Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lots of 'Making Good'

Lots of good things happened this week.

Firstly, our loans officer rang me at 8:25 on Monday morning. The poor man had been sick for a week, which is why he hadn't returned our calls. I had another talk to him later in the day, when we spent a while at cross-purposes before discovering that the payment permission slips should have gone straight to him, not to the solicitor's. We had been given two envelopes addressed to the solicitor, so naturally had sent everything there. My builder reported at least four apologetic calls from the loans officer, who must have worked very hard indeed that day to get everything done.

The next morning, at 6:30, I received an SMS from the builder. "Just to let you know that the payment arrived in full." It was worth being woken up a bit early for that! We were approved in principle for a loan and signed up for the building contract on the 12th of February, and here were the first two progress payments on the 12th of April. I don't believe this was the fault of our loans officer: we sent our initial loan application in on the 23rd of February, but didn't get the legal stuff until the 24th of March -- and that's the loan salesman's fault.

Meanwhile, the builders continued to turn up each day and work hard. You might remember they took out some sections of internal wall. In a full-brick house, this leaves you with something like this at floor level:

So you have to insert something to make it flush with the floorboards:

Then there were some major cracks to be dealt with. A combination of drought and the two giant wattle trees gave us one crack in the house that was big enough to see from one room into another. With the return of the La Nina, the crack had closed up -- but not exactly aligned, so some of the plaster had lifted. The loose sections had to be removed.

Moreover, a previous owner had left paint peeling all over the house. Subsequently, the paint was inexpertly scraped back, but the irregularities weren't filled -- they just painted straight over the surface. You can see it below, under the cornice (well, the cornice has been removed, but you know what I mean!). More light in the house has shown exactly how bad it all is. The cornice is gone because the builder isn't satisfied with the state of the hall ceiling .

The builders have skim-rendered almost every wall in the house because of the irregularities and cracks. This is what it looks like -- everything's a rather fashionable off-white!

I presume the painter who went right over the holes and scratches was also the one who didn't prepare the woodwork before painting it with cheap acrylic. The woodwork would have been stained and lacquered, so the acrylic paint chipped off as soon as you looked sideways at it. I don't like the wall colour on the skirting board, either.

You can also see remnants of the original floor stain above: Aussies had japanned floors between the wars, with rugs -- wall to wall carpets were almost unknown. Postwar shortages and restrictions put carpet out of most people's reach, so it was back to hard floors, especially for public housing like ours. Our house had wall-to-wall carpet when we moved in (a bit is just visible at left, an impractical too-pale beige), but it's nice to see the original finish here.

We will be recarpeting, however. Our experience in the next-door rental, which has painted floorboards, is that they are tremendously noisy * -- and this end of the house is bedrooms.

Lastly, this item is the lintel for our back doors. Of course, we still lack the bricks!

* I suppose it could be something to do with my boys' big Aussie feet...


Anonymous said...

All this building business is so exciting!!
I hope to be able to compare notes soon (although a deck is not quite so exciting .... but it's a BIG deck :)

Unknown said...

I wish I was there watching all the goings on. I love the whole renovating experience. The hubby didn't so much and still hasn't agreed to my next project but I am thinking about it and working on him.

Chookie said...

Good luck with that hubby of yours, Liz. How is he coping with the whole tidy neat kitchen thing?
Looking forward to seeing your deck, Amanda!