The extension rises – at long last !!!

I have been very tardy and slack about keeping this site up to date. This has been because I along with Andy Dunn the builder have been busy building. Yes actually building the extension. After five months of the floor just being a floor and being out in the elements everything came together, the engineering hiccups were sorted and we were able to start.

As I am just doing a catch up page without too much detail but plenty of photo’s I will let them tell the story.

Just to flesh out the skeleton a little and to plug the sustainable attributes the building is made up of the following sustainable materials.

  • LVL’s – Laminated Veneer Lumber. A sustainable laminated product which I sourced from Carter Holt Harvey and is FSC accredited and can be made in any length that is needed. these were used for the wall cross beams and the rafters
  • Eco ash. – A plantation hardwood that was a direct replacement for pine framing. Great to use and locally produced in Tassie but unfortunately the company has gone bust!
  • Glu-lam beam. – Main spine beam in the roof is a laminated beam made up of glued pieces of approx 2″ x 1″ timber. Ours was 11 meters long, 420mm deep and 65mm wide and weighed in at 500 kilos. Put in place in 20 minutes by a crane.
  • Double Glazing. We chose Rylock windows made in Melbourne, double glazed with a 12mm air gap, they are a composite window with powder coated alumnium exterior and plantation victorian ash inside. they are bloody heavy, open beautifully and fit very well.
  • Colorbond roof and wall cladding. Steel is not the greatest for embodied energy. However if you take the relative small amount that is being used, the fact that it will be over a lifespan of many years, it is recyclable and that it is lightweight then it is not a bad choice.
  • Recycled weatherboards on rear porch
  • Recycled art deco doors for back doors.
  • Masonite brace board. Masonite is made purely from compressed hardwood sawdust so no glues, no outgassing. Sadly no longer Australian made.

There are many more recycled materials that we plan on using on the inside, but that will be another story.

Windows, what we are doing and where we are up to.

As the building of the extension gets along we have been exploring options for windows.

We started by doing lots of research into windows and their properties. We found quite a few websites that have good information on them about windows.

Windows Energy Rating Scheme – WERS rates the energy impact of windows in housing anywhere in Australia. With up to 40% of a home’s energy for cooling or heating being lost or gained through windows, improving their thermal performance reduces energy costs and Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Your Home Technical Manual – Glazing has a major impact on the energy efficiency of the building envelope. Poorly designed windows, skylights and glazed surfaces can make your home too hot or too cold. If designed correctly, they’ll help maintain year-round comfort, reducing or eliminating the need for artificial heating and cooling.

After researching types of windows and the plans drawn up for the extension we took our plans around several local window manufacturers. We knew that we wanted either timber or what is known as composite ( aluminium outside and timber inside) This means that cold or heat can not travel through from inside to outside or vice versa. We had looked at upvc double glazing but decided that they did not look right and used too much energy to manufacture.

The local manufacturers made beautiful timber windows but in red cedar which is imported from Canada and can’r be guaranteed to be plantation grown. We started to look interstate and found two companies that seemed to fit the bill. Miglas and Rylock . Both make composite windows, both use plantation grown Victorian Ash and recycle their aluminium and both built in the look that we wanted which is semi industrial. It was time to get a quote. We sent off emails and got a quote from both. We were very surprised that there was a $12,000 dollar difference.

As I was due to go to Melbourne I managed to visit Rylock and was very impressed with their service and attention to detail. They pointed out several options to help save money and to get the windows and doors to work the way that we wanted.

Since that visit in December 2009 we have revisited the windows and doors and come up with a definitive plan. We have changed our minds from casement windows as they take up alot of room on the deck when opened out to their full 900mm width to sliding windows, cut out a pair of doors and changed them to sliding windows and put a pair of sliding doors into the Northern end. We are now awaiting a new quote.


Pelmets. It is the breeding season for them. I built one and it turned into two. Or so it seemed.
Early on in the piece we got a quote for double glazing of around $20,000. So we decided to start with floor length drapes which was one of our first purchases and then we were going to fit pelmets with tops on, so that the air gets trapped between the window glass and the curtains and does not move, thus becoming another insulating layer. If air can rise up out of the top of the drapes it sets up air currents and all your lovely warm air rises up the glass cooling rapidly and then drops back down creating cold draughts and higher heating bills.

All the pelmets that I had seen were scrappy bits of fabric stiffened with buckram. This did not appeal and being a wee bit theatrical (being a Punch & Judy puppeteer, I might be a little theatrical) and having lots of scrap 3mm plywood I thought that a solid pelmet might be the go. Starting with our front room which has a large-ish window (about 3500mm) width I built a 1″x1″ wooden frame, coverd it with plywood, added some of our textured wall paper that we are using as fake metal panels, painted it with copper paint, added patina and put it up on brackets. Looks great.

Living room pelmet under construction
Living room pelmet under construction
copper patina finish to pelmet

copper patina finish to pelmet

The second one was for the spare room with bright sunny yellow curtains. Hmmm. Same deal as the first in the construction phase and then paint it a matching yellow, add long fancy fringing and looks great. The bright colours make a statement againstthe ivory clay paint walls and with the north sun it is very cheery.

Spare room pelmet under construction
Spare room pelmet under construction
Finished spare room pelmet

Finished spare room pelmet