09 December 2015

Our house in the middle of our street: Part 1

If you'd told me last Christmas to fast forward a year and that I'd be living in Cambridge in a new house we'd just built I would have laughed you out of the park.

Seriously.... that idea would have seemed pretty ludicrous. A grand and exciting plan but ludicrous all the same.

Now here we are that year later as we count down to moving into our new house in a new town in a new part of NZ - it's fitting to share the journey we have been on from there to here. Here's a timeline of the big events that have shaped our journey:

We met with real estate agents in Wellington with a view to putting our house on the market knowing this was the first step in the long move north.

After completing some work on the house, it went on the market with a 3 week deadline sale process. It was a nerve-wracking time especially as we were trying to sell a textured coated house with the whole 'leaky home' stigma. Even though we knew our home was solid and sound would anyone else want to buy it?!

April 1
This year there was no April Fool's for us - the house sold on April 1 at a good price and we could now look forward to our 'what next?'

April 10
After a road trip round the East Coast we finished up in the Waikato and on our joint birthdays we were going out for lunch and just happened to pop into the Cambridge Park subdivision on our way to the Olde Creamery cafe on the other side of Cambridge. We went into the Generation Home show home, took a long look around and came away incredibly excited at the thought of maybe just maybe building a home here would be a great idea. And so: the dream of building our own home was born! And in less than two months we would be leaving Wellington for good!

For the rest of this month we were in discussion with Generation Homes about securing a section and deciding on the design of our new home. We really liked the Parry plan because you could separate off the living areas from the bedroom areas. We also really liked the courtyard in the centre of the living areas with 3 sets of bi-fold doors opening out onto a central courtyard.

We did however make a few changes from the original plan - adding in a walk-in pantry (which we had loved in the showroom) and changing the windows down the side of the house.

May 4
We flew up to the Waikato for the weekend to meet with Generation Homes and further develop our plans for the new house build. We also went to visit the section we would be building on. It was hard to envisage how it might look six months later in a near finished state but it was exciting to dream all the same.

June followed by July followed by August
We moved halfway up the country at the beginning of June and settled into our rental in Cambridge which is less than a kilometre away from the new house. During the cold Waikato winter we started a new life with new schools and new jobs and waited for the title to come through on the part of the subdivision where our home would be built. Patiently we waited through the depths of sub zero frosts, chillblains and crisp winter days.

September 10 - Week 1
Then at the end of August, we got the news the title had been issued and this meant work could now begin. While Noah and Mark were away on school camp, I got the news that the digger was on the section starting the excavation work - of course I hightailed it round to see progress that afternoon. It was very exciting knowing the project had finally officially begun!

During the first week the foundations were excavated and the area of the house was pegged out with wood. We couldn't get over how small the house looked once it was pegged out.

September 17 - Week 2
During this week the concrete pad was poured.

September 24 - Week 3 
This week the wall frames went up - it changed the whole look of the house once we could see where the rooms started and finished.

October 1 - Week 4
The roof framing goes on and the shape of the roof adds a whole other dimension to a previously square looking box.

October 8 - Week 5 
This week the roof tiles were added and after a month of building we were nearly one third of the way through the build!

October 15 - Week 6
We have windows! This week all the windows were put in and we were loving the look of the bifold doors into the courtyard.

October 22 - Week 7
This week the bricks are added to the exterior - and suddenly the weeks and weeks of umming and aahing over the brick colour were worth it as it looks just how we wanted - we love the silver joinery and how the mortar matches it so well.

We'd originally been building in a black brick but after seeing some other houses go up in the subdivision we soon changed our minds as the overall look just didn't do it for us. Thank goodness we made the decision to change - we are so much happy with the lighter coloured brick!

October 29 - Week 8
More bricks and the outside of the house is looking pretty well finished (apart from the linea boards at the front which still need painting).

November 5 - Week 9
This week the walls are put up inside and all the plastering is done - now when we peer in the windows we can really envisage living in each room.

November 12 - Week 10
There's more happening inside like doors and cupboards being added but we can't see too much peeking from the outside, but we do notice the kitchen cupboards arriving and being installed.

November 19 - Week 11
This week we had an official site visit where we discovered they had put the wrong colour benchtop on - white instead of black whoops! Luckily it wasn't our mistake and this was soon rectified. We also got an extra treat when we got to walk around inside on the weekend and with some undercoat on the walls the place was looking so light and bright!

November 26 - Week 12
This week they levelled off all the dirt round the outside and inside it was all hands on deck with painting and more painting - walls, ceilings and doors.

December 3 - Week 13
Outside the concrete kerbing went on for the landscaping whilst inside the tiles were being laid in the kitchen, bathrooms and entrance ways.

What's left?
With only two weeks to go till our move in date on December 22/23 - there's a lot to still come together like carpets, electrical finish, and some plumbing but we know it will all happen - because it has to!

Stay tuned for Part 2 when we actually move in!

And just for fun - here's a time lapse of the build so far!

02 December 2015

How to embrace life when it's hurtling along at breakneck speed.....

.....for a start you better just hold on for dear life and hope you don't fall off!

Far out brussel sprout, it feels like the last few weeks of this year are rushing toward us at the speed of light.

It's a busy time of the year anyway with lots of end of term activities - athletics day, hip hop dance recitals, Christmas parades, cricket practices and games, and Cubs badges to be achieved. Then there's baby showers, guests coming to stay on several weekends and my photography sales which have gone better than I could possibly have imagined with over 20 calendars sold and some prints as well - I'd like to know all these sales were last year when I so desperately wanted sales when I was launching the Meghan Maloney Photography site and trying to sell at the Thorndon market which was such a disaster - ha ha - ah well I'm not complaining really!

And when you throw in the mix a looming house move that's right around the corner - it's less than 3 weeks away now and the added inevitable craziness of the lead up to Christmas sourcing gifts for friends and family - it's a sure fire recipe for high blood pressure and more than a few fraught moments as we also try to deal with slack phone/fibre providers who can't pull finger to organise an installation date and an online furniture company who cannot seem to provide good service and products despite our patience in trying to sort some issues out with them for the past few months.

Add to that it's the busiest time of the year at work too and I find all I can do is *sigh*......................

Oh and then our 13 year-old fridge decides to pack it in the last few days and it's taken to freezing everything inside - what utterly impeccable timing!

So that aside........ what else have we been up to?

For a start enjoying the warmth that is the Waikato - we have already had a few mid twenties temperatures and it's only just officially summer this week! The boys got a taste of just how hot the sun is after getting rather sun burnt at the local pool on the weekend - oops - Mark was left a bit red faced after that experience (not to mention a red body too!)

Noah's sunburnt face after the afternoon at Cambridge pool :-/

Loving these stunning red roses in the garden of our rental - we will miss the awesome big backyard and all the established garden when we move to our new place - we'll be lucky to even get grass to grow moving in the height of summer.

Loving finding the gem that is Fast Flavours - a local dairy free and gluten free takeaway option in the heart of Cambridge - it's been my Friday night go-to when the boys have had their $5 Dominoes Pizza during Friday night cricket games - this was their yummy seafood paella.

Loving recognition of playing so well at his first game of cricket - even if he was pretty peaky the next day when this photo was taken, poor poppet.

Not loving long road trips that have to be made within a single day - but loving the reason for it - so we could all celebrate my gran's 90th birthday in Taranaki with her - at least we all went together in the shuttle - it made the time pass quick enough - the boys are enjoying a quick stop at Pio Pio to stretch their legs here.

And I even got to drive the shuttle partway home again - my first time in all the years Dad has been a super shuttle driver that I've even sat in the drivers seat!

Loving being able to sneak away for an hour to watch the kids on athletics day at school.

Loving (well that might be a stretch) that I got to sleep over at school one Thursday night with Mylo and 30 other kids on the floor of his classroom. I was dreading it (I'll happily admit that) but it was actually pretty fun. I got a few hours sleep which was more than I'd bargained on - plus it was a great way to meet a few more of the parents in his class too. I was pretty tired come Friday afternoon though.....yawn.......

Tickling the kids on the Burma trail that night was pretty fun - and watching their shrieks as they came up against things they didn't recognise with their masks on!

Loving that we got an unexpected sneaky visit into the house when our good friend Jules was staying for the weekend. It felt so much lighter and brighter than just a few days earlier when Mark and I had our official visit with the builders.

Not loving that they put the wrong colour bench top on our bench - it is meant to be black - but loving that we realised pretty much straight away and it's since been fixed - an expensive error on someone's part - just glad it wasn't ours!

Loving 22 pieces of snail mail arriving from Noah's classmates back in Wellington - he enjoyed reading every single one and we must must must write an email back before the term ends in the next 2 weeks!

Loving that I made it home safely after a flying day trip (AGAIN!) to New Plymouth via the bus to drive my gran's car back home as we are buying it off her for Mark's parents to use when they arrive in January for six weeks. And loving the company of Charlie (Charlotte) to make the journey back whizz by in the blink of an eye!

Loving having dinner cooked for us by Charlie while she stayed - what a rare treat for us not to have to cook on a weeknight!

Loving that hubby's Saturday morning coffees rival anything you might get served up at a cafe...I think I'll keep him on!

Loving this indoors temperature one day last week - ah yes I feel summer right down into my bones!

Loving being able to get to assembly to watch Noah get his Principals award in the final assembly of the year.

Loving drinking bubbly from Batman cups at Friday night cricket and that the rain held off (just!) till the end of the game.

Loving having Charlie to stay so we could enjoy a rainy Saturday in putting up the Christmas tree, making and consuming mulled wine, painting Christmas nails (red and green) and helping Nana and Poppa choose their Christmas tree...

Might need to wait another year or two for that one though Mylo!

Loving that I live close enough to family now to be able to take part in my lovely sister-in-law Alesha's baby shower, and loving that it's only six weeks or so till I get to be an aunty again to a precious new babe in the family!

And last but not least loving that I can still find things to love despite the madness that is our lives right now....

This weekend it's Noah's hip hop performance, plus we have tickets to the UCI world track cycling champs at the velodrome, the Cubs (and therefore Noah) will be parading in the Christmas parade and we have friends coming for a BBQ as well.

The garden desperately needs a tidy, the windows need washing and we are really struggling to find the time to get any packing done...I know there will come a day (very soon) where we will just have to knuckle down and get to it if we ever want to move out at all!


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