Some exciting progress this week inside! The walls and ceilings were insulated, we want to be able to keep the temperature inside as steady as possible, so the wall insulation in addition to the ceilings was a 'must'.
The first sheets of the VJ board ceilings went up. We are using timber strapping to cover the joins and to create a grid pattern, so we're reserving judgment until it is finished and painted.
On the roof, the gable wall timber detail went on (the blue timber) and our solar hot water tubes were installed. The hot water system has a storage cylinder on the ground, and uses the solar collectors to heat the cylinder. It is also gas boosted for when we run out of natural heat, which will mean endless hot showers.
On Friday we had a meeting with the new kitchen designer. The previous cabinetry people weren't going to deliver so the builder moved it to someone else. The new cabinetmaker had a very helpful showroom with lots of examples of things, so the meeting was much quicker the second time around, thankfully. Michael and I left there feeling confident that we are going to get what we want.
We also had to make a final decision on paint colours. We had narrowed our 9 samples from last week down to 2, but weren't ready to commit. There is a house a few streets away that was renovated last year, and we like the colour a lot, so we knocked on the door. The owner was very friendly and showed us the paint that she had used, and we made the decision to copy her colour for our weatherboards. Painting is starting Monday so we won't have to wait too long to find out if that was the right decision!
Unless you look closely you might miss the internal progress this week. Inside on the upper level the ceiling battens went in. These run perpendicular to the trusses and the tongue and groove board ceiling sheets will be attached to them.
Electrical was roughed in, so we now have a cable hanging through the ceiling at the approximate location of each light. The downlights just plug into a power socket in the ceiling, so the holes for those will be confirmed and cut after the ceiling sheeting goes up.
The air-conditioning return was put in by the air-con contractors in the wrong spot - we wanted it a little way down the hall so that it wasn't so obtrusive, so that has been moved. I've been using snapchat to draw on photos to send them to the builder. Photos are always easier than emails.
Outside the cedar shingles were installed on the front bay window, and the sides of the study. There is a second bay window on the left side and that is soon to be shingled too.
Our builders told us that the painters were starting on the exterior on 1 August, which is only a week away! So on Saturday we ended up at Bunnings buying sample pots. We thought it was important to paint the samples on to weatherboards so that we properly accounted for the shadow lines, and what better place than the front of the house? We didn't quite tell the builders we were doing it, but no covering that up. We made the decision a family affair (that's my mum in the panama hat) but still haven't made our minds up. It'll be a last minute decision, no doubt.
Lockup arrived this week (and with it, the lockup invoice...).
Lockup means that the external cladding, roof, doors and windows are all fixed. The weatherboards are 99% finished with just a few corner stops to go on. We are still missing the left hand side wall of our downstairs deck, but that's on its way, and it's not keeping anything weathertight so it is not urgent.
The gable detailing has started. We decided to install cedar shingles in the top triangle of the gable wall to replace the existing painted shingles - but the new ones we will just leave as raw timber. There is a before and 'during' photo of the gable walls, the wide timber boards should finish it off nicely.
The timber trim work around the pillars and our bathroom louvres has been done - these are nearly ready for rendering. I had to send some sketches to the carpenters, because they and I had very different opinions on what a rendered pillar with a window should look like...
Inside the open plan living space ducted air-conditioning went into the ceiling cavity, and the ducting is roughly in place. It looks so industrial for just one room, but I guess it is a big open room with a stairwell, so it needs good air flow. Electrical rough-in should happen next week, and then the ceiling and wall sheeting should start.
The builders let us know that the exterior painting will be starting on 1 August! So the pressure is on to choose a paint colour... Whilst we love the mustard undercoat colour of the new weatherboard because it represents progress, I think we'll choose something a bit classier :P
The kitchen supplier that we had already met with is now looking wobbly - so the builder is considering moving the project to a different cabinet maker. That doesn't really bother us - I'd rather put another day into planning and discussion with the new cabinet makers to get a great product on time, than end up over-schedule or with a product with which we're not 100% happy.
Once the exterior painting starts it is going to start looking like a finished product outside - and the scaffolding will come down progressively. Before that happens, we have a solar hot water tank and 22 solar energy panels going on the roof - so I guess those are not too far away either.
This week is half way through the 40 week schedule.
Visually not much is changing but we are progressing towards internal sheeting quite quickly. We had a meeting with the builders Wednesday morning to confirm air conditioning placement. We elected to go with a ducted system for the upstairs open plan living area, and then each bedroom and the downstairs living are getting their own bulkhead unit. A bulkhead unit works just like a standard wall-mounted split system, but is concealed either in the ceiling or in a bulkhead. Effectively it looks like a ducted system but is advantageous because each room can be controlled individually for on/off, timers, temperature and fan speed. It was a considerable cost to move away from ducted but we will make efficiency savings based on how we use the rooms.
Once the air conditioning units were put in, the builders framed the ceilings around them. We lost a bit of ceiling height downstairs because one of the beams was increased by the engineer, so they have ended up at 2.9 metres, which is still half a metre higher than a standard ceiling.
The tongue and groove (VJ) sheeting arrived on-site for the ceilings. We are doing this throughout and it's a major feature. There is still electrical cable to go into the walls and ceilings before the ceiling sheeting goes up, but it won't be long now.
On site last week we picked up that the plans were not sufficiently clear about the stucco columns at the front of the house. We came up with a solution with the builders and I think it works. The blueboard in the last photo will be rough rendered to match the existing stucco columns that weren't able to be saved.
All of the window frames are now installed - there are some leadlight glass panels to go in yet, bit this means that the external cladding can now keep moving and it won't be long before plasterboard goes in.
This week the sliding doors went into our master suite. They are so easy to open and close - nothing like a double-sprung door roller :)
We had talked with our builders about recessing the deck sliding doors into the floor structure so that the metal track sat down at around the same level as our finished floor. Long story short - it was not installed that way, so we would have seen a 5cm aluminium lip (just something to trip over). The builder agreed to re-install it on the floor framing directly, which happened this week. I've shown a picture of a floorboard against the recessed track, much better.
The opening for our stairwell was cut into the floor. We have a slightly wider than normal set of stairs, plus a small void. You can see the framing for two half-walls to enclose the void, I think balustrades can be a bit fussy sometimes so we are doing a combination of solid wall and timber balustrade.
The stair manufacturer fortuitously turned up to sketch and measure while we were on-site, so true to form I decided to return the bottom two steps, creating a podium, and in doing so found a way to spend a bit more money...
Our custom made timber windows arrived - to match the rotten ones we lost. Oh, and our TV recess took shape - now we just need to find some room in the budget for a 55 inch TV!