Claudia and I've just returned from an ad-hoc trip to see the new house. It's Friday lunchtime, and that's often a good time to have a butchers, as the Huf Haus people have usually wrapped up and returned to Hartenfels for the weekend, so we get the run of the house without feeling like we're, erm, intruding on their patch.
The first thing we noticed when walking down the road is that the bloody big digger has gone. As had the majority of the dirt pile, although a little remains, presumably as raw material for further landscaping. The landscaping people were at lunch, but they'd done some extra work on the driveway, which was looking flatter, wider, and generally more viable. Good. Some extra stone blocks had appeared to shore up the land here and there, plus a few other bits and bobs.
But it was on the 'concealed' side of the house where the majority of the landscaping'd been done, and what a dramatic difference. The nasty blue plastic sheeting that'd protected the hillside throughout the excavations had been gathered up, and the sloping hill that had been underneath generally smoothed, graded, and whatever else. Already a great start. Also the slot through which daylight is supposed to channel its way through to the two Bastelraum windows in the Keller had been shored up and landscaped in. Not perfect, but very very promising. More anon on that.
All in all, great landscaping progress. Remember that buggah all had happened outside the house for two months while we jumped through the various hoops that both the local Gemeinde and the neighbour were continually forcing upon us.
And the house itself?
Well, the interior decorating's finished and looking... perfect. Unblemished. The bathroom tiling's not been started as yet, but all plastered and wooden surfaces have been painted white white white. Looking back, it took about a month for the newly raised house interior to transform from soggy concrete hole to dry unplastered hole. And then just another month has transformed it again into a beautifully painted interior that, flooring and final cleaning aside, is looking... ready. Really a very satisfying feeling. It'll all get another boost once the parkett flooring goes down, and the bits of plastic and cardboard cladding gets ripped off the stairways.
And also great news down in the Keller. After month upon month of uncertainty as to the viability of the Bastelraum due to low light levels, today was a real eye-opener; an overcast day, yet quite some light down there via the newly landscaped slot and hillside outside. I think I'm about to stop worrying about it. Maybe not, but I'll definitely tone it down.
The few outside walls that remain between the long expanses of glass have also been painted nicely.
And what's planned for next week? Well, we expect the main action to take place in the bathrooms: tiling; plumbing; shower in this corner, bath over there. That sort of thing. It may well be that the electrical people get to wire up the various sockets and switches that remain uncovered throughout the house, which would also be a nice boost. The project protocol doesn't have much detail, so I guess it'll all come as a nice surprise.
Today's the end of Week 5 of 2007. Four more weeks to go, and then (drum roll) it'll be the official Huf Haus Handover at the end of Week 9, 2nd March. Only then can our local kitchen supplier be allowed on site to nail in our kitchen (The Leicht brand, plus electronics by Seimens, Mr Salmon), and in parallel, the local bathroom supplier can plumb the decidedly non-Huf sink unit and mirror (all by a Swiss company called 4B, and too bloody expensive) into the main bathroom. And then we're done. By the end of Week 11, March 16th, the house will be ready. Might even be earlier, but one prefers to plan around certainty, not hope.
The Plan is that we move in on Tuesday, 20th March. That'll give us plenty time to clear up our current house, (rented off a world famous opera singer, I kid you not. Sadly, it's true what they say about divas...), redecorate here and there, and have the old house all wrapped up and keys handed back by the end of March. Job done. And likewise, the intention is that we're properly moved into our Huf Haus, and things are tidy and civilised within a week or so. No living out of boxes. The actual move is literally from one side of the Zurich lake to t'other, so it's not like we've got a Really Big Move on our hands. It's just that a family of four, including two wee toddlers, has a surprising amount of stuff and a good proportion of that stuff must be in good working order, otherwise family life will simply go into melt-down.
It's not the end of the project, not quite yet. But we can at least see the finishing wire from here.