Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Happy Anniversary

It was Paul and my 3rd anniversary yesterday.  I thought I'd attempt a special dinner to celebrate and set about looking for a recipe for a smoked salmon tart, as Paul had bought some recently.  Then off down to the market for dill, capers and preserved lemon.  I used Maggie Beer's sour cream short cut pastry recipe, as this stays nice and soft and crumbly - nothing worse than a stiff crust on a quiche...

Anyway, two hours in the kitchen that evening and Paul and I sat down to my baking effort.  The taste was fantastic, just how I'd envisaged, but as I only had a deep pie dish at my disposal rather than a flat quiche dish, the presentation left a bit to be desired (think half filled open pie!).

We retired after dinner to the couch and watched an hour of TV, then off to bed.

... no flowers ... no card ... no back massage ... (crickets) ...

(Sigh) Three years in and the romance is dead already...

In hindsight, I probably would have scored better with a steak.


Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Breakneck Pace!



Just when I thought things would start to slow down, a phone call from the Site Manager this morning tells otherwise!

  • The lock up carpenter will finish wall straightening and door fitting today
  • Pre plaster quality inspection is booked for tomorrow
  • Friday the insulation will be installed
  • Plaster delivery and installation is scheduled for next Wednesday
  • Cabinets booked for 21st December

...And with a bit of luck the fix may also start just before the Christmas break (although realistically I think this is a little too optimistic!)

Wow!  Excited is an understatement!  I'm ecstatic!

Paul on the other hand is a little daunted, as it means he only has this weekend to do his data cabling and additional internal insulation...


Sunday, 27 November 2011

Day 56: Brickwork Begins

It's been a bit of a slow start to the brickwork, perhaps due to the narrow sides of the block they've spent considerable time of the last three days wheelbarrowing bricks to surround the house in neat little stacks.  In any case it's a start and enough to keep the excitement levels up!

So far they've bricked most of the garage wall that's on the fence line, so most of the effort isn't visible.  They've also done one side of the entrance.  When we arrived on Friday evening the mortar was still wet so it's hard to get a feel for the look of the bricks whilst there is little contrast between the brick and mortar colours.

Despite this, the bricks look a little too light in colour and lacking in much of the chocolate and blue variation we've seen on displays and in other builds.  Perhaps it's because every sample we've seen is with off-white mortar, whereas we've chosen natural (light grey), and also because the bricks haven't been cleaned yet, so are sporting a light covering of mortar cement.  The only real way to tell at this stage, is to take the sample brick we have from Austral and compare it to unlaid bricks onsite.  At least check the brown is the right depth of brown...

Here's some pics to illustrate what I mean.  Another flaw with comparing the pictures however, is that all the sample shots are taken on an iPhone, whereas the shots of our house are taken with a digital SLR.

Brickwork progress so far:


Brown looks very medium in colour and no streaks of bluey chocolate running through any of the bricks:



'Hawksburn' brick sample from Austral's website:



'Auburn' brick sample from Austral's website:
(to me our bricks look more like this in tone...)



Hawksburn display in Austral's Richmond display centre:



Austral Hawksburn at a sample address in SE Suburbs:





We plan to visit the site this afternoon with our sample brick.  The mortar should be dry now and I'll take a few iPhone pics for a better photo comparison.  This will hopefully lay my fears to rest!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Day 53: Electrical and Hydronic Rough In

Paul stopped by the house after work yesterday to get some photos of the electrical and hydronic heating rough in.

The Site Manager had called me first thing Monday to discuss a conflict between placement of one of the hydronic heating panels and a power and phone point.  I suspected this may come up, because it took me four attempts with the Drafting department to have them move the phone and power points to another location when the heating plan showed the conflict.  I got it fixed before our final plans were signed off, but it appears that's not the version the Site Manager or Electricians have in their possession!

In any case, our diligent SM called to ask how to resolve it before it became an issue (yay, he's my hero!) All sorted in five minutes over the phone and Paul double checked all is correct when he visited the site yesterday.  The SM said he likes to have a walk through with clients before plaster to check all wiring and plumbing is present and correct, so this will probably be sometime next week.

He also double checked the work order for the solar hot water and confirmed there were two panels ordered but only one installed, so the second one was delivered and installed yesterday.

The lock up carpenter he had booked for last Thursday fell through so a different one will be starting today to straighten walls for plastering and add a few extra noggins here and there.

The SM also called this morning, he was onsite with the brickies and wanted to double check we chose natural mortar colour before they started.  I'm so pleased to know he meets each of the trades on their first day onsite and calls with any queries that pop up.  So reassuring!

So excited to know the bricks are starting today.  Should take about 8 days to complete apparently.  Looking forward to seeing the progress on the weekend as our house takes on its true colours!


Powerpoint and Hydronic heating to the Rumpus Room: 



Hydronic heating to one of the bedrooms:



The contentious location of the phone and power points and hydronic panel in the Family Room (the phone and power moved elsewhere):



Hydronic heating pipework lagged up cosy in the ceiling:



Location of hydronic boiler:



Doors awaiting installation:



Two solar panels :)



Sand ready for the brickies to start!



Saturday, 19 November 2011

Day 51: Its a Wrap!

Not too much to report this week, just that our house has been wrapped like a big blue present! I almost expected a guy in a big hazmat suit to walk in. (ET Reference). Half our bricks have also been delivered, and some of our internal doors, as well as one of our solar panels installed. I wonder what happened to the other one? SS tells us that bricking starts Monday, as well as electrical rough in, and hopefully our ensuite window will arrive...wow..its happening all so fast!

The front of the house.


 And the back...

The inside seems rather dark now..


Behold the Austral Hawksburn in all its glory!!



Look at the lonely solar panel..all it needs is a mate..







Friday, 11 November 2011

Day 43: Put a lid on it!

Very excited! Our house has a roof!! And what a beauty it is!! The tiles came up really well, glad we paid extra for the flat tile. Looks like they did a pretty decent job too.

Our SS was onsite too doing his own frame inspection. He told us that he gets a finishing carpenter in to straighten up the walls, and fix all the minor faults. He was marking out quite a bit as we were leaving. We sneakily got him to throw in a few extra noggins for Toilet Roll Holders, TV Brackets, Towel rails, etc.

We did notice that there is some sarking in the roof, but only at a small area on the north and south side. SS told us that he wasn't sure why they do this, he thought it was something to do with dampness. I would have thought you would do the whole roof if that was the case, how curious.

He told us that the Solar Panels for the hot water get installed next week, they do a site clean, and the bricks should arrive for the brickies to start the following Monday. Its all happening Very Quickly!!

Oh yeah, and we had confirmation that Southern Star do not make a 300 series in a sliding window, so they sent us the 200 Series. Thanks for the notification Metricon. They have also ordered the Ensuite Fixed window in the correct size this time, should arrive next week.

AND... we noticed that our neighbours house has a for sale sign up. We heard this was going to happen at some stage, as the elderly lady living in it has moved into a home. We are just praying a developer doesn't buy it and turn it into townhouses. :(

Our roof in all its glory!



The view from rear.


Apparently this is where the TV Bracket goes. (subtle)



The view from the Lounge. Like our water feature? Also notice the sarking above.


The Rumpus / Home theatre. Good light in here.




Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Day 36: Framing Complete & Plumbing

A nice surprise greeted us when we visited the house on the weekend.  We knew the frame had been completed Friday but we didn't expect to see the gutters and fascia on, or the plumbing rough in!

Very exciting!  The roof tiling should happen this week.

We are a little concerned that our upgraded aluminium windows are not as written in our spec, however.  We upgraded the living rooms to Southern Star Series 300 sliders, but having Googled the model number we've been supplied, ASW200, we discovered they are the 200 series windows.  I've raised it with the Site Manager and he's looking into it for us.


House from the front:




Gutters in Colorbond Monument, Fascia in Colorbond Dune:



House from the rear:



House from the North side:



House from the South side:



Ensuite Plumbing:



Hoping there's some extra fascia panels to come for the windows during final fit off - they don't look complete!




Laundry door:



 The ensuite window delivered was the wrong size (1200x1200 instead of 1200x1810) so this hasn't been installed.  The Site Manager has been back over the orders and can't work out why they've made the wrong size.  He's ordering the correct size.  Hope it's delivered before brickwork starts in the next couple of weeks!

The Independent frame inspection occurred yesterday and passed.  The Site Manager is yet to do his, which should be in the next day or two.