Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dreaming of the past

Despite not having made any more progress on researching the history of our little house, I am still slightly obsessed with revealing it's past. Every time I visit the house I find myself wandering through the rooms, running my hands over the vjs and wondering who lived here, what were their lives like, what would they think of what we are doing? I am determined to research further, but it will have to be put on hold for the time being. I discovered quickly that it is quite a labour-intensive task.

As work has been continuing I have been secretly hoping that we would find hidden treasures buried within the walls of the house. Unlikely as that would be, considering that the house has been cut in three pieces, driven 150kms on the back of a truck and reassembled. Nevertheless, I have been waiting for the magical moment where a perfectly preserved time capsule drops from the ceiling ... imagine a box filled with photos, love letters, and old trinkets!

Ok so maybe I do get a bit carried away sometimes ... but although it's not quite a time capsule we DID make a few exciting little discoveries at the house. 

We have managed to save 8 beautiful old hooks of different shapes and sizes from various areas of the house, including the kitchen pantry and a bedroom wardrobe. I plan to create a coat/hat rack with them to hang in our hallway. 

Behind the old oven in the kitchen we discovered quite a little trove of forgotten items. I was not quite inspired by an avocado-green plastic ladle, or the cheap (and very grotty) kitchen knife, but the sweet little spoon and chopping board pictured above were a nice find I thought. I'm not sure what I'll do with them, but most likely clean them up and find them a home on display in our new kitchen.


But perhaps the most exciting find was an old newspaper (above). Dated 4th August 1940, it is an old Sunday Mail and was laid underneath layers of lino and thin metal beneath the oven. Darren had told me before we discovered this that builders often place a newspaper, or leave some kind of mark, somewhere within a building during the building process. I think this may have been more of a practical placement than for any sentimental reasons though! It is very brittle, and we only managed to remove these two small pieces. We suspect the newspaper was put there during a kitchen renovation, as the original house dates back further than 1940. I'm going to frame these little pieces of history.

So it was not quite the treasure box I was dreaming of, but still lovely little reminders of the history of our house. Perhaps we should create a time capsule of our own for future inhabitants?

x M

Now you see it ...

... and now it is covered in scaffolding!

As you can see, the house is now wrapped in a protective layer of scaffolding. It is there to protect the tradesmen really (not a bad idea considering it is 8m to the ground from the top of the roof), but I like to think it's keeping the house safe until it is revealed like a beautiful butterfly emerging from a cocoon! I can almost hear hubby rolling his eyes at that one.

But it's true, when it comes time for the scaffolding to be removed the top of the house will be painted, the doors and windows will be fitted and the roof will be complete. It will be like unwrapping the best Christmas present ever! Again with the eye-rolling ...

So there we have it, the progress report is up to date. I'll leave out the obligatory whinge about the rainy weather in the hope that the universe will project sunlight back to us if we keep a positive outlook. No, the sticky mud on our boots, the kid's clothes, and in the cars is NOT getting to us ... not a bit ... ahem.

I'm not sure how much Darren will get done at the house this weekend as he is swapping his hammer and drill for a whisk and mixing bowl to whip me up a birthday cake. Bless him. I hope it doesn't have saw dust in it ...

x M

Photographic progress report

Preparing for the garage slab to be poured.

 The new garage slab

 The boys loved having a clean, flat surface to play on. Unfortunately it didn't stay this way for long - it is now covered in building materials (including the roof trusses).

Removing the old lino flooring in the kitchen. The boards underneath are in quite good condition.

 Removing the old cupboard in the 3rd bedroom (which will become the guest ensuite). We salvaged some lovely old hooks from inside this wardrobe.

 The stripped kitchen. The wall on the left will be removed and the new dining room extended out.

A lending hand (shoulder) from the father-in-law!

Water showering from the ceiling as Darren was draining the rain collected in the roof tarps. Gave the floorboards a good wash ...

The beginnings of the back deck. The verandah will wrap from the front to the back, down this side of the house.

Lovely big timber posts - they look quite sculptural at this stage.

All internal walls on the right hand side of the house have been removed! 

When the house is complete, there will be a guest room, ensuite and pantry in this space to the left of the hallway.

The back deck from the kitchen.

The side verandah linking the front to the back. the window on the right will be replaced by cedar french doors.

Alfresco toilet anyone?

x M

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I found my camera!

I did promise photos in my last post, and there ARE lots of them, but my camera went MIA for a while. Thankfully it was located under the passenger seat of my parent's car (I borrowed it while they were visiting), and by a convoluted chain of people including my cousin's fiance I now have it back. For those who know me you would realise how frantic I was without my camera, it is like an extension of my arm. I resorted to taking photos on my new iPhone, but haven't quite figured out how to upload them to this blog.

In any case, there WILL be photos uploaded tonight! There is lots to report too! (Note to self: must work on finding an alternative to over-use of exclamation marks to express my excitement!!!).

Stay tuned ...

x M

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Things are really happening now

We had sunshine over the long weekend! Such a bonus when we were expecting torrential rains and gale-force winds. For once we didn't mind that the weather reports got it wrong.

Hubby took full advantage and descended into "demolition mode" at a frightening pace. Seriously, there was a look of joy/madness on his face as he pulled down the vj walls that needed removing. My dad was even roped in to help and the two of them worked away in blokey harmony. I hovered for a while offering helpful tips about wearing gloves and masks to avoid catching deadly diseases from all the dust and rat droppings, but this wasn't overly appreciated. Apparently men are invincible.

By Sunday I have to say I was a little concerned that SO MANY of the walls had been removed, but I have been reassured that they will be re-framed and the original vj boards put back on in no time ... otherwise we will have a rather open-plan living arrangement! (Was it Wendy Matthews who sang about 'walls tumbling down'?!).

Now that things are cleared we have been able to get a good look at the flooring, and the original floorboards seem to be in good condition (at least they will be after a good sanding). The only ones we will need to replace are those that were in the original bathroom (which will become our pantry). I'm not a big fan of the "yellow" floorboards, so we will be investigating the possibility of staining before we seal them. Anyone got any advice? I love painted black or white floorboards, but doubt I would get the ok from hubby for something so "designery". Yes, that is a technical term.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that the concrete slab for the garage has been poured! It looks great - a little bit of 'clean' in an otherwise muddy area. The boys and I had fun riding their scooters around on it (apparently "mummies are too big to ride scooters" though!). We are still having a few issues finalising our plumbing, so the concrete under the house won't be poured for a little while yet, but it's a start. I can't quite believe I am sitting here all excited about concrete ...

Next on the agenda - big piles of timber have been delivered and will be turned into the back deck extension area, starting this weekend. I'll be away with the boys so it will be exciting to arrive home and see the progress. And then next week should have a team on-site to start the upstairs framing, and then the roof trusses arrive. And we all know what comes next - my roof!

So much more to share, but will finish up here and try to get some new photos up.

x M

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Minor demolition works

Last weekend was sunny and warm, and provided a great opportunity for Darren to start poking around the house. He has been absolutely itching to start pulling things down, and was in his element covered in dust! The little house underwent the first of many surgeries, with the walls between the current dining, kitchen and store room removed. Work came to an abrupt halt though when we discovered asbestos behind the cabinetry in the kitchen. We were expecting it but it is still quite scary to see the nasty stuff up close. We'll be removing it safely soon.

Some would say I am a fanatic about clean floors (and they would be right!), and I couldn't resist sweeping out some of the bedrooms on the weekend. I doubt I made much difference, and to be honest with all the demolition and sanding to come it was probably a futile exercise, but I have never been so pleased to be cleaning! I was thinking all the while I was sweeping of how many more times I will do this over the next few years, probably not quite as happily as this first time.

We also marked out the parameters of the garage and extension to the back of the house, including the decks. (When I say "we", you do know I mean "Darren" right?). We have the concreter coming tomorrow to pour the slab, which is very exciting! The next step will be the extension and decks, and once this is complete the roof will go on. Can't wait for that.

In the meantime, here are some progress photos of the last couple of weekends. Isn't it amazing what a set of (even temporary) stairs does to make a house feel more solid?

x M

PS The weatherman claims we are in for flooding rains this weekend, surely he jests? Just in case, please get your sundance on for us friends!

 The temporary staircase

 The proud stairmen

 Sitting and dreaming ...

 Faint pink lines depicting the location of the future garage

 Store-room and dining room prior to Darren's handiwork

Ta da!