My, what big ceilings you have…

Size does matter, and in the case of the new River Road dwelling, this comes in the way of 3.6m – that’s 12ft in the old scale – ceilings.

They are magnificent and while they have proven to be a little tricky for the trades – particularly those with a fear of heights – the result is certainly worth it.


Gotta love a few guns

Bill made a whiz bang winning Ebay purchase (really, there are no failures on Ebay – well none that we speak of) and got himself a gyprock lifter. This thing is gold – the equivalent of the lemon zester in the 2nd drawer – and made light work of hoisting the sheets of gyprock all the way up into the air.

Gyprock lifter

12 ft ceilings…pfftt…a piece of cake

So there have been a few tricks put in place to bring those babies a bit closer to earth – try and make things look a little more cosy but still showing off those tall walls. The first one is a fancy cornice – which goes around the edge and is the meeting place for the walls and the ceiling. It’s going to be a bit ornate and wider than average.

The other feature will be wide skirting boards. And they are beautiful. Who would have thought you could get so excited about a piece of timber that runs around the bottom of a room? But yes, they are certainly adding to the charm.

Pre - cornice

Pre – cornice

In terms of choosing the fittings, it’s been quite a cinch…WB took loads of photos of the house in its original state – before it departed Melbourne – so the construction brief has been “match the original fittings”. And that goes for the rosette, which you can see here in its Melbourne surroundings.

The original rosette...quite ornate, don't you think?!

The original rosette…quite ornate, don’t you think?! Not so sure about the light feature…

This makes decision making a snap, and means the house hasn’t gone from Federation to Kardashian.

Next up is the bathroom…oohh you should see it!! I’ve got two words for you: Herring.Bone



Talk soon



Balustrade…it’s French for ‘fence’

Cracking progress was made late last week at the sausage sizzle that is Northcote. Men for miles but all working hard, so that’s the main thing.

The verandah balustrade went up on Friday and while it will prevent any little people from falling over the edge, it also adds a certain kind of charm to the whole look, don’t you think?


The view from River Road

It was a gloomy old afternoon, which resulted in about 18mm of rain falling over the weekend, so the NCG (Northcote Cricket Ground) is shaping up nicely.


The view from the north-east corner (don’t quote me on that – I’m not great with directions)


Balustrade – up close and personal.

The Melbourne crew have packed up, and are off to put another Golden Age Home together, with Albury being their next stop. We managed a cross over of sorts, with the local tradies receiving the ‘hand over’ from the city boys. They speak mostly the same language, apart from the Victorian accent that turned the directive ‘over here’ into a version of ‘over hey-ar’.


Anyway it’s time to jazz things up round here so we’re running a competition. It’s called ‘Guess The Tool’ – and it might be a person place or thing. This week it is definitely a ‘thing’ and all you have to do is write your guess in the comments section. Of course, we’re not expecting to be overwhelmed, judging by the response to our last call out for comments back here. Not one.

Not to worry, we’ll push on and will give the answer in the next post. Which you will all be eagerly awaiting I am sure!

As for a prize, let me think, how about for the first correct response CB and WB cook you dinner at the new house when it is fully functioning? (I’ll check to see if it’s ok with them but I’m sure they’ll be happy to take part.)

So drum roll please for our first round of ‘GUESS THE TOOL’


Go on, have a guess.


Fat Friday

Hey, it’s how we roll (sausage roll) around here – a tradition apparently – that every Friday the tradies forgo their wholesome sandwich for a revoltingly unhealthy pie/sausage roll/iced coffee combination for smoko that would make Sarah Wilson’s hair stand on end.

Sugar free it is not, but who am I to put a stop to what is apparently the most enjoyable part of the working week?

Gone are the grain bread, hand crafted, home cooked delicacies of a Monday through to Thursday. No, on Fridays the gloves are off.

Bill the Builder likes to prepare for this all important meal by beginning the day with only a light breakfast (a thinner spread of peanut butter on the toast, if you don’t mind) and then the usual break is pushed back by half an hour, so the anticipation really builds, and then it’s a matter of someone making the dash into town for the weekly feast of fatness.

Bill works with Dooey the Doer (who has never actually been referred to as that) and together they are working on the Northcote house. They specialise in renovating older style houses (which they might not realise) but this project is by far and away the most fun they have had in a while (I’m not sure about that either, but they seem to be smiling a lot.)

A lot of the recent work has been a bit fiddly (and not that memorable, or entertaining from a blogging point of view.) Nevertheless, I have taken a lot of photos of timber lately, with Dooey asking me just this morning if I didn’t have somewhere else to be – and that’s the funny thing, I don’t! School in the west doesn’t start back for another week, due to the exasperating heat that effects towns only 40 minutes away, but apparently not the rest of the state. So while I gear up for the teaching gig, it leaves me with a lot of time to stare at the internal corners being created, roof lines being constructed, ceiling beams being aligned and not to mention verandah boards going on. Like I said, riveting.

So here’s a quick snap shot of the week that’s been…complete with the Fat Friday feast.


Dooey on a Friday.


Very nice verandah boards


The kitchen gets some windows, with more to come


The ceiling. Amazing.


Bill the Builder, thrilled to be enjoying the local refreshments.


We apologise for the delay in transmission…

…but the festive season/ cricket/ hot weather/ oversupply of ham etc etc may have temporarily gotten in the way of a) building and b) writing about it.

But never fear, it’s a brand new year and there is lots to see. It’s been a busy start to 2014 on the block. With lots of visitors popping by to see the progress, traffic along the road has slowed – mainly because everyone is calling in.

In a nutshell:

  • Bill the Builder started working on the house. This will make things interesting if there is a difference of opinion between house owners and the builder (seeing as they’re related and stuff.) I hope they don’t ask me to pick sides – could be awkward.
  • The flamin’ slats (or sl#ts as CB calls them) are coming down at a rate of knots. In what began as a joke about how fun and easy it would be to take down the little suckers, they appear to be multiplying. Whose bright idea were 12 foot ceilings anyway?
  • Bare walls are being earmarked for more windows, and holes have been cut accordingly. The idea of ‘let there be light’ has never been more true. Some beautiful cedar double-hung sash windows (builder talk) were sourced on Ebay and they are about to find their way into the laundry and the kitchen. I’m beginning to think that windows are a lot like shoes…one can never have too many.
  • The bathroom is coming together – well it will be. At the moment we like to call it a ‘blank canvas’. It’s going to be extended out 800mm from the existing wall so the big hole will soon be sporting a flash new window (there we go again) that may or may not be looking out directly to the neighbours. Could be interesting.

As you can see, it’s basically structural stuff, so the trips to Ikea and subscriptions to tonnes of decorating magazines don’t seem to be paying dividends yet. However we are assured that the fun stuff is about to begin. In the meantime, Pinterest is getting a fair bit of air time.

Here are some of the highlights from the past few days…


Highlight #1: A window looking out to the river from the dining area.


Highlight #2: The high lights.


Highlight #3: Ta da! A space for French doors created in the spare bedroom – looking out to the north.


Highlight #4: One of the Ebay windows goes into the laundry.


Highlight #5: AQ, the 3 year old who is very happy with the progress, with the comment to WB “It’s a good house isn’t it? Good on Cwissy”

So it’s onwards and upwards with the slats, not too many more windows to come and a balmy 39 degrees tomorry.

Wish I was at the cricket…


The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire…

…if you sing the title, it sounds a lot funnier.

Anyway, the brand new roof is going on – and who could have picked a better week than this to pop a bit of silver zincalume (spell check that one) on the top of a house?!

Here’s Willy Weather’s interpretation of this week in Forbes. And the ‘roofers’ – that’s what we call them in the industry – aren’t even whinging.

Willy Weather

Willy – is this some kind of joke?

It’s bloody hot.

The roofers are a team of 5, from down south – Kilmore actually – and they have popped all of the fiddly bits and pieces on for the tin to be attached. These guys must have the best ankle muscles, spending most of their day walking along the equivalent of a tightrope and clinging on for dear life. It’s such a shame that strong ankles don’t get more recognition.


Ankles of steel

I was allowed roof access and (un)gracefully negotiated the scaffold, and I can tell you that the view from the top was stunning…


Liam – head roofer, Bill – consultant & Chris – logistics.

Well maybe not so much in that direction.

Looking west towards the river was a site – made much better by the fact that the sun was setting and the temperature had dropped by…well…at least a degree.


And it became clear, after talking to the lads, that they are more than happy to be working in such heat, especially when the conditions at the end of the day are so…rewarding.


It’s definitely coming along, and the owners are so pleased that it’s starting to look like a real house. What a bonus!


So once the roof is on, the gutter is fitted (don’t worry, that won’t require a dedicated blog post) it will be time to change some doors & windows, extend the kitchen & ensuite, and basically get all the outside walls ready to finish the weatherboards.

Would it be premature to start picking carpet colours?!


Bay watch

The big whoppa of a bay window was placed in its rightful spot today. Thankfully the builders from Golden Age Homes – who dismantled it back in Melbourne – are the same guys putting it back together. They pretty much lined up the original nail holes to make sure it went back in the exact spot. All done without an ounce of butt crack showing – so disappointing…


Prepare the way…

The crane was brought in (I did hear the men say it was a bit of overkill.) However we’re all about creating maximum drama for the passers by so it was definitely appropriate. I counted about 8 cars drive by in under an hour so that’s not a bad effort for mid week.


The young builder to the right is actually running.

The bay window had to be propped up on its frame – which is made from Oregon timber that is probably close to 100 years old. And that’s how old the house is being guessed at. Built sometime early in the 1900’s and now it gets another shot at life!


The bay window is here (ladders are an optional extra.)

I am falling for this grand lady…she is getting better and better every day.

And we are going to start a poll on the exterior paint colour – feel free to comment on what you think it should be once all the weatherboards are in place. The baby blue is not long for this world.


The grand plan…

The part that gets a bit confusing for observers (i.e. me) is that the floor plan of the house that has arrived will not remain as the floor plan for much longer. A bedroom will be turned into a living room, the kitchen will become more open plan (bring on the sledge hammers) and there will be a general shift around of storage and other bits and pieces.

The bathroom will also be extended and have a makeover and then things should start to look more like Northcote (I’ve adopted the new name, without consent!)

Not that the bathroom necessarily needs modernising…CB can’t believe the quality of the enamel and the versatility of a shath (shower-bath) Once it is removed, he has visions of this  becoming a garden feature.

Good luck with that one big boy.


“…hmm, I’m thinking out the back, and close to the shed.”

Here’s a look at the current floor plan:

Existing floor plan-2

North is out to the right

And moving forward, the concept is thus:

– Bed 1 remains as the master bedroom

– The bathroom is made wider to take up some of Bed 1 and 3.

– The bathroom is then be divided in half to incorporate a walk in robe.

– Bed 2 will eventually become a living room, that opens up out onto the verandah.

– Kitchen will be extended out to match up with the existing northern wall of the lounge room.

– Kitchen and lounge will become open plan

– A deck will be built overlooking the river

And this will become known as ‘Phase 1’ of the renovations. Phase 2 has had a keen architect’s eye helping out with some pretty cool additions and they should be implemented  by the time their first born is off to university. Stay tuned.


It’s a story of two halves

So day 1 is over and we can all breathe a sigh of relief. The house was still there when dawn broke. No one had stolen the trucks and she seemed to have slept well. She loves her new home.

Initial comments from the proud and eager new parents included:

“We’re hoping for it to be at lock up stage by Chrissy 2014” (Ever the realist: CB)

“So is the roof still coming, or is that it?” (Slightly overwhelmed by the whole experience:WB)


Let’s call this side ‘A’

The more practical aspects of the move, when it was still back in Melbourne, involved cutting the house in two, by actually making two incisions – one either side of the hallway. Pictured above are the floorboards of the hallway strapped up for the trip.

It’s easy to see why they were kept…nice wide babies.

Oh and this was a moment of truth alright – the truck pulled away leaving the big girl standing all by herself!


Look Mum, no hands!

The piers have been popped in today – with holes dug to a depth of 800mm,  (apologies if this detail bores you to tears but apparently people get a kick out of knowing this sort of stuff) They had a little bit of cement poured in (about “that much”) and then the steel piers were put in place – all very precise.

And about 140 of them.


On average, about 10 piers per worker

And then the most magical part was when the two parts came together as one.


So that’s the end of phase 1 and the ‘movers of houses’ have done their bit and are able to go back home to Victoria.

Next up the carpenters arrive and start putting things back in their rightful place. In the meantime, CB thought he might give them a helping hand with a bit of easy, non-back-breaking demolition work.


Stick with it! 


A new house has arrived, via the Newell Highway.

There is excitement in the air – a house has arrived from Melbourne, via Tocumwal, on a truck. It’s going to be parked on the Lachlan River and will become the new home for my sister and her hubby.

Ahh, the possibilities

Ahh, the possibilities

Here’s the bare block, as it is ‘pre house.’ Such an exciting (read ‘stressful’) time for them both as they prepared the way for the big arrival.

In their words, it has been a build up like no other. It could actually be compared to the impeding birth of a new baby (my observations, not theirs.)

Rather than a Doctor, the couple are making regular appointments with engineers from Council – who seem to have written every ‘parenting’ book known to man.

And the pre natal ‘huff and puff’ class has been replaced with reading up on the science of house relocation. The resident midwife, John from Golden Age Homes, specialises in transporting houses from inner city Melbourne to a new location. This Victorian style home was originally from Northcote and has now made way for more high rise units. (We think it will be much happier in the country!)

Preparations have been made, not a nursery but rather levelling of the soil, pegging out of the site, mapping of the nearby river and the like. An impending baby is sounding much easier.

And just like many babies, the bloody thing came early! Here she is making her grand entrance…


Nearly there…

The proud parents watch on

The rear end

Welcome to your new paddock.


The coming together of two parts to make a whole

The naming ceremony is next – every farm needs a name. So the front runner at the moment is Northcote, as a reference to the origins of the house. Not being overly familiar with the suburbs of Melbourne, the house relocators assured us that it used to be a fairly low brow suburb however it is well on its way to being one of high regard. We’ll go with that.

In the meantime it’s action stations… and I am thinking of setting up a lemonade stall to take full advantage of the local onlookers that have incorporated a drive along River Road into their daily routine.


Oh, and did I mention that they are actually having a real baby as well?!