Sunday, March 20, 2011

Pouring the Slabs

There is nothing more fun than watching a concrete mixer being unloaded!

The mixer is dropping its load into the hopper of a concrete pump, and the pipe runs down our driveway to these guys:

They were pouring the slab for a future herb bed. Love the use of a whipper-snipper motor on the concrete poker (for getting the air bubbles out). The wizard's staff in the background is for use with a laser leveller.

The bolt cutters are for cutting the reo, then there is a trowel machine and the last item is a bullfloat (I believe).

It looked like this when they had finished: the slabs had been laid for the garden bed (foreground), garage (at left) and a special coloured slab for our family room.

But over the weekend, it's been raining. I love the reflections here.

Here's our Honey Mustard slab. The aggregate is 10mm river stone -- quartz and some other stones in white, yellows and browns. You'll see it later!

We worked out a new method of ingress when we were told the concreters were coming.

It's important to be able to feed the chooks!

Friday, March 18, 2011

There has to be Pink Spray Paint

I suppose pink does show up rather well when you are using an excavator.

This week we have had the trenches dug for the foundations. The pile of fine gravel was shovelled over each of the areas to be concreted, and the trenches were sprayed with pesticide.

The next time we looked, the formwork was down, along with the plastic, which is a moisture and termite barrier. I assume the gravel was to prevent punctures, much as one beds an above-ground swimming-pool on sand. The construction seems to fill the back yard!

Over the plastic goes the reinforcing mesh, or as it's called in Australia, "reo".

We learnt a new word. The mesh is held at the correct height with these little plastic chairs.

And it's exciting to look at our future family room!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


This is what you think it is.

It is the waste pipe for our second toilet. Our builders had to cut the concrete away to install the pipe and connect it to the sewer behind.

Below is something a bit less earthy. It's the framing for our future study, or as the Council call it, Bedroom 4, and the framing for the wall that will end the run of cupboards in the kitchen.

That's exciting too, but a necessary is necessary!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Good Riddance to the Kitchen!

When we bought our house, our kitchen was newish, but the silver colour was peeling from around the plastic cupboard handles. It was also an unpleasant grey-blue, with wall paint in the same shade, and a fluorescent tube to make it all just a little bit more depressing. Last of all, it was small. While it was 3.3m wide, it was only 1.8m deep. The sink and stove broke up what little bench space there was, leaving me only a tiny work space -- and I like to cook. An arch separated it from the dining room, which was painted the colour of a pumpkin's innards. The contrast between the pumpkin and the grey-blue was... unspeakable. And the dining room had a fluorescent tube too!

Some things changed quickly. One of our first actions was to sponge the walls of both rooms in Taubman's Candelabra, a warm cream. It calmed the pumpkin, warmed the blue, and united the rooms. Unfortunately, the spongeing is linked indelibly in my mind with listening to the Dragons choke on the Grand Final!

Our next adventure was when the dining room tube went. We discovered that we had had a Sword of Damocles over our heads... the fitting had only been held together with sticky tape! Out went the old fittings, and in came some new ones from Beacon Lighting. And really, that was how things stayed. We lost a few cupboard doors along the way, but here is a picture of the kitchen after removal of the stove and drawer unit at right. The fridge would have been on the left. The wall, which hemmed the kitchen in, has been removed.

We had a few other walls which jutted out into the dining room and made the space difficult to use. They've gone now too.

But best of all was to see the whole lot gone!

Good riddance, ugly, inconvenient, runty kitchen!

Enter the Bobcat

After demolition, there's always mess to clean up. In our case, there was gravel on the driveway that needed to be put into the retention pit, the spoil from the pit, and then the bricks from the house.

Enter the bobcat! The driver is bringing gravel from the driveway to the pile.

Then he'd move on to grab some spoil, which he'd take out to the truck (just visible at the top of the driveway in the photo above).

He was very quick indeed; it was difficult to take photos. By the end of the day, my back yard no longer contained a huge heap of clay.

Another view:

The two pit drains are only just visible above, but this is what they look like close up. Not great, alas.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


By the time we left for school yesterday morning, the door-frames had vanished from our laundry and box-room.

And they'd begun demolishing the inside walls.

All that's left in our laundry is the old cupboard, an original. Curved corners were in fashion in 1946; we have a curved corner in our lounge room which unfortunately will disappear with our renovation.

The wall which hemmed in my kitchen disappeared. (It's not my bread. One of the builders must have had a sanger for lunch.)

Goodbye ugly grey-blue kitchen! On the other hand, having a builder bowl up on a Monday morning and ask, "Could you empty your kitchen today? We'd like to demolish it tomorrow," is a shock. Both the Geek and I work a full day on Mondays. Following it up with multiple trips between homes till late at night is not the best way to spend an evening. And we were profoundly grateful that my boss lent me a trolley from work. Kitchens hold an amazing amount of stuff, and now it's gradually being moved into place in our rental kitchen.

Today, demolition moved to the outside. The wall between the kitchen and box-room is gone, along with the back porch. So is all the fibro: the laundry ceiling and soffits. Fibro of this age contains asbestos, and is now classed as a hazardous material. Half the back wall of the kitchen remains, because it will form part of a waist-high wall between kitchen and family room.

Our house is double brick, where the weight of the roof is borne by the house's external walls. With this section of wall gone, the roof needed shoring up.

In the meantime, I'd better do something about the state of our current house...