The Home Office – My Grown Up Cubby House

One of the best parts of the new house is the home office. This is my productivity cave. I can go there and shut myself in and because I am ‘at work’ I don’t get as many interruptions. One of my work colleagues visited recently and playfully commented it was like a grown up cubby house and she is right – it does feel a bit like a large playhouse and I hope we all continue to have fun as well as be productive in it.

The Office - My Grown Up Cubby House

Having a separate home office was one of the primary reasons we decided to build a new home. The Old Queenslander was lovely as a family home, however the office was part of the house and it was so easy to get distracted with home stuff like laundry or cooking when I really should have been concentrating on paid work.

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Moving In

After nearly a year and a half of renovation and building, and a few weeks of frantic activity, we have finally settled into the new house. We are discovering all those things that were either buried in the move or have been packed away in boxes for the duration – it’s a wonderful discovery of how much you don’t need after all with the Op shops around us being blessed with a number of items that we obviously couldn’t part with 18 months ago but have now discovered otherwise.

The old Queenslander and the new Queenslander side by side.

The week before the move was filled with activity. At one stage we had plumbers, tilers and painters all working around each other; it’s amazing what a deadline can do to get things moving.

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Preparing the house for rent

Well with the imminent completion of the new home, we listed the Queenslander on the rental market, one viewing and it was rented and to a preferred tenant. How did that happen? This result I believe is because we followed a deliberate approach to the renovation combined with using a premium rental service and being clear about the sort of tenant we preferred.

Preparation is the key to getting a good tenant

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Finding the ideal house for renovation and development

I’ve actually learned a few things over our years of buying and renovating properties, some of these have been hard lessons where we made mistakes that cost us, while others I have learnt by listening to others who have trod a path before us. Now that we are getting to the end of our current small development I can see that those earlier lessons have paid off with positive results. Recently I have been reflecting on what we did right and what could have been done better, at least with the renovated Queenslander and general development process.

Finding the right property is essential when planning for a development. The costs can blow out if you don't do your homework.

When we initially ventured into purchasing properties for renovation we generally didn’t end up making a lot of money or creating much equity in the property; mainly this was because we didn’t purchase the right properties. After listening to, and learning from, other more experienced renovators and developers I gained a better idea of what we needed to look for when seeking a property to develop. Read more

Fenced In

A well-constructed and thought out fence can be both practical and aesthetically pleasing.

For me the fence had to be a considered part of the finished product, not an after thought.

A fence can be so much more than a barrier between you and the world.

A fence is one of the first things that introduces people to your home. It has the potential to not only complement the home, but make a statement. Of course, a fence also needs to meet some practical requirements of home life such as keeping kids and pets in and unwanted visitors out – not that I have to worry about keeping the kids in these days… it seems they don’t want to leave.

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Why should commercial buildings have all the fun?

After a full on, two-week block of work out bush I have managed to fit in a weekend at home; enough time to wash the clothes, bake some healthy biscuits and muesli and say hello to my family, along with checking on the build progress.

The most obvious change was the finished paint job on the walkway – it looks great.

Why should commercial buildings have all the fun, use opportunities for individualising your entrance areas after all these are the wow factor areas of your home and can make a difference to the ultimate value placed on it by prospective buyers or valuers.

When we were considering what to use on the inside of the walkway that leads to the front door, we saw a great architectural product from James Hardy called Matrix board. This product has been appearing on new build homes in the area and gives a edgy, contemporary look, much better than the old blue board and render finish. Read more

Timber Flooring

An exciting stage was reached two weeks ago  with the installation of the timber floor in the downstairs areas.(yes, sorry for the delay, I’m out on the road again and this is the first chance I have had to write about it).

Solid Timber flooring, Queensland Spotted Gum

We decided early on in the planning phase, to have a suspended floor rather than concrete slab to allow the house to sit lightly on the land. What I hadn’t realised at the time was that the new, energy efficiency standards meant that we had to first install yellow tongue sheets to form the subfloor. Over the top of this the solid timber floorboards are glued and nailed down. While this design increases resources and hence cost, there are some benefits. To start with it minimises the problems older timber floors had with gaps opening up between boards creating squeaky boards and drafts. The floor should also be warmer in winter as the yellow tongue forms an insulating layer. Read more

End of year round up for 2015

With the December break upon us, I finally have some time to catch up on the progress of the new build. While I have been able to manage the build process in between a very busy few months of work (sometimes I was only able to get home for one or two days between trips), something had to give and that was the documentation of the build. Thankfully, our builder is amazing and of course there is the internet and mobile phones for communication. Miraculously with all this to-ing and fro-ing, there has only been one or two errors of any significance (more on that later) which has been a real blessing.

The new build progresses

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Oh no, the rooms look too small!

Why is it that putting up the framework makes the floor area of a house look smaller than it is? Now, I know the house can’t actually be that small because it takes up a huge chunk of the site, it just appears that way. So I asked a friend – Google, and found out that this is a common optical illusion that has many people freaking out over. One of the forum sites said that the illusion was due to comparing the outdoor space with that inside the house, it was also recommended that people didn’t visit the site too often when the build was going on – obviously most people don’t live next door to their build site.

 

Having no walls creates the optical illusion that the area within the house is smaller than it really is. Once the walls are clad this illusion will disappear however it can be disconcerting at the time.

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