House update - slab and building upwards - Part II

The first floor framing started just before Christmas!

... and as before, it went up rather quickly..

The relatively steep slope means that we can get a view of the roof by just walking up to the next block!  Here is the framing completed, ready for the roof to go on.

Keen eyes may see some of the decks are in... the internal deck has been covered with cement sheeting (waterproofed - since it is above the home theatre room it is fairly important!)  We will have another finish on top of this, details to be confirmed later.

.. and the room under the rear deck - which will contain the water tank, hot water cylinder, and so on - has had a treated pine deck - nothing fancy.  In the picture below it had been raining which makes it look all shiny!

Both the rear deck and the lower (drying) deck have been done in Modwood - a product made of recycled plastic and sawdust!  It doesn't require lots of maintenance like a timber deck, is environmentally friendly and looks great!  The finish we have used is 'Silver Gum'.


Plenty of updates in the next couple of weeks, roof and cladding of course, but also bathrooms, kitchens, electrical, and more!

House update - slab and building upwards!

Time for a series of house building updates ... When I last posted about the house, I think it was still at excavation stage... well, it is well past that, but let's tackle it a step at a time! The slab was poured on 14th October!

(view from southeast and northeast, respectively) It is quite easy to recognise which rooms are where from the slab. The courtyard sticks out in the middle - notice it slopes towards the drain in the centre slightly, and (less obviously) there is an overflow drain which goes from the northwest corner to the under deck area only a couple of metres away. The only area which may not be obvious is the guest room and bathroom, which are on a floating floor extending from the side of the slab (the "empty box" on the west side). However, this photo only five days later gives it away!
It only took a couple of weeks (October 26th) for virtually all of the ground floor walls to be completed:
Nothing too surprising here - although one change was the guest bath window, which was changed from facing the neighbours block, to face the mountain (through the undercroft area).

In the photo above, you may also notice the doorway in the block wall at the back. This provides access to the under-deck area with the water tank. The door was originally going to be in the western wall (from the backyard) but it was easier to do it this way as the level of the slab was closer. We decided to put a treated pine deck in there to give it more of a level floor so it can be used as a shed type area - technically outdoors, yet secure. The hot water cylinder has also been relocated here from the garage. I expect it will become a dog sleeping area as well, especially in the colder months!

From here, things progressed quickly.  By mid-November, all the walls downstairs (including the concrete block wall next to the garage) and most of the floor joists for upstairs had been done:

A week later, they were all done (the front ones were waiting on the steel beam across the top of the garage door):

Notice the joists in the middle which are perpendicular to the rest - this is the internal deck area.  They are aligned the other way so that rain run-off from the deck will fall into the courtyard area.

By early December, the flooring for the upper level was complete:

Note both decks and the stairway sticking out here!

This step was important as we could now determine whether or not we have a water view!  (we are not quite on the top of the hill, so while the southern view of the mountain is amazing, the northern view is.. well, if you stand in the right spot, peek between the neighbours houses and the trees, and squint.. you can just see the Derwent River.  I'm going to count that!)

To be continued!

The year that was ... 2011

It's that time of the year again - I've posted so few blog updates this year that it would be entirely reasonable for even dedicated readers to not know what has happened in our lives in 2011!

The biggest change of course happened on 24 August - when our beautiful daughter Isla Abigail was born. What a change to the household... we are now outnumbered in our own house by our own children, and I am outnumbered by the females in the house! As much as we (or parents in general) like to complain about the challenges of parenthood, or their bad behaviour, or the lack of sleep... we are very lucky to have three happy, healthy, children who all make us smile every day.

I would like to say it has been a relatively easy transition - but honestly, I think most of the credit goes to Emma - having to look after three of them, by herself, three days a week - I don't know how she does it!

It seems to have been the year for babies - welcome to Eloise, Eleanor, Sofia, Lucie, Addison, Monte, Magnus, Charlotte, Max, Samuel, Oliver, Eli, Charlie, Sophie, Olivia, Quinn .. and I know I am going to forget at least one baby - but there have been so many!

The other big event this year was the start of construction of our new house in June. I won't go into detail as I have done that in other blog posts - but as of the end of the year, the frame for the upper floor is almost completed. We should be at lock up stage (cladding, windows and roof) by the end of January, all going well. The contracted end date is in May 2012. When I say end date - there will be some rooms incomplete as we wait on the sale of our current house. We can live with that - for those who remember when we moved into our current house - no flooring, no insulation, no fences, no decks, no concrete paths/driveway, no retaining walls - this won't be a problem for us to deal with!

Emma's business, Wrap 'Em, is going very well - she now has five major suppliers in Europe, and it seems a new shipment arrives at least once a week on average. The most recent one came about when they contacted Emma and asked if she would be the Australian reseller - which was a great vote of confidence!

Emma is also very busy education wise - as well as continuing her training for her Certificate IV in Breastfeeding Education via the Australian Breastfeeding Association - she is also enrolled in a Diploma of Music Performance at the University of Tasmania's Conservatorium of Music - fully funded thanks to an arrangement with the Hobart City Band!

Speaking of band - we travelled to Adelaide at Easter where Emma performed with HCB's wind symphony and brass band at the Australian National Band Championships. Among other things, we learned that there is a fully fenced modern playground just north of the city, which kept the kids busy, and Charles sane. We also managed to sneak in a quick trip to Adelaide Zoo (that was Georgia's fourth zoo in as many states!), as well as watching the ANZAC Day march on Easter Monday.

Apart from that, Emma and Hamish had a few days in Melbourne in June - a trip that was lengthened slightly by the Chilean ash cloud! Charles also had a weekend in Sydney in July to take part in Wikimedia Australia's strategic planning workshop. Charles was re-elected to the WM AU committee for another year in September.

Charles also joined the board of the Tasmania United Taskforce in November. For those who don't know, Charles has been an active campaigner for Tasmania having a team in the A-League, and this makes it official - looking after the website and social media channels of the Tassie bid!

Work wise, Charles is still in the Corporate IT department at Transend Networks - although changing focus for the first few months of 2012 to work as an Infrastructure Administrator, assisting with looking after the server and SAN infrastructure (translation for the non-geeks - the bigger, more expensive boxes with flashier lights). Certainly a welcome change of focus!

2012 will certainly be a year of big change for us - as well as moving, Georgia will be starting school (three days a week in kindergarten) - yes, already!

Once again, I will get in early for next year - have a Merry Christmas 2012 and a Happy New Year for 2013!

The first three months - digging!

I just realised my last update ended with the words "hopefully future updates will be more often than every three weeks" - how embarrassing!

A picture tells a thousand words ... these photos show the progress until the end of September.  The most disastrous thing was being delayed an extra week due to some of the dirt wall collapsing.  

(Note the curved wall - it isn't curved, it's just a side effect of the panorama software!)

Also here is a close-up of the rear of the house - this has confused a few people!

It's easiest to think of it in three sections:
- The left of the picture, with the extra height retaining wall, shows where the house will end
- The middle of the picture shows where the back deck will be - it will cover the two enclosed areas below.  Of these areas, the back section houses the water tank (and will also house the hot water cylinder and the external part of the heat pump) and is accessible from the rumpus/storage room on the ground floor as seen in the previous pics.  The section nearest the camera iis void/inaccessible.  The roofline of the house will cover the deck.
- The right of the picture shows the two terraced grass play areas which will be accessible from the deck via a couple of steps.  No, these aren't rooms - just big concrete boxes full of dirt!

House update: Excavation (weeks 1-3)

I've been meaning to do this every night for the past three weeks... well, here it is!

This is the view from the front-right (south east) of the house - the last one was taken on July 21!

A lot of bluestone boulders but nothing that couldn't be dealt with, fortunately!

Panoramic view from the eastern side:

Again the last picture here was July 21.  Notice the house seems to take up the whole block?  Well, not really - the flat section in the last picture (just right of middle, below the house with the red roof) is where the water tank will be - under the rear deck - so the house will end just to the left of this.  The excavation work to the right is all related to the deck and levelling of the backyard.

All the timber which you see is only temporary - to support the construction of the giant wall.  The wall will run alongside the edge of the driveway, along the edge of the ground floor of the house.  At the back it will surround the water tank (enclosing it, almost - there will be a small entryway) and then run partially into the backyard - enabling us to terrace it into multiple flat sections.

This is our driveway - with 7 1/2 month pregnant Emma - and the view!

That's it for now - hopefully future updates will be more frequent that every 3 weeks!

The Mercury: Fair and balanced

... and now, the top soccer stories in Tassie newspapers today:

The Examiner - "Launceston may host Harry Kewell".
The Mercury - "FFT investigates brawl".

Just another example of how biased The Mercury is.

Still not convinced?

Of the thirteen top stories in the Mercury soccer section, six are about the "racial abuse" issue (the rest are local club news and match results).  However, in that time period (19 June - 8 July), The Mercury has also published articles about soccer workshops during World Refugee Day ("Kicking off a new life", 26 June) and an update on the Tassie A-League bid ("Tassie A-team in the pipeline", 30 June).  Why aren't these articles included?  Too positive?  Don't they suit The Mercury's point of view?

This isn't unique to the Tasmanian media - it happens all across the country, sometimes it is subtle, often it is patently obvious.  In any case, nothing is going to change if we stay silent!

An open letter to Marti Zucco

So not only do we have Hawthorn and North Melbourne playing matches in Tassie - the latter due to a fair bit of effort from Hobart City Council Alderman Marti Zucco - but it seems now he is trying to get Melbourne Storm to play in Hobart.

This seems strange to me - an NRL team, instead of an A-League team, for a few reasons - first, Tasmania is certainly not known as a rugby league stronghold - it would be the #3 or #4 football code in Tassie.  Second, because Marti Zucco is Italian - and although generalisations about a person due to their heritage are not always correct, he is very proud of his roots.

Dear Mr Zucco,

I'm writing to you since you have been in the media recently, due to your actions in trying to attract national club sporting events to the state - not only the AFL games at Bellerive Oval, but also about the announcement last week of a possible NRL pre-season game at North Hobart Oval.

As you may know there has been an A-League pre-season match (featuring Melbourne Victory) each July for the past five years at Aurora Stadium in Launceston, generally drawing 5000-8000 spectators.

It would be fantastic to see a similar event in Hobart.  For the coming A-League season (October 2011-March 2012), Football Federation Australia has marked five matches to be played at a "regional venue - TBC".  I've contacted both Cricket Tasmania and Launceston City Council about the possibility of hosting one of these but have not received a response.  Going by the enthusiasm you have shown in drawing AFL and NRL matches to Hobart, I hope you would have a similar interest in negotiating an A-League match.

It would be great to get to the stage where there are regular matches in Tasmania by Melbourne Storm, Melbourne Victory, Melbourne Heart or even the Melbourne Rebels super rugby team. Such events could hopefully be the precursor to the development or upgrade of a rectangular stadium - such as North Hobart Oval - in the state.

For reference the available match dates are:

  • Wed 7 Dec 2011 - Sydney FC v Perth Glory
  • Sun 11 Dec 2011 - Gold Coast United v Sydney FC
  • Wed 14 Dec 2011 - Wellington Phoenix v Brisbane Roar
  • Wed 18 Jan 2012 - Melbourne Heart v Central Coast Mariners
  • Wed 25 Jan 2012 - Adelaide United v Newcastle Jets
Full fixture list:

Cricket Tasmania (
Aurora Stadium (
Football Federation Australia (
John Boulous, (CEO Football Federation Tasmania) (
Michelle O'Byrne (Minister for Sport) (
Mark Shelton (Shadow Minister for Sport & Rec) (

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