05.Nov.2012 :::Roof Garden & Veggie Patch:::

I have finally installed my fynbos roof garden – all the plants are water-wise. The garden base consists of a layer of dorken with sand filling the cups then a layer of great soil that Bruce Beyer and his team made for the project. I installed the irrigation system myself, which although quite a steep learning curve, wasn’t too tricky. It is now entirely automated. The garden has also added an insulation layer for the whole area, shielding the kitchen from the heat of summer.

Previously the slab would heat up during the day and then spend the night giving off heat to the house which would result in a very warm house.This insulation layer will also keep the heat from escaping the house in winter.

My courtyard has now also undergone a transformation – I have installed a veggie box. There are already some herbs and two Jasmine bushes. Hopefully I will have a fully functioning kitchen garden at my disposal soon.

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05.Oct.2011 :::MOVED:::

I’ve moved in!

It feels surreal after all this time to actually be in my own space – this is also heightened by the fact that I have very little furniture so it’s a bit empty.

But I’m in! No more having to answer that “when are you moving in?” question, it is done. But like any marriage the next question is “so when you going to have a party” (replace ‘party’ with ‘baby’) – the answer is as soon as I get over my paranoia about my new floors (replace ‘new floors’ with ‘commitment issues’)

Next phase is the garden/pool/deck… but first I am going to unpack and sleep and work to try and pay for all this!

Now that I have a new house, unpacking all my old crap, I feel that I need to get rid of a lot of stuff. So a garage sale and charity is the next step.

But I’m in!

13.Sep.2011 :::Cabinets and the end is in sight:::

Spotlight Kitchens are still hard at work installing the kitchen and bedroom. I am now about 2 weeks from actually moving in. The stone is on the kitchen countertops, and most of the cabinets are constructed – the installation has been tricky, but it’s all going relatively smoothly.

I have employed the glass craftsman Simon Croft of Fusion who came around to template up the glass balustrade for my bedroom as well as the shower screens for both master and 2nd bathrooms – these should be ready in about 3 weeks.

(The gallery below is of some snaps off my phone so quality isn’t great)



27.Aug.2011 ::: More cabinets :::

Spotlight is hard at work installing the kitchen and bedroom cabinets. The carcasses are mostly in and it’s beginning to take shape.

The most challenging part of the process is now keeping contractors off the new floors. It’s a constant battle of getting one contractor not to damage another contractor’s work. The stress of this last stage is taking its toll.

Final paint touch ups also happening. This next week marks the arrival of the final sanitary ware items  – a couple of weeks left and I’ll be sleeping here!

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22.Aug.2011 ::Floors in – cabinets arrive::

The home stretch at last. The floors are pretty much in – just a little section of the landing to finish.

I went with an oiled finish using a two component oil that has much better water resistant properties than the standard oil.

The painting is also almost done, there will just be a few areas that need to be touched up.

Spotlight delivered the first of the carcasses for all my cabinets and the installation begins tomorrow.

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10.Aug.2011 :: Finishes, Floors, paint and hopefully moving soon ::

The move-in date is getting closer!
The most asked question of this whole project is “When will it be ready?”
The real answer is probably “Never”. I think a house is never really complete and you can spend the rest of time completing it.
That said, there does come a time when you have to get it to a state that you can actually live in it. And that time is hopefully just a few weeks away.
Zimbostrading is busy installing my oak floors – the 220mm wide boards look beautiful. I have yet another decision: to oil or to varnish. Each has it pros and cons. The oil brings a natural quality to the timber while the varnish is worry free in the kitchen and bathroom areas.

Spotlight Kitchens have also been working away at all my cupboards for both my kitchen and my bedroom and they are now almost ready to install. The stone worktops are being supplied by Canata.
I also decided to install underfloor heating. While the cost of installation is relatively cheap the running costs are high. I do think that it is a vital part of a comfortable home in Cape Town despite our unusually warm winter. Dynamis helped me out with the underfloor heating.

The painters have been working away on the walls and timber frames. The whole process is now about refining and ensuring that the house maintains its integrity and doesn’t get hidden by the wrong choice of finishes. This is is the most delicate part of the process and the most expensive.
I have resigned myself to the fact that I won’t have everything I want all at once. The garden, deck and pool will have to wait, but I have ensured that most of the interior will be complete so that when I move in I can comfortably live in the house.


07.Jun.2011 …:: Garage door, driveway & Vola! ::…

The garage door is in, sewerage line is installed, the driveway is drying & interior plans are just about ready.

It’s been a long month since the last update. Many more decisions and not enough time to make them.

I spent a good portion of the last month deciding on tap fittings and after many hours and days and weeks trying to find the right fittings, a quick conversation and a mail with a work colleague led me to Vola. Designed by Arne Jacobsen in 1968 this range fits the form/function balance perfectly and seems to belong in my home.

You can also head on over to artsy.net to find out more and even get your hands on some of Arne’s pieces.

With the help of Martina at Still Bathrooms I have managed to sort most of my sanitary ware requirements out which is a huge relief.

Vola is not cheap but I think is well worth it – it comes in different colours and has water saving adjustments.

There is also a 360 degree view of the interior to stare at.

17.Apr.2011 |:::…Colour…:::|::::|-

The last month has been a very intense period of decision and indecision.

Colour has been the topic on my brain and I have learnt one thing about colour – it’s easiest to not choose a colour – so I’ve gone with white.

I have also realised that it is best to go with your own opinion regardless of how much advice you get because at the end of the 2500 colour swatches the only colour you will ever be happy with is the one you choose yourself. Or maybe that’s just me.

The interior has its first coat of paint. All the glazing is in. The garage door is ordered. I have a new boundary fence. The joinery plans are almost complete thanks to Site-ID. The flooring quotes are in. The geyser dilemma is almost solved. And I am looking at a year of serious debt.

I now have a date that I HAVE to move in: June 1st 2011. I will be out of apartment and time. I should be 85% complete but I have accepted the fate of a build-your-first-house soloist and will have to live without some things completed.

I am however more excited than ever and even sitting in the empty space I get a sense of the home’s personality.

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07.Mar.2011 March – the final frontier – decisions, decisions and then some

The last month has seen the old boundary wall come down and a new one pop up. I now need to decide what fence to put up – timber fencing is leading the choice war.

I have also moved apartments (against my will) and am now looking forward to finally leave the confines of a small space into my new house.

SiteID has been working away at some of my interiors and the initial ideas look promising. The doors are about to get hung – the glazing should be in by the end of the week – it’s been a long wait: apparently acoustic glass isn’t the easiest to get hold of.

Next on the very long list, is the garden, which is going to involve yet a whole new set of thoughts and drawings. Existing trees (alien or not;) might need to be moved or removed and a design to include a pool (coming sometime in the future) will need to be drawn up.

I also need to decide what colour to paint the main first floor of the building.

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04.Feb.2011 The wall came down and the frames went in

The last few weeks have been hot and busy. All’s well on site and steadily the house is nearing its final stages, but these stages are the most critical and will take time.

I now have to find a new place to stay as I have to leave my current apartment – not ideal considering I am so close to completion of my house.

The existing boundary wall has been torn down and I now can see the extent of my new garden – and it’s bigger than I thought! The new wall needs to be erected and in the interim my house is feeling somewhat exposed.

The final wooden frames have been put in place and next the glazing will arrive. Painters have been furiously busy and it’s all going on.

I have also appointed Site-Id, the interior design division of Greg-Wright Architects, to help me with my interiors. Too much to think about on my own and quite excited to see what they pull out the bag!

My garage has a roof – just waiting for quotes for the door and I’ll have a secure garage shortly.

You can see a little video of the wall coming down here: And the wall came down…

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