Community

Small Windows

We bought the land near the water on a peninsula, because the local district has water on three sides. We thought how lovely it would be to have the cooling effect of the sea during our long, hot summers.

We can be kinder to the earth we thought, by opening windows to catch those sea breezes and not have to rely on air-conditioning units. We want to have an energy efficient, environmentally friendly house. But there are more rules to building then there are fish in the sea.

beach cricket
The beach near our home

The builders tell me the windows on the upper storey will have ‘restrictors’ which means they will not be allowed to open more than 100mm. (a gap too small for a child’s head to fit through). Believe it or not, in Australia, 50 children a year fall out of upper storey windows.

Why? What happened years ago when all windows opened outwards?

Did children fall less or more at those times? If so, I wonder why?

Torun poland
This is not happening in Australia any longer.

It seems that the authorities cannot trust us to do the right thing and take care of our children. They want to eliminate every potential accident, and that in itself, is a truly wonderful objective. Our children are safer.

The cost for this, however, is then passed on to the environment and the ambient temperature in our homes. Will children grow up with no common sense or spatial awareness because the regulations have kept them so safe that they are less aware of where their bodies lie in space. Then again, accidents do happen. Children are precious.

In two years time, every new house will need to have fly-screens fitted to every window above a certain height; screens that can withstand a 25 kg weight, before it gives way. Enough to hold a young child who might be bouncing on their bed and accidentally fall against the screen. Then we do not need window restrictors like this one.

It is sad that we need so many regulations and rules to look after our children.

What rules or regulations govern your windows of your home, in your area?


Community

We are Building a House

I have never done it before.

Build a house, that is.

My husband has built a house before, with his father, so for him, this is not so special.

For me, this is my first and last time to decide how a new house might look from the ground up. I will never do it again. This is it.

new house
An example of the style of house we will build

There are so many things to decide. We have to chose absolutely everything – colours, tiles, mortar, grout, locks, window frames, cornice, shelves. For every part of the house and every single thing in it, there is a choice. A good thing, right? But it makes my head spin, just a little bit.

Sandgate foreshore

A Block of Land

First things first.

We recently purchased a block of land in a new development that was close by the water’s edge. We wanted to be near the water. Two people, done with raising a family, growing old in a house by the sea. Sunset walks along the water’s edge. Cool breezes in the sub-tropical summer. Sounds idyllic? We think and hope so.

You can almost see the Glass house Mountains from here

Selecting a block of land wasn’t as easy as we thought. I was very fussy about micro-climate and orientation. After living for many, many years in a house that was like a furnace in summer and a freezer in winter, I knew I was going to be particular about aspect. And I was lucky. I found one that ticked almost all the boxes.

schnauzer at beach
Rebel is looking forward to a #Seachange

The block in question was already registered with the governing body, as opposed to buying a pile of dirt way behind a barbed wire fence and shown only on a paper plan to prospective buyers. Whilst I was particular on the right environmental aspect, my husband was definitely not going to buy anything he couldn’t step on and feel, with his own hands. So we were lucky. We found it. First step done!

designing A house

Next we had to find a design we liked. Will the design we picked fit on the block of land, we wondered? My idea of this, might be a little different to local councils and also the idea of the land developers which is different to that of the builder. Negotiations await a pen pusher’s whim. We wait for that.

1295_happy_pencil_with_folder_049_tnb

Our land has two frontages, that is: it faces a street on one side and a smaller lane way on another. This is great because it gives us uninterrupted sea breezes and views.

However, there are certain rules about how close the house can be situated to the street and neighbouring houses, called setbacks. They don’t want you to build your house right next to the road, as they did in years gone by.

Knaegemoelle, Denmark – in this beautiful house you could reach out the window and touch the cars going by

What colour and materials will the exterior of our house be? How many windows? What type of fence will the garden have? How many plants will we get? The developer has a say in that too. It is called the covenant.

Banksia
Banksias love the coastal conditions

The developer in its wisdom, wants to keep selling their land for a good price and thus, they want to maintain certain standards for the houses getting built in their community. But when is a house really your own to design?

Soil Testing

The land was previously low lying land that was filled and raised by creating an artificial lake that opened to the sea. This is coastal land – a tidal area now filled in with soil and a lake.

Our block

This means the soil test showed the soil is saline and highly reactive. That translates to more expensive foundations for the house and raised garden beds. But who wants their house walls to crack when it rains, or doesn’t rain? It has to be done that way.

Inspired by Anne- Christine

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Something to Ponder About