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

Monday, June 22, 2009

old house restumping

Great news! The building permit for the old house renovation is finally all confirmed. And they agreed to all the final details that Dad was worried about, like letting us use matching zinc alum steel for the verandah to what is already on the house. Yay!!

So now we really can go full steam ahead on it - well, as much as is possible given Dad's time constraints and us being on the other side of the world. :-(

Dave is due back in August for another working trip. So before that Dad decided to get cracking with my brother Pete's help working on replacing the stumps on the old house that the building inspector wanted done.

amherst stumps - 1 amherst stumps - 2

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Yay! Building permit is granted

We got a letter from the Central Goldfields Shire Council today, which gave us the great news that the building permit for the renovations to the old house has been granted.

BS-19314/20090076/0 is our number. :-)

I didn't scan it as most of it is just details about the property location and other details we included in the permit application.

The only really important thing is the date: Building work must commence by 16th June 2010 (not a problem as Dad and Dave will start in August), and be completed by 16th June 2011. That latter date will be a stretch given we are still stuck in the UK... but perhaps something miraculous will happen. Worst case we extend it for a year and Dave takes a semester off work here to go back and work on it.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

inspiration from Tuscany

We got back a few days ago from a short break in Tuscany, Italy. We stayed near Lucca with the aim of visiting lots of old villas and gardens. After reading the book "A Garden in Lucca" it was something I'd always wanted to do, although we unfortunately didn't get to visit the actual garden in the book as they only did group tours.

As per usual, I kept my eyes open for ideas for Amherst. We visited 5 gardens but our favourite by a mile was Villa Reale di Marlia. It was the largest and where Napoleon's sister lived. Here's some things I found that could be really interesting for Amherst...

I really liked this garden room, which had a central structure with vines all around and climbing over the roof. Might be an interesting alternative for the gazebo thingy in the middle of the walled garden, or as an outdoor lounging area in a corner of the secret garden? Or even perhaps up on a hill near the olives as part of a BBQ area? Maybe Dave could grow his grapes over something like this and not just on boring rows. :-)

Villa Reale di Marlia - 04 Villa Reale di Marlia - 05

I also liked the way they used little ditches of water flowing at ground level in the Spanish garden. It lead to a fountain at the end here, but I can imagine it working just as well without. There's a short video of it here, see especially the 2nd half, but the photos will give you the gist.

Villa Reale di Marlia - in garden at Giardino Spagnolo - 09 Villa Reale di Marlia - in garden at Giardino Spagnolo - 02

I was also intrigued by the way they used terracotta pots to make a garden. The Lemon tree garden at Villa Reale is supposedly famous for this, and because it gets to cold for them to survive the winters there, they have special orangeries (or actually they call them limoneries) where the pots get wheeled off to every winter. :-) This might be an interesting way of getting our "secret" garden in the courtyard going. We won't be able to plant things in the ground until the new house is built or else they'll just get trampled, but there's nothing stopping us from growing in pots which can then be carted off elsewhere when building starts...

Every garden we visited had a grotto style fountain. I didn't find them that appealing to be honest, with the exception of the one at Villa Reale which I liked for the simplicity of the steps shape...

Villa Reale di Marlia - in garden at Teatro dAcqua Fontane near villa - 2

Finally, my other big inspiration came not from a garden but from a tower. The Torre Guinigi in Lucca to be precise. It has trees growing at the top of the tower! Perhaps we should think about this for our mini-library tower... I suspect it would be an engineering nightmare and wouldn't pass any of the fire hazard criteria, but hey I can dream... ;-)

Lucca - Torre Guinigi - 12 Lucca - Torre Guinigi - 02

Friday, June 12, 2009

Updated site plan

Dad got a call from the local Planning department to say that they would like to have an updated site plan, which includes everything we plan to build in the "relatively near future".

So, I took a screengrab from Google Earth and then overlaid on as best I could where everything currently envisaged goes. Hoping this is enough...

latest site plan