Monday, October 3, 2016

a different journey

Well no overseas birthday AGAIN this year!!

But at least I did celebrate in a special way. No travelling in the conventional sense - but I am on a current journey lasting several years and that is building my own house.

I bought 25 acres ex farmland south west of Sydney (2 hrs drive) a few years ago. I then set about designing a house using recycled shipping containers. I have to add in 2010 when I began the planning I had never heard of such a thing. Now container houses are all over the internet.

Talk about tapping the zeitgest.

Apart from the design I also drew all of the architectural plans and submitted all of the Council building requirements. As well as the building plans there were many other plans and documents needed to obtain my building permission. I was able to do all of these except for the engineering plans myself.

I also intend to do all of the actual building myself where permitted (which is just about everything except plumbing and electrical which legally requires certified trades.)

The design:

 The container layout within the design:

House plan:

It is a simple design, 2 bedrooms and no en suite (gasp!!!!)

Open plan with major insulation on the outside of the containers so as not to reduce interior space. The only single width container rooms are the guest bedroom (wide enough for a double bed and 2 side tables) and the 2 way bathroom which will be 2.5 times the size of my current 2 bed rental!

The land:

This is a view to the north.

It is by far the nicest aspect - and fortunately the direction my large 2.1sq.m windows along the front of the house face. They will capture the low winter sun and let the heat into the house for passive solar heating. In summer, the sun is high enough so that the awning stops the sun entering the house.

The veggie garden:

My friend Jana watering the garden during last summer.

I established a fenced 60sq.m plot by Spring last year with a 1000L raised water tank at one end. (This I fill from my dam and then gravity feed the water to the veggies.)

I grew rhubarb, butternut pumpkins, capsicums, rocket, basil, garlic, chives, mint, strawberries, radishes, beetroots, and spinach. As I am not living on site I had to have veggies hardy enough to last up to 5 or 6 days without watering.

Luckily I had no losses throughout one of the driest summers in years.

We have just finished planting out the next Spring veggies: all the above veggies again plus chilies, squash, red onions, eggplant and shallots.

Current stage of house:

Back deck started with roof joists and temp supports visible.

View through 'kitchen window' into lounge/dining.

Ceiling joists all finished and about to start internal framing. Windows and doors all ready idly waiting for this framing before they can be put in.

My roof trusses have arrived and I just have to learn how to erect a roof before I start putting them up!

That is the story of this build - every step along the way needs to be researched before I begin.

It is such a massive challenge that if I try and encompass it all in my head at once my brain will explode! In many ways this adventure is very much like doing the PhD. Having done that 10 years ago has been a great help in the planning and execution of this build. The steps I have been going through have been almost the same.

Finishing date? When I move in!! 

And so - my birthday yesterday was spent on my land in the shell of my partially built house and was as every bit as special as having the celebration on top of Kilimanjaro, on the Inca trail at Macchu Picchu, sitting on the Great Pyramid in Cairo or Scuba diving in Fiji!

The Musical Birthday Candle Ritual (yet again):

Cutting the birthday cake:

If interested in my build you can follow my building blog HERE