This is a scheduled post – Kovol is still without internet
For years, decades, our entire adult lives actually we’ve been living in rented accommodation; having our own house is a pretty novel feeling. I’m so used to investing time and energy into things and moving on that it’s a funny feeling to see that the day I spent making a ladder a few weeks ago is benefitting us a month later!
Missionary life is all about moving, a lot. Packing light, being flexible and learning to adapt to new things. Having our own house though, wow, it’s awesome!
The other thing is that there are no stores nearby and there’s no one else to do it for you so it’s free reign to modify your house as you wish and bodge whatever furniture you need. I’m loving it!
Want to hang a picture there? Sure thing, put a nail in 🙂 Need a bed? Sure thing, get some scrap wood and make one! Want to extend the plumbing – go for it. Want to run an electrical cable somewhere new – well you get the idea.
It’s so much fun to be able to shoddily and quickly customise our house to fit our needs. Whenever it’s someone elses house (or the mission’s) the expectations feel higher. We don’t care a bit if we slop paint all over the floor while painting the roof, nor do we have the skill or drive to make all our furniture straight.
So here’s a little showcase of the furniture I’ve managed to cobble together:
First up are the wonky stairs to the loft. Rhett borrowed my level and I was too lazy to go get it back and hence the wonky stair in the middle. Perfectly functionaly though.
This was fun because trigonomotry was invovled to be able to cut it at the right angle. I also learned to love the battery powered planer which makes nice smooth wood. I even added blocking underneath the floor where it rests so the weight goes into the joists and not just one spot on the plywood. In fact I missed and ended up putting blocking a meter in front initially and had to re do it – so bonus floor reinforcment!
Gerdine approves of the design and now has an elegant way to hang lanudry out to dry (our washing line is along our ridge beam, inside the house).
The plywood table and benches were planned for a while. With access to offcuts from our milling I was determined to grab a nice slab to use for a bench. I got a nice 4m one and cut it in half and added legs. I surprised myself by getting the first one to sit on the floor without wobbling. The second one not so much, and then I also learned that the planer wasn’t the tool to fix that!
They’re pretty top heavy, so I’m hoping Oscar never manages to pull one over onto his toes…
I had a sheet of 15mm plywood set aside to become the table with the intention of putting laminate on top… but we ran out so now it’s just varnished plywood with smooth routed edges. It has a simple apron and the legs have many screws holding them in. It doesn’t wobble on the short side, but a little on the long side. It certainly beats eating meals on the floor though!
Next up is Oscar’s baby bed. I imagined he’d be sleeping on a matress on the floor for a while, but we had time and materials and so I made this. Since our mattresses are simple 3″ foam slats wouldn’t support them well and we went with a simple wood frame supporting a plywood sheet. If you look closely you can see that the plywood is a little skinny, oops!
And why not follow up with the super deluxe double bed built in the same fashion. I had my doubts when making these beds as they were unbelievably wobbly with just a screw holding the legs on! The cross bracing turned them into solid blocks able to be moved around (cautiously, one of the screws holding the cross brace on a leg has snapped and my end of the bed is now a little sketchy!)
I’ll take the opportunity to show off the rope couch I built too. This was made ahead of time before we moved in. It ended up being too long to go in a helicopter so it was slung over the jungle in a net as a flatpack! It’s nice and long so we can both lie on it at the same time, but the corners are a bit sharp (hence the scar on Oscar’s eye brow!). I’d give it a comfort level of 7/10. Large and luxerious – except you can feel the 3 or 4 support beams under the ropes if you sit in the wrong spot! Also most of the legs don’t touch the floor despite the fact they’re all the same length…
Next up is the baby proof railing. Our house being on stilts and having a toddler who falls over a lot this was a high priority! It takes a lot of wood to do a railing! We even have a gate now which is dual purpose of 1. preventing Oscar running down the stairs and 2. giving us an early warning for when we have visitors approaching 🙂
The stairs aren’t railed in yet because I haven’t figured out how to do it yet and am wondering if I need to – could Oscar just learn to be careful and not fall off? I should probably put up a quick ‘n ugly hand rail…
Rounding up the outside is our sink for ‘eeew, stinky’ things and the twin tub (wrapped up to protect it from weather while we’re away). Not very fancy, but it works and we’ve been washing paint brushes in there. I was going to box it in, but Gerdine was afraid it’d just mould. She’s probably right, it’s sopping wet most of the time since the wind blows rain right in there.
This here is an example of ‘we have plywood scraps, what can we do with them?’ A little wardrobe for Oscar!
Fearing mould we’re not closing it in, better everything gets light on it and use occasionaly. We’ve decided our mould fighting strategy will be to use everything we have, no items of clothes are allowed to sit in the wardrobe doing nothing – that’s a recipe for mouldy, ruined clothes!
And finally our pantry shelves. I didn’t build these, which is why they look pretty good. All that’s left is to stock these up to the brim with supplies so we can go long stretches of time between resupply flights.
Well there you go. We feel very comfortable with things as they are, time to get to work on language – we fear what our actions will be saying about our priorities in life if we spend too much longer improving our house!