House By The Water – The Movie.

Every spare moment has been spent in the garden lately.  Planting, reticulation, lawn preparation, mulching and cobblestones, of course…  No time at all for blogging.  We’re on a mission.  Guests are coming for Christmas.

 Fortunately, the “House By The Water” videos, made by our builders, are ready.  You can enjoy a little chat in our kitchen and living room instead of reading a post.  There are two short videos.  Click on the pictures below to view.  I don’t think I’ll take up vlogging, but it was fun to do this once.

 

 

Russian blue cat.

Three Little Pigs and Two Kittens

Small steps happening here.  There are a couple of feline distractions, that I deny were selected for their match with our sofa.

Six months have past since handover and I sent my list of problems into Webb and Brown-Neaves.  Nothing drastic.  They’ll pay me a visit next week to review everything. Hopefully, the fixes will be quick and with minimal time off work required.

We finally got around to our handover with Intelligent Homes who were subcontracted to install our security and communication systems.  Burglars, be warned!  You’ll need ear plugs.

A decent front door arrived (the first one was water stained) and has been varnished.  It’s a bit dark but by the time we install the decorative security screen door, that won’t matter.

The Nice Wolf hung an old front door bell that we’ve been carting around for more than a decade.  It came from our first house.  We took it off to render the 70’s brick and promptly lost the bracket so never rehung it.  I’m very grateful now.

Waterline tiles

Charcoal waterline tiles.

pool tiles

Waterline tiles

The waterline tiles have been laid in our pool and there has been talk of solar versus electric heating.  I can almost believe that we’ll be swimming in this pool come Summer.  I’d better get cracking with the fence painting and planting.

There’s a chance my blog may spontaneously combust this week.  Last year I paid a small amount for “custom design” and no ads, but this year I put the money towards this floor lamp:

Floor lamp.

Irresistible purchase from Barney and Fleur in Bridgetown.

So if this page is looking a bit weird later this week, that’s why.  I shall attempt blog first aid as necessary.

Never without a hitch. 

Good news first.

Doesn’t our kitchen look swish?

kitchen

House By The Water kitchen.  I think I might “pin” that.

I glammed the house up a bit with some greenery in honour of my Mum’s visit and the return of The Three Little Pigs from holidays with grandparents.

Kids' bathroom.

The Little Pigs’ wash trough, with maiden hair fern sitting atop the laundry chute.

girls room

Christmas gifts for our 11 year old pig included an Armadillo & Co rug and bedding from Adairs. Furniture still in transit.

The fireplace saga….

 Round one of fireplace saga took place a year ago, I won’t bore you with the details.  Round two of fireplace saga started with us collecting our fireplace from storage last month to find that we only had 4 metres of flue.  No good for a 6+metre building.  A few extra days and we soon had some extra flue.  Next, the fan kit for the heater ($750) was nowhere to be found.  Storage upturned and triple checked, supplier contacted and no evidence that it was delivered or not.  Nice Wolf huffing and puffing (enough to circulate heat around house). No chance of paying for another.  Fireplace installer and supplier both agree that fan is not necessary.  Fireplace installed without fan and with a frame that’s sort of just hanging loosely off the wall….

Moving on.

Driveway.

A quick rush to get the driveway concreted before the timber floors were to be finished.  The aim was to have an access point to the house that doesn’t involve traipsing through sand.  A couple of quotes later and a bobcat was ploughing sand out of our front yard.  Well worth the $300 + clean fill when compared to the hours of digging that would be the alternative.  I’d never have thought we’d have 3 truckloads of sand/dirt to clear.  All was going well until a little water spring appeared from the water meter.  “It was already leaking.  Can’t you tell by the green grass around it?”  “Fair enough”, I said, wondering if there was also a leak from our letterbox which also has a green patch of grass.

I supplied the concrete contractor with a copy of council’s requirements for driveways, but thought that this should be old hat for any local concreter.  If you follow council’s requirements, they’ll reimburse you for some of the cost of the “crossover”.  Well, they almost got it right.  No expansion joint at our property boundary….maybe I should get them to come back?   Maybe it’s too late.

concrete driveway

The base for our future cobblestone driveway.

Our window shutters were due to be installed mid January.  When I inquired about progress last week I was told there was a “slight delay” of a few more weeks due to one of the shutters being unusually small.  Hmmm…..

Our timber floors are currently having “a rest” before being sanded and finished.  The blackbutt stairs and our curved void area are quite impressive.

 So, there you have it.  Progress, albeit with hitches.

Coming up:

  • Tree farms.
  • Floor finishing, I hope!
  • The return of our furniture.
  • How are the builders tracking with the pre-handover list?
  • And, you never know your luck, a pool before winter?

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.

Mum and Dad on the Nullarbor.

The big move(s).

Orchestrating the construction of a house from overseas has been relatively easy.  When you hire a volume builder, part of what you pay for is the project management.  10-15 years ago it would have been a different story.  Most items can be viewed online these days and most people can be contacted by email.  Our requirement to “be there” really only involved one visit for “pre-start selections” – checking out the tile, lighting and internal fittings in person before making selections.  This end of the process, as we are nearing house completion (and I use the term “nearing” loosely), is a bit awkward.  The non-binery date for completion makes the logistics of returning back to Australia kind of tricky.  I won’t harp on the issue of short-term accommodation again, but I do want to mention local storage.  Our furniture will be packed up this week, some of it destined for a plane ride to Western Australia but most of it will go on a long, slow trip on a ship.  And for once, the incomprehensibly long process of exporting and importing our goods may actually be in our favour, saving us storage fees in Australia.

But this post is inspired by another aspect of our move.  It’s a kind of ode to my parents, and all parents in Australia who have strapped beds, tables, refrigerators, sofas, etc., onto a trailer and driven hundreds of kilometres to “help the kids move”.  My parents have been doing this for over 20 years.  With my sisters located in Sydney and Melbourne, they know the Hume Highway like the back of their hands.  When we unexpectedly moved overseas 4 years ago, we’d just recently bought a new camper trailer and we didn’t want to sell it.  Similarly, we needed to buy a car in Australia 2 years ago to tow the van for a couple of months.  Buying and selling cars all the time is irritating, so we decided to keep that too.   My parents have kindly kept our van and car for us in their garage all this time.

So as we plan our intercontinental move (5 flights, 48 hours, 3 kids, oh, the pleasure!) my Mum and Dad are planning a cross-continental move.  They’ll drive our car and van across the Nullarbor (5 days?  48 driving hours?  No kids, phew.)  If that’s not dedication enough, my Mum has also packed all the things we’ve left or had delivered to their house over the last few years.  Travel souvenirs, gifts intended for the new house, kids Christmas presents that didn’t fit in suitcases, material won as a prize and a few purchased items for the house that I couldn’t resist buying early when they were on sale.

Map of Australia

Google maps version of the route from my parent’s house to House By The Water.  In reality, my parents will take the more scenic route.

Flight path.

Our trip: São Luis, Brazil to House By The Water in Mandurah.

To all the Mums and Dads around the world, and especially mine,

thanks for adding “removalists” to your already long-list of occupations.

Mixed indoor plants

Feeling green: indoor plants.

It is with some disappointment that I’m writing about indoor plants today.  Surely, 23 months after signing our building contract, 14 months after site works started and 11 months after slab down, I should be writing about progress with the house.  According to the original schedule, which I did promise to take with a grain of salt, we should be doing the pre-handover inspection this week.  Here is how House By The Water looked on the weekend:

House facade with sealed render.

So far from completion…Waiting for textured render and windows (at rear).

Webb and Brown-Neaves, our builders, are 5 months off schedule!  I’ve been reassured that some time can be made up and I believe it, so I was very disappointed to learn that nothing has been done for a week.

I’m feeling rather blue about this.

My expiry date in Brazil does not change so this week I’ve been growing piles around the home in preparation for packing.  I’ve been working on our air shipment pile.  It includes a few special things I’ve been saving for the new house.  I’ve also been recording the dimensions of some of our furniture, so that we can work out where it will all go in advance of its arrival in Australia.  And, for pure pleasure, I’ve  drawn up the plan for “what will go where” in the new kitchen.  (Thanks for the idea, Lunar at Majestic 40 at Gardener’s Ridge.)

And to change my mood from blue to green, I’ve been dreaming about indoor plants.

My Top 5 Indoor Plants

Olive

Potted olive tree.

I just can’t go past the silvery colour of olive tree foliage. Source: House to Home.

Orchid

Orchids in bathroom.

Potted orchids last so much longer than a vase of cut flowers. Source: Inside Out.

Maiden hair fern

Maiden hair fern.

Pretty and delicate. Source: Design Sponge.

Herbs

Basil, coriander, parsley, etc. I use herbs so much that the real supply will be in the veggie patch. A pot or two in the scullery will mostly be aesthetic. Source: Divine Caroline.

Basil, coriander, parsley, etc. I use herbs so much that the real supply will be in the veggie patch. A pot or two in the scullery will mostly be aesthetic. Source: Divine Caroline.

Weeping fig.

No, I didn’t miss the memo that it’s fiddle-leaf figs that are all the rage.  I do like figs.  In fact, I was once broken hearted by a fig that had to be cut down.  I’ve had these weeping figs in pots before.  I like their pretty leaf and they are resilient.  Fiddle leaf figs are pretty cool too, but maybe a bit too cool.  I’m quite sure that they are growing like weeds on every roadside around here in Brazil.  Readers, don’t let your fiddles out of their pots – they grow big and only look so-so when they have free range.  Your neighbours might get grumpy.

By the time we move into House By The Water (zzzzz…..) we’ll have missed the outdoor planting season, so I’ll be keen for a bit of indoor green.  I might even splash out for a largish potted tree in our living area, where it can give us a give us some afternoon shade until I sort out a more permanent window treatment solution.  Dare I say it can double as our, ahem, tree that is decorated at a certain time of year.  I think a nice olive tree might be perfect.

Potted olive tree.

An olive tree. Peace. Source: Brown Design Inc.  (Feature photo at top:  The Guardian.)