Tuesday, October 30, 2012

3 big sleeps...

Today was carpet day, the last of the major installations for the house before we can move in. I haven't seen it in person yet, but I must say that from what I have seen in the pictures it is all looking great so far. We've gone for 100% wool, with a beige-brown colour for the bedrooms and study (can't remember the name of the colour), and a deep purple for the theatre room ('coriander seed').

I know I said no pictures until the final reveal, but here is a quick sneak peak:

Ben had another busy day today working as apprentice carpet installer, as well as finishing off the installation of the towel rails and door stops. He also managed to catch up with FK when he made a quick visit to check up on the severity of the list of things to be addressed before handover. Nothing too major, so we are still looking like we are on track for Friday.

Tomorrow Ben has organised for the backyard excavation to begin again. We did attempt to do this back in July (seems so long ago now!), but the wet weather stopped the heavy excavator from being able to accomplish too much. Now that the ground has had a few months to dry out, it is time to try again. Once the backyard has been levelled, we can start looking at putting up the side boundary fence.

Monday, October 29, 2012

4 sleeps till Santa...

Ben is now officially on holidays for the next two weeks, so he started off today by installing the doorbell and some of the towel rails. He also organised for the new bins to be delivered in the next week or so, and dropped off a fencing notification for our new neighbours...if they ever decide to start building on their land!

In terms of Keogh's progress, the cleaners were on site today doing a fantastic job of making everything look new and sparkly for us.

Tomorrow... not sure about what Keogh will be doing, but Ben will be a busy boy meeting our carpet installer on site at 8am, and then finishing off the installation of the rest of the towel rails and toilet roll holders.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

5 sleeps till Santa...

Only 5 big sleeps until Santa comes and brings us our keys!

Dropped by the house to find that the painters have been back to do all of their touch-ups, and the skylight in the study has been installed.

No pics this week - we are taking a leaf out of Linni's book and don't want to ruin the surprise! Stay tuned...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

And the fence comes tumbling down...

Not much to say today, other than the temporary fence has now been taken down (finally it was by Keogh and not by thieves - at least I think it was by Keogh!). Apparently the plumber tried to install the fireplace, but was unsure of a few things so his boss will be going up there tomorrow instead.

Today we received the Certificate of Occupancy, so tomorrow we will be faxing it off to the bank to get them moving on the final payment. 

Gas is already organised, and tomorrow we will be calling the electricity company to get that all switched into our names too. I wish I had a checklist of all the things we need to think about before we move in, because I'm sure that I'm forgetting something...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Lock it in Eddie...

Handover has now been booked for Friday the 2nd of November, which means that in only 12 sleeps the keys will finally be ours! Huzzah!

Still quite a bit to do before then:

  • Fireplace to be installed
  • One cracked window to be replaced
  • Plumbers to come back to finish their fit-off
  • LPG to be installed
  • Air-conditioning installation to be finalised
  • Painting touch-ups
  • Skylight to be installed in the study
  • Our people to come in and install the carpet

In the meantime, we have some steps to the laundry and dining room doors:

Today Ben finally finished installing the last of the front retaining wall. Only the last little bit of back-filling to go now (and cladding, but that will come later).

Monday, October 15, 2012

Taps and walls...

This weekend work continued on the front retaining wall....and when I say work continued, I mean that Ben worked on the wall while I attended various breast cancer awareness lunches and Guide cooking days! It's a hard life...

Even with all of Ben's hard effort over the past three days, the wall is not quite complete yet. I'm away camping with the Guides this coming weekend so Ben is going to have another weekend working on the wall all by himself.

We do have a few pictures of his work in progress so far though. In terms of materials, we have just gone with standard concrete sleepers. They look a bit ugly at the moment, but at least this means that the soil is not going anywhere. Eventually though, these will be faced with stone to make them look a bit prettier. This is one of many jobs on the landscaping "to do" list.

Lots of progress has been made inside too, tidying up those last little jobs. The electricians have been back on site to hang the servery light:

The plumbers have installed all of the toilets and tapware:

Laundry sink

En suite

Main toilet

Kitchen sink

Outdoor tap

PK is expecting the Certificate of Occupancy to hopefully arrive by the end of the week, so not long to go now!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


This is a post about compromises.

Understandably, when you consider the building process typically extends over many months it is no surprise that things can change. Sometimes these changes come from us (like our garage strappings) and other times it comes down to the builder or their suppliers. Suppliers go out of business, products get discontinued, humans make mistakes...these things happen.

Fortunately, we have been reasonably lucky with changes over the course of our build. Keogh have been very happy to accommodate our last minute mind changes and additions (of which there have been a few), so I suppose it was time for us to return the favour.

First compromise - tiles. The tilers have been delayed for a week or so as we have been waiting to hear back from Hynes about the status of the tiles we had picked for the kitchen and laundry walls. We thought they were pretty standard tiles, but apparently they are not popular enough and have now been discontinued. The tilers tried to find us some extra stock, but no luck...damn.

The ones we originally picked were similar to this - just standard cream "fish and chip shop" style rectangle tiles

In the interests of keeping things moving along, we decided to just go ahead and continue using the small square tiles from the kitchen splashback through to the kitchen and laundry walls. I think it has still come up very nicely - a successful compromise!

Kitchen bench

Kitchen sink


The next compromise was the fireplace mantle. You might remember this mantle and set of hearth tiles that we had bought to go in the family room:

Unfortunately, when Ben dropped the mantle off on site a few weeks ago, he found that the wall for the fireplace has been built approximately 200mm too narrow for this particular mantle...damn. This was one of the only areas we forgot to double-check the original measurements of during the framing stage, which makes it all the more annoying. However, upon checking the original plans it looks like the measurement error started out right at the beginning, before a single piece of timber arrived on site. Somehow it managed to slip through the net...damn.

Due to the style of the mantle, we could not just "shave a bit" off either side to make it fit - a whole new mantle was required. The heath tiles also needed to be changed as they were glued down quite securely to the baseboard, the width of which extended even further past the mantle. 

Luckily, eBay to the rescue! We managed to secure an unstained mantle that would fit the both the wall space and our cast iron insert (we triple checked the measurements this time!). We sent it off to Keogh to be stained to match the front door, and it has now arrived back onsite ready for installation.

Mantle in pieces

"Owl" corbels 

We also bought some new tiles for the hearth...we decided to change the colour to a deep burgundy to bring out some of the red colouring in the floorboards:

And finally, a sneak peak of the insert with the feature flower tiles to match the hearth tiles...can't wait to see it all put together!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Digging to China...

Today was digging day. 

The front and side retaining walls just outside the house need to be installed before we can move in. Now that we finally have the building permit, today we hired a dingo and auger and drilled out the post holes.

First up though, moving the big pile of leftover crushed rock in the front corner. Ben set me up with a shovel, and it was my job to move the big pile onto the next level out of the way...it was a big pile of rock:

Took me about 20 minutes to move this much rock...very slow progress
Tough work...little did I know that Ben made me stick it out for about 20 minutes before coming along with the dingo and removing the whole pile in about two minutes!

Then came the real work...digging holes. Who would have thought holes could be so complicated?! With all of the measuring, working out the line, checking the measuring, double-checking the line, and getting the dingo lined up properly against these measurements, it took us about two hours to get the first three holes dug. Luckily, after the third hole we finally got the hang of it and managed to smash out the next seven in about 45 minutes. Ben has now decided that he might do a bit more of the hard landscaping himself. He says it is to save money, I think it's just so he can ride the dingo again!

My job was to dig out the loose soil after the auger - felt like I was digging to China! It also turns out that we sited the house in the right spot, as we came across rock in most of the front holes - luckily we came across hardly any during the actual build, or else that could have been expensive.

Now that's a deep hole!
There was some very tricky manoeuvring to get these holes down the side of the house done. The ones outside the kitchen will unfortunately need to be done by hand as the space is too narrow for even the smallest dingo. That will be a job for next weekend when the concreting starts...so, who's free next weekend?!

Meanwhile, inside the house we got a pleasant surprise as it looks like someone has been on site in the last day to install the shower screens, mirrors, and fly screens. 

I'm not sure the fly screen on the sliding door is going to stand up to the "doggy test" though, so we may need to look at some reinforcements once we actually move in. Considering that Oscar is a big fan of trying to let himself inside the house and Kody has been known to run through glass doors in the past, I think the current one may last all of about two minutes with those two.

We are getting very close to completion now. It was a pretty amazing feeling to walk around the house with the knowledge that in just a few weeks, we won't have to leave at the end of the day...

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Well polish my knuckles and call me Susie....

Steve the floor polisher worked very hard this week, and managed to finish up everything by Thursday.    Very pleased with how it has all turned out:

Here's a close-up of the "firestreak" effect:

Tomorrow we are going to have a very busy day on site starting to dig the holes for our front retaining wall. I have been sick this week, so I guess this actually means that Ben will have a busy day digging, and I will have a busy day supervising...photos of our handiwork to come later tomorrow.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Floor sanding, day one...

Today was day one of the floor sanding and polishing, which involved giving the floors a thorough sanding and laying down some black putty.

Tomorrow the sanding and putty-ing will continue, and the polish will go down tomorrow afternoon. Three coats of polish later, and our beautiful floors will be done...can't wait!