Friday, 31 August 2012

Half yearly report 2: The inside story

Bare walls, floors and windows often have a habit of staying that way for a long time, but code of compliance can be a wonderful motivator.

Curtains, carpet, cat - just like a real home!
We’re often asked, now that we’re living in a house that we’ve designed ourselves, if we wish we’d done anything differently. Perhaps it’s a testament to our limited imaginations or perhaps through pure dumb luck we seem to have got it right, but the honest answer would have to be ‘no’. Insulation in some of the inside walls for sound dampening would have been nice, but was beyond our budget at the time. And that’s about it.

Final sign off for our code of compliance was one of those experiences involving local body representatives with clipboards which encouraged us to move away from towns and cities in the first place, but also a necessary evil if we ever come to sell, or alter certain financial arrangements.
As mentioned elsewhere, we covered as many walls with undercoat as we possibly could, which went some way to removing the plaster dust which still coated everything. But after a thorough examination the decree from the council was, not too surprisingly, a ‘Fail’. The uncovered and frankly dangerous deck and front step was a ‘fair cop’, and I could even see the point of more insulation in the roof space. But rodent-proofing a tiny cavity in an interior wall and a suggestion to finish painting our bedroom made my fingers clench as they snapped an imaginary clipboard.

Missed a bit...
Covering the deck rapidly became the focus of several weekends in a row, and once we got our customary scuffle over working methods and division of labour out of the way, progress was steady, and reasonably smooth. Rose was full time on the drop saw, while I hammered, taking a little while to get back into that state of Zen where the nail and not the timber is hit squarely every time, sinking through the wood with the minimum of blows.

The trouble with my usually being the one to take the photographs
is that it often looks as if Rose does all the work herself!
The resulting expanse of timber could probably serve as a runway for light aircraft, final sign off from the council was granted soon afterwards, and the deck will probably become our main living space when summer arrives again. Unfortunately it also seems to be the chicken’s main living space when we aren’t there, and the state they leave it in has convinced us that a run will be one of our next projects.

Rose begins a long walk across the completed deck.

Meanwhile, a special deal on carpet encouraged us to take the plunge earlier than expected and our bedrooms and office are now considerably cosier as a result. Mention of the office prompts to give the feature wall an honorary mention. We’ve been a little subdued in our colour choices so far, and I rebelled against this by painting one entire side of the office the most cheerful shade of my favourite, and Rose’s least favourite, colour I could find. The resulting juicy vista of orange nourishes my soul and makes the whole room glow as if it’s on fire when the rosy light from a sunset pours through the window.
To Rose’s chagrin, it has met with universal approval from everyone who’s seen it and now even she is coming around.

Orange alert!
Rose takes up the story of the curtains, a feature which really she is entirely responsible for and one enriches our habitat no end:
I have a wonderful friend called Helen, one of many Helen’s in my life but this one makes curtains and blinds professionally.
With me helping her with a few of her jobs she was happy to assist me in making the curtains and blinds for the house. Now this was something that had taken years to complete at Woodside Road!
I had fallen in love with a fabric from one of our French suppliers and was allowed to bring in a whole roll with one of the shipments. The living room needed about 23 metres and with Helen’s advice on the type of heading we set too and stitched up a storm. The result is a swathe of beautiful black/grey and white striped curtains that despite double glazing definitely make a difference to the warmth in the room and really make the space cosy.

Ed admires the Living room curtains.
The office blind fabric was something I had fallen in love with even before we had started building and having bought the fabric it travelled around in the car with me for many months before being made into the wonderful roman blind. The laugh is that the type of sheep on the fabric appear every so often next door in John’s paddock! Who’d have thought!

The view from the window is usually almost identical to this curtain fabric.

The bedrooms continue to be a work in progress.


  1. Seeing things like this make me want to make a house of my own... but since I'm not even slightly going to put in the effort, I can only say: well done you!

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