Wednesday, July 28, 2010

It looks like a rectangle, Mum

Exploring our local parks and testing out a new scooter

Ask a 4 year old his opinion, and he's going to tell you exactly what he sees. I asked my Chomper what the house looks like and he responded with the title to this post.

The house can be seen now without any obstructions to the view. Fence? Gone. Portaloo? Removed from site. Our tradies have no restroom to use so I'm expecting those trees still standing on our neighbour's Lot may also be gone shortly.

This last week has been disappointing. I expected a huge rush of activity and major headway towards the finish line. It seems to be creeping along painstakingly slow. The major holdup are the cornice people who have not shown up for over two weeks. Our bathrooms and alfresco are nude without them and have yet to be painted and accessorized (no towel rails and worse! no bath tub installed yet). We are scheduled to have our Handover Thursday week (keys baby! you know what Handover is of course.. but I just l-o-v-e saying, thinking, typing "k-e-y-s" whenever I get the chance).

And with a large list of items still left to complete, our Site Supervisor is about to have a much larger list as of midday tomorrow.

Our SS has decided to skip their usual process with us. We have so many variations that he wants us on site at 10am tomorrow to have the PCI inspection to highlight anything amiss. Usually Eden Brae waits until everything is completed before scheduling this in. So far, our SS has listed the following items booked but not complete.

Toilets, Bath, Taps, Towel rails installation
Drive way & Porch pegged and meshed but not yet concreted ( due to rain )
Shower screens and mirrors booked for Friday
Hot Water System install
Spot cleaning brick work

 Also the timber cladding in our Alfresco looks atrocious.
 Photo taken of Display Home shows what it should look like

Photo taken of our Alfresco early last month. The roof is now there but the cladding hasn't been touched since.

I have asked Howard, our property inspector, to be with us for this inspection. His services costs $595 but at least we have his critical eye and construction knowledge. Perhaps I should take Chomper too. He'll definitely see everything from a whole new perspective. Possible suggestion from him: more mud, less house please.

He may be happy to see that tomorrow morning, there may be a curve to complement The Rectangle. The driveway is ready to be poured! Why that's suddenly so exciting is still a little cloudy. Maybe something to do with my sleep deprivation (my 1 yr old boy Bear-Ba has a ear and throat infection and sleep is a distant memory of what happened last week).

When my laptop gets itself together (overloaded with movie files of my adventurous two which need to be archived to DVD) and let's me preview my fresh-from-construction-site photos, I will upload them here. No guarantee I will be awake when that happens, so maybe have to wait till a future post.

HA that's odd! Welcome back laptop. I was just talking about you. Here's a pic of the outside.. Good night (here's hoping sleep happens in this house tonight).

not so sure about that white garage door.. we'll have to park outside to disguise it =P

Monday, July 19, 2010

Lights.. Camera.. KEYS!

We are overwhelmed. Yesterday my son blew out four candles that were sitting atop his grandma's latest cake sensation (sunsational!) at our soon-to-be-local park on Pebble Cres. Lovely location and fabulous family & friends hip-hip-hooraying with us. This morning, he continued opening presents while we received our own big news package.

Our final inspections are locked in for 29 July with our settlement meeting (KEYS!!) the following week. More than being excited, I just feel relieved. Everything will be better being inside our own place. Can't wait to be out somewhere, and then remember when I leave, I'll be heading to OUR home and be able to zoom up our driveway and have big sighs and a grin stepping in the door.

Like most of the world's population, we were hit (several times with big financial bruises to show) by the global financial crisis last year. Just having the weight of not paying rent and the mortgage will be a huge load off.

I finally gave the landlord 4 weeks notice today.Anyone want to help move? Haha. We're almost packed up.. just have the essentials out. Also there's no stairs involved this time. Moving will be a breeze compared to the last one.

Pics of paint colour choices (thank you!! to the colour experts at CCD Studio who designed our colour palette)
Taubmans "Whitehouse" used in above in the Family room and throughout most of the house including all trims

Taubmans "Foxtail" on render, Colorbond "Dune" on gutters, Colorbond "Surfmist" on windows and garage door, PGH "Smoke" bricks

We received a quote from the electrician used by Eden Brae for an additional powerpoint $42, and a separate circuit for the induction cooktop was $460! WHAT THE?!?!

He mentioned no extra cost when I met him at the house. I assumed it was part of the electrical plan. You can imagine the sparks flying from my ears when hubby told me we owed them over $500.

Hubby called an electrician friend to find out what price would be considered reasonable. Then went back to the company who sent the quote.

When hubby mentioned "excessive quote", they quickly changed tack and said it was a mistake. They had included the cost of installing the cooktop in the quote. The quote stated in bold writing installation was not included. Just an excuse to backtrack out of admitting they tried to rip us off.

Quote to be resubmitted shortly. Will see how much it drops.. a lesson for all. Always ask tradies if they're almost too helpful to get things done whether they'll be any additional costs. Also call up and demand more competitive prices if you get a ridiculous quote.

Nothing will dampen our spirits now. We have a date with a beautiful new house.. hey home, be with you soon xx

Friday, July 9, 2010

Why would I know what grout colour to use?

Anyone dealing with Di L0renz0 take note. Take note of the grout colour choices you make for every tile selection you make. Do you think you will remember this detail in 6-12 months after your tile selection appointment? If you do, you should work for Di L0renz0. Because nobody there seems to know. Or record this detail.

If you do record your grout colours, make sure you carry that piece of info with you everywhere. You never know when your tiler might see you driving past, flag you down and ask what grout colour to use around the bath, on the floor, on the walls and the splashback. Of course, if you're like me and have different tiles in different bathrooms, prepare for a grout grilling.

Not only have I had the tiler ask me about the grout, but also which tiles go where, in which room and what layout. Why Di L0renz0 bother to book in tile selection appointments I dunno. I should have just selected everything directly with the tiler. I felt bad for the tiler coz he seems to get rushed from one job to another only to discover holes in their paperwork which means he's got tiles but no grout. Or tiles with wrong grout. Or lots of grout but not enough tiles.

If I didn't work from home, I would never have met the tiler.. whom, at the moment because of the confusion, I make a point of seeing almost every day. We may have ended up with a ridiculous combination of muddle ups. Or still be waiting on tiles selected 8 months ago but which are residing in their birth place in Italy. We compromised and decided to have no feature tile (instead of wait for them to me shipped) in the Ensuite to minimise the delays.

My advice.. if anything goes awry email details to Di L0renz0. One, you have a record. Two, they respond faster. Three, you can forward their responses to your Site Supervisor so everyone's on the same page.

To end on one more grouty detail, here are more pics I took today. Spot the tiles with missing grout... which is on order.
WC - white skirting tiles to be replaced with floor tile (on order)


Bathroom shower recess

Ensuite shower recess (floor tiles will look black when cleaned)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A question for you

There is a slight timing issue I need advice on. We are renting at the moment and will have to break our lease early. What I find worrying is that we need to give our landlord enough notice to get new tenants otherwise we'll be paying rent potentially until October. OUCH.

So when do I tell the Property Manager about breaking the lease early? We will be immensely screwed if we give them a date, they get tenants and BAM the whole key handover process blows its projected mid-August timeline.

We're thinking to give them a conservative date of 30 August to be out of here. But it that conservative enough? Is there potential for us to be begging for shelter last minute? Any offers of accommodation for our lovely, loud, food throwing, tantrum ridden family of four who have 2 boys under four for a few weeks? Anyone?

Rendering continues today

Dark clouds are circling this morning. But when I drove past just now, the render company was on site again.

Those godawful red bricks should have disappeared for good by this afternoon. Not that I mind red bricks.. but having them next to grey brown and white trims is wrong. Add to the mix the sky blue wood yet to be painted. eerggh! Yesterday, we had one of the Fugliest Houses on the Street. Hopefully our place earns more cred by this afternoon =)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

At the edge of celebration

Could the keys be placed in our fingers this month? Probably not. There seems too much on the To Do list.

This is going to be type and run because there's so much left to do today. Tick Tick. Its passed midday already..

Well our bulkhead in the kitchen has managed to stay in place. Our inspector looked at it and wondered.. and I never thought of even looking at supporting beams till then.


Quick round up of last few weeks. First and foremost, I ORDERED FLOORING!

After months of research and indecision, numerous samples taken home, stared at, and then disregarded, it all culminated in a weekend in flooring showrooms. 

We were at the right place at the right time and were so lucky to meet Tom and his team at Carpet Choice. Two words.. Phenomenal Service. If you are like me and need to know everything and then some, seek out Tom. He has patience, experience and honesty (happily points out the negatives in products) that we found immeasurably helpful in making such a big decision. Best of all, the quote we got was by far the best price (and I checked online international and national floor companies - our budget required lots of shopping around). Happy to pass along Tom's detail (message me).
A recap - we're having tiles in Bathroom, Ensuite and Laundry. Every other room (about 180m sq) needed a flooring option that was either going to be Hardwood (discounted because of our tight budget), Vinyl (discounted because it looks flat and 1 dimensional in such a large area also its coldness being direct stuck onto concrete) and finally Laminate.

We eventually decided on Armstrong's Forest Select laminate in Spotted Gum. Beautiful 2.2m long planks which I can't wait to see in our place.

I really don't know why it takes me so long to make these type of decisions. My poor hubby got shown about 5 products which he agreed on, got used to the idea of, and then BAM! I dropped another flooring option in the mix.

Other news is the tilers have been busy for a week and have almost finished. Someone at Di Lorenzo dropped the ball and forgot to order our Ensuite feature tile so its still sitting in Italy. To DL's credit, they responded quickly to my concern about the wait time and hopefully we will have an alternative shortly.

The painters started mid last week and have undercoated almost everything. Our living area looks gorgeous just with the undercoat. We were concerned it may be gloomy in there because of the double storey homes around us but with the greyness of the plaster board gone, and white everywhere, it looks bright and cheery.

This morning I drove past and the render company was there prepping the red bricks on the facade. We have been waiting for this for weeks.. a few worried neighbours cautiously asked about our "design feature" red bricks but seemed much more relaxed when they heard they will be soon out of sight.

Here are some progress pics which I sneaked while chatting to the tiler. Note that there should be a set of drawers in the Ensuite cabinetry but this was somehow missed so that cabinet will need to be replaced. This was after Eden Brae and the kitchen company tried to charge almost $500 for the drawers. Of course, we pointed out they should be standard as they are in the Display Home. They eventually (and I stress "eventually") agreed and the week after, we noticed the drawers in the Ponds display home were changed to cupboards!

Kitchen island


Living Area & Alfresco