Shade seekers: outside under the roof on Christmas Day


Andrew Kerrby author page

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Sunday November 15, Saturday November 21 / Sunday November 22, Monday December 14, Tuesday December 22, Friday December 25


This is what it’s all about: gatherings. People, activity, friends catching up around a fire, cooking a BBQ and having fun. 60k House has been designed as a one bedroom shack but with an eye to hosting many more people.


Meat: the cornerstone of an Aussie BBQ, seen here stacked on a pile of recycled bricks

Meat: the cornerstone of an Aussie BBQ, seen here stacked on a pile of recycled bricks


Ever since we resumed building after the winter break the aim was to have the house finished enough to host a joint birthday party in the middle of November. Recent weeks building have been about prioritising what is important to have finished for a particular gathering. While it wasn’t, and still isn’t, finished, the house provided all of the essentials required: power for lights and music, a working toilet for ones and twos, and shelter – not that anyone ever uses it.

Many hands make light work

The week before the birthday party we had a working bee to tidy up around the house. After only a couple of hours the place was transformed from a building site to a house. Nearly. Greg the builder could hardly believe the transformation when he next came to work. We’re still building, and making a mess, but it’s now easier to keep clean and tidy. When the working bee was finished it was time for a BBQ and some drinks – everyone sat outside under the roof.


The birthday party was held over two days: Saturday night for shenanigans, Sunday day for families and oldies and people who were afraid to camp the night. The weather forecast for the weekend was a bit dicey so I ordered an extra load of gravel to cover the mud and get the driveway all the way down to the house.


Just in case: some more gravel for the driveway before the birthday party

Just in case: some more gravel for the driveway before the birthday party


It had been windy all day and without the cladding on the outside of the building I was nervous a stray spark could send the house up in flames. Thankfully the wind died down a bit and kept blowing a steady direction away from the building. During the evening everyone gathered around a large campfire and only ventured inside to use the loo. That was the first night I slept inside my house – ‘twas a good feeling. The next day everyone sat outside under the roof.


Primal: there's something that draws people to fires

Primal: there’s something that draws people to fires

Furry friends

A couple of visiting architecture students had got wind of this blog and wanted to check out the house in person. This led to an impromptu gathering of graduates and young professionals, and a dog. Yep, you guessed it – BBQ, fire and time spent outside. But this time we actually gathered inside for a brief period of time! And 60k House had it’s first overnight guest. Well two if you count the possum that came foraging for leftover food.


Can't have a gathering without a fire

Can’t have a gathering without a fire

Team effort

It’s been hard enough to get one tradie onsite so it was unbelievable to have FOUR onsite only a couple of days before Christmas. This was cause for celebration so I raced up the road to pick up a slab of cold beer for the guys. There have been plenty of delays in building 60k House but when I’ve really needed them people have turned up and got the job done, often at the last minute. We now had power inside and running water.


Four of a kind: tradies quenching a well-earned thirst

Four of a kind: tradies quenching a well-earned thirst

A roasting Christmas

It’s our tradition for three families to get together on Christmas Day, drink bubbles and gorge on nibblies. We typically rotate who hosts the gathering: the previous year I had volunteered to host everyone at my new house, six months before construction even began! This project is a mix of ambition and modesty: ambitious timelines, modest budget.


Cool: setup for comfort on a scorcher summer day

Cool: setup for comfort on a scorcher summer day


December 25, 2015 was the hottest Christmas Day on record in Hobart – the mercury tipped 36C. Inside 60k House the exposed thermal mass of the polished concrete floor was simple yet effective – doing its thing keeping the place cool and comfortable. Yet despite the near oppressive heat, everyone sat outside under the roof! Someone commented it was too nice a day to not be outside. The cheeses melted and the salmon nearly slid off the plate in the heat. Thankfully it was a total fire ban so no fires this time.


Human nature: in the heat, outside under the roof

Human nature: in the heat, outside under the roof

The great outdoors

You might have noticed a recurring theme about where people gather – either around a fire if it’s getting dark or outside under a roof during the day. The provision of useful, comfortable outdoor space is most valuable – it doesn’t cost as much as enclosed building and is often more desirable and used more. On all six days mentioned here it was fine weather, allowing people to gather outside without the need to retreat inside. The climate in Tasmania isn’t nearly as bad as the weather forecasters, people on the mainland or my mum thinks it is.


Costs: gravel – $440; beer – $55


Disclaimer: Any advice contained within this blog is of a general nature only and cannot be relied upon. Details provided are in good faith and relate specifically to this project. Any author will not be held responsible for advice or information presented.


  1. Great read. Just stumbled across this today whilst I was meant to be working. Coming from a family of architects I have been kind of apathetic as to the full architectural process but found your blog simple yet detailed and thoroughly interesting in the whole build and design process. Thanks for sharing

    1. Andrew Kerr

      Thanks for your comment Will.
      My father was a builder and it has sometimes been difficult to convince him of the merit of some of the design consideration. I keep saying to him: don’t judge it until it’s finished! It has been an interesting process so far. Will share more about the process shortly. Cheers

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