View of Unit 2 frame from Unit 1 kitchen window
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Frame means Unit 2 goes 3D

After a pause to recover from the exertion of pouring the slab, the team moved onto building the frame for Unit 2.  Time to go 3D!

Finished concrete slab for Unit 2

Living in Unit 1 means watching the action from a front row seat.  Each day we see progress while pottering in the kitchen or sitting at the dining room table.

Frame created piece by piece.

The first part of the frame suddenly appeared, like a mushroom popping up after a shower of rain.

Frame construction underway

This is the frame nerve centre, the place where the magic happens.  There are no prefabricated panels arriving on the site. Various lengths and sizes of timber are delivered and each piece is cut to suit according to the plans laid out on this table. True to the sustainable philosophy practised on the build, David made the table from bits and pieces already on site.

Mobile table where the frame planning takes place

Distinctive frame design features appear.

With the southern wall in place, the shape and size of the two bedrooms and bathrooms clicks into place.

Southern wall frame in place

A distinctive curved entrance way greets visitors.  Timbercrete cladding will curve around from the left hand side as an extension of the garage wall. Reclaimed timber and floorboards from the old house clad the right hand side in a board and batten arrangement similar to the entrance of Unit 1.

Curved frame at the front entrance

The curved entrance matches the curved wall wrapping around the bedroom near the driveway leading to Unit 3.  A splash of colour appeared by adding facia boards to the bare bones frame. The straight line of the boards also provides an intriguing contrast to the curve underneath.

Curved frame on bedroom wall with facia board installed

As the northern frame takes shape, large openings for a sliding door and windows stand out.  These openings are an important feature of the passive solar design, bringing winter sun into the house and warming the concrete slab.  This wall features a slight kink behind where the wheelbarrow is sitting. The kink avoids a boring straight wall running from one side of the living area to the other.

Northern wall frame with the mid-line kink

More and more timber is added to the frame as roof supports fill in previously empty spaces.  Looking inside the family room and kitchen area highlights the intricate details. That’s a lot of skill and hard work to get it looking this good.

Finished frame in family room and kitchen

Unit 2 connects with nearby canopy trees.

Once the window and door openings are in place, it’s possible to get a sense of how the house connects with its environment.  Although Unit 2 is right next door to Unit 1, it has a different feel. The second unit is more secluded since it’s closer to the nearby canopy trees.

The old oak and other canopy trees in our neighbour’s back garden are prominently displayed in the view from the family room sliding door. Being deciduous, they provide shade in summer but the bare limbs let the warming winter sun through.

Canopy trees on neighbours' property

Standing at the kitchen window feels as though you are almost underneath the Swamp Gum on our property.  Being this close makes it easy to watch the antics of the many native birds visiting this tree.

Swamp Gum view from kitchen window

Overall, Unit 2 feels embraced by stately trees.

Nature is resilient.

Speaking of flora, nature’s resilience never ceases to amaze me.

Self-seeding marigolds are a feature of next door’s driveway on our western boundary.  Who would have thought the wind blown seeds could have survived and sprouted after such a hot, dry summer?  But no, here they are on the bare earth at the back of the unfinished garage slab. All it took for them to flourish was cooler weather and a bit of rain.

Self-seeded marigold plants

Maybe there is a lesson there for vegetation recovery on a more global scale?


  • Jan Blomfield

    April 06, 04 2019 10:57:38

    So Interesting! So quickly it all materialises!

    Bet you just can’t wait until Unit 3 goes up & is completed! Have you thought of any changes at all?

    Cheers Jan👍🤣🐬

    • Libby & Howard

      April 07, 04 2019 06:29:58

      Hello Jan – You’re right. We’re looking forward to the groundworks on Unit 3 starting in the next few days. All going well, we should have construction underway on Units 2 & 3.

  • Caroline Leslie

    April 07, 04 2019 08:52:23

    You’ve come so far so fast! Wonderful to see. Splendid that you haven;t needed to aircondition on even this summer;s hottest days. Passive solar and serious insulation with a concrete slab and the right eave angles is the way to go, obviously! If only everyone built like this…
    Love, Caroline xx

    • Libby & Howard

      April 08, 04 2019 02:49:58

      Hi there Caroline – Yes, we are very pleased with the way the house performs (just as we expected/hoped). Living in a passive solar home makes us appreciate what can be done with clever design.

  • Jenny Hinde

    April 08, 04 2019 11:35:55

    It all looks to be happening. Can’t wait to see it all in September.

    • Libby & Howard

      April 08, 04 2019 02:48:47

      Hi there Jen – looking forward to taking you on a tour. All going well, we should have the front garden landscaped so the view from the street will be even better.

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