Building your own home is a primal urge, one of those universal genetic drives like the need to provide for your family – Kevin Mc Cloud
I might have said this before but Its been a long time coming. We found the land, signed the contract for the land on 20 March 2014, became land owners, met with a Story book mid last year to prepare the plans, signed the building contract, waited for Storybook to do the working drawings, slected colours for the roof and weatherboard exterior, chose the type of windows we wanted and then on 1 January 2015 storybook submitted the plans to the Blue Mountains City council. The plans believe it or not were not approved until 21 August 2015 and we didn’t get the construction certificate till 18 September to allow us to start building so it was a long wait for us. Had we known that would take us nearly a year to actually be allowed to start building we might have done things slightly differently.
When we did get the DA approved we were ecstatic. Still it didn’t quite feel like anything was actually happening. I have to admit, I was getting impatient. In the meantime whatever ideas I had a year ago for the interior were slowly being changed as this home was slowly but surely becoming a reality.
In October 2015 simon contracted Aaron Becroft to cut the block, peg out the footings, pour the slab and do the retaining wall. Given the block was sloped the retaining wall was a very important feature. We were so happy with Aaron and would definitely reccomend him. Not only did he complete the job in a timely fashion but well within budget! We did learn though that sometimes things don’t go exactly to plan and there were some additional unexpected costs of nearly $30,000 in addition to the weather (as one would expect in Sydney) behaving in such eractic fashion that the guys went from working in the blazing heat to not being able to do anything because of the rain. Prior to the pouring of the slab I prepared a rough sketch as to where I wanted the taps and drainage to go so that the plumbing could be done first. In a way this step really tested my commitment to some of my ideas. There is no going back now.
On a side note I secretly was happy after the slab was poured not just because it felt like we were finally getting somewhere but because my preference for a wood fire was sealed. This was a point of contention, one because a Wood fire would be more expensive but because Simons own personal experience growing up in the montains and having a Woodfire were not great. I understood the pros and cons for getting a gas fire over a wood fire but there is just something earthy and organic about a wood fire. Time will only tell.
2 weeks ago at the start of the Christmas vacation simon and his small team consisting of his brother and cousin started the back breaking task of making the frames and putting it up. What an awesome feeling to be standing in our lounge room and having a real sense of the dimensions. Until this time everything was so two dimensional and no amount of imagination could really make up for reality.
The boys are still working on the framing. The rain slowed things a bit but it was needed just to give simon a break. The only real issues we have had was with the quality of the wood for the frames sent to us by Storybook but our contact at Storybook very kindly made a few phone calls to arrange for new wood to be delivered. The other issue was with the depth of the slab that needed some of the walls to be re-adjusted but that’s life on the block.
Simon’s skin has tanned and can easily be passed for a Sri Lankan now 😉 He does come home absolutely exhausted after long days under the sun. I have to keep reminding him though that it will be all worth in the end. I hope so.