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A New Year

A new year has begun and we are still slowly putting the house together. We are trying to build the stairs at the moment, a complicated job to do!

We have just finished putting up all the lintels over the windows.
lounge-lintel-house

Windows and exterior doors are done upstairs, and the weatherboards are all painted. We have put the decking on the balconies upstairs. The bricks are all up to the top of the windows.

This is a pic of the end of the house with a lovely sky.
house-with-red-sky

I can make no predictions as to when it will be finished time, finances and physical capabilities will dictate that! I would love to spend next christmas living in there!

Finally this week we are getting windows and cladding on the dormers. What a difference it makes! The cladding is some sort of pine I think, very old 8″ boards off a demolished house in Brisbane. Cost me $20 for the lot (which should be enough to do all of external walls upstairs). I love ebay! We still have to get some flashing for over the windows, hopefully next week. It was very hot out there working on the roof, I will be glad when autumn comes, such a lovely time of year here.

Material Collection

We wanted to use as much recycled materials and locally sourced materials as possible. So we started hunting for timber. The posts for the veranda were cut locally off a friend’s block. Trying to find large dimension recycled timber for the internal posts and beams took a huge effort, they are either non existant, or very expensive. We only had a small budget so it took some time to source these.

I bought a lot of stuff off Ebay and hounded demolition yards all over South East Queensland all through the build. The roofing iron on the veranda is second-hand and the main roof is seconds. I love that the timber has a history. One lot of beams I found out came from an old servo in Maryborough that used to be our “local” when we lived there when I was a child. The timber that we had milled was from a local miller. All the doors I bought through Ebay, and the windows came from a local shop who upgraded, and some from neighbors who upgraded.

The workhorse

The poor overworked car

The Big Plan

We had been buying and reading a magazine called http://www.theownerbuilder.com.au/ and really liked the idea of a house with a loft roof which were occasionally featured in there. One of the advertisers in the magazine, http://www.cheaphomedesigns.com/aboutus.htm  put out a plans book which we ordered. We chose a plan from the book and ordered our plans for an A2. How exiting!!!! It was really happening!!! The plans are quite detailed, but still took a lot of figuring out, and the main plan sheet was more than a bit of a pain to read. (Too much information on one drawing.)

In Queensland you have to do an Owner Builder course to get approval to build. So I did that (waste of time and money!) Put the plans into council and soon had approval to build. That was an exciting day 🙂 Of course everything moves slowly with us and it was a few months before we could actually start! I got busy in the workshop and made my Owner Builder sign and we stuck it out the front as is the requirement.

We decided to build the house overlooking one of our dams, so had to get some machinery in to flatten a suitable area as our block has a slope on it. The house would have three bedrooms, one downstairs and two upstairs. We figure if we get too old and don’t want to walk upstairs anymore, that downstairs is fully self-contained and visitors can have the upstairs part. There is a little bathroom with a loo upstairs as well as proper bathroom and loo downstairs.

Owner Builder Sign

The Dreams

Peter and I were dreaming about living in the bush, growing our own food and building a mud house long before we got together. We used to spend hours pouring over the Grass Roots magazine, dreaming of the day we could change our lives. That was a lot of years ago. It simply remained a dream. Eventually we moved out here and saved like mad and finally bought our own block. It was cheap land and just over 16ha. It has been selectively cleared in the past and was part of a cattle property. We are lucky to have two dams and a creek that flows when we get lots of rain. The power was already connected and so was the phone. The accommodation was a shed/hut which only had three sides and a double-decker bus made up the fourth side. It was very cold in winter! It took us another five or six years after moving here before we could start the house.

Image

Building my mud-brick house.

A short story about the building of our mud-brick house.