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House Building Diary: Final Week (+ Behind the Scenes)

Just a little bit more...

View of house

The first week of the build was spent getting the basic structure up, while the second week was spent on wrapping all the steel with walls and a roof. We had hoped to be finished with everything in the second week, but that was not meant to be.

Some of the volunteers were more than happy to return again for another weekend. However, while there was work that needed to be done, there wasn’t enough of it to warrant another weekend of building. I also did not have a weekend to spare as I was due to fly out of the country.

We decided to finish everything up on a Thursday, with a handful of people who could spare a weekday of their time.

Day 11: Internal dry wall cladding, verandah, clean up

We arrived bright and early, but a generator failure caused a bit of delay and getting the work started. So rather than a full day, we really had half-a-day of work, but we still got a lot done!

Side view

We completed the internal wall cladding, added a few more bolts to strengthen the structure, finished installing the adjusted polycarbonate panels and the last remaining louvres.

After a bit of struggle, two of the guys successfully put up the main structure for the verandah.

Working o the balcony

We also finally got around to patching the holes on the roof.

Patching holes

After finishing the few bits and bobs here and there, the sun was low on the horizon. It was time to take a step back and survey our handiwork.

Just three weeks ago, the place looked like this:

Three weeks ago

When we left the site that day, the house looked like this:

Three weeks after

Who would’ve thought???

Day 12: Last visit

We were done with the volunteer-related parts of the build, but there was still a lot more to be done before the house could be deemed complete.

Little things like:

  1. a broken shera board on one corner of the house that got accidentally smashed while we were putting up the scaffolding,

  2. a check on all the bolts to make sure they were tight,

  3. putting internal cladding for the loft (a last-minute decision on my part), and

  4. placing a stump under the foyer that was sagging down.

There were also big things that required professional help like:

  1. plumbing

  2. electrical wiring

  3. painting (which was meant to be done by the volunteers but which, on second thought, would better be left to professionals. The volunteers were threatening to paint the house in rainbow hues, I must not let that happen!)

  4. verandah (which was also meant to be done by the volunteers but which, on second thought, required a lot more carpentry skills than an average person)

  5. termite & pest control

On the morning before I was due to fly across the world, I visited the site to see my new baby one last time. Sitting by myself on the loft, I came to a belated realisation:

In typical Atiqah-style, I had rushed this build in three weeks, constantly in a hurry as I am with other parts of my life. However, the truth is, I have the rest of my life to work on this house and the land around it.

So chill, you big idiot (me, not you). This is going to take a while, and there’s a ton of fun and learning to be had. Enjoy the process, and enjoy the people.



Speaking of the process and the people, below are some snapshots that simply needed to be shared:


Exhibit A: The view from the build site on a cloudy day

Build site

Exhibit B: The upper side of the build site

On the back of a pick-up truck

Exhibit C: Going up the hill packed like a can of sardines on the back of a pick-up truck

Lunch break

Exhibit D: Taking a well-deserved lunch break

Eating lunch

Exhibit E: Alternative ways of sitting down to eat

Abandoned van seats

Exhibit F: Putting the abandoned van-seats to good use

Sleeping on abandoned van seats

Exhibit G: Putting the abandoned van-seats to even better use!


Exhibit H: Another tired and sleepy soul

At the homesstay

Exhibit I: At the kampung-style homestay where we spent the night


Exhibit J: Spectacular sunset during the second weekend

Catch up with the group

Exhibit K: Burger party back in the city before I flew off

A BIG THANK YOU to the Epic Home staff, Orang Asli builders, volunteers, delivery men, caterer, homestay owner, and the two darling dogs that made this build possible, and more than that, enjoyable!

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