The morning after the second coat
The Nest

Second skin

The house got to bathe in the Libra full moonlight with its freshly covered second coat on April 11th and 12th.

Mark and his assistant (the professional render team) arrived on the morning of April 11th, along with our friends Val, Charlotte and Benny Boy to help us with the second coat. Matty had envisaged the whole task taking about 8 hours each day, but thankfully we finished up around 1 pm on the second day; giving Matty and I time to celebrate this special milestone.

The second coat had to be followed by someone trowelling by hand after the render pump (unlike the first coat), and this trowelling started to give the walls a somewhat zigzagged, yet smoother finish. This time round the render mix consisted of 75% sand, 15% lime and 10% clay and was 30 mm thick (triple the thickness of the first coat). This thick coat is so important in terms of creating that waterproof barrier; the third coat will also assist in this but it will be heavily focused on the aesthetic appearance as opposed to this functionality. The thickness also means that 99.99% of all straw is now covered, leaving no loose material for fire to catch on to. There are still some minuscule lips of straw sticking out, but these will be covered by the third coat of render.

Precoat and postcoat

The walls needed some extra patch up work before the second coat, and we had some helpful hands then as well.  Matt’s business partner/best friend Joe assisted with this task whilst visiting Melbourne.  This patch work was needed to smooth out any large dents or grooves from the first coat, and also ensured that the second coat would have a much more consistent finish. During this time, Matty also carved out the niches and holes in the walls where the glass blocks will be inserted. These were the humble beginnings of the house’s aesthetic features, and it is nice to visualise the finishing touches.

Friends from Sydney visited us during the Easter break to have a holiday and see Melbourne for the first time.  Ani and Mimi helped clean up the second coat mayhem, and hopefully we helped impart some info regarding owner building as they are keen on doing something similar someday.   Matty and I are very thankful of their time and contagious enthusiasm.

As winter is near, Matty and I are now on the fast track to get the windows and external doors in, only then can we start on possibly one of the most exciting stages – the internal fitout!


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