Taking shape

As expected, this has been a huge week for our little house. After a couple of months of essential prep work, we’re finally into the build! It’s come on remarkably in the space of five days – not only do we have a wonderfully flat backyard, but most of the lower frame for the house is complete. Such awesome progress!

First week of framing - lower level just about complete!
First week of framing – lower level just about complete!
 Monday morning marked the delivery of our timber – definitely a defining moment as for the first time it felt like the house was actually about to be built. 

We couldn’t believe the speed at which it went up. When I spoke to Matt, our builder, last weekend, he told me that 90% of the frame would be completed by the end of the week. I was stoked with that, but I don’t think I actually believed him. Anyway, fast forward five days and I think he was spot on. 

In the first two days the team had constructed the frame for the lower bedrooms, bathroom and second living room. It was great being able to stand in the space and visualise what it’ll feel like. The bedrooms and living area are a great size, but I was slightly horrified at how teeny our bathroom is. It’s only a secondary bathroom, but it really is miniscule. We reworked the layout of it a few weeks back, keeping the same space so we don’t have to pay any contract variation fees, making the shower slightly smaller and the vanity bigger. We made the vanity 1.5m but I just don’t think that’s going to work. We’ll likely downscale it to 1m, which while not great, is bigger than the original plans, so it’s better than nothing. Lesson: be realistic about spaces when designing! We could easily have made that bathroom a little bigger back at the planning stage by poaching a metre (or even 50cm!) from the adjoining bedroom. Ah well..

Lower level secondary living room - framing for French doors and windows up!
Lower level secondary living room – framing for French doors and windows up!
 The guys spent the last half of the week framing up our double garage, laundry and storage room. Our garage is unnecessarily large (wish we could’ve donated some of that space to our bathroom!!), but at least there will be lots of place to store our junk (I.e. The stuff we keep for absolutely no reason, only to throw out when we downsize in 35 years’ time!).
Lower level frame showing our laundry and storage room doorways - Queenslander renovation
Lower level frame showing our laundry and storage room doorways
The laundry is looking pretty teeny too, but as I plan to spend as little time in there as possible, that shouldn’t be an issue!

The other huge development at our place this week was the flattening of our block. Finally, we can see the value in the retaining walls we’ve put in at the back! We are so pleased with how the backyard is looking – it feels far bigger than it did when we had a slope, and it’ll be such a great space for our kids to play. 

Newly flattened backyard thanks to copious amounts of retaining work
Newly flattened backyard thanks to copious amounts of retaining work
Flat backyard showing the nicely sloping gradient of the section by the fence
Flat backyard showing the nicely sloping gradient of the section by the fence – aka the mower access route!
Bird's eye view of the flat backyard! Queenslander renovation
Bird’s eye view of the flat backyard!

The digger only took a day to move the earth into place, which is a couple of days less than anticipated. It was helped by the fact our wonderful neighbours allowed a big digger to go up the side of their property and were (amazingly) ok with our builder cutting a hole in the fence for it to go through. If we hadn’t been able to do that, Matt would’ve had to use a smaller digger, which would have added considerably to the time it would have taken. 

The other thing that got done this week was the smoothing of the ‘ramp’ area to the far side of our right hand retaining wall (immediately adjoining the fence). While I would’ve much preferred to have had the retaining wall going right to the boundary because I think the ramp is a bit weird, we put it in for purely practical reasons. Without it, we’d have had a big flight of stairs up that side to get up to the  back garden, and it would’ve been a pain lugging the mower up. It’s also good to have an ‘accessible’ way to get into the house for anyone unable to trudge up the 50 million stairs at the front of the house. And, it’ll make for a killer water slide base in summer!

Matt took me through the house this week for the first time since it was raised. The view hasn’t changed drastically at all, but it does feel nicely elevated. It’ll be interesting seeing what the view is like from the new living room, as that will be a different angle to what we were able to see pre-reno. Hoping, just hoping, there may be a city glimpse or two in there!

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