Matty watering in the newly planted seedlings
The Nest

Permission to occupy

This week has been exhausting, working 15 hours/day on average and even pulling our first midnighter on the build. Thankfully we did work tirelessly as the occupancy inspection got moved 48 hours earlier than expected! It was scheduled for Monday, 9th of October, but we got a call from the inspector this morning asking if he could come today, as he was in the area. He arrived 10 minutes later, did the inspection and….we PASSED!!!! Meaning that we can officially move in! Though we won’t as the house is not yet complete, mainly due to the floor tiles.

Before I go into the nitty-gritty of the build, Matty and I want to thank a few people who have helped us get this far. Their support, advice and expertise has meant that we now have our dream home. In somewhat of an order, here’s our gratitude list:

  • Family – Mama & Mal, Dad & Di (aka Mum), Ma & Baba for everything; we wouldn’t have been able to start, let alone get this far on the build without you
  • Workmates – the entire Balance Enviro and Webplace teams, thank you for being so understanding and supportive of us throughout the year of the build
  • Friends –  Joe, Obsie, Ron, Shorty, Ryan, Val, Alex, Charlotte, Chris, Sam, Luke Brain, Luke (aka Beefcake), Anirudh, Mimi, Cam, Ken, Benny Boy and Jayden. Thank you all for giving up your time and energy to help us along the way; your blood, sweat and tears are imprinted into the house
  • Contractors – Trav & Andy – the slab pour team, Jules the sparky, Dean the plumber, Mark & his sons for rendering, Rob and Bert the earthmovers, Michael the fireplace man, Alan Grimes, Ben the strawbale man, and last but not least, Brian Hodges – the strawbale consultant.

I am pretty sure I have missed some names, but if you have helped us directly or indirectly on the build, we thank you from the deepest crevices of our hearts!  Now onto the build progress.

Wet areas fit-out

The kitchen and bathroom were fit out once Dean (the plumber) did the final fix plumbing. We managed to move in the kitchen island bench, bathroom vanity and cast iron claw foot bathtub with the help of Dean. The shower, toilet, kitchen sink, dishwasher, cooking hobs are all installed and functioning! It means we can now cook, poop and bathe in the house :D :D

We first got to use the toilet on the Arien full moon (yesterday)…and no, it isn’t an immature milestone. It was a luxurious experience compared to using the outside dunny or the composting toilet in the shack for 16 months, we may start feeling like ‘civilised’ beings again.

Honourable mention goes to our dear friend and talented craftsman, Oliver MacLatchy (aka Obsie) from Wood Melbourne for his beautiful brass bathroom tap fittings, shower head and concrete vanity sink; his work is exquisite. Thank you for making our home just that little bit more fancy!


The hearth around the fireplace was laid a few weeks ago, we used more ‘crazy paving tiles’ to sit in a semi-circle shape. It is yet to grouted, but we love how it blends with the wall behind it. Matty also finished setting up the flue and chimney, and we got to test the fireplace out last weekend, thankfully the smoke flowed upwards through the chimney and not around the house. MASSIVE SUCCESS!!!


Although not specifically required for the inspection, we decided to plant the mulch garden beds out with native shrubs and grasses. There were two reasons for doing this now than later:

  1. it’s the right time of the year to do it (spring has sprung)
  2. it looks nicer for the bank refinancing evaluation if the ‘construction-site look’ is minimised.

We planted 950 plants in one day with the help of mates Ryan, Alex and Jayden! Thanking these guys simply isn’t enough :) The swales are adorned with stones, and the greenery around them is so very pretty. The scent of flowers in the early evening reminds me of jasmine :) These plants require minimal watering as they are indigenous and were planted into mulch beds; we will install a proper water sprinkler system before summertime.

What’s next?

Words cannot express what we feel right now, being allowed to live in the house is just surreal. Here’s something to bring us down to reality – the remaining list of tasks… we aren’t quite there yet, though ‘yet’ feels a lot closer than it ever has!

Before moving in After moving in
Tiling the kitchen and laundry splashback Painting the external fascia boards and eaves
Finishing tiling the main living area and bedrooms, including around the fish tank Varnishing and cleaning the window frames (exterior)
Grouting the crazy paving tiles and hearth Making the bookshelves
Making our bed frame Building the pergola
Finishing the cabinetry for the walk-in-robes in both bedrooms Completing the landscaping including fences and gates
Installing the roman blind that separates the laundry from the bathroom


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