Before… and during. Leftmost photo – the cabin before the house was started. Rightmost photo (and below), look closely, the single storey bit- away from the scaffolding to the left in the photo, that’s the Cabin that we are living in. I really want to share what an amazing experience it is to live in a micro version of the house you are building, while you are building it, but I’m struggling to explain.
For us as first time self-builders, having a small scale building to ‘learn the ropes’ has worked really well. Experience is usually something you get immediately after you need it. But the Cabin has allowed us to see and experience the entire cycle of building a house on a small scale in a controlled way. We’re saving lots because we aren’t renting, plus we get to have the fun and pleasure of living in a house designed by Roderick James Architects. No frustrating wait required! Will we be in by Christmas? Doesn’t matter! We’re here already!
Lots of things going on, primarily because I made all of my mistakes on the cabin. Because of the cabin, I now know the consequences of indecision about finishes and/or suppliers. I know what these do to the schedule and their knock-on effect to the budget. But, thank goodness, I made all of those mistakes on a small scale and am benefiting from the experience I’ve gained. Quick list of what I have learned:
1. We have trusted relationships with most of the contractors and most of the suppliers that we need in order to finish. Good communications with all of the team.
2. We now are able to make sure our suppliers and contractors are lined up with all of the tools and equipment they need.
3. We are here onsite for all deliveries, plus the site and materials are secure from vandals and thieves because we live here.
4. Like most self-builders, we have other jobs. Being here means that we can work on the house before 9am and after 6pm. While we were renting there was a 40 minute drive each way. HUGE difference.
5. I now know what needs to happen next and next and next.
We embarked on this project partly because we wanted to live in a house designed by Roderick James Architects. To our surprise and delight, we are living in one already, even though we are still building it. Someone said to us today, “It’s gone from ‘Cabin in the woods’ to ‘Cathedral’ since I saw it last.” We are the luckiest people in the world.
A glimpse of life inside, both cabin and house, along with recent progress:
Roof going on – That’s the cabin to the left – the bit we’re living in while building the rest:
Our double skinned roof – ready for recycled newspaper insulation to be blown in next week:
A few inside views of the main house – Looking up at Mike Roberts on the first floor:
Looking around on the first floor:
Panorama of the ceilings of the main house:
Ground floor panorama of the house – note window to the extreme right in photo – that window will become a door into the cabin. Mike is sitting at his computer in the cabin:
Inside the cabin – this is our bed platform. The winch is on the left, midway down the beam. The bed goes up and down on ropes and is out of the way during the day:
The bed is up, I’m standing underneath looking up from below the bed platform – and it looks just like a continuation of the ceiling:
And our shower – 1 metre wide. Very luxurious – remember the cabin is the size of a large garden shed!
Outside again, this is the view we will have from the first floor balcony: