flush with the outside of the top plate.
Next weekend we move onto a new and exciting job - putting up the roof trusses. I'm looking forward to it!
Wednesday, 17 June 2009
As well as putting in lots of time creating the website, both during and after work, Iain's also studying for a postgraduate diploma in e-learning, which takes up most of his remaining free time in the evenings. As for the weekends, I think you already know what he spends them doing!
Sunday, 14 June 2009
Monday, 1 June 2009
Iain took Friday off work, and today was a bank holiday, so we had a four-day weekend to work on the house. Winter has arrived in earnest now, and it’s been a struggle to motivate ourselves in the mornings, but once we’ve arrived on site, we’ve been too busy to pay much attention to the cold.
Our first job was to straighten up all four corners of the frame so that they were vertically plumb. We reckoned this would take us about half a day, but it ended up taking us all of Friday and Saturday. This was because we had to partially rebuild one of the end walls, which was seriously wonky. It wasn’t right when it was delivered, but dropping it when we were trying to put it up the other week probably didn’t help to straighten it!
Our next job was to attach the wire dogs: enormous hammer-in staples, which will prevent the roof lifting off the frame in high winds. The wire dogs go on all the exterior walls, joining every stud to the top plate, both inside and out. They need to be flush, and our friendly builder, Denis, said we should ‘just bruise them in’. Evidently neither of us is much of a bruiser, because we couldn’t get them anything like flush using the brute force approach, so we had to cut out channels. For all 170 of them. Iain used a router for the studs in the middle of the walls, and where the router wouldn’t fit (in the corners and at junctions with internal walls) I cut out the channels by hand with a chisel. It took us all of Sunday and Monday. From now on, we’ll be using ‘wire dog’ as an expletive.
And finally, something not related to the house build. In typical laid-back Kiwi fashion, the photographer who took photos of the citizenship ceremony took almost three weeks to post the proofs up on his website. Here, at last, is the promised snap. We reckon it’s not a bad one of the two of us, although my hair looks inexplicably ginger. Either the photographer didn’t have the white balance adjusted correctly for the lighting conditions, or else he was using a special gingerfication filter. I prefer the second explanation.