A Stairway to heaven

The staircase started back in the earliest stage of building, as a solidly built assemblage of cans, crates and scaffolding between the two levels. In 2012 it was replaced with a flowing stair case, but the balustrade was only completed in 2020. Each step (pardon the pun) along the journey has brought us closer to completing this exciting centrepiece to the house.

where the he(ART) is

Mont Sauvatage is more than just a house and home… it’s a thoughtful space that has evolved from the huge creative investment of time over a (so far… ) 15 year period.

It began with the collection, salvage and storage of materials, and design of a house that would integrate all the materials (to Australian standards). Construction began with slab pour in 2007.

The majority of the build has taken place in 400 days between 2008-2010, and the house continues to evolve with careful placement of collected and salvaged materials relevant to each space.

Mont Sauvatage is part home, part sculpture, part treasure box and definitely a quirky labour of love – at times hampered by life’s trials, and ‘house-wrighters block’. Fortunately all effort is rewarded and the finished product will show off the investment of labour and creativity that has gone into it.

When it rains…

There are always tasks to do, if you have the energy.  And sometimes those jobs SAVE energy…. indeed getting some more doors hung will provide more efficient winter warmth.  And get rid of more of the stuff being stored in the lounge room….

  • This doorway has had a blanket for a door for a few years. Hanging a door will make it ready to be a bedroom. Step 1... measurements.

Open House

There has been a bit of an event, so the house was open for family and friends. The sun shone! The glass sparkled! All spaces were explored with great curiosity and enjoyment! The photographs say it all …

A balcony out the Back

The balcony provides a large amount of weatherproof undercover storage at the back of the house. It’s supported by three steel posts, and will incorporate salvaged tiles and balustrading.

Most of the work was completed over a four week period (January-March 2017) with Craig working with Adam and John so it was 90% complete by Easter 2017.

  • Back of the house - ready for Balcony!

The Shed

Ahoy me hearties! Now winter is over we’ve finally got the lovely days we need to crack along outside.. and with the assistance of Adam, and HelpXers Kyle and Aron, Craig now has this beautiful shed up and ready for work.

An excellent panorama of the shed layout.
An excellent panorama of the shed layout.

It has a magnificent outlook to the south (thanks to enormous salvaged toughened glass window from Craig’s collection) and to the north (thanks to excellent rollerdoor donated by Wally Shiels). A couple of salvaged French doors give such an elegant styling, but are also practical solutions to let in the light, and to get longer timber onto the cutting bench!

All in all a great leap forward, because ALL the tools that were living in the living room, now have a home in the Shed.

… which means that soon, we can do some tiling!

  • Site office will soon be dismantled to make way for a shed/workshop

Help Exchange

About three months ago we decided to register as HelpX hosts as a way of having some extra help with the building project. Since then we have had a few people come and stay, and our experiences have been really positive.

The HelpX web site
The HelpX web site

HelpX is an online portal to match up travellers who want to volunteer time or skills in return for accommodation, with hosts. HelpXers are generally expected to volunteer up to 20 hours per week in return for accommodation and meals, and to have some time off to enjoy the local sights.

Our HelpXers so far have included people from Montreal, New Zealand, United States and Singapore. It’s been cool that some of the people who have come to stay have been really interested in owner-building – one of our guests Johannie benefitted from her stay in the library, checking out all our books on building and getting some ideas for a future house project.

Some of the HelpXers who have stayed at Mont Sauvatage.
Some of the HelpXers who have stayed at Mont Sauvatage.

Our most recent HelpXers have been a group of five guys from Singapore, who have just finished their National Service. Their stay with us in the Blue Mountains was only for a week, and during that time they helped us move logs from a felled tree, do a bit of heavy lifting, and some digging on the site of the future shed. While they were here they took in the Grand Canyon and National Pass walks, even seeing a lyre bird! Five people do make light work of things with a bit of teamwork, though the catering logistics do get a bit complicated.

HelpX turns out to be a pretty cool system. We’ve learned to choose HelpXers who are genuinely interested in building or landscaping work, and it’s good to have 2 or 3 people staying together as its socially interesting and more fun for us. HelpX as a system can help match up HelpXers who want to help with child care, gardening, cooking, cleaning and so on, so if you have room and like the idea as a form of cultural exchange, its worth checking out.

  • Some of the HelpXers who have stayed at Mont Sauvatage.

Driveway Epic

The first major project completed this year was my driveway. I’d planned to leave it til the end of the project but the erosion of the drive was making the rest of the job very difficult. We started preparing for a concrete pour late in 2014 but like many things, it got put on hold by an illuminart project (this time, in Tassie). We picked up again in January and after a few stints of digging, putting in the formwork etc, the driveway was poured.

Plans for a new Shed / Workshop

We have to get the tools out of the lounge room so we can tile and finish downstairs, but still have too much stuff to store. Best solution. hold the house and build a shed. This means clearing some of the back of the property and laying the groundwork.

  • Site office will soon be dismantled to make way for a shed/workshop