Sunday, 15 July 2012

OMG the house is finished?? Hello life!

The house is finally finished, well more or less. Liveable at least. The vital signs are there: hot water and showers that work (a solar hot water + wood fired kitchen range combination which works just amazing), toilets that flush into the biogas septic tank that needs some, er, fine tuning, lights that turn on (wow), plugs that work, and so on..

Before we head off for a whole new family chapter in Pakistan (long story, perhaps another time) here’s a few photies of the place these days… 

Morning sun over Eastern wing... Wee bit of that pomegranate poking its head into view there on the left:)

Kitchen at night. All LED lights we went for... 
That kitchen range. A Rizolli (Italiano), 20KW capacity at
full blast. This is the heart of the heating system in winter
when the sun shineth less.  Nikita-built hood there, using part
of one of the old floor beams..

Ahhh. The techy part behind it all! So... here's how it works:
The white cylinder on the right is heated by the kitchen range, it's 300 litres
in size. It will heat the underfloor heating downstairs and a few radiators
upstairs. The grey one on the left feeds the showers, taps, etc. and
is heated by the solar hot water panels
on the roof, when it's sunny, but for those cold 'n' cloudy winter days the
white one (kitchen range remember) will heat it up. Plumbers reckon it's more
efficient this way (rather than having a massive 600 litre tank). 

The passive fridge / larder. This has an air inlet
from a pipe that runs underground from way
outside, and a chimney at the top to allow
warm air to get out.. But as the ground
temperature is only about 17 degrees constant
it never really gets that cold inside...
Might need to figure a way to pump
in some cold air there (solar heating to
cooling set up?)... 
the utility room / casa das machinas.. 

From kitchen into the hallway, multitudes of wood going on here.. Local oak post, pine floors, ash and chestnut
rafters (holding up the mezzanine), Romanian oak for other floor in kitchen and hall (and windows n doors).
Liberian whale and Senagalese cloth making a show.. 

Kira showing off hallway to kiddy bedrooms, and their
bathroom at the end.. (ash posts here on left) on that
funny raised "gallery" we haven't quite figured
out what we're going to use it for. Pictures I guess.
It's covering a bunch of rock that was jutting out
from side of the hill we just couldn't face cutting down any

Gallery in daytime

Standing in that exact same spot where that gallery now is
 3 years ago, before we cut down the rock, took down these old roofs, rebuilt the walls, the roofs,
and a million other things I'd rather not relive any more (ever again!). The point is, we raised this
roof on the left to meet the main roof at the same level, creating that new floor
+ the mez floor (which was kind of an unexpected bonus now I think of it).
Check Paulo on the roof there fixing something as usual:)

The pad Nikita built, and now slobs in
happily (facebook junkie that he is)

Kira's side of the Mez.. equipped with
rapid descent system for those
emergency response moments

The writer's room... 
Kira's upper deck, leading to Monica's room of requirement
(I mean creativity).  Dash of colour from Afghanistan here thanks
to Yaquub's Turkmen carpet emporium in Islamabad!

Descenting downstairs now, Meruch's steps, fair
few bits to finish off down here.  Argh.

so all down here already underfloor heat prepared..

Supposed to be the sitting room / movie zone. But Nikita's turned it
into a carpentry workshop! (Kids these days...).  

Monica's mosaiced shower friend, Haku the river dragon
in the downstairs toilet zone...

From our one room shelter looking down to the slightly larger main house.
So this bothy in foreground took up most of year 2, the monster in the back
year 3 and 4.. Or did I loose count? Anyway, lots of covered space!

And this was all year 1 pretty much. The house that Paulo built in the background there
and then lived in for the next year or so. Ah... those were the days. This was the
only functional space on the whole site for SO long.  Toilet and shower just behind, kitchen covered
there for the winter winds. Solar power for light and stuff.  

The much used labour party table. Yet to be covered
in those kiwis and passion fruit that grow slower than

One of our many avocado
experiements.. This one doing
not too bad.  Seemed to appreciate
the old port barrel (who wouldn't
at this point?)

The compost toilet
still going strong after 3 or 4 years. Another
class Paulo design n build.

bit of detail on the joy-of-lime.. Use both for the render (external plaster)
here as well as the pointing.  Mix pretty much 2:1 fine sand and lime putty.
Plenty shade used for at least 2 weeks after application mind you...
This whole wall made of straw bales, using a post&beam timber structure
to hold up the roof (local eucalyptus wood - don't let anyone tell you that
it's no good for building! The whole roof is made from it too).

Beatrix from Galicia, helped design our grey water filtration
system - for kitchen / washing machine waste water..
Goes through a grease trap into this gravel pit - that we should
have filled with plants by now (our bad), then onto a pond
where water plants further treat the water, then onto
watering the garden.  Loads to learn and and experiment with
further here.  Oh that red pipe is the air intake for that passive
fridge discussed earlier... 

Blast from the past. 2010 I think,  Joao et co, getting the structure in place
for the main stairs and east facing downstairs door way (see first picture).
Woah, top right of photo is now the kitchen.. Phew...

The three musketeers that will carry on for the next adventure, while Nikita goes back to school (finally!)