We’ve been off on holiday up north for a while and so there have been no posts here. This doesn’t mean nothing has been happening. In our absence our architect, Mikaela, and passive house consultant, Malcolm, and his engineering partner, Tomaz, worked on finalizing the details of the order for the Cross-Laminated Timber and the Windows and doors. Because the CLT is pre-cut in the factory, it’s vital that these are done together so that everything will fit precisely. We also have to order the windows first because they will take slightly longer to produce due to current high demand, and we can’t leave it any later to order if we want to get the shell of the house done before Christmas.
We’ve also finally had word back from the bank on our mortgage. We haven’t had a particularly good experience with this bank and more particularly with the assessors the bank employed to value the property and our plans. We may write about his more in the future, but to cut a long story short, we weren’t particularly surprised when the valuation came back quite a lot lower than the amount we were requesting. Luckily we can cobble together money from our savings to make up the rest that we need, provided we make some cuts or delays to some aspects of the plans. So the Solar PV system will have to wait (which is no bad thing as PV is only going to improve as a technology over the next few years). We’ve also going to have to cut back on most of our plans for custom woodwork inside the house.
However, we’ve come up with one idea in particular that will take further advantage of the way the house is being built. The walls are made of CLT panels, and all the doorways and windows are cut out of the panels in the factory. Since we pay by the area of CLT that we start with, we get to keep all the cut-out sections, if we want them. And the more we thought about this, the more useful this seemed. Downstairs, we’re doing to use two of the big internal door cut-outs to make… err, doors. The main door from the entrance way to the living area and the door from the living area to the utility space will both be CLT on special hidden hinges. When they are shut they should be virtually invisible. We decided against using these cutouts to make doors in the bedrooms as they will be too heavy and the hidden hinges are expensive. We’re going to use the other cut-outs for:
- the kitchen island – a simple n-shape from CLT, and we can fill the space underneath with shelves etc. as we want;
- a mid-century style L-shaped built-in seating platform / side table in south-west corner of the lounge;
- a dining bench (or two);
- a built-in desk;
- a high narrow shelf in the kitchen;
and who knows what else…!