Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Racing towards the finish line.....

Only days before practical completion will be called - 24th December as per the contract, no one thought it would be possible but Dean the super builder and his awesome team, Mark, Strider and Mitch have done it.

I couldn't take inside photos today as the top coating (tung oil) had been applied but I took some outside ones (and through the window). Basically everything is ready inside with a bit of finishing off by the Joiner etc to do. A few things will have to wait until next year - the mirrored splashback due to powerpoint issue, front security door, outside painting (just the back will be done so our puppies will be safe). Not too worried about the painting not being complete as the painter is quite a tasty morsel and a pleasure to have around (actually there is a bit of eye candy on site but I won't elaborate in case any of them read this). So ladies if you are looking for a perve just spend a huge amount of money and renovate your house.

The most important job is complete - I have hammock hooks ready and fridge with ice maker is being delivered on Friday!

Ready for painting and new palisade front fence
 Side path painted 'Bluestone' - architect's nightmare but if it means I don't have to clean it so often then I'm happy
Spotted gum floors just finished today -loving our grey (Obsidian Glass) wall and 4.4 metre long entertainment unit

Trevor decided the pergola needed more pop and so it was changed and painted the wall colour above, looks way better. The roofing is some sort of Twinwall type product in a grey colour. Think we will spend a lot of time out there.
Our beautiful and real (not pool fence) front fence - a total extravagance but I think it will make a huge difference to the street appeal.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Yes I like Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain

I'm not much into health food - I am into champagne..... I never knew the next line of the song but I think it's an ode to me.
I am starting to picture myself swinging on my hammock (purchased in Mexico about 14 years ago and never hung up) on the deck below and drinking Pina Coladas.

On the house front there still seems so much to do in so little time; at least them was a lot of progress today with the kitchen starting to go in and the laundry almost completed. Builder is still expecting to be completed (practical completion) by 24th December; so we will probably try to move in around 2nd January.
Very happy with the large deck, nothing worse than a small one

Kitchen in progress, looks bigger than I imagined and pretty spacious for an Inner West house

The laundry which Trevor and the painter says should not be all yellow (cabinets are white) but I am pretty sure I will get my way. They think just one wall in yellow would be better but I think a feature wall in a laundry is naff.

Downstairs bathroom - with little tiled niche on the far wall

Mosaic wall in the ensuite  Bisazza Oleandro shading blend mix
The atrium - almost finished - just needs a Rhapis Excelsa (see below) and a solar uplight (if they exist and actually work)

Monday, 12 November 2012

Variety is the spice of life but variations I’m not so keen on

It seems there are always unexpected costs with a major renovation, especially on an old house, even with the best of planning. We had allowed a pathetic contingency of 5% in the hope that we knew all the problems with the house and were addressing them but there have still been some unknowns. We are not yet at the end of the build but thought I would share the extras that have come up so far. Some are us wanting what we want (and not willing to compromise - Mr R or I); some were just not thought about or not included due to the floor changing from concrete to timber. The contingency is now at 6%.

removal of extra bricks
due to changing from concrete slab to timber floor and not requiring fill
Sub floor ventilation
Just to be on the safe side
Extra steel
So house didn't fall down
Centor retractable screen
To keep flies out and not look as ugly as convential flyscreens
Wanted Namlam timber veneer, good runners etc etc
Roofline dictated this change and was unavoidable - not us changing our minds
Power for Pump in Pit (100%)
Unknown/not allowed for
Light under Floor near Pit (100%)
Unknown/not allowed for
Power & Timer for Ventilation Fan (100%)
Unknown/not allowed for
Gerni side wall
We were going to do this ourselves but ran out of time
Power to street
Not allowed for
Additional electrical (ac upstairs, cut tree for wires)
Not allowed for
Front of house repair brickwork
Didn't know it was in such a bad state and just painting over it would look dodgy
Front of house rendering (putting sandstone look lines put in)
ditto above
Ply in wall for shelves and TV bracket
Wall behind so bad that they would not be able to support the shelves and TV without something more to drill into
Unknown/not allowed for
Windows extra
Still don't know what this is
Not yet paid so may be less - haa haa haa, what a funny joke!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

What I'm stressing about this week.....

Downlights in the wardrobe - we have two door activated downlights in our wardrobes (LED wide beam 12 watt) but the joiner suggested an LED strip instead. Crap - I wish he hadn't said anything (or do I), now I'm thinking do I or don't I, where will the powerpoint go. Will need to make a quick decision so the electrician doesn't cut a hole for a light which might not exist

Ceiling in hallway - why is there a new frame there? Why is my ceiling 8cm lower than it was? How will a new/old cornice go back so there is now not enough space for that and the picture rail. Must have the picture rail as we can't put holes into old brick and lime mortar - they just come straight back out again. Builder is away this week so maybe I just need to wait and see but then the plastering might get done and then there is no turning back

Rainwater tank - why did I not realised that my glorious 1.2 metre side access (great for Leichhardt) would end up being 700mm with the tank in. How do I bring in my double door fridge, what about the 3300mm long sofa? The tank is only 380mm wide but with the slab etc it will still come out further. Why had I not considered this? This will be an issue, not just moving in, but in the future if we buy anything else. Our bar-b-que was bought on ebay for $80 and it pretty crappy but if we get a new one it won't go down the side and we have no rear lane access.

House numbers - actually no stress but do I go too big or too small? I can just the right size from the US but for $110 plus postage - no thanks. So it's either 65mm or about 120mm - might make a test up and see how they look.

Exterior paint colours - had it all picked and am now having 2nd thoughts due to comments about my main colour looking like nappy poo. Unfortunately I can get no help from Mr R as he is colour blind (very beneficial in other ways though - see interior decorating below)

Purchased a letterbox from Bunnings, very stock standard but I thought either make a feature of it or just have it blending in. The price was right at $50 including the heavy duty post. Unfortunately no where to put the letterbox as Leichhardt Council (expletives removed) have insisted on two stormwater pits in the front garden with grates on top so I can access them to remove leaves - haa haa, as though that is going to happen. The front yard is about 1.8 metres x 2.5 metres so two pits in the front is well, ridiculous.

Pretty things - met with Steph at the house, she was my teacher at evening college and is a professional Interior Decorator. We had a great time going over the plan for the master bedroom. I will be looking at curtains etc in the 2nd bedroom and lounge room but that will be down the track a bit but I wanted to have a nice bedroom and I've spent too much money on the past on things that don't go together so I wanted professional help. We are going to do a wallpaper wall behind the bed with a tall mauve bedhead (style to be decided), some lovely sheer/shimmery curtains with blockout behind, bedside tables, lamps and some gorgeous cushions and bed runner. Will be very excited to see it all come together.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

You, light up my life…..

I could write a whole post about LED downlights but to be honest I am sick of researching them, getting 100 different opinions about them, wondering why the same thing costs 3 times the amount retail to ebay and why doesn’t the Electrician give a straight answer to a simple question – i.e. can we have these lights. We can’t wait any longer so are just buying what we think is the right thing, they are complete kit 12w or 15w gimble white dimmable LEDs lights with a warm white globe – degree beam 60 ($50 on ebay and $170 from Brodie lighting at Brookvale – interesting). If these don’t turn out to be the ‘right’ thing then I will be inserting them somewhere the sun does not shine.
On a brighter note (hee hee) heaps has been happening at the house and it is really taking shape. The gyprock has made a huge difference and we can really picture ourselves living there. The quality of the workmanship is excellent and so far we have not looked at anything and thought “god that looks terrible” etc; but enough boring stuff, lots of photos below
Lounge/dining area looking at at the backyard - love our big stacker sliding door with little lourves above

Looking towards the kitchen - skylights on the right


The three skylights - make a huge difference to the amount of light inside




Bedroom 2 upstairs

Bedroom 2 with triangle window which mirrors the slope of the roofs

Upstairs landing

Upstairs landing

Storage room (S&M room - rack to be installed next week)


Master bedroom

Master bedroom - wardrobe and hall

Ensuite with underfloor heating - pipe shows where freestanding bath will go

Ensuite and my atrium

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Decisions decisions

The last week or so has seen lots happening at the house and lots of stuff to think about.
I had one of those wake up in the night “oh shit” moments and realised that it would be very difficult to hang paintings if there is only gyprock with a gap behind it or worse old mortar that just falls out. I am of the belief that every wall needs something on it, so the thought of not having our art, collected over many years (none expensive and most from overseas but treasures to us), displayed was very disappointing. Anyway, after a bit of internet surfing, and the go ahead from Trevor and Dean, I found a great company in Balmain called  FX Hanging Systems that make ceiling mounted shadow line handing systems. The downstairs gyprocking will happen in the next week or so and I’ve found most products seem to have a 10 day lead time at least but these guys will send from Melbourne (I think) and arrive 2 days later to site. I thought it was pretty well priced, it cost about $400 for about 22 lineal meters, but I also really like the idea that we can move the art around without having to patch walls and re-paint.
Dean had the painter around and was basically advised that if we painted on top of the old paint on the exterior walls it would just peel off. There are about 4-5 layers of paint with the last one being some textured thing to hide the imperfections – kind of worked as we did not notice when we bought the house. So we spent 2 days scraping paint off the front of the house and the side wall of our place and next doors. The front of the house looks very Tuscan now – sort of rustic but not the kind of look either Mr R or I really like. The plan is to guerney all the scraped areas and then the front will be re-rendered putting back in the lines that made the houses look sort of like sandstone (if we can afford it but probably not much choice). The problem is that we only allowed for re-painting and there are some areas that just look too terrible i.e. we didn’t know that there are two massive cracks over the door and the lintel is broken in half – apparently it isn’t going anywhere but if we are going to re-render we have to fix this.
Also got a quote to put in a new section of tessellated tile path – didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at the $5,000 quote for an area 1.2 x 2 metres. We were thinking of replacing the lot as the bullnose edge is not original and many of the tiles are cracked but that was an extra $3.7k without the concrete slab. So we are going for plan E – replace the door sill with Italian slate bullnose (as would have been original), clean up tessellated tiles, paint ugly terrazzo edge black, lay new side path side with grey tint; then next year if/when funds allow we will just get the little section done. We found a place that can supply the tiles and have some recommended (and apparently not hugely expensive) tilers. Renditions tile seemed much cheaper and we think it would still look great, currently they don’t have chocolate brown tiles, which we need, but they will be bringing these in in February so we can wait until then.
We are also missing our cast iron lace work – just got a quote for that $1k a lineal metre WTF! Am I living in the 80’s or is that very very expensive??? Got another quote for about $2000 but I'll just wait and see if you can find a 2nd hand one.
Been so busy I haven’t taken any photos but will take lots this weekend and load them up.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

I'm buying a stairway to heaven

It’s been about a month since my last post and things have started motoring along.

Timber floors has been installed (after sitting for a few weeks to ‘acclimatise’) and look amazing, wide board (130mm) select NSW spotted gum. We could have saved a bit of money going with a cheaper timber but we really love the look of spotted gum.

The staircase was installed on Tuesday, also spotted gum, and even though it is not very wide I think it feels quite generous and it looks beautiful. Can’t wait to see how all the timber comes up when it’s sanded etc. We are utilising the space under the stair for a walk in pantry and cellar – the head height is better than expected which is super news – more wine!!!!

Roughing in by plumber and electrician is complete; gyprocking will be happening upstairs this week so too late now for any changes (unless we want to pay for them) so fingers crossed. We dedicated quite a bit of time at the planning stage for electrical and hopefully this will pay off, but I suppose we won’t know until we move in.

The front roof has been replaced – terracotta tiles (which would not have been original) with zincalume.

Lots of brick work, finishing off the parapets – brick wall thingyies the go above the roof line, laundry door way, bathroom doorway cut out, all the small windows installed. The big doors at the back will go in this week, can’t wait to see how they look. The skylights should also be installed this week and that should make a huge difference to the light inside; it’s already very light and bright but should be even better.

Bathroom sheeting upstairs is pretty much complete and the space looks great. Love my little atrium, not sure the builder is that keen J
Atrium in ensuite

Waste for freestanding bath
This is where the kitchen will be and looking into the walk in pantry/cellar under the stairs
Master bedroom with lovely big north facing window
Master bedroom - where wardrobe will be
 I’m starting to think more about decorating stuff – I really hope we have some money left but there have been a few extras, no individual item has cost a lot but it all adds up. A few extras have been subfloor ventilation (we wanted this to ensure we absolutely had no mould issues), moving the mains power, extra steel (better than house falling down) and few odds and bods.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

If you don’t like the heat…..

We have an allowance of $20k in the build cost for the kitchen but unfortunately the price came in at $27k (everything expect appliances – we already have those from pre-renovation). We spent about 3 weeks looking at alternative products/materials to bring the cost down but in the end stayed with the original plan for a couple of reasons.

1.       The tall cupboards, which are a major feature of the open plan living area, were to be made of Navlam veneer (sandblasted brindle oak). This is a sheet product, not a panel, so need to be attached to a panel and so labour costs are triple that of say polyurathene. We are having white poly on the island and really wanted a timber type veneer on the other cupboards but were a bit picky and so could not find a panel product we liked (i.e. Laminex). A lot of the options are very knotty and we wanted smooth grain and I liked the rough texture created by the sandblasting.
2.       We could have saved a bit ($1.5k) using Naturastone as opposed to Caeserstone but we would have to coordinate the different trades/businesses to work together and if the result was crap it would be our responsibility, not the builder/joiner, therefore we took the easy/safer/more expensive route and stuck with Caeserstone.
3. We wanted good quality runners (soft close and fully extendable)
Kitchen plan - a few changes since this but close enough to what we will have
Trevor and I are meeting with the joiner on site in about a week to go through some finer details and then he will start producing the kitchen and expects it to be ready in 4-6 weeks.

Other materials in kitchen are a stainless steel bench (in tall cupboard area) and mirrored splashback. Light will be downlights in ceiling, 2 x under cupboard and a 3000mm magazine wire suspended light.
Even though the kitchen is costing more than we hoped, we believe that it will be money well spent as we plan on staying in the house for 20 years.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Chugging along - September 2012

Nearly a month has passed since my last post and not all that much has happened. It's great when we go to site and see lots of changes and signs of things moving along but I know it won’t always move fast and apparently I have to be patient. Unfortunately I was born without patience and they don’t seem to sell bottles of it at the supermarket. I think the best thing for me to do would be to go overseas for a month – hint hint Mr R.
Most of the windows have arrived and they look amazing, even better than we had imagined. Saying that we could not imagine much as we had not really ever seen really great windows and doors, most new homes seem to be built with narrow profile frames and we knew we wanted thicker, more substantial looking ones. The back stacker doors have not yet arrived and also the triangle window for bedroom 2 as it needed to be measured up on site. This has probably slowed progress a bit as there is not much more that can be done until the site is watertight.
Our gorgeous windows - love them!

The biggest visual change is that the majority of the external cladding (Sycon Axon) has been installed and I think it looks great. It will be painted a light colour so it looks like a box stuck on the top of the house.
View from rear and our lovely big bedroom window

View from neighbours house and our hall window (up high so no one can see our nude bodies)
Trevor and I met up with the Joiner (Chris from Hills Joinery), on site, to discuss the kitchen, wardrobes, bathroom vanities and entertainment unit. A lot of details were discussed that I didn’t understand but at least Chris and Trevor were on the same page, so hopefully this will mean we get a high quality finish.
Really excited about the entertainment unit, it will be 4.8 metres long, wall hung and finished in Dulux Natural White polyurethane. We are going to paint the west long (living/dining/kitchen) wall a mid-grey colour so that the entertainment unit and floating shelves do not get lost in the wall. Also I didn’t want to end up with a room that looked like a long white box and as it faces north I think it can handle a deeper colour.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Who let the dogs out – roof roof roof

The back section of roof went on this week; it’s not the prettiest roof ever but it is low maintenance and inexpensive. The roof is a combination of Trimdek, Custom Orb and Klip-lok; Custom Orb will also be the product used on the front of the house and what is seen from the street.
I am used to colourbond and have not seen many house with Zincalume but if Trevor thinks it will look ok I will have to trust him. I think I’ll take out my sample pots of exterior paint colours to make sure it looks ok with the roof colour – or lack thereof.
We will be able to see the back roof from our bedroom window but some sheer curtains will solve any glare issues and I really wanted a nice big window. Councils and Basix don’t seem to like direct sunlight into rooms but I most certainly do and I’m not worried that the view is not the best.

View from master bedroom

This section will have three skylights cut into it
We should be nice and toasty with all that insulation

Thursday, 9 August 2012

It's the 3rd door on the left

Ever been told that the bathroom is the 3rd door on the left, only to get to the end of the hall and there are doors everywhere. Nothing worse than opening the wrong door and peeing on someone’s bed…..even just opening the wrong door is a bit embarrassing.
So what to do???
I have purchased these amazing toilet and laundry signs for our doors from Mooza Designs. They come in heaps of different colours and patterns. They also make great signs for the kitchen, house numbers etc

 I think they are very cute and a great way to support a local business.

Outdoor dining dilemma - July 2012

So the problem is that I know exactly what I want and after much searching have found it....why is it that I always like the things I can't afford.

Cancun Ali Dining Table
Cancun dining table from Globe West $2000

Boracay Round Occasional Chair
Globe West Boracay Round Occasional Chair approx $700 each, thought one of these on each end of the table would be great (in white) for more relaxed seating for Mr R and I

Cancun Ali Dining Chair
Cancun Ali Dining Chair = approx $400 each
So now I need to work out where to find something similar for half the price or less.