Well, we’d set Christmas as a kind of target. So how well did we do?
I suggested in a previous blog that my hope was to get the exterior of the house closed in by Christmas. I also noted, however, that there was an impediment to achieving this: the upstairs windows would be delayed until February 2014.
As with all good house building stories, there was no last minute reprieve, no unexpected over-delivery on an under-promise. The downstairs windows were duly delivered; the upstairs ones while largely built are awaiting the glass manufacturers to get back from their sunny beach holidays and start melting more sand (gathered from their togs presumably) to make the glass needed for the whopping upstairs windows.
Having the lower windows on hand in the week before Christmas gave us the opportunity to familiarise the crew with the window procedure, which, as mentioned, is complicated by the inordinately complex system of flashings. We got all the main windows in situ and learned along the way about the procedure we’d need to follow. But when the weather started to close in on the 24th we simply rushed to frame out the window openings upstairs and cover them with ply.
Closing out the weather (and the view)
As the wind and rain picked up we dashed about like old-school sailors hanging off the yardarm (or other appropriately nautical spar) and wrestling a selection of waterproof sheets onto the side of the house. With various edges still flapping dangerously we farewelled our builders for a few days and set off for a Christmas eve rendezvous with Pippa, Tim, Jesse and Will at their hut in the Orongorongos. The rain was easing as we tramped in, no doubt out of respect for the fact that we were in need of a well-earned break from all this house malarkey. Christmas day was a an absolute pearler. Once we’d eaten our croissants (crisped in a camp oven over the fire, naturally) with Danish butter and New Zealand jam we headed out into the sun.
Santa was evidently put off by the isolated location of the hut and had only brought the kids light presents. For me, however, he exercised no such restraint: he had brought in a large load of decking timber so I wouldn’t experience building withdrawal. Lucky!
So while the kids lit fires on the riverbanks and looked for wildlife to harass, Tim and I ripped into a bit of deck building and Pippa and Tanea lugged river rocks up the hill to provide for landscaping options. Good times.
Walking out the next day we felt refreshed; it’s amazing what a difference it makes to be working on someone else’s project rather than your own. And while we are still a way from completion (or anything like it) we reflected that we had achieved a reasonable amount and that you couldn’t deny that there was going to be a new house to move into one of these days. In pictorial terms our conversation looked a bit like this:
Of course as any decorator will tell you, a house ain’t a home till the colour starts going up. And as we always say: if you want something done properly you better get Amber to help. Despite claiming no particular expertise with the paintbrush we felt that after a 9 hour day she was shaping up pretty well. Shame she hasn’t been back since. Never one to hold off from rushing to the best part, Tanea slapped up some colour options:
So. Not there yet, but storming towards the finish line. Christmas over we’ll be fully on until we knock the bugger off. We hope you all have a restful Christmas capping a satisfying year. We know we have.