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!

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