Archive for category House build

2011: Looking Back

As I reflect over the year, through the photos I took and the memories they stir, I am struck by how full our year has been.  My Dad said last christmas that we would look back and wonder how we did it, that is exactly how I feel.  How?  But  we did and here we are, happy, tired and looking to the future.


Jars rescued from an old shed, symbolising my desire to regenerate this place that had just become ours.


Planning, planning, planning…


My beautiful boy turned 2.


Already addicted to our land we spent every moment we could there, despite how far we had to go it felt more like home than anywhere else.


Stephen’s birthday present was a big one this year!  We made our first steps towards becoming a farm as Big George joined us, a true 80’s classic.


After months of work and dedicated plotting we broke ground.  As the summer burst into life so to did our project, the foundations and the first floor were built.


Our biggest boy turned 6!  His birthday party was held at our new ‘house’ which, by the end of the month, had a second floor.


After a blisteringly hot July (Huwyl’s birthday saw temperatures hitting 45C) August continued in the same vein.  This was the crunch month with heating, plumbing, roofing, windows, concrete laying and polishing all needing to happen in the right order and with no delays.  This was the month that nearly killed us all.


Suddenly our deadline began to loom up on us and there was still so. much. to. do.  Luckily reinforcements arrived in the form of Stephen’s parents, propelling us forward with tons of help and moral support (especially during the 5 hours I spent on the phone trying to organise getting electricity on site).  By the time they went home it all seemed possible again , thanks Nana and Grandad!


With just a month to go until move in this month nearly finished me off.  As well as the build there was the move to organise, Stephen spent two weeks of weekends and evenings painting to house until he couldn’t move his fingers…it was crunch time and we were overwhelmed.  Luckily more reinforcements arrived!

Ahem…actually I was thinking more along the lines of…

My Dad, who picked up where Stephen’s parents left off, painting, packing and helping with the move.  We really couldn’t have done it without him (and Shawn who was a major moving star and thanks again to Lynsey for loaning him to us!) and it was a joy to share our first weeks in our home with him.


We basked in the sheer joy of being here, pushing aside our utter exhaustion and revelling in the wonder of our home and the beauty of the natural world around us.  November really was an unparalleled month for weather, it felt like we were being welcomed to our new home by the earth and the sky that put on its best colour just for us.


It was a busy month of activities and glitter, mud and ice, snow and sunrises.  And finally it was the month of settling in, of well needed rest, of being a family.

2011 is not a year I’d like to repeat!  Looking back I’m not quite sure how we got here, but I know that we had great help.  Family, friends and a great building team all worked alongside us to bring this vision to fruition.  So here we are, the future laying ahead and a seed catalogue laying on the table.

Welcome 2012, the year of farm building!



The Kitchen

I know I have been remiss in my posting of house pictures, but a combination of no internet, terrible light over the last couple of weeks and busy days that mean things aren’t at their photoshoot best, means it has taken awhile.  But today we have the magical combination of sunshine, new crafts keeping the boys busy and a reasonable night of sleep leaving me somewhat motivated after lunch.  I was also super inspired by Jacinta’s pics of her beautiful new kitchen, it really looks stunning.

Ours is not quite finished, we haven’t had time to sort out the backsplash,  there is a little cladding on the island still to do and we need to finish the painting; other than that we are done!


So there you have it!  The cupboards are cherry wood, stained darker to get to that mid century modern colour.  The counter tops are made of concrete, one of our builders (Adrian the Reiki Master) made this for us and I love it.  He even managed to do me a sloped drainer to avoid that icky pooling of water, it’s fabulous.  I decided on a wall mounted oven for lots of reasons but basically because I’m lazy and don’t want to bend down all the time; the hob in an induction hob, it uses less energy and is safer given that the island is also our eating area.  It heats up instantly and has a cool digital slide control that makes me feel like Jean Luc Piquard, though I didn’t expect to I really love this hob.  The island is 8ft wide by 4 ft deep, the overhang is 2ft which is perfect for sitting at, just before we moved in I managed to find some great retro bar stools that are really padded and comfy, perfect for hanging out in the kitchen with a comfy bum!

As we’ve done throughout the house, in this room we’ve merged old and new.  The cabinets are new but they reference the mid century modern style that we love and inspired us when designing this house.  I chose light fittings that have a retro feel and there are bits and pieces such as my scales (made in Holland in 1964) and my retro feeling kitchen aid mixer and le creuset kettle that add to the vintage mood.  Though this is a modern house we wanted it to echo the styles of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s that we so love.  Over time I’m sure I’ll be adding a few more details (pyrex is my friend) as well as a retro wallpaper splash back that will make this even more unique and personal.

As I imagined before we moved in, this is where I spend the majority of my time.  Being at the heart of the house makes it so easy to cook and socialise, sometimes hours go by and I realise I haven’t moved from this space!   It has plenty of room for prepping, cooking, eating and just plain sitting down with a cup of tea.  Bread rises in record time on that sunny counter; food goes from stove to plate with ease.  Even in the short time we’ve lived here, this kitchen has seen many happy times,  I’m looking forward to many, many more.


I’m Back!

Well hello, remember me?  Crazy woman who nearly sent herself mad building a house, homeschooling and moving constantly?  Tis I.  A month in and we finally (finally!) have internet installed, this truly is a happy day for our household.

I should probably be all “it was great to take a break, it was so much more creative etc etc” but no, I missed being connected to the world and I missed doing this, chronicling our lives and sharing some of those special times with the people that take the time to visit my little blog.  So welcome back!  Now that I have the capacity to do so I will be updating regularly and sharing with you our new life as we settle into our house and surroundings.

So what did November look like around these parts?  Here are a few glimpses of our month,

So there you have it, a little taster of the wonderful goodness of the last month.  I will be posting lots more detailed posts about the house, the move, the land.  I guarantee you’ll be bored of reading about it before I’m bored of writing about it!

It’s good to be back; it’s good to be here.


Nearly There

We are 2 sleeps away from moving into our new home.  That really isn’t long.  Especially when you consider how much is left to pack.  Hey ho, we’ll do our best and see how we get on.  The last couple of days have been pretty stressful  with peak stress hitting this afternoon.  On being informed that we might not actually be able to move in on Friday despite having the movers booked, the house (sort of nearly) packed and our rental being up on Monday.  I’m pretty sure that Stephen simply held the phone away from his ear for half an hour as I screamed my lungs out in the basement, generally expressing that no I didn’t think that was a good idea.

Luckily that no longer is the case.  Despite issues with e-coli in the water (actually a common problem in new wells in case you are imagining a bubonic plague type situation), over due samples and people just basically not doing what they are supposed to be doing, we are still able to move our stuff in on Friday.  Tonight Stephen is staying at the house painting and working on hooking up computer stuff until 1am, when he will go outside into the frosty night and run a hose that will run for 6 hours or so to clear the system out after being shocked.  Then he’ll drive 30 minutes home and fall asleep, get up in the morning, go to work and then go back to the house to do a few more hours work before coming home, falling asleep to get up and move house the next day.  Seriously.  There should be some kind of medal he gets for all this, and for putting up with me but that is another story.

In the meantime my Dad is here and doing a lot of this:

And when I say a lot I mean A LOT.  He’s painted the ceilings in three bedrooms (they are 9ft high and sloped so it is quite a challenge) done Huwyl’s bedroom one coat, then a coat of white because we didn’t like the colour (without a murmur of complaint), redone a colour in Huwyl’s room, done Neirin’s room with two coats and a coat of colour in my bedroom.  And when he isn’t doing that he’s generally being super nice and keeping me on the straight and narrow.  I’m lucky to have these two men in my life that’s for sure.

My mantra is “We are nearly there”, I find myself saying it all the time whenever the panic threatens as I think about how much there is to do and how little time and energy there is to do it with.  My other mantra is “We are getting there”, and we are.  But when you find out your water is temporarily poisonous or that one of the electricians has spilled juice all over your shiny polished concrete floor, then left it there to stain it because he couldn’t be bothered to get a cloth, you can feel a little discouraged.  I can feel a little discouraged.  But really, we are getting there.

The house is looking fabulous.  The bathrooms are almost finished (glass doors in the main bathroom  and glass screen for our bathroom tomorrow), the appliances are all in (not switched on but that is being resolved tomorrow), the HVAC needs to be balanced (next week) and there is some finishing to be done inside and out.  But.  We can move in.  On Saturday morning I will wake up to the sky outside and know that we are in.

Worth it.

I’m also sending love out to my dear friend who is having to be braver than anyone should have to be.  I am reminded that the things I am facing really aren’t so bad and that life and love need to be held very tightly while we have them.  Even those who don’t know her, please take a second to send a moment of strength, I know she’ll feel it and I really believe it will help a little.  But as I know better than anyone, even a little help goes a long way.  



Due to the fact that my sister who may talk nice but is in fact a deadly ninja smurf kindly requested pictures, I was motivated to take a few snaps of our lovely new carpets.  They were installed on Friday and I spent today hoovering them to get up all of the fluff, two hoovers worth and counting…but totally worth it.

Behold the carpeted bliss,

The dark grey carpet runs up the stairs, along the landing and into our bedroom and the guest bedroom (soon to be occupied by my Papa who has flown over to help with the painting and the move), with the light blue/grey in both the boy’s bedrooms.

Having carpets down has turned this from a shell to a home.  The boys were running around upstairs and playing, a taste of things to come, and I could happily let them do it.  There were no building materials to trip over, no sharp nails to worry about, no dust to get covered in.  I am really starting to feel what living here will be like, in just a few days this will be our permanent home.

Even as the inside of the house becomes more and more lovely, I still enjoy the beautiful glimpses of outside that can be found in every room of the house.  Nature is never very far away and always seems to be calling us out to play, just for a little while.

5 sleeps to go!



I apologise in advance for any madness or general not-making-sense that is likely to take over for the forseeable. This is the final week before our move, that’s right we are on a clock people.  This is the last Sunday living somewhere else, we are nearly there.  This week I will be packing, panicking and attempting to stay sane.  Really the main thing is the packing, the rest is optional.

Say it with me, the stucco is finished!  I will try and take lots of pics over the coming days as the house gets finished off and the madness of moving commences or else I think I might be getting a slap in the post from my sister (she’s tiny but mighty).

5 Days to go!



Throughout this build process I’ve tried (I really have tried) to remain calm and professional.  I’ve been helping with the project management of the build, which has been a lot of work and effort.  I’ve enjoyed a lot of it, being so involved in building my own home has been really rewarding, but there have been many frustrations.  This, it appears, is the nature of building.  But throughout it all I’ve tried to be realistic, helpful and persistent in achieving our goals.  In short I have been a reasonable individual.

I fear that this is no longer the case.  The days of ‘let’s find a compromise’ Emmalina are over.  Instead we have ‘fit my cooker or I will cut you’ Emmalina; I think she is here to stay.  I find myself unable to brook any delay and have made some pretty terrifying threats against anyone who stands in my way.  Of course they don’t know that but if the nervous laughter of our GC (Dave The Man) is anything to go by, I sound convincing.

Probably because I really do mean it.

I mean, we all have a dark side don’t we?  Mine is perhaps slightly more developed than some, but still I feel pretty justified.  I mean, shouldn’t people turn up when you are paying them to do a job?  Isn’t this a prerequisite?  And shouldn’t they do the thing they are being paid to do within the time frame they promised to do it?  Is this so unreasonable to expect?


Sigh.  We are just so close, we really are nearly there.  It’s not that there isn’t more work to do, there is, but really we are a hairsbreadth away.  Our kitchen appliances are being delivered on Thursday and I am collecting all of our light fittings tomorrow.  So this Friday the electricians need to turn up and fit.  my.  cooker.  You really don’t want to be the man who stands between me and my cooker.  You will end up with and Emmalina shaped hole right through your middle and I will still expect you to fit my appliances.  That’s where I’m at.

I appreciate that this may seem a little unhinged but it has been a very long year.  And I am moving in 16 days, we are on a countdown people.  Here is the list of some of the jobs that will be cleared off the docket this week:

Collect lights – mark up locations

Appliances to be delivered

Lights, sockets, light switches and appliances fitted

Septic bed covered over

Stucco finished (turn up damn you!)

Roof finished

Chimney finished

Fire inspected

Tiles ordered and fitted

Ceilings painted

Shower screen ordered

Bathroom fittings collected

Clean house in preparation for carpet fitters

Kitchen counters fitted (hopefully without shattering into 50 bajillion pieces)

And this week is relatively slow.  But the brilliant bit is, the really fabulous and wonderful bit, when each one of these jobs is done there is no next stage.  They are done.  Complete.  Finished.  Finito.  Fini.  Fait Accompli.  If only everyone will turn up, we’ll be fine.  And I won’t have to get angry.

They won’t like me when I’m angry.