Monday, April 23, 2012

The little strawbale house at the end of the rainbow

This evening Frank left our building site for the last time. As we loaded his truck and pushed the cement mixer up the hill, an amazing double rainbow appeared in the sky, perfectly framing our little house and boggy building site. Even though I was exhausted (it was my turn to render today) I felt happy. Frank was pleased with our progress and I was too... though I have to admit I will be happier when the first layer of render is completed.

We had a small cohort of workers today, as most of our team returned to Sydney town, but we did what we could, making a start on our internal rendering which is being done using clay and sand. The lack of lime and cement was a joy to behold - that stuff is hard on the hands, and quite a few of us a nursing lime burns. Bukhari, in particular, excelled with his rendering skills, even impressing Frank!
My rendering, on the other hand left quite a lot to be desired.
The curvy, irregular edges of the window opening proved very difficult to attach the fibreglass mesh to in the straight way it was 'supposed' to be done.
So I did what any good seamstress would do - I made some darts! This helped, but not quite enough. I figure it wasn't a total disaster though, as the only comment I got from Frank was "that's not really how we want it to be", sans any request to re-do it. Good enough for me! I figure I can fill it in later...

Frank was busy building the frames for our gable ends.
In my dreams, these had been made with strawbales: My vision for our little sleeping loft included nice, deep rendered window sills and little niches around the place. In reality though, our decision once again came down to a combination of exhaustion and the daunting prospect of all the tasks we now face in order to complete our little house. But that decision wasn't made until after Frank and I climbed up into the roof space and he started running through all the thing we needed to do in order to infill the gable ends with strawbales. I very quickly, and very easily made the decision to say goodbye to strawbale gable ends when Frank explained that, if we framed and clad them, we could have them framed and ready to go by the end of the day. Yes please!
One end (the western, most exposed end) is now 'clad' in leftover resiwrap, awaiting the application of whatever we decide. At this very point in time I'm leaning towards reclaimed corrugated iron or fence palings. We will definitely be having fence palings inside - I have collected a ton from the tip and from freecycle, and am very keen to use them for some cladding action because I think they're beautiful!

But now, some beer, a little read of my pasture cropping book, and some sleep. Ahhhh....


  1. o how i miss being on site and with you already. the colour of the clay render is beautiful. your house continues to look more amazing!

  2. hard work, but looks so great!

  3. Looking great! Wasn't that rainbow gorgeous? We were finishing off at our shed when it appeared. Lewi wanted to do some coloursplash with it from the iphone so will probably post some images on my blog. That rainbow was such a gorgeous gift for the end of a very tiring day. Thinking of you guys as we madly try to finish our shed to move in by the end of the week - still bathroom installed or kitchen or painting or archs or.......list goes on...