Monday, September 10, 2018

8 Years Later

I can’t believe it’s been eight years since we moved into the house. The kids are almost 7 and 5. The Garden is wild. The house has seen many life changes. And we still have a to-do list that appears to get longer every time we look at it!

So, to try and tick off a few things off that list, we decided to open our home again for Sustainable House Day on Sunday 16th September 2018. The last time we opened was in 2015 and what a day it was - getting to meet lots of like-minded people.  

And..... there's really no better deadline for unfinished skirting boards or bits of cladding than having over 300 people walk through your house and having to talk about it! 

In the last 8 years we've been lucky to share our downstairs with some of the best share-mates ever, and the house has even managed to morph into the changing needs of baby, toddler and big kid phases with nothing more than some weekend wall-shifting fun. The house is the reason we both can work part-time and enjoy the kids.

As for our energy bills - well we are yet to pay one!

Pretty amazing that this mad experiment we started back in 2009 has given us so much more than we expected. Hope Sustainable House Day continues to inspire people on their home-building journeys.

Over 200 houses across Australia will be open on Sunday 16th September. Visit to find one near you!

Here’s what our house looks like now.

8 years later, the red cladding offcuts and their flashings are finally complete, and our little one is hard at work weeding.

 Its a wild shared garden. Not a green thumb in sight but we get by!

The view from Scarborough Beach Road . 

Our uninterrupted north side as seen from Munro Reserve across the road. 

The downstairs living room, part of our shared living plan. Now occupied by our wonderful friend and her fantastic 5 year old. Needless to say the kids are all inseparable and the house is never quiet - just the way we like it.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

An Update after 3 years...

It has been over 3 years since the last post here. We have been enjoying our living in this wonderful house which surprises us every now and then with a new lighting display, a new reflection, a new credited electricity bill or a new way of living flexibly.
We've grown too.
We have two little humans now (almost 4 and almost 2) who keep us very occupied and remind us that after all that hard work, its time to play. :-)

Here are some photos taken recently of the house.

Will be following up with an outcomes post too. We've since done a few talks and opened the house up a few times for Sustainable House Day. Its been an amazing process and there has been so much interest from people that we are doing it again this year. The house will be open to public from 10am to 4 pm on Sunday 13th September. Go to website to find out more about this great initiative.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

In preparation of our biggest deadline yet!

August 2011. A month before our new addition is due....!

 Upstairs, the bamboo flooring is due in a few weeks. Hopefully before the arrival of the little one...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

SuperSize Skip bin, Floor Boards and messy days.

The Christmas break is giving us a stretch of two and a half weeks to get things moving on the house. A lot of rubbish to be cleared – including the “sacrificial” straw board panels which we have had as a temporary floor during the messy render work. Finishing the internal render throughout is giving us a chance to get rid of this and install the final straw boards. (See the history of our straw panels which were in abundant supply. )

(above) New Straw Floor Panels being painted on the visible side before being laid onto joists. Painted side is seen as ceiling from ground floor.
(below) A few rarely seen shots of the structure/skeleton while the floor panels were being replaced.

(above) we believe in extensive testing - in this case, pushing the limits of our temporary mezannine stair structure.
(below) A very full supersize skip bin.
(below) Red bull gives you wings?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

100% Internal Render and 98% External Render Completed.

Phil and team completed the final walls externally. A few window reveals and edges are pending (hence the 98%).

(below) Die Neuffer Fenster looking sexy. Happy with choice of white sand for final coat as it works well against the maranti timber windows and the clear anodised window sills. This is the downstairs kitchen window.

More details coming through.

We have been sleeping on site since December – so installing the newly made curtains on special delivery from Delhi was a top priority. Also note the origami cranes by eddie tran crane company which some may remember from December 2009.
(above) Kitchen partly installed – just in time for having a few friends over for Christmas Eve.
(below) The roof does odd things from different angles. Very cool.
(above) Viewing Window - widely known as "truth window" amongst straw bale builders. will be a ply surround with glass infill panel to show the straw. Recent discussions are veering towards a glass surround to show the layering of render coats. Suggestion of a folded metal surround by a Rusty artist friend is also being considered :-)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

And Who is in the detail?

The end (or beginning, depending on how positive/negative we're feeling) is near.

So as we near the end, the details (or lack thereof) are creeping up everywhere...

Ikea of course reigns supreme.

If you're cool and poor, well what else is there really?

Render on corners.

already installed and started using the new washing machine....
and yes - the old apple tree from the scarbs rental is bearing fruit in its new top spot...

65% of External Straw Walls + 100% of Ground Floor Walls Are Final-Coat Rendered

Phil and his boys have done a great job on the final coat. the final texture of lime+white sand will be slightly rough, but looking at them now, its impossible to imagine that these walls are in fact straw. Expecially relevant since there is no cement in any of the render coats.

windows reveals to be finished...
(and yes the downpipe will be put back on)

The C channel (which is our electrical duct) which was used as the formwork to the slab now being cleaned out ready for the electrician.