It has been a few weeks since the last update! Aside from trying to decide on vanities and other fittings for the bathroom and kitchens, the builder has been busy getting the framing finished off, demolishing the existing internal walls, ceiling, kitchen and bathroom and the roofer has been on site this week putting on the fascia. We were hoping the majority of the roof would be on by the end of this week but it looks like it’ll happen next week now.
The electrician has been on site this week relocating our power box. It has to be moved as the wall it is currently on is going to get removed.
By the end of next week the roof should be on, the windows and doors installed in the new extension ready for the cladding to begin. The builder says we’ll be all locked up by Christmas!
Things have really started to move over the past week! All of the ground work was completed last week and the floor bearers and joists started going in last Friday. Over the weekend we decided it would probably be best to move out of the house so the builders could get stuck into it properly. Us being there was just holding things up and it would have meant some trades would have to visit twice which probably would have cost us more money in the long run. We packed our bags and moved out on Monday afternoon.
Since Monday the floors have been laid, the frames have gone up and the new roof trusses have gone in. The house is no longer a fibro house, all fibro was removed on Tuesday morning. The builders have also started demolishing the inside of the existing house.
Over the next few days most of the work will be in the roof, getting it ready for the colorbond to go on next Thursday. The windows for the extension should also go in next week and once they are in we can start cladding it. We have gone for the Weathertex Selflok Old Colonial Smooth which we’ll probably paint a mid-dark gray. The colour we have chosen for the Colorbond roof, widows and fascia is Surfmist.
We have finally began breaking ground! We have to level the backyard in order to lay the foundations an brick piers for the extension. The excavator hit some unexpected rock, so this may add another day or so to the excavation, and probably more cost. Other than that, there is not too much more to report! Some photos are below…
Later this month (pending weather), we finally start the long planned renovations to our 1950’s fibro and timber cottage. Built in the post-war housing boom, the land was originally owned by the government and built for the Department of Housing. This house is pretty much all original, minus a wall that divides the kitchen from the dining and living that looks like it was knocked out around 2008 judging by old real estate photos. From what we can tell from a grainy 1955 aerial photo, there was also an outhouse that was knocked down sometime before 1965.
There isn’t much in terms of “features” in the current house. It is a 2 bedder and has a total size of about 70sqm. It’s typical of a 1950’s affordable housing build, consisting of fibro exterior (and some interior) walls, pine timber floors, timber double-hung sash windows, 3/4 height dado rails and nice 9ft (2.8m) high ceilings. The lighting has been updated to modern down-lights and the kitchen had an Ikea upgrade sometime this decade. There was once a fireplace however this was boarded up in the early 2000’s and is now home to a possum. Another possum also inhabits the roof space. Sometimes they fight in the middle of the night.
Insulation mustn’t have been a “thing” in the 50’s because this house has none of it. The house is freezing cold in the winter and stinking hot in the summer. It is almost impossible to control the temperature and if it wasn’t for the $400-a-quarter-to-run split system reverse cycle air conditioning we would have moved out a long time ago. Even still, in the middle of winter we wake up to dripping wet walls and and have to regularly scrub the mould off them. During summer it is usually warmer inside the house than outside and the air-con runs all night. As soon as we turn it off the cool air escapes from the non-insulated walls and quickly climbs to a balmy 35 degrees.
Despite its age, the house is pretty solid. We have had some high winds and heavy rain over the years and the ceiling has remained dry. The stormwater drains are all blocked up and during heavy downpours we have our own waterfall. We also could have got all of this fixed over the past 4 years, but we always planned to renovate. It has just taken us longer than we thought it would to get to this point.
The government sold the house around 2004 and we are the third owners since then. The previous owner also had big plans for this house however they had a child and it all understandable become a bit too hard so we purchased it in 2010 for around $550,000. Similar houses in the area are now selling for $750,000+.
While this neat and tidy house has served many families over the years, some who probably needed it more than others, it is nearly 65 years old. Although we love living with native Australian wildlife, it is time to give it a bit of a facelift and create some more space to hopefully one day be home to our family.
Daniel and I purchased our first home together at the end of 2010. While it wasn’t exactly what we wanted, we saw the potential with the size of the block of land and took the plunge to purchasing. The time has now come to turn this small house into our home.
There is no greater feeling of accomplishment then that of building something from scratch. By documenting this journey you too might be inspired to make your mark of the property market.
There are many people who would advise us to use a project home company, but project home companies are too generic and create too many limitations. We feel that to design your home with character and charm you need to do it yourself. We want each piece of our home to tell a story.
Our ‘dream home’ features restored recycled materials, renewable energy sources, hand-made features made using old methods, leadlight glass works and the beauty that can only be found in something made the DIY way.
DIY inspiration for us has come from watching Kevin McCloud’s ‘The Shed’, if you have a love of true craftsman shift, I encourage you to watch it.
In this fast paced world we live in, home is sometimes the only escape we have. Our home needs to be a sanctuary of warmth, relaxation and old world charm. We are envisioning open plan alfresco living, a homely sitting room with a cosy fireplace, large bedrooms, and a gorgeous kitchen.
Here are some of the current stats of the existing house.