Monday, 28 November 2011

It's all happening!

Well the last few days have seen a hive of activity. Firstly on Sunday we went and bought the light for the front entry. We ended up going with the 3 lamp model in chrome. I think it's going to look good in the space :)

Then yesterday had several conversations with the cabinetmaker. He's tweaked the plans a little in the kitchen to ensure the microwave is not too high up and as such impractical. He's also going to add locks to the top draw and cupboard in the study nook. This will be so helpful at keeping Oscar and Adelaide out of my work things!

Then this morning the electrician rang with a few questions about the electrical fit out. Just as well he did as I had some quite particular ideas on where I wanted lightswitches height wise - and also whereabouts on the wall I wanted the TV powerpoints etc. So I popped over to the site and went through it with him.

A few nice surprises while I was there - firstly the bricking of the alfresco is done and the brickies are now working on across the back of the house. Standing in the alfresco I realised the ceiling in there is quite high - so I'll be able to do some sort of outdoor feature light there (if I can find what I am after!). Was also pleased to see how well the space and light seems to be working. The more work they do the more I can see it all coming together.

Was a little annoyed to see that the Origin electricity contractors have dumped concrete on our neighbour's front lawn and splashed his fence with concrete when they re-concreted near the electrical pit. Will head on over there tonight and clean it up if they haven't before then. Actually that reminds me - I think the phone people need to dig up that area, too? Better ring and ask them.

In this last shot you can just see our evaporative cooler which is the latest addition to the build!

Friday, 25 November 2011


So I knew I would know what I wanted when I saw it. And I did!

Went for a wander around the local lighting shops today. Surprisingly not an exciting mission. Lighting really leaves me a little cold. I find I don't like 90% of the things in the store - and have real trouble visualising the remainder in-situ. However - off Sean and I went with the hope the right thing would present itself.

And it did!

We had more lights to select than I initially realised. 1 for the bathroom, 2 for porch, 2 for alfresco, 1 for entryway, 3 for the kitchen and 3 spotlights.

So at the first place we found a single pendant design we quite liked. Plain, simple, understated. But we thought it might be too small for the entry space. However it also came in 3, 5 and 9 light styles which the attendant showed us in the catalogue. To be honest I don't think photos do them justice (so were not too enthused) however lo and behold - at the next store we went to they had the larger versions in stock and we really liked them!

So now we need to decide which one. I suspect the area will 'need' the larger 5 lamp style - whereas Sean thinks the 3 lamp style will be the right thing. Thankfully the lighting shop will allow us to leave cash, take both, and return the light we don't need. So here they are.

We'll be going for the brushed chrome colour and it would hang with very little chain.

We also found some undereave style lights for the front porch. Very plain and simple - as I don't want those to be a feature.  Am not sure about the others, yet. The bathroom one will depend on how close together the mirrors are (although I saw a darling little light which would be perfect if it fits) and with the overbench lighting I am still undecided. But at least 2 are now purchased, and another decided.


So far a lot of the blog has been about physical progress with the build - but Parkview is not being built by bricks alone. The new house is a symbol of cementing ourselves within the local community.

Because we lived there, the neighbours already know us. And if they didn't, the 2 or 3 drive pasts/visits a day to the site recently would be enough to serve as an introduction!! So when I popped by just before dusk today to survey the day's progress, I wasn't surprised to say a quick hello and to show one of our neighbours through the site.

It's looking magnificent! The rubbish has been removed from the front of the site so now it's just bare dirt. So while the gable is not finished, nor the front door in, you can get a sense of how the home 'sits' within the street. And I have to say I am really pleased!

The low pitch and dark colour of the roof makes it an unassuming home. Visually it recedes rather than dominates which is what I wanted. While it doesn't try to claim 'I have always been here' it doesn't stand out as a new addition. In fact I think that combined with my lovely tree out the front it already looks partly 'settled' - and that's with the right hand side still sporting bright blue insulation!

Standing out the front listening to the cicadas this evening, I can already well imagine how it's going to look when the garden is complete. And I am pleased :)

New things today? Well bricking is ongoing - and today some additional framing has been done. Things like framing in the bathubs (which are now on site) and framing my dropped ceiling feature in the kitchen.

This, however, has made me realise I really need to pull my finger out and start selecting light fittings! We're going downlights throughout except in the entryway, 3 pendants above the kitchen island bench, outdoor lights and a light in the bathroom. So guess what I am doing tomorrow??

Any thoughts on a light to go in my entryway? I don't want a chandelliar or something too modern or something too retro or something too dominating but I still want it to be a feature. Not hard to please, am I?? I do know I want it to be some sort of pendant :P Hit me with your ideas, please :)

Thursday, 24 November 2011


So I got an email today letting us know that we need to book the roughing in of phone lines and data cabling ASAP as plastering is happening in a fortnight! Major excitement!!!!! I drove past today and noticed the front door frame is in although the sidelights and door are not yet in place. Bricking is ongoing, although the right side of the place has not been done yet.

Sean rang and discussed the telecoms and we've emailed off the electrical plan to the contractors with the relevant details. Sounds like next week and the week after it's going to be a hive of activity! Am looking forward to heading over there on the weekend to see where they're up to.

Suddenly it's all seeming very real and I can see us moving into our new home. My mother in law has loaned me a book on 'small gardens' which I am now poring over with interest. Small is a generous way to describe what we're going to have - but I have seen huge gardens which are ugly and a waste and tiny pockets which are pleasant and inviting spaces - so I am trying to remember that in some cases size really does not matter ;)

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Site Supervisor - Andrew

So I was spinning past this afternoon to take some photos of the house and there was Andrew our site supervisor! Was nice to meet him in the flesh :)

He was able to bring me up to date on progress - including telling me the electrics will be going in next week!! So it really is all happening.

Had a good think about the coffee machine and have decided not to go inbuilt. Basically all except the stupidly expensive (apparently) do only mediocre coffee - and also apparently they are prone to breaking down a lot? So on the advice of our friend (a coffee aficionado) Sean has decided he wants a top quality freestanding machine instead. Fine by me - saves me coming up with another spot for the microwave!!

However I have gone ahead and ordered the additional powerpoints and changes to the front pillars. I keep thinking SURELY I can't find anything else to change/add and then I do. Better stop soon - all these extras will start to get very expensive!

Was happy to see they've almost finished bricking the front left of the house, today. The entire left hand side is done, too (and I've not popped out the back to see how far they've got back there).

In the meantime here are the latest shots of the front. Note the lovely double hung windows also now in place!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

More bricks

So we went for a looksie around the house today! Our front windows were in which was such a treat to see :)

Bricking is ongoing. They have started at the front left (outside the Master bedroom) and are working their way back around the house. Part of the alfresco is done and is looking really good. Because we have a double story house on our north side (and very close to the margin) the alfresco is not the lightest space. Originally there were to be solar panels above the alfresco, but these were moved above the ensuite and 2nd bedroom. This leaves the way clear for skylights into the alfresco at a later stage if I think they're necessary. I am leaning towards it at the moment, but it's not something which needs to be done immediately - I'll see how much light comes in at different times of the day/seasons etc.

We did have a small hiccup in that the builders forgot to put a steel beam above the back windows (2 fixed panels, french doors and then another 2 fixed panels) to support the bricks above. They rang to see how I felt about a timber feature above that section instead. I would have loved to oblige them, especially as they have been brilliant about accommodating my little changes, but it really would have looked crappy. As though someone had forgotten to put in a beam, in fact! So they are going to fix that up.

A few other changes I need to make (it's amazing how many things you think about once you're actually underway). My lovely friend Donna pointed out a sink right in the middle of my island bench gives me less unbroken bench space to work with. Happily the builder has managed to move the sink to the left hand end of the bench without any additional expense (although they do need to raise the kickers on the unit by 1cm to accommodate running the pipes to the existing waste position). Tomorrow I'll need to ring and discuss a few other small things - specifically:

1.) Whether we can plumb a coffee machine above the wall oven and if so where my microwave can instead go
2.) Adding some double powerpoints in the WIR near the upper shelf to allow things to be charged without little hands grabbing them
3.) Looking at an outdoor powerpoint near the front porch for a laptop/outdoor lights at XMAS etc.
4.) Getting a few extra noggins put in so toilet roll holders / towel rails / wall mounted TVs can be really securely mounted
5.) Chat about my front pillars. I think they are thinking just brick and then render without a 'border' in between. I think that will look crappy, so need to check out the art of the possible with them.

That's all I can think of, for now, although I am sure there was something else which will, no doubt, come to me at some later point!

It's still early days, but so far the vision is coming together well. The red brick and charcoal while not a ground-shaking colour scheme nonetheless look good together and seems to 'sit' well within the street. I am hoping the gable colours (dune and dune half-strength) look as good.

Can't wait to see the gable fronts. With the builders aiming for lockup by Christmas I guess I may not be waiting too long :)

Monday, 14 November 2011

Front Door

So I was feeling a little flat this week. Somehow in the back and forth I had forgotten which front entry door/sidelights I'd approved. And when I saw the side lights / door frame on site I hated them :(

I remembered considering the style with two wide glass sidelights but I thought I'd opted for wooden and glass strip sidelights instead. But I could not remember and the kids have stashed the final colour selection notes somewhere.

So I emailed the builder and I HAD ordered the wooden and glass sidelights - and what had been delivered to the site was in error.

It would not have been the end of the world had we had the others - but I really like the front door set I chose and so I am pleased that it turns out I DID sign off on them.

So here's what we chose (but with clear glass sidelights)! Won't be here for a few weeks yet.

Not much movement at the house today, other than bricking of the front pillars is complete. Looks a little rough at the moment, but the top part are to be rendered. Will try and spin past to take photos tomorrow.

Saturday, 12 November 2011


Admittedly not many, but the bottom of the pillars were done on Friday. Went inside and had a good look around today. It was wonderfully cool inside under the tiled roof.

Some of my lovely windows are on site ready to be installed on Monday. I think there might be a problem with my front door sidelights - need to check this with the builder though.

Took our neighbours through for a grand tour, today. It's nice that they are so excited for us also!

The street has quite a reputation locally for 'lighting up' at Christmas. An activity I suspect Oscar and Sean may wish to participate in once we're in the house. One particular night early in December is when it all happens - the whole street wanders up and down and chats and looks. We got our 'invite' today. Think we might rig a couple of spotlights up to the meter box, shove a plastic santa on the porch, bring over the BBQ and join in!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Roof Part 3

So I drove past on the way back from doing the shopping and getting Oscar's hair cut and they were finishing the roof / putting the ridge caps on. It looks great! AND I saw a batch of windows on site :D

Over the past few weeks I have been thinking a lot about what makes a beautiful home. While obviously a good design helps, it really is the finishes and furnishings which make the difference in my opinion. The humblest home can look awesome with clever furnishings, colour and art. And even the most palatial home can look insipid and uninspiring or just meh.

The problem is no guts no glory. It's easy to play it safe with colour and art - but the result seems so insipid. But then there's convincing the husband that a lime green wall or a piece of art which takes up and entire wall is what's required ;)

Still have only the vaguest ideas of how I want to decorate this home. And those ideas change on a daily basis. Need to start another scrapbook!

Roof Part 2

So today our roof tiles went on! It makes the house look HUGE! Probably because other than the house it's a bare block with no trees - so all you see is house going back back back. Once we have had a chance to landscape it should sit a little better in its environment.

However I am happy with the colour and profile we selected and the way it looks on the roof.

I think the windows should be on site soon. Hopefully tomorrow? I know they'd hoped to be bricking by today or tomorrow but a couple of wet days has pushed things back. I think the windows will make it look a bit more finished and give me an idea of how it's going to look when it's done.

So far am pleased with the way things are going. There's progress most days. Our site supervisor Andrew seems nice. Likes to communicate via email (which suits me) so that's good! He's prepared me that this stage of the build goes FAST but that the fit out seems to take an age. So expect to be reading for a while here yet, all :-)

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Roof Part 1

Seeing the roof waterproofed made a huge difference - it's really starting to look like a house, now!

It also looks so DARK now there's a roof - but I have been assured that's normal :)

I love my new porch! You can see, here, the spot where the rain chain is going to hang. Now to chose a style!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

It's an ill wind which blows no good!

Well after looking at the plans, I realised WHY there is a downpipe where there is. Where else is the right hand side of the front gable to drain?!? DOH! It's so obvious now I think about it! But that doesn't solve the fugly downpipe dilemma. Until I remembered rain chains.

Rain chains were traditionally used on Japanese homes and temples. Usually made of copper, the chains ranged from plain looped copper rings to ornate flower or cup shaped vessels. Water either runs down the chain or spills from one cup to the next. At the bottom it would discharge into a vessel/rain barrel, onto gravel or (more recently) into a stormwater port.


The Art Nouveau interest in all things Japanese saw rain chains utilised elsewhere in the world - a trend continued through to modernist buildings (where a plain chain was often used).

So? I am planning to have a gorgeous cup style rain chain near the front door spilling into a stormwater port hidden in a little garden. I can already imagine the gorgeous sound of the water spilling from one cup into the next - and I think it will be a perfect feature for the front of our home.

I'd always thought I'd like one somewhere - and it seems that this is the perfect spot. Now to decide on a style! I like the look of this one (remembering over time it will develop a lovely verdigris patina).

Thursday, 3 November 2011


So now I am cross. Not at anyone but myself. Checking out the guttering, and look where one of the downpipes is set to go.

Needless to say I have rung the builder to see what can be done!! It is on the plans, and silly me never picked it up :(  Wonder how much it is going to cost to fix?? I can't have it looking like that :(

In positive news, our tiles have arrived on site!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Gutted! Or do I mean Guttered?

And yesterday went past and my gutters were going on. I was surprised - I thought windows would be next?

I wanted timber fascia on the gables - however not to be as we're too close to the nature reserve and hence in a fire zone. So metal fascia all around it is. I think it looks good, though :)

As you can see, we also have bricks on site. Can't wait for them to start going up!

Have realised there really is not that long until we move. So am de-cluttering here as much as possible before we go.