Monday, May 9, 2011

hard to be green

Why is it so so hard to do a green renovation?


Ages ago I posted on our little extension. More than six months after first meeting with a designer we have finally signed a building contract with a builder who is at least not resistant to any of the sustainable choices we are trying to make. He one of the only people we have come across in our journey who doesn't give us that look that says 'weirdo hippy lesbians'!

Frankly, I quite like being thought of as weird, its much more enticing than my perception of myself as a pretty mainstream suburban mother, but the frustrating thing is we aren't asking for anything that should be considered weird at all. The building industry is where some of the greatest innovations are coming from yet to do a simple extension in a thoughtful way can be a battle of wills and a test of resolve.

We have made it through the design and negotiations with the builder. We are building a plywood box onto the side of our brick house. It's reminiscent of a caravan annex and intended to not be able to be mistaken for anything but a contemporary addition to a 60's house. Our box will capture the best of our northern sun and has been designed around the most beautiful magnolia ever seen. This was the first parameter we set around the design and the start in a long line of choices we have had to justify more than once. Who designs around a plant? Weirdo hippy gardeners that's who!


But now we have a design that we love, the box will be light and spacious and connect us to our garden and it will probably be painted green!

Building starts next week and we are up to working out the details of the kitchen planning, which can be a whole other post!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

loss

We are a bit anxious and sad around here at the moment. A while back I blogged about the shawl I knitted for my sister. It turned out like this ...


Rather lovely isn't it? My sister has started her stem cell treatment and is at the stage where she is feeling the full, awful, impact of chemotherapy and should by now be starting to feel the benefits of the treatment, if it has worked. She told me the other day that the shawl has been very important to her and she couldn't imagine how she could have got through this without it.

But now she has to - because yesterday it dissappeared from her hospital room and can't be found anywhere.

There is something in a handmade gift that carries with it all the love and worry you have for a person and the loss of the shawl has had an enormous impact on all of us, escalating our grief and our anxiety. Our father anxiously called last night and asked if I find another and get it in the post NOW. All I want to do is get in a car and go and hold her tight, except I can't (the pirate has whooping cough and we both have to stay away).

If only I could make another in time, but it took weeks to make this one. Instead I'm sending the only other shawl I have, trusting it will go some way to helping, and hoping it makes it very very quickly through all this christmas mail.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

plans

I am working on a wee renovation - I have to confess I am a bit of a frustrated architect and the opportunity to design an extension is pretty exciting.

We have made a decision that the house should serve our life not our life serve our house so are doing our best to keep this extension as cheap as it could possibly be.

Designing on a small budget should be daunting and frustrating, but I have to say it is helping us to be more sustainable in our approach. My view on sustainable design and building comes from the perspective that to be sustainable we need to do as little as possible and reuse as much as possible. Magazines articles and architectural awards of beautiful houses promoted as sustainable often show a modest dwelling turned into an exercise in excessive consumption.

What I have found interesting in the response from friends when we tell them we are planning to all live together is that few believe we can possibly be without two living spaces, 4 bedrooms and the all that goes with it. But, 30 years ago a family of 5 would have lived in my less than 100m2 house and seen it as totally normal. We plan to find a happy medium.

So what are we doing?

We are starting with this



We are extending a 96 m2 60's tragedy to create a 124m2 wonderfully livable space for 5 people .

come back to find out how!

Monday, October 25, 2010

it's been a while

my goodness, I was distracted a moment and totally lost track of time.

what happened to those two months? lots and not a lot particularly blogworthy.

there was some knitting for the Majura Primary School spring fair...

don't you love cheezezombie's slugs? I sold all three to 9/1o year old boys!

In amongst that was stealth knitting for my love's birthday....


fittingly 'van dyke' socks from the book 'socks from the toe up' and knitted in our own talented local dyer fibreweb's yarn - it was very beautiful.

They are very appreciated - and isn't that important for hand knitted sock recipients!

I've started a summer cardigan - I think I have managed an inch and that was on our recent holiday with about 2o hours in the car! Three kids on an 800km each way drive doesn't actually allow much knitting time I found. We had few lovely days in Armidale being proud at my love's doctorate graduation and visiting her family and some of the spectacular local spots.


We went horseriding. I really dislike horseriding. Horses scare me. A lot. In fact I think I would be more comfortable skydiving than being on a horse. Maybe. But the pirate was keen and I had to be brave.

the next little while is going to be so so busy too. You see we have plans....

They involve turning my 96m2 60's house into a 120m2 thing of beauty and fit for a family of five. It's fun and I am getting to totally indulge my frustrated inner architect. We are working very hard to keep it as sustainable as possible ( I plan to blog about that soon!). And cheap. The plans are off being tweaked and drawn up right now, all going well we will be able to afford it and find a builder who will start sometime in the new year.

Oh and I almost forgot to mention - my sister has started her stem cell treatment. She is amazing. And hairless. I think she is only the 2nd MS sufferer in Australia to be accepted for the treatment. So far it is going very well and we are all hopeful. The next step is the most difficult. Fingers crossed it will go well and she won't feel totally totally awful through the next lot of chemo.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

bag it

Not so much a creative space as a creative effort, because, although I am a design professional, I can't call my workplace particularly creative at all.

Sadly I have gone to the dark side and become a better paid bureaucrat.

For now my creative outlet is a little crafty activity - like my new bag, finished last night and proudly paraded today.



A Nicole Mallalieu design and the second version I have made.
pop over here for more creativity

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

fini


specs.
Springtime Bandit Shawl.one extra repeat row.Grignasco tango yarn.4.5mm needles

Thursday, July 22, 2010

creating in the sun

Its a frosty frosty Canberra morning. For reasons I can't explain we are ready for work and school an hour early. Which leaves time for some more rows of the Springtime Bandit shawl sitting in the morning sun by my front window.



I am planning to give this shawl to my sister tomorrow when I visit her in Sydney.

Finished.

I didn't make her first haematologist appointment but hopefully want to make the second, which is next week (btw it looks like she will be accepted for a stem cell transplant which is very good news) .

Once again I may not be too realistic with my deadlines.

Hope your creative space is sunny too. For more head over here.