Day 116 – Bricking done

The bricking is complete and the guys have done a great job. The last piece of the puzzle is the massive chimney; and it appears there are a few ways of building this.  As I’ve said before, I love my fireplaces. After all this work to get the fireplace sorted I promise to love and cherish it!

I’ve put in a request to keep any extra bricks to assist with any retaining walls or garden beds I might build down the track. I think I have the option to keep any non-whole pallet loads. I have no idea how many that will be but other have been left with 400 -600 bricks. Neat.

The wrap is now completed on the top floor as well. This is laying the base for the cladding. The cladding will be our first look at our colour scheme. We chose our colours off an A4 sheet of paper. Next time we see the colour it will be installed and on the house! I’m not panicking yet…but I do reserve the right to panic later. 

Our site supervisor is thrilled with our job and said we are making great progress. As such, he’s hoping to expedite the build a bit. Now, I’m not getting excited, but he’s hinted that my move in date may be a little too conservative! I won’t jinx the job, but I’ll know more over the coming 30 days. After this news I was jumping around the office with a boyish grin and a spring in my step.

The plaster is planned for next week and I’m told it is a bus-load of lads will complete the job within a week. Cool.  Next week will also see the external cladding put on and the eaves done. I can’t wait for the external cladding to be taken down. This will narrow the new girl down a bit. She’s looking a little large and bloated on the block.

The next month will see the stairs and cabinetry start. I really like how we are given an advanced list of next steps. I feel a bit in the loop. The next site visit and walk is planned when the plaster has been done.

I have chatted to a landscape company who will swing by when we can coordinate our diaries. I’m really keen to get the master plan done early so any excavation work can be done nice and early.


Day 98 – bricking continues

Turns out the house has not been dormant. The brickies worked through the break. I think they had a few days off but since then they have been gunning it. To my untrained eye the brickwork looks really neat and tidy. Great job. Our site supervisor is also really impressed with the work.

I am really enjoying my weekly update from our site supervisor. He is very good at keeping us up to date with everything. He lets us know the next few week’s deadlines and expectations. He gets extra points as he keeps telling me how much he really likes the façade of our home! As the bricks are finished off there are a few lasting questions about the chimney and the team need to check with the engineers who drafted the plans. I guess it is not every day you build a six metre chimney!

Work will also start on the garage brickwork to the boundary fence.

We are in the middle of a Melbourne heatwave but the brickies – made of stronger stuff than I – have decided to keep working (at least the morning shift most days this week!).

The plaster sheets are scheduled to arrive next week and hopefully the plasterers  can start. I’m really impressed that we are up to plastering already. The upper insulation and cladding is also on the work plan for the next fortnight. Next step, scaffolding.



Fire, fire burning bright

I grew up with fires. I have had a fireplace in every house I have lived in (okay, except one).  You cannot beat the licking flames and real warmth that comes from a firebox. I adore them to bits. From the cavemen of old to the designer apartments today, fires have a large place in our lives. Who hasn’t enjoyed the flames of a fire in winter. I will travel many miles to find a country pub with an old-fashioned roaring open fire.

Our new home has a firebox in the corner of the lounge room.  We have sunken the hearth and we will tile the wall around the chimney to feature it up.

Example tiling:

The volume builders do struggle a bit with the fireboxes. They are not a standard item and we found the fire was actually quite a lot of work to get across the line. Most of the offerings were for fake gas ones. A wonderful option for some, but not for me. After a lot of paperwork and negotiating about what models would and would not work in our home, there was a lot of compromise. Also, building regulations with new home fireplaces are very steep.  We will require a bricked chimney well past the top of our roof so there is no risk of ember attack on our own house or the neighbourhood.

I’m still not sure where the wood will go.  I have an antique wooden chest that has been passed down the family. Maybe that would make a grand log-box

I have spent the past two years collecting firewood from the suburbs. I am the urban angel that helps the elderly with their felled trees to keep the streets clean! Okay, overboard, but you get the gist. There is honour in salvaging you own wood. So really, the firebox will cost zero to keep us warm in winter. (New car installation cost aside!)

We plan to use the firebox as our primary source of heating for most weekends and 2-3 weekdays.  I estimate we will burn around 1.3 kg of firewood per hour between May – September.


This is 150 days.   Rough maths, but I think we’ll go through around 1.3kg of wood * 7hours * 150days). That is around a 1-2 tonne of wood each winter.  That also considers the kwh of our fire box which is pretty modest. Here is a handy calculator for how much wood you may use:

There are a lot of myths out there about fires and how bad they are for the environment. The new fireboxes have burn efficiencies of in excess of 65% or so. The very best, are pushing 90%.  A standard open fire is about 5-10% efficient! The new units are pretty good. If you use the right wood – hard and dry – I feel there are no real environmental issues. There is lots of great information at this website (

We plan to create little kindling/paper packages that we can toss into the fire to make starting it really easy.

My garden will also love the potash that comes from the wood – so double bonus there.

Do you have a fire? Are you planning a firebox?