-----In 2004 we bought a falling-down house and 30 acres. This blog documents our progress-----

Friday, December 17, 2004

starting work on the cottage

Dad has decided to make a start on the cottage aka "hobbit hole".

Email from Mum - 16th Dec
Dad has gone up to Amherst. Rang me in a rush at work yesterday afternoon to tell me. He is planning on Friday, today, to do the excavations for hobbit hole which has grown to be two storey suddenly, carport, and garage; Saturday to pour slabs for all three AND get council to inspect. I think he is dreaming but.. reason for all this activity is to give Peter some work to do, stonework / bricklaying whilst he is getting himself sorted out.

My reply - 17th Dec
In terms of the garage / carport, I guess we just have to wait and see what he's planning. I'm not overly enthusiastic about them, mostly because garages/carports are often ugly metal structures! Also, ultimately there most probably won't be a driveway to the cottage itself, the access will be via a walking path only (or cross country across paddocks), so tell Dad not to get too carried away on building places for cars next to the cottage. But I'm guessing anything Dad does could be converted to other uses, so it'll be OK. The reason that I don't want to have a driveway to the cottage is because it will cut right across the main view, not to mention getting in the way of the garden ... Prue was talking about having a wonderful series of cascading ponds etc on that gentle slope down towards the natural hollow. Maybe we will end up planning one in, but at this stage I don't want to insist on it because it might constrain what we can do.

The one big thing is that I don't want any slabs laid in the vicinity of the existing old house so I hope he hasn't done that (although if he has it's not the end of the world, we can always rip it up if it turns out to be in the wrong spot, so don't get angry with him). This is because we're still working with the architect and so I don't want to build anything more that can't be easily moved in the vicinity of (or indeed even in sight of) the house until we have gotten a lot
further in the plans and know what we're doing. We're deliberately not rushing the architect discussions because we want to make sure we think through all the details; also I'm enjoying the planning and dreaming stage so want to allow time to savour it and not rush when there's no need.

Mum's reply - 17th Dec
The carport / garage is near hobbithole but upstream I think, to get water for gravity feed.... and I at least am well awaure it has to be tucked away out of sight, and Dad too I am pretty sure. Carport is for working in in wet weather and garage is for storage I think - Dad has said once that it would be walk only to hobbit hole, no car, so he knows,or knew, that; just that you know how he gets so excited and forgets things. Dad is collecting all the stones and stcking them as it is them Pete will be laying.

We saw a straw bale house on the Q'cliff/Port road last weekend - Dad went to have a look as he was sure I was wrong when I said it was straw bale. Owners lived next door and whippec over to make sure no-one was stealing anything - and they chatted and were nice. Now Dad says the front face (ie out of ground bit) of hobbit hole will be straw bale. Well, it will be well insulated anyway. I had thought the front facade would be stone from local area to blend in, but Dad is putting the stone as the feature wall inside, at the back, up against the earth where it is dug in.

I like the idea of two storey, always have, and your block is steep enough there to do as I always thought - walk into upstairs froim outside ie ground level, and also walk in downstairs at ground level. Stairs of course connect, or a ladder, but if you can't manage them then you just walk around. I have said why make it a straight rectangle. the hill curves round, why can't the house follow the curve too and Dad said no reason at all. so I hope it will turn out to be a portion of an annulus so to speak. Probably not curved at the front but perhaps four or six flat bits like
sides of a polygon. It may be hard to draw the thing up for a plan for the council and permit but I bet it may well be easier to build like that, as the site dictates, than to get every angle and measurement worked out first. For a hobbit hole, that is; not for a mansion or office block or something. I suspect it would have been done like that centuries ago. Just build what you wanted where you wanted.

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