It’s been a hectic year but I’m back.
We recently visited the beautiful island of Curaçao for a bit of a disconnect. It was a fabulous place to flop and you can read more about our trip in a post I’ll have done shortly. One thing we noticed, as in Puerto Rico, was the abundance of stray dogs. At first glance, these did not appear as neglected and abused as in Puerto Rico which was a terrible place for dogs; there is hope however.
A day or two after we arrived, we notice a tiny dog slinking around our place. She was gun-shy and skinny but had a bright eye and wanted to play. Two other women at the place noticed her as well. Little did I know that Josée was talking to both of them as well as a local animal rescue and shelter, CARF Curaçao. A little later in our holiday, I bumped into one of the ladies, from Croatia, who exclaimed “Oh you’re the Canadian who is rescuing this dog!!” Scheming Josée had worked some magic behind the scenes, setting the wheels in motion for the grand affair.
I’ll have a movie up soon with the whole story but basically within another couple days, we captured the dog, took her to the shelter, had all her medical requirements met and arranged the paperwork to get her on the plane to her new home in Canada. Westjet was great and waived all the transport fees so on our last day, we collected the dog at the airport, watched as she was loaded on board and then eventually welcomed her to our home in Comox. We named her Haven – as in ‘safe haven’. Hopefully she will have a long, fun, safe life with us on the farm.
This is the penultimate house update as we are literally a couple weeks from move in date. Over the last month, the beams were installed and kitchen cabinets mounted. In the mechanical room, we had the various tanks, boilers, wires and panels connected while outside the heat pump was delivered. I spent the last week helping the guys move the material for the sidewalks and patio so we have that mostly set up, ready to pour. Craig, Big Al and I moved some rocks, small and big, into various positions to form up the entry stairs and a short retaining wall. Overall, things are going nicely. The next update should be after the house is finished!!
Working on the entrance
Rain chain drains
My first draft of sidewalks and patios
Kitchen going in
Up they go
Kitchen boxes and ceiling beams
Ron working his magic
Busy day at the site
Working on the mechanical room
Martio helping with sidewalks
Main patio area
Getting the stairs ready
Forming the stairs
Main patio area
It’s been a turbulent last six weeks and Christmas was a pretty sad time but life marches on and, despite our situation, the house construction progressed. Inside, electrical and plumbing was finished, boards hung followed by mud and tape and painting started. Outside soffit and siding was completed along with some work on well connection and perimeter drains. We also saw the cedar siding on the tall sections nearly finished which helped to blend the house into the landscape a little. The main things left to do, other than landscaping, include door installation, painting, trim and sills, install kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities then finish electrical and plumbing. We’re nearly there.
Highly paid labourers
Power to tub
Preparing roof beam
Re-grade of parking area
Before the cedar siding
Starting cedar siding
Nearly done cedar
Board and batten with window trimmed
Cedar board and batten mostly done
Parking lot view
I’m a bit late with this update but we’re well past lock-up now, with insulation and boarding on the sched for the next couple weeks. It has been really fun to see the windows and doors go in; the plumbing and electrical complete except for finishing; siding basically finished and trim well underway. The front of the great room and the kitchen garden have yet to be sided but that will be done soon. Tom, Ron and Chelsea have done amazing work and Craig and Al have kept everything moving forward; they’ve all been a great team. So far, I think everything is on track for our move-in early next year. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!
Rough in for the turn around
Framing mostly done
Front of house – looks massive but it is smaller in real life
View from on high…
Working on entrance beams (in foreground)
Entrance posts installation; good thing we had the excavator
Installation of entrance posts
Panorama of the back of the house
Great room with office on left of photo
I just starting digging the trench for the well connection
Well trench finished
Siding started on the back of the house
Window opening mechanism
Panel rough in – sea of wires
Great room beam work
Data and electrical
Looking into kitchen – beams in place
Starting on trim detail
My last update was when we had just finished pouring the concrete slab. Since then carpenters Tom, Ron and Chelsea have done a great job getting the house framed, walls up, trusses on and ready for the roof. Our schedule is to roughly be at lock-up by early November. Now at least the house has a shape and form. It is interesting to walk through the house, checking out the different rooms. The size and scale of the house changes with each new bit of construction – sometimes feeling way too big, other times just right!
Power and data underground
Office / bedroom end
From a distance
Starting the turn around
More turn around
Craig up high
Tom & Chelsea
From the dirt pile
Front of the house
Great room wall
Turn around almost done
Here comes Drillwell
Ready, set, drill
Office / bedroom trusses
Well nearly done
We’re now ready to start framing the house. Over the last couple weeks, we’ve finished filling the shell of the house; backfilled around a portion of the foundation; seen the plumbing rough-in; set the insulation under some mesh and poured the final slab of polished concrete. We also had our septic guy, Mark, finish the system and I asked him to put in a curtain drain as well. It’s been a busy few weeks but now that the foundation and floor is done, we should see the framing go up in short order. Our contractor, Craig, has guided the process admirably thus far, very smoothly. I’m still enjoying puttering around helping out with a variety of jobs.
Well, it’s been a busy few weeks as we finished the site prep, got the footings done and foundation walls poured, box filled and compacted and perimeter drains set. I’ve had lots of fun working on this project so far and the guys have been very encouraging – although secretly I think they liking me help out as I can be the grunt on site.
Manuel, Manuelito and I finished the poles for about 450 metres of fencing and we’ll be stringing the wire in the next week or so. We had a bit of trouble with some of the posts as the augur drilled into a clay-like material which just kept sucking the bit down but after extracting a couple poles with the excavator, we managed to press on.
A short video of my annual fishing trip out of Tahsis, up toward the Brooks Peninsula. For highest quality, click the cog at the bottom right and select 1080HD. Enjoy!
I’m mainly doing these updates for those of you who aren’t local; if you’re here, just swing by for a visit and to check things out!
Well, at long last we’re about to start the house. We had some major issues earlier this year which put us more than a few months behind schedule. I certainly learned a lot about expectations and if we ever build another house these lessons will be invaluable. The design journey was challenging. Our finished design has few of the features I wanted in my original brief; it’s nothing like I envisioned but Josée and Craig (our builder) have assured me it will be a enjoyable house in which to live.
Craig had us do most of the project leg-work over the last couple months. Wee really have enjoyed working with him so far. Working sometimes by ourselves, sometimes with Desiree Barton (Modlux Interiors) we’ve picked out external colours and cladding, plumbing and lighting fixtures, interior colours, door styles and windows, appliances and host of other things. We designed our kitchen with Marije Wagenmakers at Oak Hills and worked with Rob Howland at Colonial Countertops for various countertops. I arranged services with Hydro and Vancouver Island Powerline; scheduled Drillwell from Duncan to put in the well and will have Ian McGill to service it. Finally, I managed to put a driveway in, connect it to Knight Road with a culvert, excavate some ditching and rough in the hole for the house. It’s been a productive few months. In between house projects, Manuel, Manuelito and I put in about 400 metres of pencil pole fencing. We’re not quite done but we should have that job licked in the next week or so.
I’m putting together another video of the driveway build and should have that finished shortly. I can’t believe the transformation! Before construction starts on Monday, I will put up three ‘camera’ posts from which I’m going to take some photos once or twice a week to track the progress. Hopefully I’ll be able to make it into a time lapse type of thing – who knows!
Wherever you are in this world, Josée and I wish you a safe, fun and enjoyable Christmas season. For our friends in South East Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Canada, Tanzania, Holland and beyond, we miss you and we’re thinking of you! Keep in touch, stay safe and enjoy your friends and family. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and all the best for 2016.
Click below for a little newsletter of our 2015.
Christmas 2015 p.compressed