I know as men we sometimes need a bit of a trigger to cry sometimes, like for me, its about once a month and I actually search out something very touching and then cry uncontrollably for about 3 mins and then i’m done. Well if you want a trigger check out the former beauty of my old shed to what it is now… The tissues are by the bed, or in the bathroom. Booooo hoooo!

Whats left of my shed

PS – thanks Ads for the photo!

A few weekends ago now I decided to have an extended working bee weekend and concentrate my full efforts over four days to complete the installation of stormwater and ag pipes around the house to reduce the amount of water that has been trapped under and around our house for some time, in an attempt to keep the moisture content of the soil at a constant level.

Due to the size of this project and not being totally confident in doing the whole job by myself, I engaged our good friend Stu’s dad (Steve) from Lismore to provide his wealth of knowledge to help this project get completed within the timeframe. To my surprise I also had at various times over the weekend, Ads, Stuart, Stu2, Karina and Lisa to help as well. This really sped things up.

Friday morning I ordered a 6 cubic metre bin and another one to follow at 3pm and had also picked up a 1.6ton excavator from my friends at Cat Rental, this really helped us along as it reduced the amount of digging we all had to do, however we did have to dig all the way down the narrow side of the house by hand with the trusty old shovel.

Like with any project, one thing always leads to another, and so the primary project of installing ag and stormwater drains around the house also included, pulling out a stump, pulling out another tree, repairing the water line into the house that had been affected by the roots of the trees, we pulled down half of the pergola and dug up some of the back yard to expose some pipes that shouldn’t be there, these little items can consume a lot of time, as I’m sure you can imagine.

As with any project we made quite a few trips to Bunnings over the weekend and to the local plumbing supplier (and just so happened to grab a sausage or two along the way). Amongst other things we purchased the following:

  • 65m of 90mm PVC stormwater pipe
  • 65m of 90mm slotted ag pipe
  • Several 90, 45 and 22.5 degree bends
  • PVC glue and primer
  • 5 pits and lids
  • A few tools that are now permanent fixtures in my shed
  • Premix concrete
  • 12t 20mm aggregate (which turned out to be around 4 tonne too much)

Right! To the drainage works. I commenced by digging a trench all the way around the house and establishing that we had enough fall to the point of discharge from our house. Some stormwater drains drain directly into the stormwater pipes buried deep down beneath the road, but our lowest point is high enough to go into the street, out through those holes that you see in the kerbing. With a couple of skips booked for the weekend we had a team speedily filling the skips, one preparing the catering and the others busily placing pipes and doing all the necessary work to make it all come together. Its amazing how much you can get done when there are more of you.

The project finished late on the Tuesday night with me packing up the excavator and taking it down for a quick bath. Steve’s help was invaluable and we were so blessed to have his assistance. Thank you so much Steve we can thank you enough. Enjoy your trip to NZ. To my other friends all vying for weekends when I will be around at their place with bluey, gloves and boots on, just make sure there’s a few beers in the fridge following the working bees! What else would we be doing post 30?

Photos of the weekend are to follow.

The design

Posted by: Owen in Renovation Rescue 1,315 Comments »

Well, once again it has been a while since my last entry, but boy have we been busy!! In the last 6 weeks, we have packed up our house and sent it off to storage, ripped out nearly the whole backyard and frontyard for that matter, filled at least 10 six cubic metre bins, completed the Ag drain exercise, demolished the back part of the house and demolished HALF THE SHED… and I breathe!

So you may have guessed it but our 18 month design phase of our house renovation is now complete and we are into the most exciting (and some people say the most stressful) part. The Construction phase!

That’s right, over the past 18 months L and I have gone through 3 major stages, the concept, the schematic and the construction drawing stage, and construction has commenced.

When we moved into the house in September 2005, we had some ideas of what we wanted to do with the house, but thought that we needed to live in it for a while first and then see how our ideas changed, and Im glad that we did.

After a couple of months and going through a few rough sketches and brainstorming what we wanted, we decided to engage someone to help us our with our designs and come up with something that would both suit our needs, our emerging lifestyle and also have consideration to light, orientation and general aesthetic appeal. I called a friend of mine who is a commercial Architect and asked him if he knew any good residential architects and he put us onto a some people who were just making the big shift from their large Architectural firms to their own business. Bower Architecture Pty Ltd.

Fortunately from our first meeting, we were impressed by their understanding and enthusiasm and so decided to see what they could do. To get things started and because we didnt have a lot of money to throw around we decided to do the design in stages as mentioned above, the concept, schematic and construction drawing stages. In doing this we could pull out at any time with as much exposure as we could handle.

For those of you who don’t know:

The concept stage is where you come up with a few ideas, brainstorming if you like, it doesn’t have a load of detail but this is where you get a few ideas, that should involve the things that are of utmost importance to you. For example, we must have off street parking, we must have a lawn area, we must have 3 bedrooms and a study etc etc.

The schematic stage, is where you develop one of the concepts and show a bit more detail, you will see a plan (looking from the top down as if the house had no roof), a few elevations (what you would see if you were looking from outside the house) and a few other details that help you to see what your house would look like if you were to go forward. This is the time to make all the suggestions about the look and feel of the place, you could discuss material types, colours, features, window and door types etc. always keeping an eye on your original budget and what you have to spend. This doesn’t however make it on to the drawings until the construction drawing stage. In this stage you should discuss all the things you want so that the Architect can then develop this into the construction drawings.

The final stage of the design is the Construction stage, this is where the design is put into reality, and where a builder can come and price the renovation/construction, the construction drawings will have plans, elevations, sections and construction details, and shows all dimensions (measurements) this allows the builder the opportunity to break the design down into measurable sections so he/she can tell you how much it will cost.

Obviously there are a few variables in these stages, but they can generally be broken up into these three categories to help you get what you want. I’m sure there are cases out there, where the designer/Architect has gone off on their own agenda and designed something that does not suit the people or does not serve to meet the actual need of the person. The staged approach is good and allows for us to take or have more control on the design.

I can say that this whole design process has been great, we have all worked together to create a design that fits within our budget, will look great and serve the purpose for which we have commenced this journey. Thank you Anna for all your efforts, you’ve done a great job. And now we get to see our design evolve into reality.