A lot happens inside a new build once the frame is clad and the tradies finish the rough fitting of electrical and plumbing fixtures. I watched the transformation of internal walls and floors with interest.
Timber floors in the bedrooms.
Like the bedroom floors in our first home, reclaimed floorboards cover the concrete slab. The boards come from a stash stored under a tarp at the back of the site. They’re part of the Recycled Timber Specialists consignment delivered to site way back in late-2015.
Placing a layer of a rubber-like material supports the floorboards and helps with the acoustics. Tip-toeing quietly around these bedrooms will be easy with a cushioning layer below the wood.
The boards are showing their age (nearly 100 years) when first laid on the slab. It’s hard to see the beauty lurking just below the surface.
Sanding reveals the wood’s true colour by stripping away the accumulated grime from decades of use.
A final polish with Livos oils is the finishing touch. I’m confident the floorboards now look as good as they did when first laid in that Melbourne tram depot, back in the 1920s. One difference is our floors have the added bonus of all that history ingrained in the wood. How many people have walked across these boards? What happened in those offices during all that time?
Concrete floors everywhere else.
The slab looked drab, calling out for some care and attention. It doesn’t help being covered in a layer of dust and assorted building materials.
For the second home, we overcame an obstacle preventing our site being totally solar powered. While polishing the floors in the first home, our off-grid power system ran out of puff during cloudy weather. David hired a generator for one day to ensure the work continued. No problems at all with electricity supply this time, despite the polisher working continuously for hours on end. The solar panels + battery in our first home acts as a back-up supply to the offgrid unit. We simply swapped from one supply to the other, as needed, to ensure a steady supply of solar power.
The floor reached its full potential after the final polish and application of Livos oils.
Flecks of granite are an obvious feature in this batch of SCM concrete. I like to think the flecks add a little bling to the floors. That’s one of the benefits of using this type of concrete. Each batch is unique. Polishing floors is a fascinating lottery which reveals something different every time a slab is poured.
From frame to plaster on the walls.
Once the frame goes up, the rooms take shape. The open plan design for the kitchen and living room is obvious.
Insulation is essential for a home based on passive solar design principles. Polyester batts go into walls and ceilings before the next stage begins.
Finishing the Timbercrete walls and insulation clears the way for the plasterer.
Our plasterer worked his magic in the living area. There aren’t many right angles in this room so the high standard he achieved is a credit to his skills.
Nothing showcases his skills like the curved walls in the bedrooms. The image doesn’t do justice to what he managed to do. Imagine plastering a curving wall that rises from one end to the other. Oh, and just to add an extra level of difficulty, don’t use cornices to hide any imperfections.
Features emerging throughout the home.
As work progressed on the walls and floors, a few design features became more obvious.
Door frames made from timber reclaimed from the original house stand out, particularly in contrast to the limestone colour of the Timbercrete walls.
Sunlight streams through the clerestory windows into the main bedroom and ensuite. This light and the high ceilings ensure the rooms feel open and spacious.
Differences in the floor plan between our first and second homes encouraged us to play around with available space. For example, the kitchen area in this home has space for a study nook and extra storage next to the “laundry in a cupboard”.
Next stop – kitchen and bathrooms.
The plasterer finished and tagged the tiler into the ring. He’s now tiling walls and floors in the bathrooms. And yes, there is a curved wall in the bathroom too!
David and his team are working offsite in the workshop doing something miraculous with reclaimed timber vanities.
Stay tuned for more details.