Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The house design

After going to a few talks and adult ed. courses, we decided that we wanted to build a passive solar house. We are being mostly selfish in this, yes there are environmental benefits, but our main motivation is to have a comfortable house. One that is cool in summer - like our current double brick house - and one that is warm in winter - unlike our current double brick house, with no wall insulation and drafty windows.

About 2 years ago we went on a sustainable homes tour of houses in and around Hobart. One designer caught our eye and from talking to the owners of the 2 houses of his we looked at, we decided to talk to MC (who has won awards for environmental design) about our project.

Jump forward again to March 2008 and we have a house design!! Yay!!

The brief was to have a 5 bedroom home, lots of glass to let in the light and warmth, rumpus room downstairs (very important), kitchen, dining room and family room on the eastern side of the house to catch the early morning light, separate lounge that can be closed off (so we can keep at least one room clean for when we have unexpected visitors), kitchenette in rumpus for kids parties, computer nook in a public space so we can keep an eye on the kids and all this in a house under 30 squares because we don't want to build a McMansion!!, nor could we justify the cost of building anything bigger.

Of course we went into more detail than this with MC and what he came up with is almost perfect. Now, I say almost because of course you never get everything you want, it's all about compromise. But we are happy and here's hoping council is happy too!

Plans should be with council in about a month, or when our planner gets back from his 6 weeks holiday!! Lucky for some!

The subdivision

Jump forward to August 2007 and we finally get council approval for our subdivision, almost 2 years after we put in the original application!! Yay!!

We've subdivided off three additional blocks, leaving ourselves the balance (about 3.7 hectares) on which to build our "dream home".

Looking towards Lot 1 from the road

And towards the building envelope of Lot 2.
Tyre swing included!!

And towards the building envelope of Lot 3

View across the valley from near Lots 2 and 3.

And don't forget those views of the mountain from our first post!!

Still a lot to do though before we get titles.

  • Final plan of survey - completed

  • Blocks and building envelopes pegged out - done

  • Geotechnical report - done

  • Visual impact report - done

  • Bushfire hazard management plan - needs to be updated

  • Vegetation management plan - have seen draft

  • Forest practices plan - don't need one (hopefully)

  • Engineer's drawings for driveway and services - pending!!! must send him an email to get a progress report!
Hopefully, if things go to plan we will be able to put the blocks on the market this spring. We are planning to sell the blocks ourselves - that should be interesting...

Soooo.... if you want a lovely block of land in Hobart, sized to suit all needs, north facing, with great views of the mountain and only 4 km from the city this space!!

Our Block

Some photo's of our block and our proposed building site.

Hopefully taking advantage of this existing cut and fill site will save us some money in the long run.
The planner a HCC also thought it would be looked on favourably from a bush fire hazard reduction point of view!!

We just have to get rid of the prefabbed concrete things that my father-in-law thought would come in handy one day. Guess what? They never did!

We love the aspect. It means that with a bit of thought going into the design, we can have a wonderfully comfortable house that is also environmentally friendly (if we don't think too hard about how much energy has gone into its construction).

And private...even though we will have neighbours near by, the slope means that we will still have uninterupted views.

Tom spent his youth exploring this bushland and hopefully our kids will do the same. We plan to replace the trees that we remove with new trees grown from seed collected on the block and maybe put some tracks or informal paths over it.

One spot I've got plans for...

Not sure what yet. A fernery if it wasn't so dry??

Something with a water feature may be???

Or just somewhere quiet to sit, drink 'tea' and watch the sunset over the mountain.

So much we could do, sometimes it seems a bit over whelming but exciting at the same time.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The story thus far

The story of our house, beginning as just a dream and finishing, hopefully, with the construction of our Home.

The Cast

Leading roles - Tom and Michelle
Minor roles - AA aged 11
- SP aged 9
- MM aged 6
- and MK aged 3
Supporting roles - The Designer - MC
more to come later

Story to Date

About 3 years ago, we decided to start looking at building the house we had talked about for soooo long. With 4 kids now, we had well and truly out grown our 3 bedroom, 120m2 house.

We had our block - 4.34 hectares of partially cleared bushland situated below Mt Wellington, 4 km from the centre of Hobart (Tasmania), in an area sometimes referred to as "showers about the mountain".

We chose the site we wanted for our dream home - an existing quarry that would get almost all day sun and great views of the mountain - but it would require approx. 120m of driveway to get to it.

To cut a very long story short, we decided to subdivide some of the land and sell it in order to fund the construction of the driveway and the house.

Not quite as easy as we thought it was going to be!!

But the views will be worth it!