29 October 2013

Day 618: Electrical distribution board

Quiz: What do you get when you allow an electronic engineer to design a house’s electrical system?

Answer: A very interesting and complicated distribution board

24 October 2013

Day 614: Moving the geyser

Anyone who has ever lived in an estate knows that “estate people” can be difficult.  We received a complaint that the solar geyser should be hidden from view. Luckily we thought of a very clever solution to suspend a structure from the roof and locate the geyser inside the closet space. 

Day 613: Gutter

Rain water from the gutter is collected in a basement storage tank. This grey water is integrated into the house’s water supply where it is used for irrigation and toilet flushing.

17 October 2013

Day 606: Solar water heater

During the time that passed since we started planning this house, the solar water heating system we planned to use has been discontinued. We did another storm of research re-evaluating heat pumps and solar water heaters. An informed decision was made to install a 200l thermo siphon solar water heater with evacuated tube collectors. This system requires no maintenance and should minimise the amount of electricity used to heat water. Theoretically we should have solar heated water throughout the year and only use the backup electricity in the early morning hours. The first step in the installation has been completed and our solar water heater is on the roof. Early next week when the water connection is ready the evacuated tubes will be installed and the system will be connected.

10 October 2013

Day 595: Waterproofing the concrete roof

Even though we added a waterproofing admixture in the concrete mix, I decided to be conservative and treat the concrete roof surface with an additional waterproofing membrane. I will not have a leaking roof!

A bituminous primer is used prior to the application of the torchon waterproofing membrane. The tar like substance prevents moisture from penetrating into the porous concrete slab. After a few months the surface will be painted with a light grey top coat to protect the waterproofing from the sun’s UV rays.

08 October 2013

Day 593: Skylight

Translucent sheeting was integrated into the sheet metal roof to provide natural lighting in the walk in closet. A light shaft still needs to be constructed to bounce the light and allow soft indirect light to reach the interior space. This is an ideal solution for a closet because natural daylight is allowed while perfect privacy is insured.

07 October 2013

Day 592: Oops!

Day 592: Oeps!

The outside store room needed a 75mm Ø hole in the floor to allow for a grey water pipe between the basement storage tank and the ground floor garden tap. We rented a core drill to make a smooth hole through the concrete slab without damaging the polished concrete floors. The operator pumped water into the drill to increase the pressure while drilling. The core drill process takes about an hour. During this time someone calls me to tell me there is a water leak in the electrical duct. Upon inspection I realise that there is water spouting from a conduit cast into the ground floor slab. The only active water on site was used for the core drill. Slow realisation dawned that we must be drilling through one of the conduits which was cast into the slab. I patiently waited for the process to complete, leaving a nice round hole in the floor and a smooth cylinder concrete which reveals that we drilled through two conduits and not just one! My electrician is not going to be impressed…

06 October 2013

Day 591: We are almost there!

We are working in overdrive to get occupation by the end of October. Wish us luck!

04 October 2013

Day 590: Timber wall behind bed

More reused timber acts as a headboard in the main bedroom. Most if the first floor has been converted into a timber workshop.

Day 589: Dog house

Everyone who knows me well knows that I have wanted a dog since I moved out of my parents’ house 11 years ago. But it was never possible. Between university residences, apartment living, living in Munich and more apartment living, I never had time or space for a dog. With the conceptual design of the house I immediately integrated a dog house and dog door. Finally I have my puppy and she has an architecturally designed dog house!

02 October 2013

Day 587: Secret step ladder

When I was a kid I always wanted a house with secret passageways. A house MUST have secret passageways. This notion is not the most practical idea and we therefore opted for a secret step ladder to the basement. The basement needs an additional access point in case the garage door should fail. The stepladder is the ideal solution, practical yet fun.