“In by Christmas” doesn’t mean done by Christmas

We were very lucky to be able to move into our new home 4 weeks before Christmas. The holy grail! It prompted many comments of “oh, you’re in by Christmas!”.  Although we’re in, we aren’t ready for Kevin McCloud to swing by just yet. There’s still a few things to be done; some cosmetic, some crucial, some kind of anxiety inducing. 

This is a bit of a “worts ‘n’ all” kind of post. It is also slightly belated. Building a house is stressful and it wouldn’t be right to only post about the shiny new excitement of it all. Although, it has also been wonderful!

Building a house has been an amazing process and I feel so lucky to have been able to do this in Sydney; and in 2020! 

Cosmetic to do list 

I’d like to take some sexy pics of the house, but without the external painting and landscaping even started, we aren’t photo ready yet. We need to do these bits ourselves (mostly for budgetary reasons) and it may well take us all of the weekends in 2021 before we can say ‘done’ to those items.  

Somewhere in amongst all that we need to finish the internal painting. We agreed to do the internal painting,  and have done most of it. We quickly learnt that ‘painting’ isn’t just painting. Not only is there all the prep that I didn’t know painters do, but painting a quirky  shaped architectural home is complicated! We love the angles and shapes, but they make for challenging cortions of the body to reach at times. 

As we settle in (i.e. unpack, sort, organise, sell stuff on Facebook Marketplace, rearrange, buy stuff on Facebook Marketplace, cull our stuff, rearrange again, research storage solutions) we notice things still to be done. The Google doc listing them currently has had over 55 items on it. Some big, some small, some complicated, some already ticked off. Yay!

I think this is normal in building a new house, but does mean the work continues despite us having unpacked most of the moving boxes. 

Crucial still to be done list. 

There’s so much admin to finalise and make a house official.  We’ve been working very hard to chase up the things needed and tick all the boxes. Between the end of year close down, Northern Beaches lockdown, and January, it was a slow a slow process. The certifiers folder has been bulging with pics of the safety things we’ve installed and certificates from subcontractors, so we should be good to get our address on Google maps soon. Currently Google maps sends you to a busy side street. That’s not been fun for all my online deliveries!  

Stressful things

People keep asking us how it’s going and if we love the house. We do! We love it! There’s no doubt about that, but there has been an issue with mould that has really devastated us. One of the reasons we wanted to build a home with passive house principles is to have a healthy home. Mould doesn’t have a place in any home and especially not a healthy home! 

There’s a problem with the slab not drying out, possibly moisture coming up from under the slab or through the sandstone of the hill above us, we’re still playing detective and working out what to do. Our builder and his team are committed to sorting it out. We are getting closer to understanding the problem and getting solutions in place, but until it’s confimed as fixed, there will be some underlying anxiety for us.

I’ve learnt that unexpected issues should be expected when building a new home, once you start digging a hole you never know what you’re going to find. Even so, it is stressful and delaying our pure uninterrupted joy. We are nearly there though!

Done by next Christmas? 

I’ve do doubt that we will get there, but ‘in by Christmas’ doesn’t mean done and dusted – maybe next Christmas I’ll kick back on the (complying) deck we built and admire the exterior paint work with the Google doc firmly in the archive bin?

2 thoughts on ““In by Christmas” doesn’t mean done by Christmas

  1. Hi Amber, I’ve enjoyed reading your blog (there aren’t many examples of passive house builds in Sydney) and we are contemplating doing the same thing on our block in Sydney. I’d like to ask if you solved your mould issue?


    1. Hi Tina, sorry for my tardy reply! I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the blog. To solve the mould issue we needed to work out where the water is getting into the slab.
      There seemed to be two spots it was coming in, one from all the water coming out of the sandstone (as we are downhill) and then getting under the slab. This one has been solved with some holes created in to collect the water and pumps installed. The pumps worked hard in the heaving rain a few weeks ago, but did their job and no water came in from that end of the slab.

      We think we have worked out the second spot where the water was getting in (through the expansion joint in the slab). The builder is yet to do the work required to prevent the ingress. So, we don’t know for sure yet if it is solved. It’s not mouldy in there at the moment, but to be honest it’s a bit suss. We really need to wait for the prevention work to be done, then we just need another heavy rain to test it out!
      Are you on Instagram? You can send me a direct message there if you want to chat more.


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