Archives for posts with tag: Building from scratch. Parkhurst. Roof Trusses.

The work-from-home office has been running quite successfully from the cottage for the past two weeks.  There were the usual teething problems, internet hiccups etc but the technical glitches are being gradually ironed out.  The interior spaces still need some tweaking and the builders are still installing guttering, but in general, it’s working out pretty much as planned.

To put a stop to dirt and grit being tramped onto the lovely wooden floors, we needed to do something about the access quickly and I asked a friend of mine who runs a small gardening business to give me some help.  I had a good idea of what the end result should look like and this morning Marion arrived with her little team of workmen and got straight to work.  She also recommended someone to install the sprinkler system for that small area, which will run off a separate control panel from the main house.  He came along too and by the end of today we had not only a very promising garden but also a functional watering system.   After all the delays, excuses and mistakes we’ve become accustomed to hearing over the past year, this almost seems too good to be true.

Cottage Garden from the East.

Cottage Garden from the East.

The picture above is taken from the cottage carport on the east side.  The strip of red in the background is the gate from the street to the main house.  It still needs to be painted white.  The terra-cotta pots on the veranda came from our old home.  They have been ‘stored’ in a corner of the site since the end of February and have somehow survived the dust and general chaos.  In fact the cymbidium has a spray of buds and looks likely to flower soon.

In the middle of the white, boundary wall on the left, you might notice a ‘box’ with two black dots; that is a burglar alarm beam.  Seemed like a sensible place for it a few months ago but now I will need to be careful not to allow anything to grow tall enough to interfere with the beam.

This small patch of garden is on the south side of the cottage so we’ve chosen plants that don’t need a lot of sun, including azaleas and clivia.  We’ve also planted several baby ‘tickey’ creepers along the wall.  They’re slow-growing but will ‘soften’ the walls nicely once they’re established.  To avoid any need of a lawn mower, we’ve put down pavers interspersed with ground cover.  Hopefully all the bits of bare ground will be covered soon.

Cottage Garden from the West side.

Cottage Garden from the West side.

And while we’re talking about gardens and watering systems, I thought I’d include a photo of the water tanks which have been installed – not without some difficulty – in the ‘bunker’ behind the pool.

One of two water storage tanks.

One of two water storage tanks.

This water tank is directly in front of a second, identical one.  Each tank holds 4500 litres of water much of which will come directly off our roof during the rainy summer season.  With our municipal water supply having been quite erratic over the past few years, it seems like a good idea to have other options in place.

Throwing concrete slab on 'underground' room.

The ‘bunker’ while still under construction and before the start of the pool.

Looking at the photo above again, it is clear that a lot has happened since it was taken, but progress does still seem to be painfully slow at this stage.  Hopefully the garden will be more cooperative!

 

We had a site meeting today:

Site Meeting

Site Meeting

Here are some photographs taken today. We met with two potential swimming pool contractors and Bernard also met with a security consultant to discuss the possibility of installing a roll-down security shutter that will be used to ‘lock off’ the upstairs part of the house at night.  Keeping the upstairs area of a home locked off from the downstairs at night has become something of a norm in this country. This is why many new houses now have an upstairs ‘pyjama lounge’ which is basically a tv/family room where a family can gather late at night even if the rest of the house is ‘alarmed.’   As I write this, I realise it might sound a bit extreme to some people, but this sort of thinking comes completely naturally to us now.

But for now, this is how things looked on site this morning:

Street view taken at an angle through a neighbour's electric fencing.

Street view taken at an angle through a neighbour’s electric fencing.

In the photo above you can see that there is still a lot of activity happening on the roof.  The roof sheeting was delivered this morning.  This was much sooner than we expected but our metal workers’ union, NUMSA, started a major strike yesterday.  The roofing people, with whom we’re very impressed, actually had the foresight to deliver the sheeting today as they suspect there will be huge interruptions to their schedule soon.  It’s unusual for contractors like this to be so proactive.

We think these guys are great.

We think these guys are great.

Kathlego Trusses - Thinking Ahead.

Kathlego Trusses – Thinking Ahead.

I think it’s been a while since I mentioned the roof.  We have chosen to have an iron roof – traditionally used for farm houses in the past – and have selected a dark grey called Dolphin Grey.  The lighter shades of grey looked almost white in our bright sunshine.  All the colours we considered  vary a lot depending on how light strikes them at any given time.  I’m looking forward to hearing our summer rains beating on these sheets.

Roof Sheeting being stored.

Roof Sheeting being stored.

The stairs are occupying my thoughts quite a bit:

The Staircase taken from the front door.

The Staircase taken from the front door.

We wanted the sense of space given by positioning the stairs this way; ie with the lower half flight away from the front door.  It means that the higher flight is ‘free floating’ in that it will need bannisters on both sides.  I’m giving this a lot of thought at the moment along with how I’m going to ‘furnish’ the area below the stairs.  For a while I wondered if my daughter’s baby grand piano would fit but I think it will be a bit cramped.  Until the floors are in and the painting done, it is proving to be quite challenging for me to envisage just how this space will work.

Second flight of stairs.

Second flight of stairs.

The upper flight of stairs opens directly onto the landing/pyjama lounge which faces out over the park.  The walls which you can see in place now are at a height demanded by safety and security laws.  I am still debating lowering them and putting a railing across their top or a glass panel.  It is behind these walls that a security shutter will be lowered at night.

"Archive" photo of stairs from another angle.

“Archive” photo of stairs from another angle.

It much easier now to get an idea of what the covered patio is going to be like.  It is a lovely big space and I think we’ll probably use it more than the indoor living area.  In the picture below you can see a ‘square’ marked off in the ceiling.  This is where a skylight will eventually be installed.

Bernard was funny when we saw the arched openings for the first time.  ‘They look good’, he said, ‘I don’t usually do arches…’  ‘Then why did you agree to have them here??’  ‘Because the house needed them.’ – his response…  And I think he’s right.  The house did need them and I think they frame the view rather well.

Patio Arches

Patio Arches

Arch view

In the elevation which I am posting again below, you can see the design of the patio quite clearly.  It is satisfying to see it taking form now.

The North Elevation is now becoming a reality.

The North Elevation is now becoming a reality.

Below is a picture of a ‘contemporary farm house’  under an iron roof similar to the one we’ll be having.

Contemporary Farmhouse with iron roof from which I drew some inspiration.

Contemporary Farmhouse with iron roof from which I drew some inspiration.