Building with the Drents: part 19
Kiwi actor Ido Drent, best known for his role on Shortland Street, shares his journey as he and his wife Mandy build a new house in Auckland and wrangle a toddler and baby.
There is only one way to dig drains and it's not pretty.
It's been a very busy week on site, getting all the stormwater and drainage completed in time for the driveway to go down.
We've also had Vector there, connecting gas, and my sparkies running all the conduits for the outdoor power we require. All pretty messy work.
* Part 18
* Part 16
* Part 15
* Part 14
Pitching in with the physical and practical labour is one of the ways I can contribute to getting the project successfully across the finish line. It doesn't require any particular skill-set, just a whole heap of hard work.
We installed our 5000 litre stormwater tank - this massive, bright blue monolith of a thing. The drain layer has been working really hard to get it installed before our inspection and driveway pour. There's a lot of time that goes into making sure everything is working and installed correctly. But it's also exciting - this is one of the last major things to do on the house before being able to get our code of compliance. It's crazy how quickly we're approaching the end.
The end of the build is also requiring Mandy and I to simplify a few ideas, particularly with the landscaping around the front of the house. We've had to pull back on our original ideas for the driveway and retaining wall in order to save some costs. Originally we thought we would retain along the front boundary to create a level front yard around the driveway. Unfortunately, that will have to wait!
Speaking of driveways, I was on site at 6am to watch it being poured. With simplifying everything, we've just opted for a plain concrete driveway with an oxide added to give it a charcoal colour.
We almost had a bit of a scene with our new crossing consent. I applied for consent along with the building consent last April, but unfortunately it only lasts 12 months. I hadn't realised this was the case. So when I contacted Auckland Council to do the pre-pour inspection, they said that the consent had lapsed last month and I'd need to apply for another one, which takes 20 working days.
It's not what you want to hear when you've got the driveway being poured in two days.
Thankfully, common sense prevailed in this instance and Auckland Council was happy to grant a retrospective extension to the lapsed permit. We were all stoked as that good sense won on the day, which doesn't always happen when you're dealing with a city council.
Instead of the retaining wall out front, we've opted to pour a smaller concrete pad outside the front door. Minimising the wall and taking a more simple approach to the front of the property means we'll save ourselves $15,000 - $20,000 for now.
It feels a bit like we're trying to land a plane at this stage of the build. So many things need to come together and there's also a lot of opportunities for things to get out of control. With everything so dependent on each other, and tightly timed, any one thing being delayed means there are a number of flow-on effects.
When it comes to the interior, it's become about the art of choosing between different tones. We've been looking at colours and samples for the lacquer we'll be using for the kitchen cabinetry.
As mentioned before, we've gone for an American oak veneer on some of the cupboards. Now that the floor is down in the kitchen area, it's given us a chance to try to find a lacquer colour that will work with our floors. The guys at SWP had some samples painted for us so we can bring them on site to have a look at what works. Once we make the call on this, our kitchen doors will go in to get sprayed and be ready for installation next week. I also had a sneak peek at our Corian bench top. I'm looking forward to showing you guys the finished product!
And lastly this week, we're trying to get our heads around the carpet we want. We are having some second thoughts about our original choice so we've got a few other tones of grey from Carpet Court this week and are comparing samples. As we've learnt, it pays to be really exacting about your colour choices. In fact, after this build I'll never look at colour the same again!
- The thing with council and our driveway has been a good reminder this week to always ask the question. The first person I talked to just gave me a blanket "no" on getting an extension. Only when I kept pushing to talk to the inspector who was in charge of our job did I get the go ahead. If I had accepted the first answer, we'd be sitting around for 20 days.
- We've had to scale back with the driveway plan, but we didn't want to use a plain coloured concrete, so adding an oxide was a good way to get something slightly different and be really cost effective. You can also play with how it's boxed up, creating different panels so you can plant in between. We just went for a smooth finish so that Baz and Elliotte can ride their bikes on it.
- Designing a stageable outdoor plan has been good as we can knock things off as we go. This way we're also preparing the things that need to be done now - eg running conduit for electricity for a future gate - to save ourselves some work down the track.