Saturday, 25 February 2012

Day 148: Dribs n Drabs

We seem to have hit that fabled stage of the build I was really hoping to be spared, where things seem to slow down just before the finish line.

Of the scheduled items to occur this week, all were started in some way or another, but only one - ceiling insulation - was completed.  Before I move on, I must say this has made an immense difference to the temperature of the house, even without curtains.  With yesterday and today's 36+ degree heat the house was still lovely and cool.

Anyway, back to the progress.  The plumber commenced his fit off some time in the latter half of this week (yay!).  He couldn't start earlier as there were some taps on backorder.  He's managed to install all the taps throughout the house, the ensuite bath and my shower rail.  The rain drop shower head hasn't been installed yet and the bathroom bath is still camping out in the Sitting Room.  The fact that he still plans to return to finish turns out to be a blessing in disguise however, as he's installed the wrong wastes in the bathroom and ensuite basins.  We paid $80 each basin to upgrade to pop up wastes, and these were delivered with the basins back in December, where someone chose to store them in the top drawer in the kitchen.  Unfortunately I don't think anyone passed on this information to the plumber as he's installed standard wastes with white plugs instead.  The Site Manager is due to call Monday morning for a weekly status update so I'll let him know and hopefully the plumber can swap them out without much trouble when he returns to finish the bath and shower fit off.

Kitchen tap

Wrong waste :(
I've placed the correct waste next to each basin :)

Ensuite bath - can't wait to enjoy it

I can move in, my shower's ready!

Sorry Paul, you'll have to stay put, your shower's not ready

Hmmm, maybe I'll stay put too, couldn't stomach the portaloo...

The carpenter also hasn't been able to complete his work this week, despite him getting most of the internal door handles installed last Monday, there are a couple of wardrobes without door handles.  I don't know if it's the ordering guys who miscount our doors or the supplier miscounting the delivery, but we've been short on both external AND internal handles.  We still don't have handles for the rear garage door or the laundry, which is still nailed shut.

The Rumpus door and linen doors are also still MIA.  The Site Manager has lost his patience on this with the supplier, it's dragged on so long (I'm sure you're all sick of reading about it too!).

The electrician hasn't returned to fix the wiring for the portico pillar lights either, and the replacement bathroom and ensuite mirrors haven't arrived, but I expected these to take more than a week anyway.

The kitchen splashback was delivered at the start of the week, but it's still leaning up against the family room wall.  It's the right colour though (starfire white ice) and I'm super impressed it's all one big long piece along the back - no joins!  Also wasn't expecting the glass to return at either end, but there's two other pieces to wrap the sides.  Nice surprise!  Oh, I can't wait to see it installed!  Especially as we plan to install a white Artichoke pendant light to the left above the kitchen island.

Matt Blatt Replica Poul Henningsen Artichoke Pendant

Despite the slow progress, there was still progress this week nonetheless, so it's a move in the right direction!

'My Metricon' tells a slightly different story than the house, however.  Apparently the fit offs were completed last Monday (that definition includes flooring which I know isn't scheduled till the 29th and 5th) and the next item scheduled is the final house clean on the 5th, ahead of QA and PCI.

Oh, I wish it were correct!  Every week my belly gets that little bit bigger, my waddle that little more pronounced, my yearning for a daytime nap that little bit harder to ignore - so I'm acutely aware of time passing (and my impending inability to physically move house)!  Let's hope the SS waves his magic wand and all the trades and correct parts materialise on Monday and Tuesday to finish their fit off.  To minimise any risk of damage, I really want all the fittings in before they lay the floorboards (on Wednesday...hmm, who knows...)

Wednesday, 22 February 2012


With the house nearing completion, I am about to submit my order for curtains.  Having done cheaper 'temporary' curtains before and paying about two thirds the price of a quality blind/curtain in some cases anyway, I decided not to muck around this time and go with the final choices for the rooms I'm sure about.  The only room that I can't choose is the Rumpus, which we don't have any furniture for yet so I'm struggling to decide on a curtain fabric.  I know I want blockout drapes, but colour and texture escapes me until I have more of a feel for a preferred colour scheme for the other items in the room.

So here's the choices I've made elsewhere...

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom windows

  • Floor to ceiling, wall to wall ripple fold white sheers (example below), plus
  • White blockout holland blind behind the sheers for night time privacy

Ripple Fold Sheer Curtains
Image sourced here 
We have cornices so the curtains will sit just below this, but will be on a track so there won't be any visible curtain rods.

Sitting Room (i.e. Study)
  • Eyelet sheers on a black curtain rod

I liked the curtains we saw in the master bedroom of the Metricon Aria display home in Caulfield, so I've gone with the exact same fabric and curtain rod.

Curtains from the Metricon Aria display home in Caulfield
Rowe Fabrics, Design: Barrow Creek, Colour: Silver

Family Room
  • White Holland Blind with a cassette pelmet
The main aim is just to keep out the North sun on hot summer days.  Other than that I didn't feel the need to have curtains in this room.

Dining Room Sliding Doors
  • White screen (i.e. see through) roller blinds with cassette pelmet

  • Blockout Roman blinds (light grey for the kid's rooms and plain white for the spare room)
Victory Roman Blinds

  • White Blockout holland blind - no pelmet

With a baby arriving shortly after we envisage moving in, it will be a huge relief to have working curtains, rather than having to tie up old sheets!  Of course other furnishings will have to go on the backburner to pay for them, but I think I can handle a few empty rooms for a while!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Day 141: Hydronic Heating Fit Off

Received a call from the Site Manager this afternoon, who was at the house having a look at the latest round of work.  The hydronic heating fit off occurred late last week and the baths have been delivered, ready for the plumber to install.  The plumber was booked to fit off last Thursday but a few of our taps are out of stock with the supplier, so hopefully he'll receive them in the next day or so.

Other activities booked are:

  • Ceiling insulation gets installed tomorrow
  • Kitchen splashback is ready and will be installed in the next day or two
  • Floorboards are booked for next week - 29th Feb - 1st Mar
  • Carpet installation 5th March
  • House clean also booked for 5th March...either this or the carpet install date will be altered so they don't occur on the same day!

The painting touch ups haven't been booked yet, largely because our Rumpus room door and linen cupboard doors STILL haven't arrived on site yet.  SS said he had stern words with the company who were supposed to deliver on 9th Jan and still haven't done so.

The electrician has to rewire the front portico pillars as the wires have been stripped during the bricking process, which is proving to be a bit of an access issue for him.  Hopefully he can do this without having to remove any brickwork, but he has to come back and assess what's possible.

Oh, wouldn't it be lovely to have the keys by Easter...dare we hope for such a thing?!

Dining Room

Kid's bedroom

Ensuite Hydronic Towel Rail

Hydronic Boiler

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Day 137: Fit Offs Start

I know there's not meant to be anything practical about romance, but as it's Valentine's Day and Paul and I had an appointment with a Landscape Designer, we chose to see it as a romantic gesture to be planning the finishing touches to our future love pad (how can we think of anything else at  the moment anyway really?! ;)

Well, finishing 'touches' probably understates the gravity of the work to be done on the yard, and even more profoundly the likely cost (OUCH!).  We're not talking bells and whistles here either, mostly practical ideas about a water tank, brick retaining walls to the front from those left over from the house build, a front lawn and concrete aggregate driveway - nothing showy.  But the potential cost just for the front alone was scary.  I'll share some of the concepts when the first plan comes through next week.

For now, the mood can be lifted somewhat from the financial strain of covering up a site of clay, and talk about the rapid ride to completion we are (currently, anyway!) on.

The Site Manager called yesterday afternoon to say the Electrician was in doing fit off.  He said he was almost done when he dropped by the site that afternoon and that plumbing would be happening in the next day or two.  But when we took a peek today whilst the landscaper took pics of the yard for his plan, I was in awe of the flurry of activity that must have occurred yesterday and possibly this morning!

Here's what's been installed:

  • Light fittings, power points, switches and exhaust fans
  • Butlers pantry, wardrobe & linen shelving
  • Bathroom mirror has been hung.....oops, wait a minute...there's an aluminium frame on's supposed to be frameless polished edge (which, mind you is standard so I don't know what happened in the ordering process) 

The items not yet complete:

  • Electrician has kindly lowered the front pillar lights one more brick course as requested, so the Sentinel lights won't cover over the corbelled brickwork, but I assume the wiring isn't long enough as he's stripped the ends and hasn't threaded them into the brickwork yet.  I know they don't fit off these type of lights until after handover due to risk of theft, so it's possible he may do the wiring at the same time...or perhaps he has to install at least junction boxes to get the occupancy certificate, who knows.
  • Shower screens had arrived but are not yet installed (the framework is in, but the glass panels are waiting on the sidelines :)
  • Ensuite mirror has not been hung because the sparky has installed the junction box for the above mirror light too close to where the mirror overhangs the MDF backing.  The mirror guy wrote a note to him on the wall.  Just as well really - saved the mirror installer extra work, seeing as it's the wrong mirror!

So after plumbing (i.e. tapware, baths, toilets), hydronic heating fit off, internal door hardware and glass kitchen splashback, all in the next few days or so, it will be time for floorboards and carpet!

We'll be at QA before we know it (but I won't make a guess on PCI at this stage - I'd rather wait and see what comes out of QA first).

Love seeing the evolution - it's not quite as thrilling, but a similar concept to an Ultrasound (sorry that's probably a really crass comparison)!

Going to be fun shopping for light fittings to replace all the cowl shades everywhere! 

Butlers Pantry standard shelving.
We'll fit this out with benches, shelves and wine fridges at some point in future

Wardrobe standard fitout.
Again, a future upgrade

Wrong mirror - should be frameless
(poor installer - can't be fun doing things twice)

Junction box about 5cm too low, preventing the mirror installation for now!

Note to sparky

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Day 135: Garage Door Installed

We went past the house yesterday and saw that our garage door was being installed (yes another surprise Saturday)!  The guy had only just started installing the brackets, so we left him to it and drove past again today to get a glimpse of the now completed facade.

The garage is Colorbond Dune.  We ummed and ahhed over whether to go with Dune (pale beige) or Monument (charcoal grey), but felt Monument would make the house feel squat and against the brown brick, look a little too drab.  So although Dune is a bright contrast I quite like it.  Of course I would love to have matched the garage door with the portico cladding and windows in a cedar or similar colour timber, but the maintenance level is too high and we don't like the glossy finish on the timber look doors.  So we felt Dune was the best compromise.

Bit of a gap at the bottom, but I assume they adjust it after electrical fit off and house clean.

I also went back to our kitchen appliances retailer yesterday to look at our stovetop in the showroom, specifically to see if we could get away with the placement of the current cutout on the kitchen bench.  The overlap on the back of the hob isn't very big at all as it turns out, and the cutout size has at least 10mm tolerance, so we may get away with the current cutout after all.  The Site Manager will be pleased to hear this when I tell him tomorrow.  It means the splashback can be installed on schedule and without change to the benchtop.  If they need to take a couple of mm off the front of the cutout when it comes to installation I guess we'll deal with it then.

Fit off starts tomorrow - woo hoo!  So excited that electricals, taps, door handles, toilets, baths, shower screens and mirrors will be installed, as well as the hydronic heating panels and towel rails.  All the finishing touches are coming together!  I'm waiting on a curtain quote from a meeting with a Victory consultant last week and have an appointment with a Landscape Designer on Tuesday to discuss a driveway and how we cover up our clay pit of a block!  Then I start work again on Friday, after 18 months of maternity leave.  Woah, big week!  Bring it on, I'm excited!


Thursday, 9 February 2012

Day 132: Tiling Complete & Phone Trenching

Yesterday was one of those days where being naive to building standards and tolerances was overwhelmingly frustrating.  I was on site to witness the phone trenching, specifically so I could get photos of the path across our front yard, and just as importantly, the depth.

The Telstra Pit on our nature strip that we paid to have moved before construction commenced, is at the front left of the property (when facing the house), whereas all the services are being attached to the right hand side of the house, necessitating a pipe installation diagonally across our entire front yard.  For electricity this isn't an issue, as we had the pit installed on the right, water is in the middle of the property and gas I wouldn't have a clue as to the path (a call to Dial Before you Dig will fix that one).  However, I was concerned that the telephone trench wouldn't be installed deep enough underneath the location of the proposed new driveway, particularly as we'll be cutting out a bit of the existing fill to reduce the slope somewhat.  So I felt it worthwhile to be onsite to influence this.

I'm glad I did.  The two guys doing the phone line installation asked the question of the driveway before I even had a chance to state it, and they helped me measure the depths at various points along the trench (being very obviously pregnant probably helped!) and get photos of the trench before they backfilled.

My earlier reference to building standards refers to the discovery made during the trenching process; a discovery that had me baffled and feeling somewhat flat: that our water pipe is located a mere 15cm from the surface and even worse, our newly connected stormwater pipes are less than 5cm deep!  Literally only a sweeping of dirt to cover the pipes!  So you pay to have this stuff installed, and then you sever and crush it all during landscaping and then you pay someone else to install it deeper!  I wish I knew if I had any rights to demand a deeper installation.  A Google search last night revealed nothing useful.

Black water pipe
and equally shallow stormwater connection

Whilst on site I took a look at the completed tiling job also.  On the whole, he's done a great job of getting the porcelain rectified tiles level - there's only about 3 or 4 lips that I could find and the only one that is a slight annoyance is one under my feet in the ensuite shower.  But the main floor areas, bath tops and walls are quite flush.

However, the standards and tolerances issue reared its ugly head in this area too...

The main toilet and laundry floors are 3 and 4mm lower than the metal edging at the doorway, leaving a lip of a sharp metal edge.  Again - what's the tolerance for tiled edging at the doorway?  I think I'll give Beaumonts a call today and ask.  The bathroom and ensuite floors are level with the top of the edging, so are nice and smooth exit from these rooms thankfully!

4mm lip on tile edging to toilet

There's some fairly big gaps in the corners of the showers also, and I wonder if the caulking will cover this neatly or be large and glaringly white on the taupe and charcoal tiles.

All this gives rise to the notion that Paul and I will get a building inspector to conduct PCI with us.  We need someone who knows how long a scratched window can be, or a chipped door or brickwork.  It's easy to think you're being too pedantic with these sorts of cosmetic imperfections.  An investment in some professional third party advice to ease that uncomfortable knot in the pit of my stomach will be well worth it!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Day 128: Tiling Progress

Four days into the tiling effort and the tiler has nearly finished laying them.  The toilet and laundry are fully laid and when we turned up this morning (yes, on a Saturday!)  he was busy cutting the skirtings for the bathroom and ensuite.  He's scheduled to finish next Thursday but I can't imagine it will take that long to grout and clean.

Here's the pics of the progress so far - can't wait to see it all grouted!


Ensuite Shower Charcoal feature wall

View of ensuite from outside

Ensuite bath - just wall section & skirtings to go

Ensuite floor from entrance

Ensuite floor, shower & toilet

Bathroom view from entrance

Bathroom vanity - one more tile to go in the gap b/w the bath

Bathroom shower - 1+ row to go on the floor


Nice light in the laundry - tiles finish it well