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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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

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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Raising of the walls – and oops, knocking down some as well!

It was all hands on deck for the raising of the block wall. Orange and yellow shirts everywhere.I returned from my last trip to find I had a couple of walls raised on the building site, the start of the garage. After a week at home I had three walls, all concrete block, all different colours, and the jury is still out on those almond coloured ones. I do like the large boundary wall however, it is a brown-grey and tones in nicely with the old Queenslander, which is just as well as that is the side you will actually see the colour.

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Base stage completed

My last visit home between community visits was a short one, enough time to throw my clothes into the washing machine before repacking back into my bag and a quick confab with hubby and the builder over building issues.

It was pleasing to see the stumps were all in as well as the bearers and joists down as well as some of the structural posts for the garage and main house, now it really looks like the house takes up the full block.

The house is now at base stage. All the stumps,bearers and joists are in. Also some of the posts for the carport and house structure.

The builder had a bit of trouble with the concrete pour for the stumps. Due to our unseasonably high rainfall this year, the holes kept filling with water. When they pumped in the concrete the water of course was displaced but as it overflowed it brought with it some of the concrete, hence we have a thin slurry of concrete under the entire house area. Correction – when handy hubby went to clear up the overflow around the house site he found it wasn’t quite so thin in places, hmmm we may have to consider putting in some alkaline loving plants in those areas. We will also need to punch some holes in the overflow under the house to make sure we don’t get water pooling and creating water traps for mosquitos. Read more

Commencing the new build – Base Stage

Exciting news, the builder has started working on the new build. They actually commenced a couple of weeks ago but the inclement weather we have been experiencing has put a dampener on getting things moving, oh and I forgot to get onto the utilities organisation to get an access point on the new lot, more on that later.

It's so exciting once you see the first holes dug in the ground or trenches being dug, the building work is finally starting after a couple of years planning.

Currently we have a lot of holes in the ground – with quite a bit of water in the bottom of them, I don’t dare let the dog run around the block at the moment, as the holes are two meters deep. The excavating team have been been back and forth, attempting to dig the holes. Initially the block didn’t dry out fast enough though and the site was becoming a bit of a mud bath. They decided to wait an extra week for it to clear up and then of course it would rain again. They were able to dig some trenches for the block walls and the concrete footings for these were poured some weeks ago now.

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Thinking about roofing

Since we are renovating and building a new home and have the opportunity to see what else is available in other regions of the world, I have been keeping an eye open for ideas from the northern hemisphere that might translate across to Australia, as well as checking out the differences.

Tar paper roofing tiles with shallow metal guttering both assist in the management of snow and water in this climate.

Tar paper roofing tiles with shallow metal guttering both assist in the management of snow and water in this climate.

One area that has interested me in particular is the varying roofing and cladding materials used over here in colder Scandinavian regions. For example, in Tromso, the chalets we stayed in had tar paper roofing tiles; that wouldn’t translate well to Queensland – the tar would drip off the roof in 40 degree heat, I am guessing. I asked someone how the roofing was constructed using this material. The process it seems is to lay down the ceiling timbers on top of the rafters first then add a layer of waterproofing material followed by plywood, insulation, plywood, waterproofing material and finally the tar paper, keeping everything snug and dry.

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At long last…

Finally, we are about to commence the renovation and new build on our block of land in Banyo, QLD.

We purchased the home approximately three years ago and after living in it for a year decided that we loved the suburb but the house was not suitable for the needs of our family and my business, which I operate from home. The house sits on an 809 square metre double lot and is an old queenslander with plenty of character, although this is currently hidden. After much thought we decided that we didn’t need a house on a large lot and if we just renovated the home we would be over-capitalising for the area as the price ceiling here is around $700,000. Instead, we decided that we would split the block, renovate the old house and build a new home that would suit our needs.

The house - before the renovation commences

The house – before the renovation commences

It has taken a couple of years to get to this point. Tomorrow, we move out and next week the tradesmen come in, first to disconnect the power so we can demolish a section of the side verandah. This will allow the building to fit onto one lot. Then we have the house raisers coming in to lift and slide the house across and forward into the new position. Read more