S.O.B.S (Slow Owner Building Syndrome)

Apparently Christmas is not too far away….. again…. Yep the house was going to be a two year project……three and a half years ago!!!  As I gaze at acres of plywood that needs to be sanded, undercoated and painted my mind drifts.

When you are Owner Building it seems that time stretches, in the words of Buzz Lightyear “To Infinity and Beyond!!!” then folds in on itself, has a bout of hysterics and then tells you that your Owner Builder permit needs renewing.

Life it seems has a nasty habit of getting in the way of building. Does this mean that professional builders do not have lives I muse. Hmmmmm. Take for now for instance. Put my trusty Hiace van in for a much needed service and get told that it needs a new or reconditioned head. Bye bye $2000 ish or in other words the money for the Laundry and part of the kitchen. Or that other bit of life ….. work. Yep that is a necessity to pay the bills but it gets in the way of lifw/owner builder unbalance.

People do ask “Hows the house going?” as you see a macmansion pop up it seems very other week. Grrrrrrr through clenched teeth politely. I am now rambling.

On the plus side you do get a warm fuzzy feeling when the Building surveyor comes around and passes everything bar two minor things and you get a Certificate of Occupancy. That’s right we can legally occupy the house that we have occupied since we bought the place.

S.O.B.S or Slow Owner Builder Syndrome has  been borne out by at least two articles in Owner Builder Magazine that I can recall and probably more. One “Owner Builder Limbo” in issue no 142 Aug/Sept 2007 and the other more recent “Finding Zen in the process of Owner Building” issue 168, Dec/Jan 2012.

I do wonder how a house gets built at all somedays. On others things start to come together and projects get finished only leaving a million small unfinished things like wardrobe doors to be built, bathrooms not even started, Mosaics for the laundry splashbacks and that is without going near the garden. still there is satisfaction when you look back on what you have achieved. It is easy to forget what the place looked like when you moved in and what it does today. the other realisation with renovation is that you spend an awful long time taking things apart and cleaning them, stripping paint, denailing, storing them, measuring them, knowing that Murphy’s Law will say that a piece of timber will be just too short, narrow, or shallow.

So to allay Murphy and to keep it all in perspective I thought a slide show of now and then with a bit in the middle might help.

Door dreaming. Transforming hollow core doors.

All the doors in the house are boring flat plywood hollow core doors painted with a variety of  acrylic paint colours from baby blue to puce. YUM !!

We looked at replacing them with a set of older doors but finding enough interesting doors with the right measurements could have taken a lifetime. Then it came to us. A hollow core door is only two thin layers of plywood over a core of honeycomb cardboard or strips of timber with a thicker timber surround so it is a canvas on which to do anything.

This is exactly what we did.

  • Stripping the paint off
stripping the paint off

stripping the paint off

  • Cutting the holes
cutting the holes

cutting the holes

  • Inserting the “Copper” panels
"copper" panels

“copper” panels

  • Painting the door with Bio natural enamel paint
painting the door

painting the door

  • The finished thing in all it “coppery” glory
finished door hung on bedroom 2 door frame

finished door hung on bedroom 2 door frame

The finished fakery. The construction details are simple. The wooden frames are cut down picture frames bought from various tip shps for a dollar or two with a rebate cut in the back of them to set them into the door. The “Copper” panels are Anaglypta embossed wallpaper which we sourced from the very helpful people at 3d Inspirations, Launceston, painted with Haymes copper paint finished with a “Patina” flicked onto it with a toothbrush. The copper paint has real copper  in it and the “Patina” ages it just like copper ages in the air. The door is painted with Bio natural oil based paint and the door handles are the original ones cleaned up with metho and steel wool

It’s Finished !! First room renovated

finished room all furnished

finished room all furnished

Well the first room is finally finished. We now have a bedroom to call our own. There are a couple of jobs still to do; pelmets are needed before colder weather arrives and the door needs painting and decorating.
The room is light and airy with the curtains providing colour and the floor has a gentle sheen thanks to two coats of Volvox hard oil and a fantatstic mix of Carnubra wax and pure turpentine witha few drops of Lavender oil added for fragrance.
From a sustainable point of view the room adds up fairly well.
  • Woollen batts for insulation
  • Natural clay paint on walls & ceiling
  • Natural oil finish on floor
  • Natural oil finish on all timber architraves, skirting, window frames & door frames
  • Volvox Pro Aqua natural paint on window frames
  • Flyscreens recycled from Eco-Salv in Launceston, cut down and re-screened
  • Brass bed from garage sale
  • Bedside tables made from old dressing table
  • Chair in corner given by friend
  • Dressing table bought for $25 and painted, distressed, and waxed
before we started with built in robe

before we started with built in robe

bedroom 2 finished

bedroom 2 finished