Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Day 73 - Kitchens

Our internal selections appointment is next Wednesday. While it was me that booked the appointment and I wanted it before 10th September, I am finding the closer it gets the more stressed I am getting.  The kitchen and vanity colours are confusing me.

I know I want to go for a dark cupboard, with white benchtop. We are having white floors, so I think the cupboards needs to be dark to keep the dark/light contrast.

One of the colours I am looking at is Espresso Ligna

Or here

Another colour that I like the look of is Licorice Linea

Mat wants dark cupboards on the bottom and light on the top. I wasn't sure about this as I am having a hard enough time to choosing one colour let alone two.  As you can tell from the pictures, I am leaning towards timber grain, however, this afternoon I found a kitchen that isn't timber grain and has different coloured overhead cupboards - this has thrown a spanner in the works

While I wouldn't go for the red splashback as it wont suit our colour scheme, I love the colours of the kitchen. Colours here are Laminex Fossil and Paperbark.

What I found out is that Laminex if you call them will give you 150mm x 150mm samples of all their colours.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Day 71 - Hedges

On Saturday we went to Sydney to collect our 80 x 8" Viburnum hedges.    We are going to plant them around the front of the block, and have a post and rail fence in front of them. Eventually we want the hedges to be at the same height as the fence.

Yesterday we set about planting them. As the block is mainly clay, we dug a shallow trench and then planted the plants using a mound. That way we can get a decent amount of good soil for them to establish in.  We thought we would need 1 - 2 tonnes of dirt - we ended up going through about 4 tonnes.


I need to take the front of the block in two pictures - as it is nearly 50metres wide and wont fit into one frame.


All the scrub on the hill behind the hedges will go. Mat wants to mulch the hill and have a few plants, maybe some Gymea Lilly's, however, I think it will look nicer with lovely green turf. 

After all that planting, the only problem we have now - how to water them, when we currently don't have water connected. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Day 68 - DA Lodged

I lodged the Development Application today. 

It all went smoothly except for the small incident that involved a self checkout machine at Kmart where Harry decided he would deposit my keycard in the receipt slot - and the machine needing to be pulled apart to get it out.

My only downer today is that Council is predicting 8 weeks for a decision. Grrrrr. So much for only taking a couple of weeks. So today is day 68, add 56 days to that, we should have a decision by day 124 - that 120 day pre-build has just been thrown out the window.  I don't think we will be building until mid November at this stage.

In other news, we have made our internal selections appointment - Wednesday 5th September. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Day 67 - Getting The Job Done

I used to work for a company whose motto was 'we get the job done' so I am living to that mantra today.

Rawson has advised me that the DA would be posted off to council by the end of the week. Working for a building company I know that in order to lodge a DA you need stamped plans from Hunter Water.  Problem is, Rawson is in Sydney, we are not, and any mail that comes to the Hunter is definetly snail mail.   So I emailed Simone asking if I could pick up the DA and lodge it myself.

She replied saying that you cannot lodge it as Hunter Water need to stamp the plans and that takes them 5 business days to stamp it plus the time for us to send it backwards and forwards - total wasted 3 weeks. Then they need to send them to council, another week, total of 4 weeks that I don't want to wait.

So I asked Simone if I can get the plans stamped myself, and lodge the DA - thank goodness she said YES.

So tomorrow - ROAD TRIP.  Round trip which is probably about 400 - 500kms, stopping at Rawson to meet Simone and then to grab the plans, get Hunter Water to stamp them (Maitland or Newcastle) and then take them to Port Stephens Council.  Hopefully I can do it all in one day. Hopefully I will save myself 4 weeks and get building before the beginning of November.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Day 65 - Second Rawson Payment

Today I heard from Rawson. Our CSO Simone has returned from sick leave - thank goodness.

Basix certificate ordered - check!

Development application started - check!

$7,000 second payment paid to Rawson - check!

Simone has said that our application should be sent off to the council by the end of the week. I have been told that Port Stephens Council are taking less than two weeks with development applications - lets hope this is the case when ours gets lodged.

I have also asked Simone if we can book our internal selections appointment before 10th September, which is when Mats work relocates. I know it is not leaving us much time, but it is less than 2 months before our 120 days is up and we should start building.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Day 60 - Half Way There

We are up to 60 days since we paid our tender fee, so halfway through our pre-build process.  Do I feel any closer than we did 60 days ago?  I guess so seeing we have our DA plans.  To throw a spanner in the works our lovely CSO Simone is off sick at the moment.

To keep the build process moving, I have sent off our signed tender, signed variations (to date) plus the DA plans to the bank so that a valuation can be ordered.

I am quite concerned about the valuation. When we had a valuation done on our last house last time it came back $35,000 less than we sold if for only a few months later, plus it was only valued at $30,000 more than when it had been previously valued 18 months prior and we had spent nearly $60,000 on it between valuations.  We were told at the time that banks are very cautious at the moment and valuations are low.  Not good for us when we want the bank to contribute as much as they will without charging us LMI.  My mortgage person is confident that we wont have any trouble, but until they come back with an unconditional YES, I wont be celebrating

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Day 58 - Lights

We are going to need quite a few lights once the house is built. I know we are not far off a year from moving in - hey we haven't even scraped dirt yet, but it is not too early to look right........

We have bought pendant lights for the kitchen island

Mat thought that they would be a little bit of bling for the kitchen.

My main concern is the light needed from the front entrance.  It is quite a big void

So I am thinking that we will need something big to go there.   I have found this today and I am in love

It is a David Trubridge designed light called Coral - it comes in sizes 400mm, 600mm, 800mm, 100mm and 1600mm.  I was thinking that we would need a couple of lights for that area, but one light of 1600mm would be fantastic.   I have sent off an email to find out the price, I think I will be shocked at the price, but at least I will have quite a long time to save for it

Another light I love, maybe for above the dining table

It is called 'Flax' again by David Trubridge.  Comes in 800mm, 1200mm or 1500mm again in the black or aluminium - love it, but again I am sure the price will kill me.

I will update on the price once I get it.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Day 56 - Timber!!!

We have a lot of clearing out to do. Mat was supposed to play golf yesterday, but it was cancelled due to the terrible weather conditions. You may not be able to play golf in weather like this, but you can chop things down.  We got rid of quite a few of the trees bushes and it has made a huge difference.

Before we started

After our efforts from one weekend

What it looks like today

Getting rid of a cherry tree and a couple of fur trees has made a huge difference.

It lightens up the area quite a lot.  There is still a lot that needs to be removed, but we will wait until the excavators move in to clear the block and we will get them to clear this out further.

We also got rid of a few more trees. Now you see them

Now you dont

I wanted the other tree to go as well, but Mat is hoping that in Spring it will grow leaves and will look a lot nicer and give a bit of privacy from the house next door.

Where is all the trees going?

The piles are getting bigger!!!

Day 55 - Plans

I am very happy to say that Rawson did not let me down on Friday. They came back at 4:40pm with the completed DA plans.

The plans are all OK. There is one question that I need to ask, as a window has been reduced from 500mm to 300mm in height in the 5th bedroom ensuite.  I am not concerned that this has been reduced, as it was mentioned that it will reduce water pooling in the tracks, but I am questioning that I have not received a credit for the window size being reduced.

Plans are signed and due to go back to Rawson first thing on Monday.  I wonder how long it will before it goes into council.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Day 54 - Still Waiting

I am still waiting for my plans. Luckily I didn't hold my breath yesterday or I would have passed out on the floor.  My emails yesterday went unanswered. This morning I sent another email, which was responded to.  I was told that my plans would be completed today/

It is now 4:00pm. I have chased a couple of times and been told that they have been completed and they are now being checked. I am hoping the plans will come through this afternoon or I think I will scream.

I want the plans today, so we can go through them over the weekend and send them back Monday so they can go into council.

Please Rawson don't let me down today.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Day 53 - Waiting

I am not a patient person. I don't like to wait.  I really wish that builders would work to my time, but seeing I work for a builder, maybe I of all people should realise that things take time.

I sent back the final variations for the house, the glazed pantry door, which will be perfect to hide all the mess in my non 'Martha' pantry and the variation to reduce the island from 3300mm to 3000mm but increase the width from 810mm to 1200mm.  

I am still wondering if I have done the right thing here.  I love the look of the loooonnnng island. I could always increase it, even longer than the 3300mm and then the join wouldn't be so noticeable.

Mat thinks that if it is going to have a join, then it needs to have two joins in it. One large piece of stone in the middle and then exactly the same sized smaller stone pieces on the outside.  Have I mentioned before that he is really anal when it comes to symmetry?  He is and I think with this issue it is a little over the top, so maybe I just stick with the 3000m and not have to have a join at all.

Colours have been signed off and sent back.  I haven't thought about the colours since they were sent in, so I must be OK with them. It is one less thing to worry about.

I have been promised my revised plans by the end of this week - as in tomorrow.  I only work 2 days a week and today is my 'end of the week'. I asked Rawson if I could have the plans today so I could print them off etc, they said they would 'try' their best.  I have emailed them today to check whether I will be getting them - no reply as yet. So I am not going to hold my breath.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Day 51 - Clearing out

We started clearing the block a couple of months ago, but got discouraged after we bought a dodgy chainsaw, so it has been sitting there doing nothing until last weekend when the kids were at mums and the sun was shining a perfect time to get stuck in. Mat bought a new chainsaw, a lot better than the other one we had and we got chopping

As you can see there is a tree where the writing in - all trees in front of this are going. This is where the house will be, so all the vegetation will also be cleared out.  There are loads of agapathas in there, these will be transplanted to the front.

The trees in this area are staying. The vegetation, fur tree and any dead trees will be cleared out.

This is to the right of the previous picture, we thought we would start on this first.  It is the most overgrown and has the most amount that needs to be removed.

We started with the obnoxious weeds that were at the front of the picture - oh my goodness there was heaps of it

All gone!!!  It took quite a few hours to get rid of it, and we found a fence under there, quite a bit of metal and bricks.

We have since cleared out a couple of the smaller dead trees (you can see them off the sides of the large trees)  The large tree in the middle is also dead and will need to be removed. We will save this for when all the other trees are removed once we have DA consent.   

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Day 45 - Islands

This island bench is driving me insane. This morning I had a brain wave, I thought I would call the stone mason that we use as work and ask him about the overhang and whether it can be greater than 300mm.

The short answer - NO. For a  40mm caesarstone benchtop, the overhang cannot be greater than 320mm or it will void the warranty if it does not have additional supports. For 20mm caesarstone you will get away with having a bigger overhang.  OK, so that issue is solved.

Dave (the stonemason) asked me how long the island was - 3.30metres was my reply. Straight away he told me to reduce it to 3.0m so that it would not need a join.

Rawson have not told me that once the bench gets over 3.0m it will need a join - I am not saying here that they should have, but it would have been nice. I found this out on the homeone forum.  I thought I was fine having a join, but I know that it will drive Mat insane.  I told Dave the colour that we were going to have and he told me to shorten the bench as you will always see the join and it will spoil the island.

So I have gone back to Rawson and asked the question

1. Reduce the island to 3.0m so that there is not a join and leave it at the standard 900mm width. This should result in a credit as there is less stone, and less cabinetry.

Or reduce it to 3.0 metres, widen the bench to 1200mm.

One of the other options would be to make is 1200mm wide, but instead of having 870mm cupboards, having 600mm cupboards, and then on the other side have 300mm cupboards - basically like this internally

Hmmm too many decisions. Luckily we have quite awhile before we have to decide.