Odds and sods: not much work left to do on the outside

Project + Budget Update

Andrew Kerrby author page

4 comments About

Changes

Sorry for the lack of recent posts. I’ve been busy. I’ve been away. My friends and relatives in Europe know where I was – traveling around Europe, visiting them.

 

Not much usually changes when I go overseas – this time it did. It seems as though other people back home also knew I was away – less than two weeks after I left some prick started stealing all of my firewood I had cut and split. And an idiot damaged my fire-fighting water tank, probably by backing into it.

 

The four months from May to August were Tasmania’s wettest four-month period ever recorded – while I was chasing the sun, deadly floods were wreaking havoc. 60k House didn’t float away and it seems like the drainage we belatedly put in worked to divert water away from the building. The house, and surrounds, held up well.

 

AND… Bunnings opened in Kingston (this would have been very handy a couple of months earlier). BUT… I did realise that the nice elements of 60k House – the recycled bricks, celery top decking, rough-sawn  weatherboards machined to profile – you can’t buy at a large hardware warehouse.

 

While I was away Greg the builder only spent an hour fixing the lock to the front door; meanwhile a family of mice spent much longer shredding their way through energy gels and leaving deposits all over the place. I spent my first two days back getting over jetlag by sweeping up mouse droppings. No sign of any rodents now (they probably buggered off and took my firewood with them).

 

Unpacked and ready to rest

Unpacked and ready to rest

May Madness

The last few weeks before I left was a mad rush to try to get everything finished. Alas – it was not to be. We only fell a few days short, which was disappointing. It didn’t stop me having a premature house warming / going away party, complete with BBQ, drinks, dogs and kids.

 

Early celebration: house warming and going away party rolled into one

Early celebration: house warming and going away party rolled into one

 

There’s only a couple of sheets of cladding, some flashings and the main deck to finish off outside; inside there’s still some lining to the bathroom, the inside shower and a couple of doors to hang. Little bits and pieces here and there. People in the know always say the final 10% of a building project always takes the longest to complete and it’s proven to be true once again.

Money Matters

To date I have spent $81,770, and not yet received Greg the builder’s last invoice for work completed before I went away. Once everything is completely finished, the final figure will likely be up around $90k. Should I change the name of the project, and the blog?

 

From the outset I said the $60k target was just that – an aspiration, a goal, ambitious. I also said I would be open and honest when discussing the budget. As the project has progressed I made conscious decisions to spend a little more on things I thought were important; there have also been things that have cost more than anticipated. At the completion of the project I will talk about what I have learned, provide some cost breakdowns, and show just where the money has been spent.

 

Homely: turning the house into a home (flowers help)

Homely: turning the house into a home (flowers help)

Settling In

Since I’ve been back I have unpacked some things, rearranged furniture, started to make the house feel like a home, and just enjoyed ‘being’ there. The greatest satisfaction has come from returning home at the end of a sunny winter day and walking barefoot on the insulated, polished concrete slab. The exposed thermal mass is effective in storing the heat and slowly releasing it during the evening. It makes me feel snug and smug. The double-glazing and insulation is so efficient that on some occasions I’ve had to take my jumper off while sitting inside in the sun!

 

Ah, winter sunshine: warms the heart, and the feet

Ah, winter sunshine: warms the heart, and the feet

 

Using the outside shower, in the afternoon sun or under the stars of the night sky, has also been a highlight. It doesn’t matter that the air is cold; in fact it’s kind of nice – the water is hot. It’s the simple things.

 

Hot stuff: running water for the outside shower in the late arvo sun

Hot stuff: running water for the outside shower in the late arvo sun

Coming Up

I tend to post updates about a subject when the ‘thing’ is finished – there are so many things nearly but not quite finished. Upcoming posts will include: lighting, doors, windows, decking, and the bathroom. Hopefully by the time I catch up with all of those posts the rest of the house will be completely finished. Well, nearly completely. We still need to mill the remaining logs, rack and stack them, and machine them before replacing the temporary Colorbond cladding with the finished weatherboards. This will be the last job – hopefully before Christmas (we want to give the boards a couple of months to dry out first).

 

Rise and shine: the view of the sunrise from the kitchen

Rise and shine: the view of the sunrise from the kitchen

 

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.

4 Comments

  1. I began perusing your blog yesterday. I find it very interesting and inspirational. The ambition and the wherewithal to go from concept to seeing it through is really awesome. My “one” gripe is about the economics of the project. A 60k house should be in the ballpark of that number; I’m not sure where you ended up budget-wise…but your estimate of $90k is 50% more than originally anticipated. This is considerable. Project planners, whether building a website, or a house should have contingency built in and available in case there are overages, however $30k on a $60k project seems excessive.

    I’d love to hear why you were over by so much- were there things you didn’t consider, contractors fees out of line etc.

    Either way, very cool project and hopefully something you are proud of and “can live with.”

    1. Andrew Kerr

      Hi Robin, thanks for your interest and comment. 60k was more of an aspiration – 60 something would have been more realistic. I also didn’t want to feel constrained by the budget – I had a contingency and was willing to use it as the project developed. Once all of the final figures are in I will provide cost breakdowns on where the expenses went. There were some elements that cost much more than I anticipated, either material or labour – I will elaborate once the project is complete. It is fair to say the budget has gone over by 50%, but it is also reasonable to say I have achieved a quality, affordable outcome – not many decent houses are constructed for less than 100k! I’m certainly happy with the built result so far and look forward to sharing the finished project in the coming months. Thanks

  2. Hi Andrew
    what a great blog! I’ve been building an extension with similar materials and budget, and I wish it was in a location as beautiful as your place rather than just the backyard! (Also wish I had that outdoor shower…) I’m using ply on the ceiling too and contemplating mixing down white paint with water rather than buying the more expensive limewash, so your step-by-step description of how you finished yours was really helpful, but I’m wondering whether you think diluting a low-sheen or semi-gloss white paint rather than just flat ceiling white would work, and maybe not look quite so ‘chalky’ as a finish? Any thoughts? Congratulations on creating such a warm and welcoming little house, and thanks again for all the helpful tips you’ve included as you’ve put this blog together. Enjoy your new place.

    1. Andrew Kerr

      Hi Cate, thanks for your comment. It’s great to hear you’ve found the blog helpful. As long as the paint is water-based you can water it down – experiment with how much water to add. My brother (the painter) thinks low-sheen could work better – it might dull down the plywood; semi-gloss might highlight the wood imperfections and could look a bit patchy. It’s worth giving both a try – please let us know so we can share the results. Thanks once again.

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