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.