Build update: roof cover.

We have a roof.  It’s a rather dazzling white despite the gloomy day on which the Nice Wolf took these photos.

Colorbond Surfmist skillion roof.

Colorbond Surfmist skillion roof.

Roof at the front of house.

Roof at the front of house.

The skillion roof line of our house is such that no one is actually going to see much of the roof cover.  We picked “Surfmist” Colorbond to reflect the sun, to keep our home a little cooler and minimise air conditioner days.  We plan to add solar panels later.  These will contrast completely with the white/grey roof cover but only the seagulls will notice.

You really can’t see the effect of the roofline yet for all the scaffolding:

Canal side/back yard.

It’s a scaffold jungle on the canal side/back yard.

Side of house, pool in foreground.

Side of house, pool in foreground.

Eventually it will look a bit like this:

Front Elevation.  Not a lot of visible roof.

Front Elevation. Not a lot of visible roof.

Aside from the addition of the shiny roof, all the ducting for our air conditioning has been installed and our air conditioner unit is ordered.  We have ordered an LG 17kW system – recommended for its value for money by our cooling specialist.  Other companies recommended that we install two units for our house, doubling or even quadrupling the cost!  Luckily, we are not wilt-in-the-heat types, and hope to manage the heat well with window dressings and only use the air-conditioning on the really hot days of the year.  On those same hot days, the solar panels will be producing plenty of energy.

We had to raise the roof line by 3 courses of brick to accommodate the air conditioning ducts.

We had to raise the roof line by 3 courses of brick to accommodate the air conditioning ducts.

Pre-wiring for our phone and internet lines, the plumbing and electrical tubes and guttering has all been installed for the second floor.

Bathroom plumbing will be hidden in the scullery ceiling.

Bathroom plumbing will be hidden in the scullery ceiling.

According to my schedule we are still 3 months away from “lock up”.  The next big job on the list is internal and external plastering but I think some of that incredible scaffold jungle has to come down first.

One last dodgy site photo (for my Mum)!  This picture is taken from the open, upstairs living area.  Check out the view!   It’s a little dark now, but wait until the rain clears, the scaffold is removed and the walls and ceilings are painted.  We were so focussed on getting the downstairs orientation for views right, that the upstairs view comes as a pleasant surprise.

Upper living

Walk straight ahead to our bedroom. Space here for the kids lounge, a study nook and the Pilates Reformer.

 

Interior paint shortlist

I’ve been stalking everyone’s homes in the last month or two, keeping my eye out for the perfect shade of grey for the interior walls of House By The Water.  And whenever I’ve seen something I like, I’ve pounced!  “Excuse me.  What colour is your wall?”  The internet is great like that.

Here are some lovely walls:

Wattyl "Snowdonia" 3/4 strength in Josh and Jenna's bedroom.

Wattyl “Snowdonia” 3/4 strength in Josh and Jenna’s bedroom on The Block.

Wattyl "Kid Leather" at Finlay Homes.

Wattyl “Kid Leather” at Finlay Homes.

Pictured above:  Lovely, beachy new home.  Details kindly shared by TBrown on HomeOne Forum.

I know I’ve posted on interior paint colours before, but firstly that post looks a bit drippy (ha ha!) since I changed my blog’s format, and secondly, it was based on a paint brochure.  I’m far wiser now.  I’ve realised just how different colours can look on a screen and in different light.  Thus, my internet stalking for real-life examples.  Of course, nothing compares to testing it out for yourself, and so I have a plan!

While my husband is in Mandurah (HBTW’s location) next week for meetings, I want to him to buy a few sample pots of paint, paint up some boards and leave them there for the interior designer to study in situ.  So I need a short list.  I want a cool grey.  Light, but definitely not white.

My Solver Paint shortlist.

  • Soft Apparition
  • Feather dawn
  • Kitty Grey
  • Southwards
  • Crystal Ball
  • Scribbly Gum

    Notes:

  • Soft Apparition – looking the least like a “greige” on my screen.
  • Feather dawn – I’ve been using this in all my digital mood boards, but I think it’s going to look white in reality.
  • Kitty grey – based on photos of good looking display homes.
  • Southwards – wooed by The Islander (see below).
  • Crystal ball – my favourite on paper.
  • Scribbly Gum – looking too green on my screen but perfectly lovely in The Etesian (see below).

Solver Paints are utterly hopeless when it comes to showcasing their paints online.   Get with it Solver!   Webb and Brown-Neaves use Solver Paints as standard for the interiors of their homes and our paint is included in our building contract.  Fortunately, W&BN have some lovely display homes that show Solver Paints so you can get a real idea of some of the paint colours.  (Dale Alcock have also used a lot of Solver Paints, in case any one else is trying to choose from these paints.)

Solver Southward at The Islander by Webb and Brown-Neaves.

Solver Southward at The Islander by Webb and Brown-Neaves.

Solver's Scribbly Gum can be seen at The Etesian, by WBN.

Solver’s Scribbly Gum can be seen at The Etesian, by WBN.  (Note to self:  Scribbly Gum looks a bit green in sample circle, but not  in The Etesian.  I saw it with my own eyes!)

Solver Creamy Coffee at The Bayfield.

Solver Creamy Coffee at The Bayfield.

Solver Kitty Grey as seen in home by Dale Alcock.

Solver Kitty Grey as seen in home by Dale Alcock.

Has anyone used any of the paints on my shortlist?

Or ruled them out after testing?

Got a light, cool grey that you love?

And what about the 1/2, 1/4 strength can of worms?  Should I go there?

You’ll find more named paints in my Pinterest file, if you are keen.

Building the roof

Roof preparation and an inspection.

Between rain, public holidays galore and short brickies the estimated 3 weeks to complete our second storey of bricks turned into 7.   Just kidding about the brickies, but we do have a few high sections of brickwork at the front of our house, which meant that an extra lift of scaffolding was required to access the work.  Extra scaffolding = extra time.

The roof carpenters then took their turn and worked like Trojans (on a public holiday)!  Chippies, I owe you beer.

Chippies at work on the weekend.

Chippies at work on the weekend.

Skillion roof taking shape.

Skillion roof taking shape.

Lots of wood, steel and ties.

Lots of wood, steel and ties.

When the roof carpenters finished last week, our air-conditioning installer popped by to check everything was set to accommodate the air-conditioning ducts in the roof.  He’ll be back once the roof is on to install it.  The roof sheets were measured up and ordered which left me a little confused about why they are not pre-ordered based on the house drawings.  Not to worry, it is not holding the process up and our Site Supervisor expects the roof to be on by the end of this week.

Before the roof goes on, there was an opportunity to inspect the brickwork and roof carpentry.  We hired an independent building inspector to take a look and assess the work completed against building codes and/or Australian Standards.   We are pleased that overall the inspector found a “good industry standard” on site.  There are a few non-compliant issues:

  1. Absent weep holes (to let any moisture between the double brick walls escape)
  2. Sloppy mortar bridging the space between the double brick walls (which can lead to moisture build up and mould)
  3. Inadequate mortar filling where toothing occurs in the brick work (creating weak spots)
  4. Absence of parging on the recessed slab, as per drawings.  OK, I had to look this one up.  Parging is “a thin coat of a cementitious (!!!) or polymeric mortar applied to concrete or masonry for refinement of the surface.” (Thank you Wiki).  Parging is applied for various reasons, e.g. termite deterent, air barrier, but I’m not sure of its purpose in our case.

Webb and Brown-Neaves have the report now and I feel confident that the brickies will be sent back to site to fix up these issues before it’s too late.  Speaking of too late, probably we should have had a building inspection before the suspended slab was poured.  Much of the sloppy mortar in the cavities will be inaccessible by now.

I have a new found appreciation for Australian building standards following the recent disappearance of our carpark.  Yes, that’s right.  Our car park, here in Brazil, along with a 10 x 2 meter brick wall and several other car parking spaces, recently fell about 10 metres down into the neighbour’s excavated site.  My unqualified opinion on the matter is that they cut too close to our residence and should have reinforced the wall, especially before the rainy season.  Luckily, my husband and I had taken note of the rather close excavations and had started parking a little further away from the wall.  One of our neighbours was less fortunate.

I added a new page to the blog today for the serious build followers.   You can view our build Time Line by clicking on the link in this sentence or by using the page menu on the left side bar.   This page contains links to all my blog posts about the building process.  I’ll update the Time Line as we progress.

 

Girly glamour and glitz.

“Mum, you need to passion up a bit,” said The Second Little Pig sometime ago, referring to my lack of lipstick and ordinary attire.  She would totally disapprove of the natural, relaxed look that I’m aiming for with House By The Water, if I let her have a say.  We don’t know where she’s got it from, but somehow The Second Little Pig (from hereon referred to as P2) has a kind of pizzazz, a crazy style sense that can only be pulled off by someone with an unusual amount of energy and lack of inhibition.  So for P2’s bedroom we need luxury and sparkles, glamour and glitz, but most of all lots of mirrors! Here’s our common ground:

Restoration Hardware has great kids' room inspiration.

Restoration Hardware has great kids’ room inspiration.

Bold.  Photo source: Macys.

Bold. Photo source: Macys.

I wanted to commit to colours because we had a little furniture makeover planned.  She wants pink, black, purple and white.  3 out of 4 is fair, don’t you think?

Mood board for The Second Little Pig's bedroom.

Mood board for The Second Little Pig’s bedroom.

I decided it was time to start warming up my DIY muscles.  (They are going to need to be in top shape once the keys to HBTW are ours.)  We braved a trip or two (Doesn’t it always take more than one trip to the hardware store?) to the local equivalent of Bunnings or Home Depot, in search of a greyish-pink paint and other supplies.

Et voila!

Before (left) and after.  Styled by P2.

Before (left) and after. Styled by P2.

Cute.  P2 spent several days styling and restyling her new dresser and hutch and self-filmed a little “How to style shelves” movie.  Maybe we’ve been watching a little too much home-improvement TV. P2 has drawn up a bedroom layout plan, to scale with some help.  We have plans to make a fancy head board – light grey velvet(?), some sort of drapey thing to hang over the bed and probably a faux chandelier.  Aussie readers, do let me know if you spot a reasonably priced dress-model thingy (I’ve forgotten the proper name again) for hanging jewels, handbags and scarfs on, like the one shown on our mood board.

Post handover plan.

In theory, the keys to House By The Water should be ours in 6 months from now.  Somehow it still seems like a lifetime away, but I’m daring to start thinking about the post handover plan.

There’s an enormous amount to be done, so I put it all on a spread sheet and prioritised each task into high/medium/low categories.

Post handover plan - missing some pieces.

Post handover plan – work in progress.

The critical items are installing timber floors throughout the house and window dressings for the bedrooms.  These need to be done before we move in.  The driveway is also high on the list – we don’t want to be walking sand on beautiful new floors.  We took the driveway out of our builder’s scope of work.  We want cobblestones and their quote was ridiculously out of line with any other quote.

So herein lies a logistical nightmare!  Our best flooring quote comes from a company that says our floors could take up to 5 weeks to install!  We do have 300 square metres of floor to cover, including a set of stairs, but this is not what I expected.

You can see I have a few gaps in the table.  I’m looking for recommended local contractors to quote on:

  • laying a cobblestone driveway with a concrete base
  • constructing a rendered brick front fence with steel insets
  • installing an automated driveway gate  (preferably these 3 items would be done by the same contractor)

I’d really like to know:

  1. What was your order of works post-handover?
  2. Which post-handover tasks could be done in unison?  i.e. multiple trades on site.
  3. How long did you take between handover and moving in?
  4. Any other tips for running a tight post-handover ship?

I want to get this plan right.  The race to Christmas will be on for the construction industry, and the longer we take the longer I’m going to be sleeping in the caravan in our front yard.

Perhaps if I get a few film cameras involved,  in “The Block” style, we can get the whole lot done in a week!

These pictures are from my favourite house on The Block this season.  Josh and Charlotte share my love for timber floors and white shutters.  (Photo source:  Domain.) House By The Water will be the third house we’ve lived in with this simple winning combination.

Painted feature walls.

Dear Reader,  

Thank you for suggesting I write about the topic “Feature walls, Yay or Nay?”  I was wondering the same thing.  It is with pleasure that I present to you my entirely unqualified opinion on the matter.  

Yours sincerely,

Johanne at House By The Water.

Yay or Nay?

5 rooms that definitely say “Yay”:

The colour adds mood, without drowning the whole room.  Source:  Lonny.

The colour adds mood, without drowning the whole room. Source: Lonny.

Black wall adds depth.  Source:

Black wall adds depth and definition. Source: Home Adore.

Framing a view, creating a division of space.  Source:

Framing a view, creating a division of space. Source:  Home Adore.

Background colour highlights the pendant and fire.    Source:  Cote Maison.

Background colour highlights the pendant and fire. Source: Cote Maison.

Grey wall frames art.  Source: Lux Interior Design.

Grey wall frames art. Source: Lux Interior Design.

When to use a feature wall:

  • to create mood, without intruding on the feeling of space and light.
  • to frame a feature such as a view, painting, fireplace, special piece of furniture, architectural detail.
  • to create depth and interest.

Simple, hey?

Wrong.  I’ll use my dilemma area as an example.  Our fireplace.

Display home version of our fireplace.  By Webb and Brown-Neaves.

Display home version of our fireplace. By Webb and Brown-Neaves.

Firstly, I can’t decide whether or not our fireplace wall should be “a feature”.  Giving it a colour of its own, would highlight the fire and provide a nice back ground to a large pendant light that will hang in the room.  On the other hand, we’ll already have the canal view as a feature (at least in the day time) and I have plans for a big piece of art for the large bare wall, shown on the left side of  the photo above.  Is that too many features?

Secondly, for every beautiful feature wall I’ve seen, there is an equally beautiful room that is elegant in its simplicity.  (Plain in the left column, “feature” walls on the right.)

Photos sources:  1. Zusss.  2. The Style Files. 3.  Remodelista.  4. Plastolux.  5. Zuster. 6. Contemporist.  7. Milk Magazine. 8.  Nixon Tulloch Fortey.

Thirdly, try searching “feature wall” on Google or Pinterest.  You’ll find all kinds of “nay” happening there.  Pulling off a feature wall takes confidence and skill.  A feature wall, well, features in a room, so you’d better love whatever colour you choose.

In the case of our fireplace, I don’t think we can go wrong.  The easy answer is “no feature paint” but I don’t want to miss an opportunity.  With the double height wall, painting it  later would be a saga.  At this point, most people would buy a couple of sample pots and paint a wall to make a decision “on the ground”.  We don’t have this option right now.  The next time I see House By The Water will be for the “Practical Completion Inspection”, when the interior walls will have long since been painted by the builders.

To resolve the issue (again), I turned to my new favourite time-wasting activity, mood board creation.

Open living at House By The Water.

No “feature wall” in our open living area.  Kitchen, living and dining all in one.

So for our fireplace, I’m saying “Nay” to a painted feature wall.   An additional block of colour seems to detract from the rest.

I also considered a painted feature wall for my son’s bedroom.  We are going for an industrial/coastal style there.  (There’s a new combo for you!)  A charcoal colour would go nicely, but there was the question of which wall to paint. In the end I’ve decided it’s all or nothing.   (Another post, another day.)

Of course, there are alternatives to painting a feature wall.  Wallpaper is big right now.  But if you think I have commitment issues with painting a feature wall, I am down-right scared of wallpaper.  I don’t think I’ll ever recover from the time we removed the old wallpaper in our first house.  It was not fun and it went on for days.  Timber panelling, exposed brick, raw concrete and stone are all high-commitment options for feature walls.   Although they usually require thought in the planning stage of a build, I consider some of them to be low risk options.  Rarely do I see a stone or timber wall that I don’t like.

And, for the complete “feature wall” chicken, here are some gorgeous wall hangings that I love:

These are from Restoration Hardware in the United States.  Unfortunately, they don’t ship to Australia.

So, dear reader.  Are you still there?  I’m voting “yay” for feature walls, but not always.

Your turn:

Are you planning a feature wall?

Have you painted a feature wall that you lived to regret?

How about one you love to bits?

Has anyone tested out the new so-called “removable wallpaper”?

 

 

Still bricking.

Housey blogs

Every woman and her dog writes a blog these days.  There are literally thousands of blogs documenting home building, renovation and decoration but with a bit of sifting, you can find a good community of like-minded people sharing tips, referrals, encouragement and inspiration.  A couple of friendly home-building bloggers sent their readers my way and posed me some questions.

Let me introduce:

  • Trixee, half of a motivated duo building a modest but glamorous solar passive home in Perth, from Eco Home Style.
  • Sheilzy, a go-get-em chick who’s building a Metricon home in Sydney, from Our Hudson.
  • Kerrie-Lee, the world’s most patient builder’s wife, who is building a very stylish home in coastal NSW, from eternalicons.

Thanks for the plug, girls!

1. Why did you start blogging?

I started my first blog 4 years ago when we moved to China for the interest of our extended family.  I enjoyed keeping a record of expat life and playing with words.  I caught the blog bug.

The 3 Little Pigs in China.

Photo from my first blog:  The 3 Little Pigs in China.

2. What are your favourite 3 blogs and why?

  • Spacecrush – I only recently discovered interior stylist, Jane Ledger’s blog, and the timing is perfect for me.  Jane, who is Perth based, shares her passion, knack and skills for interiors with unusual generosity.  I’m lapping up her “how to” series of articles such as “How to hang art” and “Choose the right sofa”.
  • House Nerd – You already know I love House Nerd for her rambling stories about interesting homes, DIY projects and local creatives in Western Australia.  Maya always keeps it real and affordable and I’m guaranteed a laugh, often at Maya or Mr. Nerd’s expense.  Maya reminds me that I’m glad that we are over the reno phase of life, but that it was good for us!
  • Third place was tough- so I’m going for a tie between The Design Files, for wholesome Aussie homes with lots of heart and character, and Planet Deco for an endless supply of beautiful homes, mostly from Europe .

3. What’s your favorite post that you’ve written and why?

40 decades of houses because it was such a nice trip down memory lane.

Exposed brick and psychedelic green!

Exposed brick and psychedelic green!  That’s Aunty Kate in the box, and I’m towing.  Check out my art.  I haven’t improved.

4. What do you enjoy most about blogging?

The connections made with readers.  We are helping each other blunder our way through home building.  The banter is fun and the tips are helpful.

5. How do you find things to blog about?

Somehow I always have at least one month’s worth of blog topics up my sleeve.  Ideas come to me naturally as part of the building process, often while I’m doing the dishes!  So far I’ve resisted writing the:  “I can’t wait to have a dishwasher” post.

6. What do you hope to achieve from your blog?

  • Make sense of the building process.
  • Make good decisions by “thinking out loud”.
  • Maximise the enjoyment of the building process, however remote I may be.
  • Keep the builders honest!

7. Describe your favourite meal.

One large salad with beetroot or mushrooms and goat’s cheese, and a cold glass of Margaret River white wine, please.  Served here:

Landscape design for House By The Water by Tim Davies Landscaping.

Landscape design for House By The Water by Tim Davies Landscaping.

8. If you had a day to do anything you want, what would you do?

I would go homewares and furniture shopping in Melbourne with Aunty Kate (my sister).  We would, of course, have an unlimited budget.  We’d meet my Mum and my other sister for lunch at Cumulus Inc to drool over the lamb and the interior design.

We’d visit Mark Tuckey, Jardan, Southwood Home, and Weylandts.

Jardan's Melbourne store.

Jardan’s Melbourne store.

9. What are your current obsessions?

Blue, preferably dark and moody.  Linen.  Australian made furniture.  Oh yeah, and that small thing called building a house.

10. In 5 words describe your interior style.

Relaxed, modern, Australian, earthy, light.

Normal blogging services will resume next week.  

 
Edit:  News just in from Webb and Brown Neaves.  
Second floor brickwork is still not quite complete.  
The roof carpenter is expected to start next week.
Bedroom of the second little pig.   An impressive amount of scaffolding.  I'm quite amazed to see it all.

Bedroom of the second little pig. An impressive amount of scaffolding. I’m quite amazed to see it all.

The scaffold floor will be removed to reveal a void space above the ground floor living area.

The scaffold floor will be removed to reveal a void space above the ground floor living area.  It’s starting to look large.