Becoming a film star and testing the pool.

Interview.As life becomes more hectic and posts are more distant, there’s rather a lot to catch up on.  House By The Water made its film debut.  Out of respect for the job well done by our builders, Webb and Brown-Neaves, I agreed to host an interview about our building experience.  There were conditions, of course.  Firstly, the filming would be confined to the part of the house that I could guarantee to be tidy given the habits of the Three Little Pigs.   Secondly, I would do my best to make House By The Water look stylish, if the builder’s marketing team could do something about making me photogenic.Builder's movie

It was a fun morning.  It was the longest make-up session that I have ever endured, much to the amusement of the Three Little Pigs.  Reneé, from WBN, did an excellent job of being a temporary TV journalist and Troy was cool and calm behind the cameras, trying his best to keep me relaxed without involving alcohol.

I made a last minute attempt to purchase a new floor rug for the living room, but fell for the rug that was “out of stock”.  Fortunately, Dee from Frisky Deer Interiors, stepped in with the loan of a luxurious Armadillo and Co rug for the video shoot.  It looked very good at House By The Water and I secretly hoped that tea/wine would be spilt on it and we’d have to buy it.

Living room.

Looking like a film star, but the rug has seen better days.

I may or may not let you all know when the video is published.

Enough stardom, onto the pool.

The landscapers are almost finished.  There are just a few finishing touches left in their scope (and years of work left in ours).  The pool was filled and commissioned and despite the weather still behaving like Winter we decided to “bugger it”!  We heated up the pool for one weekend and let the Little Pigs in for a wallow.Pool.

First swim in the pool.

Happy as a pig in pool.

I finally committed to an olive tree beside the pool.   Though young, it’s already a feature, looking especially lovely lit up at night:Olive Tree

The canal side landscaping is finally starting to come together.  It shall be ready for the Christmas visitors and the throngs of tourists boating passed lured by Christmas lights.

 

The private chef in our kitchen.

We’d like scallops for dinner, thank you.   Followed by crispy barramundi, then creme brûlée, please.

IMG_2955

What could be better than a brand new kitchen, decorated exactly to my liking, with plenty of space and all the mod-cons?  Someone to cook and clean up afterwards, of course.  Last Friday, our builders, Webb and Brown-Neaves, organised just that.  An evening with a private chef is their “handover gift” to all their clients.  Such a treat!

Photos are few.  I was having way too much fun.

I had the place looking spick and span and the Three Little Pigs were banned from dropping crumbs, socks and toys for 24 hours:

Dining room

Dining room.

Our dining room has great views in all directions.

Dinner setting.

The third little pig set the table. Can you spot the error?

Eric, our French chef, from Ryan John Private Catering, arrived with all the meal preparation complete and started cooking:

DSC_0778

Our special spies guests, who helped us out in various ways during our build, arrived and might I just say how well they all dressed to complement our interior decorating!

Dinner party guests.

That’s me and The Nice Wolf on the left.

We toasted our new house then devoured the delicious meal.

Dinner party

Don’t tell The Nice Wolf but the scallops were the best I’ve had in years. The meal was completely delish and our glasses were kept topped up.  Best of all, Eric saw to all the clean-up and dishes, then politely took his leave before things got a bit embarrassing silly amusing.  We tried to keep up our civilised behaviour for a while with a little game of “Guess the Aroma” using a fun wine aroma kit.  One thing lead to another and the boys couldn’t resist showing off their amazing musical talents playing the crystal glasses, which we all knew meant it was time to go home.

Jam session on the crystal glasses. Oh dear!

Jam session on the crystal glasses. Oh dear!

Oh, hang on a minute.  We live here!  A lovely night of fine dining and celebrating our new home with good friends and we only had to walk upstairs to bed.  That’s my idea of perfect.

 

Keys Please, Webb and Brown-Neaves.

Three Kids at sunset.

Three Little Pigs, toasting the new house with “kids’ champagne” and pizza.

At 9 am yesterday, The Nice Wolf received keys from our site supervisor for our new home.  In a slightly non-traditional ending to the fairy tale, we had a pseudo pre-handover inspection and handover all in one.  That means that there are a few items still to be completed by the builders but we are able to move in.  Full credit to the builders and all their associated tradespeople for working their butts off for the past 2 months in order to deliver our house before their Christmas break.

This last week saw some crucial elements added to House By The Water.  Balustrading, toilets (phew!) and, just in the nick of time, gas, or more significantly, hot water.  As a bonus, our landscapers finished our deck and made a good start on the pool fencing.

So here we are, completely exhausted and thoroughly happy.  What other way is there to celebrate than with good champagne (thank you Webb and Brown-Neaves) and pizza on the deck?  We had a great evening, with many small boats cruising the canals to view the local Christmas lights.  All the boaters were in a Friday, festive mood, waving at us as they went by.

Today, the littlest pig turned 6 and was very happy to be served breakfast in bed on a mattress on the floor.  There has been a steady stream of tradies and we’ve been erecting some makeshift curtains.  We’ve been vacuuming concrete dust and laying down plastic drop sheets in a probably vain attempt to minimise the dust until our timber floors are laid.  We’ve been unpacking a few bits and pieces and received our new mattress.  Basically, our work is just beginning.

I will post lots of photos soon.  I just wanted to check in today and say, we’re in!

Ensuite.

Ensuite at night.

Would you let your husband choose tiles? Alone?

Note from wife sign.

Photo source: unknown.

Up until this week The Nice Wolf (a.k.a. husband) has been too busy to get involved in the minor details of House By The Water.  He’s left all the interior decisions to me and many of the other decisions too.  An ideal situation, as far as I’m concerned.  Well, The Nice Wolf is now on holidays and has been busying himself with thoughts of reticulation, hanging cray pots from the ceiling, cobblestones and many other future DIY projects.  He’s been popping past House By The Water to act as liaison between myself and our landscapers and to submit a daily report on the head count of tradespeople on site.

And yes, he had to bring a note from his wife in order to make a tile selection.

Pool tiles.

Pool tile samples were duly brought home for my approval.

More about that head count.  It has been exceptionally high this week.  Webb and Brown-Neaves and related contractors have been pulling out all stops in order to get the keys to us next week.  On top of that, our landscapers, Tim Davies Landscaping, have started work.

Here is just some of what has been happening:

The lights were installed:

The painters have been inside and Kitty Grey is looking very pretty:

The tiling and stonework is just about finished:

The robes were installed:

Sinks, tapware, shower screens and mirrors (not shown) were installed:

Work on the deck began:

Jarrah decking.

Deck in progress.

Behind the scenes we’ve been booking in the wood fire and floor installers, connecting the internet and phone and ordering the council-supplied bins.  In a very pleasant twist of events, we received a variation notice from the builders giving us an $11.5K credit for site works.  Yep, you read it correctly.  Credit.  Yippee!   (Skipping all the way to the cobblestone shop….)

Looks like I’d better start chilling that wine.

…She’s making a list, checking it twice…

Kitchen splash back.It seems to be the done thing to start writing lists at this stage of the build.  I’ve been postponing my list writing for fear of what I might find.  But here it is, out in the open, for all of you to tut about how it’s not possible to do all those things in just two weeks, before the builders shut down for a long break.

To do:

  1. Finish interior tiles: powder room, splash back, laundry chute/bath surround.
  2. Exterior texture (nearly finished).
  3. Stacked stone feature (started).
  4. Render, waterproof, texture planter boxes and retaining walls (started).
  5. Paint walls (started).
  6. Install balustrade.
  7. Plumbing finals, installation sinks, taps, toilets.
  8. Electrical finals, install light fittings (started).
  9. Phone/future link finals.
  10. Shower screens and mirrors.
  11. Robes (started).
  12. Door hardware.
  13. Manhole.
  14. Stacker doors, front door.
  15. Flyscreens.
  16. Garage door.
  17. Install appliances (started).
  18. Insulation.
  19. House clean.

I started the list last weekend, and although it seems like there has been plenty of activity at House By The Water, the list looks fairly unscathed.

As I am a “glass half full” kind of person, here is my list of items that were completed this week.

Completed:

  • Balustrade measured up and a new balustrade finish negotiated to avoid availability of product delays.
  • Splash back tiled and grouted.  Looking very lovely, if I do say so.

    Scullery tile and bench

    Masia Gris Claro tile and Alpine Mist Caesarstone.

  • Bathroom and ensuite tiles grouted.
  • Powder room floor problem # 4 (some tiles in the series darker than the rest) resolved by creating a new pattern.

    Powder room tiles.

    Powder room tiles.

  • Robe areas painted.

    Solver Kitty Grey. Purrfect.

    Solver Kitty Grey. Purrfect.

  • Stacker doors installed.
  • Appliances, sinks and toilets delivered.  Ovens installed.
  • Downlights, some pendant lights, smoke alarms and power outlets fitted.

    Vintage LED pendant.

    One of the void pendants. Cray pot to be added later.

  • Robes started.
  • Stacked stone progressed.
  • Front door delivered.

All considered, I’m pronouncing it a good, productive week at House By The Water.  Stay tuned for the big week of painting ahead.

 

How cabinets made my day.

Fearing another slow week, I decided to trial a new strategy to keep work progressing rapidly at House By The Water.  Bribery.

Our builders, Webb and Brown-Neaves asked me to meet the tiler on site on Monday, so first thing in the morning I left the tiler a box of chocolates hoping it would make him work at his best.  I know that the tiling is a big job and a critical one in the pathway to the builders handing over the keys on December 18th.  Well I’m not sure that it had the desired effect, (any tilers reading, please send in your suggestions,) but we do at least now have the bathroom and ensuite screed.

Bathroom screed.

Kids bathroom. Note: hole in floor for laundry shute.

Ensuite screed

Ensuite

The renderers have started to add the final textured layer to the house exterior:

Grey pebble render.

Dulux Grey pebble render.

I collected some render that had fallen to the ground to take to the tile shop.  I need to select a tile to cover the top face of the patio awning.  I want it to be inconspicuous.

The concreter poured the garage floor and a concrete plinth beside the house for the air conditioning unit to sit on:

Grano garage floor.

Grano garage floor.

A couple of broken windows have been replaced and some interior scaffolding is in place.  I hope it means that the painter will start soon.

But the highlight of the week is definitely the arrival of the cabinets.  My mum sent me a text message during the day…”There’s a large furniture truck outside your house.”   Oooooh!   Cabinets!  Cabinets for the kitchen, scullery, laundry, bathroom and ensuite.  Lots and lots of beautiful storage.

What a giant puzzle it must be now to put it all together.

For those of you who are missing my little chats about interiors, I promise a short break from building talk next week.  I’ve been making a few exciting purchases and plans for our interior but I can’t reveal them just yet.

Racing season for builders.

Melbourne Cup?  Pffft.  All eyes in our household are on a different race.  It’s the race between our builders and the clock.  December 4th:  Practical Completion Inspection.  December 18th:  Keys to House By The Water.

Some punters don’t believe it will be done, but after the new pace set in October, I am backing Webb and Brown-Neaves.  I’m literally backing them.  I’ve booked short term accommodation until December 18th, not a day later.  We all know what happens after December 18th.  Nada!  Building industry shut down.

So what has been done this week?

Well, we have a new sign:

Webb and Brown-Neaves sign

Webb and Brown-Neaves upstaging our new letterbox.

And we have a new bill.  The so-called “lock up” stage has been reached with boards in place of many of the windows.  Several  windows are missing, some were broken during installation.

Lock up.

Lock up, sort of.

Our friendly tradie, who cleaned up the site last week, has laid some bricks to hide the pipe that drains rain water into the canal:

Bricked over pipe

Small steps this week.

One bath has been set in position and the plumber has the bathrooms all ready for tiles:

Bath

Bath in position.

The tiles and grout have been delivered, so there’s only one thing missing….. the tiler.

Come on, tiler!   Please be at our house tomorrow.

 

House boarded up.

Keep out! Building progress.

It has been another action-packed week at House By The Water.  I can hardly keep up with the pace.  Most of the ground floor windows are in place.  It seems that the glazier had to wrestle with a few of them and the windows came out second best.

The arrival of the windows heralded the discovery of my first major addenda blooper….

Powder room door.

Clear glass powder room door.

A loo with a view?   Hmmm…  Not sure who’s bright idea a clear glass door beside the WC was, but it was certainly my error not to pick it up on the addenda.

The carpenters have been busy hanging doors, creating shelving in the linen cupboards and adding trim to the edges of the stairs and around the exposed edges on the suspended slab:

The stacking glass doors on the canal side are not ready, so the openings have been boarded up for now to provide some security to the indoors.  I’m sure it means we will be locked out any moment now:

Boarded up living area.

The boards have really altered the sense of space once again and I can get a feel for the size the rooms. They are not small.

The tiles have been delivered and a bath!   That was a “this is real” moment.

Bath

Yes, I’m taking pictures of the bath.

And last, but definitely not least, the whole site has been tidied up:

Site tidy.

Special thanks to the friendly tradie who made our site spick and span!

Off site, the Nice Wolf and I took a whirlwind tour of Perth and Fremantle.  In honour of my birthday, The Nice Wolf paid careful attention to The Best Places to shop in Western Australia and we covered as much ground as we could before serious furniture shopping burnout set in.  We got a few sofa quotes a long the way and added a few of our own destinations to the list including Eco Outdoor where we drooled over almost everything in store:

Other highlights were Empire Homewares’ warehouse and Shedwallah, both in Fremantle and both with some real treasures, new and old:

We made an exciting purchase, but it has to stay under wraps until one of the Little Pigs has a birthday.

Deliveries have been arriving by the minute, directly in proportion to the dropping of our bank balance:  curtains, light fittings, a very fancy coffee machine.

The Nice Wolf managed a successful drop of the lighting to the secret warehouse .  Can you believe that after all those dreadful warnings not to step out of light-labelling line, he forgot his appointment and arrived late?!!!  Goodness, I hope the warehouse staff were in a good mood today.

And just to squeeze in a little more out of our week, we hired a boat for an hour so we could motor past House By The Water three times see the sites of Mandurah:

Canal side view.

Canal side view.

 

 

Building action: ceilings, render, white-set, roof.

It has sometimes been hard to get a park at House By The Water this week.  The head count has included a roof carpenter, ceiling installers, insulation installers, scaffold workers, electrical contractors and renderers.  It has been all action and there is plenty to show for it.

Kitchen bulkhead installation

Skilled tradesman at work on the bulkhead above our kitchen.

Home theatre

Library, now looking bright with white set walls.

canal side render

Canal side rendered.

Living room

Living room – white setting in progress today.

Front facade rendered

This morning’s work: front render done.

Behind the scenes, the electricians are ready to receive all our lights for fitting.  Only their message reads more like a ransom note than a request for fittings:

“Deliver to our warehouse….at this secret location…. only at this time….or we will fine you… a lot…. and you will regret it!   Don’t try to sneak in a wrong light…..we will fine you for that too…  If you dare to forget to label a box….that will be another $95.”   Okay, I might have embellished that a little, but honestly, their complex instructions and unforgiving fees have me scared I’m going to make a mistake.  Luckily, we’ve only received this information now, otherwise I would have been too frightened to order anything that was not available from the builder’s recommended light suppliers.  Most of our lights are coming from Radiant Lighting and I trust that they have the experience to meet the demands of the “ransom note”, but I also have 7 pendant lights that I’m supplying myself.  My pride and joy, the coco pendant, is now in my possession and my order from Dunlin lights arrived this morning.  Sadly, one of the pendants has been pushed out of shape in the box during shipping, so the delay to get a replacement to the electrician is bound to incur one of the electrical company’s friendly fees.

The cabinet makers have been checking up on a few of our details:  hidden robotic vacuum dock in the laundry and our integrated dishwasher.  I’m very happy to hear they are making a start on our cabinets.

I bought curtains for the master bedroom:

Bedroom Moodboard

Ink Blue Emery Curtain sample from Pottery Barn with Kitty Grey Solver paint, and a wool floor rug and throw from Santiago Airport.

I met the sales rep from Boardwalk Shutters on site this afternoon to measure up the shutters for the other bedrooms and our library.  I left this until the white set was completed so that more accurate measurements could be taken, but with the 10-12 week lead time on shutters, this means we’ll be without window dressings for a few weeks post handover.

And between running around like a headless chook for the past week, I’ve enjoyed a couple of cuppas and sweet treats at Frisky Deer Interiors with friends, old and new.

Frisky Deer Interiors

At Frisky Deer Interiors + Cafe in Mandurah.

Living room.
Gallery

Building update. With my very own eyes.

So, we may have made a short visit to House By The Water at half past midnight, upon our arrival in Mandurah.  And it’s quite possible that we are averaging 3 site visits per day this week.  We are a tad excited.  We have a lot to catch up on and so do the builders.  The new construction plan is all go go go, aiming for handover before Christmas.

Here is the promised tour:

Front facade

Front facade

Entrance

Entrance

Garage

Garage

Stairs

Stairs and hallway.

Entrance

Entrance void

Library

Library.

Living room.

Living room.

Kitchen

Looking towards the kitchen from the living room.

Master bedroom

Our bedroom.

WIR

Through the walk-in-robe to the bathroom.

Ensuite

Ensuite

Looking down into the living room.

Looking down into the living room.

Bedroom

The Second Little Pig’s bedroom.

Open living area.

Open living.

3 little pigs

The Three Little Pigs, squinting to preserve their anonymity.

Man hole

The Nice Wolf inspecting the man hole. I think it fits.

I added the above photos to this post this morning, but by my second visit to the site this afternoon more ceilings had been plastered and lots of the scaffolding was removed.  Woohoo!  So now you can really see the size of the living area, including the living room void and alfresco area which looks especially huge.

Canal side aspect of the house.

Canal side aspect.

Alfresco

Double height alfresco area.

Open living area.

Plastered ceiling, dining room

Plastered ceilings ground floor.

Plastered ceilings ground floor.

And for this week’s style dilemma, the stack stone that I selected almost 2 years ago for the feature column on the front facade is currently unavailable, so I needed to reselect.  I checked the options online and made a tentative selection, but for $14K worth of stone and the labour to install it, I thought it wise to see a sample.  Midland Brick in Mandurah stock Boral’s stone cladding and I went to inspect.  I’m so glad I did because the colours of the stone on my computer screen were completely different to the real samples.  That made me nervous so I decided to take a short list of samples around to the house for testing:

Online “Aspen” (left) was my first choice, but in reality there was too much orange.  So Echo Ridge (middle) and White Oak (right) were the last two contenders.  I’ve selected Echo Ridge, wanting a bit of dark contrast to the rest of our light grey pallet to break up the front facade with texture and colour.  My Mum (starring in the photos) likes White Oak the best which is very beachy, but slightly off my colour pallet of greys.

Ledgestone

Oral “country ledgestone” in White Oak, Echo Ridge and Aspen.

That’s all for now.  My head is still a bit rattled by jet lag, too much excitement and a hectic week.