Wednesday 19 November 2014

Gutting The Laundry...

This post could also be titled 'Why you don't have chipboard cupboards in a wet area' for reasons obvious to most but oblivious to some.

For those who read the blog regularly, you would know that recently we commenced gutting the laundry in preparation for a new fit-out, as the location of the laundry wasn't going to change regardless of any master plan for the renovation. We also knew it would come with some unique challenges, as the tiles around the hot water system cabinet were laid after the hot water system was installed, and with no spare tiles located anywhere in the house disguising this oversight would prove difficult. The chipboard cupboards are an blatant no-no in a wet area, and these had swelled and expanded over time due to a leak from the bathroom (which was an immediate fix required before moving in). And the final challenge we face is that the laundry door to outside is off centre (a gap of 500mm from door to wall), meaning that any cupboard and bench fit out would need to be custom made rather than the DIY flat-pack route we planned to take ourselves.

But I digress and below are the before and during demolition photos of the laundry prior to its makeover. Brick masonry walls and tiles proves to be more complicated as expected.

How the laundry looked on Day 1 when we got the keys to the house.

And how it looked before the first hammer was hurled in (controlled) anger.

The 1976 hot water system is inside that CHIPBOARD cupboard!!

Being ex-military, everything is done in Phases. 
This is demo phase 1 - removal of all the wood.

Ol' Gurgler - it just sits there gurgling ALL day...

Rule No 1 - Don't build cupboards out of chipboard in wet areas - durgh!
Rule No 2 - Don't tile up to the cupboard, tile up to the wall. 
(Renovators in future years will love your forward thinking!)

Rule No 3 - Render the wall, then fit the home made shelf, don't install the shelf and then render the wall around the shelf... double-durgh!!

Note the protective duvet cover over the new Bosch washer-dryer, which was meant to be installed after the renovation, however our old top-loader didn't get the memo and gave up the ghost about three months too early - doh!

On the upside, I finally got to use my Ryobi reciprocating saw for the first time. 
That baby goes through wood like a hot knife through butter!

Demo Phase 2 - getting the tiles off was a 'gentle' process. Couldn't bang the walls too hard because of the new bathroom tiles on the other side of the wall, and I was trying desperately to get three tiles off in one piece to reuse on the floor; I only managed to get two... :-(

Cleaning Up - My fave part of demo!

So there you go, demo 98% complete. This week our Plumber Ray is installing the new energy efficient hot water system (it's new, holds twice as much water, and being modern it is more efficient than the ol' gurgler you see here), relocating it outside, while Kate has the cabinet maker down to do the final measure up for the new fit-out.

Wish us luck!

Cheers, Col

PS. As an update on the shed, we received a copy of our builders insurance cover for the project in the mail last week, and we are hoping to hear on the building approval from council this week.

Tuesday 11 November 2014

Building the Shed Update #1

This post is a quick down and dirty on where we are at with getting a shed built in time for Xmas. After shopping around to find a shed that meets code for building over or adjacent to sewer lines (which we wrote about here), we finally settled on a shed using local company McSheds, who quoted on the following design:

The shed is an all steel construction using steel stud work on a slab with a recessed edge for addition weather protection and is also an anti-vermin barrier (see below):

We've paid our deposit and signed a relevant BSA building contract, and the builder has been out on site already to peg the site for the slab, and to gain the necessary measurements and layout on site to obtain council building approval (forecast to take one week). After approvals it should be a week for the slab to be laid, and then the shed constructed in the following two weeks. With a BSA building contract the payments is in stages following completed works; 10% deposit, 25% on completion of slab, 55% on delivery of materials in kit form, and the remaining 10% on completion.

Of course if you build a shed, you MUST have an organised storage system to maximise use of space, and I'm planning on using the ROMAK QIQFix Range from Bunnings to fit out the space. We'll be buying all the cabinets and shelving in the next two weeks so that it's ready to be put together as soon as the shed is finished.

And every shed needs a good sturdy workbench, and I've always wanted to make my own timber one using the design file that's available for download on the Mitre10 website. It will be slightly shorter in length, as I'm using a solid timber top off an old drafting desk I brought back from America. I think this will be my special project over the Xmas holidays!!

And there you have it - so much work done and we are on track with this and so many other projects, all thanks to Kate and her diligence and persistence in arranging quotes and following up on Tradies. I'll keep you updated on the progress of the shed as it evolves, and Kate will do a post soon on the start of the Laundry renovation, and another on just how complicated arranging window refits can be.

Cheers, Col

Monday 3 November 2014

Developing the Renovation Master Plan...

...Where are we up to?

I'll be upfront and state openly "I can't believe where the time has gone"! It seems like only yesterday that I wrote a post titled Patience and Planning, but in actual fact it was in early July. In that post I wrote about things we were hoping to incorporate into our plan, and how a master plan would allow us to sequence the implementation of them, as we commence the renovation proper. I also wrote two weeks ago about 10 Renovation Tasks to do Before Xmas, in the hope that this would get us back on track.

So how did we fare with some of these ideas and goals, and where are we up to with developing the master plan?
  • Building a shed at the rear of the house: We hit a bit of a stumbling block here with the issue of building over / adjacent to sewer pipes, which we wrote about here, however we have now signed a contract to put in a reduced sized shed (3m x 4m) with the aim of it being up by Xmas...
New Shed Right Here By Xmas !!
  • Choosing an energy efficient hot water system to replace the cold war relic currently heating water for the house (either solar tubes, heat exchange or high star rated electric). We've actually committed to a high star rated electric system (not what we thought we'd choose), which again will be installed by our plumber by Xmas, and Kate will right a full length post on that in the not too distant future.
  • Replacing our old (on their last legs) top loader washing machine and small tumble dryer with new appliances which have high star ratings for energy and water conservation. Well here's a funny story - The Good Guys have moved location in Townsville, and we happened to walk in on the spur of the moment to do some research, and ended up walking out later having purchased a Bosch integrated front loader Washer / Dryer. Our aim was to store it at home and install it when we complete the Laundry renovation (again - before Xmas). However, guess which electrical appliance decided to DIE on the night that we left to go on our holiday to the Whitsundays? You guessed it, the washing machine. Thankfully we had 'one we prepared earlier' to whip into action as soon as we got back from our holiday.
What do you think of my new German Appliance?
  • Gutting the Laundry to start its renovation. Tick! 90% complete on this front - we have a dishevelled skeleton of a laundry with a brand new Bosch Washer Dryer sitting in the middle of the room in stark contrast to its surroundings... Kate's had our cabinet maker out to measure up the new cabinets for the laundry as well.
Sneak Preview of Laundry Demo Part II
  • Source and purchase required tiles, fixtures, fittings and new door for the laundry. Ummmm, still working on that one, though Kate thinks she may have some final contenders.
  • On site visit from builder's construction manager, to get a Tradie's perspective on our renovation ideas. We've done this and it was really handy in gaining a different perspective, which helped prepare us for our initial master plan meeting with our builder and his key people.
  • Conduct our first focus meeting with our builder to develop the master plan for the whole renovation, broken down into phases. We've done that this week, and are working on the tasks that came out of that meeting. This is another area I will write a detailed post on soon, as there is lots to cover here that's handy to know if you are thinking about doing the same.
  • Have a big pre-renovation clean out by participating in Australia's biggest garage sale. Done - but a bit of a 'meh' result.
And jobs still to tackle...
  • Paint all door trims (4 x Bedroom, 1 x Bathroom, 1 x Toilet) and all skirting boards white (yes - they are still canary yellow).
  • Re-point and fix up a few tiles in the roof and install 2 x Solatube Solar Stars to ventilate the roof space.

So there you have it. To be honest, I don't think we have done too bad in the last few weeks since the school holidays ended, and am starting to feel like we are back on track (just in time for the silly season). Mixed in amongst this was a long overdue holiday, Poppy doing swimming lessons, and Sasha and I undertaking our respective Yachting Australia 'Learn to Sail Courses'. Like I say, never a dull moment.

Coming up next on the blogosphere will be Kate's reasoning and rationale about why we've chosen the hot water system we have, and not the one we thought we would.

Cheers, Col