what you SEE is what you get

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” – Aristotle

First, I want to thank all those who continue to comment on the blog and on the build. I appreciate your interest, your kind comments and all of your great questions.  As the last couple of blog posts were more philosophical and I heard from more than a few folks that you are looking for a progress report on the actual build, I thought I would provide an update.  

In no particular order, here is what has been happening:

  • The house and garage are almost completely clad now.  We chose wide grey metal panels for our roof and outside walls for a few reasons; it will respond better in a fire, it won’t need replacing in our lifetime, and it works better for rainwater harvesting.
  • We’ve added narrow cedar siding as an accent (296 pieces, stained and sealed) to add some warmth, natural texture, and some contrasting colour to the grey metal.  We have enclosed our front entrance, our back patio and have added it to the outdoor shower and the garage front and side entrances.
  • We have painted all of our exterior doors in black and have added black ‘smart technology’ hardware.
  • The well pump house is almost finished (where the instrument panel is housed) and will look very similar to the house when complete.
  • We have yet to bring the soil level up to height of the entrances, which will allow us to have a ‘no step’ entry and we have landscaping still to do, but both will have to wait until we have more time and money.
  • The rainwater system is almost ready to hook up.  We have installed a 5,600 gallon/21,000 litre rain barrel for storage and a concrete rain tank for processing.  We have installed special rain gutters with guards, on the roof and we have an impressive control panel in the garage that we are looking forward to learning how to operate and maintain.  We will soon have fresh water running through our taps; once we figure out what all those levers are for!
  • Our greywater tanks are in and we are preparing their connection to our greywater field which is located at the rear of the house, spanning 120 feet/36 meters and which will eventually be topped with fruit and nut trees.
  • Our well is now set up to run as our backup water system.  The pump house where the well’s working system is installed is much like the rainwater and greywater systems, in that it includes a lengthy manual which we will need to read and understand in order to keep everything running smoothly.   
  • Our compost toilets are almost ready to hook up and our ‘critter proof’ shed will soon be installed, where our waste will be temporarily stored.  This likely won’t seem like much of a transition since we have been using a portable toilet throughout the build.  Let’s hope our visitors come to see us more than once.
  • Our heat pump is installed and working alongside triple glazed windows and we are thrilled with the level of comfort inside the house, even on the coldest days.  We went with a two-cassette system for our small house (850 sq feet/79 square metres) and are pleased with the energy efficiency of this system.
  • We are currently installing window and door trim, and are looking forward to laying our new floor (waterproof, luxury vinyl plank) before building our small but efficient IKEA kitchen and tiling the bathroom and kitchen.

Along with the end of construction and the final house finishing in Shirley, there are all sorts of other things I am working on at our home here in Sidney.  After 25 years in the same house, I have a notebook filled with myriad things to arrange in order to move the 75 kilometres from here to there, in a matter of weeks.  Our Sidney house will be rented so while building the new, we have been renovating the old, ensuring that those who fill our space will enjoy it as much as we have.  And while moving day isn’t far away, there is little packing to be done.  Not owning much means that we won’t need to hire a moving company, but will instead make a few trips with our own cars and a family truck.  

As we look toward the completion of construction in Shirley, I am reminded that arriving there means leaving here.  I continue to reflect daily on some of the most wonderful years of my life, knowing that it takes a village, and feeling so very glad we chose this one to raise our children and care for our elders before moving on to our final chapter.