Wednesday 25 June 2014

In the house

On the last weekend of May we moved some furniture in and were finally able to stay in the house. And what a delight it was. The house was beautifully quiet and this gave the house a secluded feel to it. The protection from outside noise was probably a combination of the hemp walls, double glazing and well insulated roof. When closed up the house was well sealed and there were no draughts. Where the sun had come in and warmed the polished concrete floor it was delightfully warm. In the evening it was pleasant to sit on the warmed concrete.

A borrowed trailer full of furniture for the house
Main living area with north facing windows
The internals are not quite finished we still have to install the internal doors, the second bathroom to finish tiling and it and laundry to render. We are looking at using a different product to finish these two rooms as the walls are mostly MgO board which did not take the hemp render well.

The patchy render on the MgO board walls is just a unique feature we have come to accept and it may become less noticeable when we put some artwork on the walls. The cracked pattern on the surface of the polished concrete became less noticeable after the final polish and seal, but did not disappear all together. Another unique feature we have come to accept.

Patchy "feature" rendered MgO wall
We were always going the have a curtain rather than a door on the entry to the laundry, but we with some lovely shibori Noren curtains purchased in Japan we have done away with another door and used these instead.
Hallway and Noren outside laundry
Noren curtain instead of door between main room and entry
The following weekend our friends Martin and Nerida came to stay. It was very fitting as they were among the first people to help build the hemp walls and came back again to finish the very last of the walls. At this time the kitchen was not yet complete, and Martin helped me install the range hood which was trickier than expected due to the oddly angled exhaust pipe, a result of my having earlier run into problems with some studs being right in the way of where the exhaust had to go. Some friendly advice also resolved the uncertainty we had as to the location of the bathroom mirror. The mirror was attached with metal clips screwed straight into the hemp walls. We used 50mm screws which were the longest we could get that would still fit in the clips. We did not drill any pilot holes or use wall plugs and just put the screws straight in the wall. The screws bit in and held nicely in the walls but we were careful not to over tighten them. It was very fulfilling to share the house with other people and despite some wintry weather outside it stayed a pleasant temperature inside without any heating. When the sun came out it streamed in through the north facing windows, warming the house up noticeably.
Sofa bed for guests to stay
Mirror installed screwed straight in to the hemp wall
 Another week later Len and Ben the plumbers came back and installed the kitchen sink, tap and waste, the dishwasher and the gas for the stove.  The power points for the stove and dishwasher had been swapped over and each put in the others location. This would not have been a problem except that the stove had a gas cook top and an electric stove and so needed an 15 Amp socket and was on a separate circuit. I had hoped the cords for each appliance might be long enough to reach and plug in to the others socket, but each was short by a frustratingly small 15cm. 2m was the shortest extension cord I could find for the dishwasher, but the stove needed a 15Amp extension cord, so I went to the electrical wholesaler, bought a 15Amp socket, plug and 1m of cord and wired up my own extension. This was not difficult as both the plug and socket came with their own little instruction sheet telling you which coloured wire went in which spot. A few clips under the kitchen cupboards will hopefully hide my electrical socket dilemma.

The kitchen came as a flat pack from IKEA and we added the LED strip lights under the cupboards. The only problem with this was that the wiring came in through a hole I made in the back of the cupboard and then out above the end of each of the two strips of LED lights (the two strips are separated by the range hood in between). To cover the wiring that went along the bottom of the two cupboards I added a false bottom to the cupboards with a section routed out to fit the wires into.

Kitchen completed with LED lights under cupboards
It has been two years in the making and it is great to finally be able to stay in the house. One of my favourite things about staying in the house is that it is a pleasant temperature when you go to bed and is still a pleasant temperature in the morning.  

1 comment:

  1. Looking good. Great to see it coming together!
    Drew from Viv&drew