Exit planning.

It has started.  Those late night mental lists.  And, a count down of sorts.  I’m finally allowing myself to think of packing up and moving back to Australia.  10 weeks from now, I’ll be on a plane heading for home.

There’s the usual cull to be done.  Outgrown clothes and toys, items that cannot be shipped and, fingers-crossed, maybe an old sofa.  Everything else must fall into one of three categories:

-Plane luggage

-Air shipment (A limited amount of stuff that should reach Australia in one to four weeks).

-Sea shipment (Stuff that will take 2-6 months to arrive in Australia).

I consider myself to be a pro at this.  We’re serial intercontinental movers.  The catch, this time, is that I don’t know what to expect at the other end.  Theoretically, House By The Water will be ready for handover in October, but I really can’t fathom how that can be achieved at this point.  We are still some time away from the “lock up” stage.  Then I need to get the timber floors installed.  The installers are on standby, but I’ll be lucky if they are available immediately once we have the keys, given the uncertainty of a date.

So I’ve brainstormed a couple of short term solutions:

Option A:

Camp on site.

Camp on site.

Positives:  Our van is stored in Australia, already kitted out, ready for action.

Negatives:  Bathing in the canal could be a little awkward.

Option B:

Move into one of Webb and Brown Neaves' display homes.

Move into one of Webb and Brown Neaves’ display homes.  Source:  WB Homes.

Positives:  Completed house, fully furnished, currently vacant, room for visitors, the public can see the functionality of these homes for family life.

Negatives:  The school commute could be a tad long.  (To this point, I’m willing to take The Toorak in Applecross, even though The Islander is my current favourite.)

I think you can guess which way I’m leaning.

Which display home would you like most to live in?

What did you do to bridge the gap between anticipated home building completion and actual completion?

or

Was your builder on time?

Vote “Yes” below if you think Webb and Brown-Neaves should offer us beds in one of their display homes until our house is ready for handover.

 

 

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.

Nooks.

Photo by Ngoc Minh Ngo.

Photo by Ngoc Minh Ngo.

There’s a bit of a lull going on.  After a thorough check, we signed our 12 pages of variations to the contract.  In the end, our variation totalled $30K.  Most of that is for the retaining walls.  We tried to deal with the majority of our house plan tweaks before signing the contract, while the builder was still in sales mode.  (The changes we made pre-contract signing are listed on the House Plans page.)  Now Webb and Brown-Neaves will take a couple of weeks to update all our drawings to include the variations we’ve agreed to.  I suspect there will be more page signing to look forward to.

In the mean time, my trusty measuring tape and I have been busy.  I’ve been mulling over the house plans yet again and measuring up all our furniture to see what is going to fit where.  I’ve been taking notice of all the areas with nook potential.  It’s a completely lovely past-time.

Nook 1:  The dining room.

There is a one metre wide niche in our dining room. It is too small for our antique buffet table.  I think it could be the spot for a laptop nook, with a drawer or two to hide the bills.  One probably does not usually associate computers with dining rooms, but the reality is that laptops and iPads end up in the main living area.  I might aswell plan them a place.  In my head, there is a floating desk top and an occasional chair.   There is room for a laptop and a vase of flowers, nothing else.  I couldn’t find a picture to demonstrate this exact idea.  I’m going to start the trend.

Nook 2:  The hallway.

Surrounded by stairs and visible from the library, there is a nook in the hallway that is large enough to fit my favourite piece of furniture – a Tasmanian oak buffet table.  It will be the perfect place to drop the keys.  The landline telephone will be located here.

Nook 3:  The hallway (again).

This is more of a niche than a nook, just a 90mm indent in the wall.  I’m not sure if it is intended to be for a large painting, or whether it is a remnant of the original house design where a door to the study was located.  Anyway, it could house a painting, or it could fit a narrow bench upon which to sit and put on your shoes.

Nook 4:  Upstairs living area.

This large nook was designed to be a small library, but we’ve dedicated the entire home theatre to that.  In our house it will be more useful as a study/office storage area.

Not enough nooks for you?  You can find more on my Pinterest boards:

Kitchen Colours

While my thoughts are still firmly planted in the kitchen, it is time to take the plunge and decide on some kitchen colours.  I’ve been doing some heavy Pinterest trawling lately and I’ve saved a lot of pictures, but surprisingly, selecting my Top 5 pictures for kitchen inspiration was easy.  The Nice Wolf kiboshed one of them, so we are down to four:

My absolute favourite, though probably not quite in the style of "Modern Australian with some earthiness."  Silver, white and wood, with the tiniest bit of black.

My absolute favourite, though probably not quite in the style of “Modern Australian with some earthiness.” Silver, white and wood, with the tiniest bit of black.  By Sophie Burke Design.

A daring addition of black on the wall oven stack.  I wonder if I could pull it off.

A daring addition of black on the wall oven stack. I wonder if I could pull it off.  Picture from Fancy! Design Blog.

This looks like the kitchen of a cook.  Homely.

This looks like the kitchen of a cook. Homely.  Picture from Home Adore.

Silvery grey, white and wood again.

Ignore the style,  I love the colours.  Designed by ML Interiors.

So it’s blatantly clear the colours scheme I like.  White and grey, with wood and stainless steel.  A touch of black and a splash of live greenery.  Should be easy, right?

Here is the display home kitchen looking a little too, well, display-homey for me:

The "Rubix" kitchen, as seen in the display home.  Photo from Webb and Brown-Neaves.

The “Rubix” kitchen, as seen in the display home. Photo from Webb and Brown-Neaves.

We added a freestanding 900mm oven instead of one of the wall ovens and modified the kitchen island design so now our kitchen layout is like this:

Our kitchen layout.

Our kitchen layout, the scullery to the left keeps the fridge and microwave out of sight.

Playing on my laptop for a few hours, I came up with this:

Almost looks like a kitchen....

Almost looks like a kitchen….  It needs a splash of colour, my favourite blue salad bowl or some olive leaves in a vase.

This kitchen plan is based on:

  • NSW blackbutt timber floors
  • Calacatta Classic Caesarstone bench tops (I may have to reselect later due to $$)
  • Polar White Laminex cabinets
  • Grey glass tiles
  • Walnut tractor stools.

As usual there are a few dilemmas you could help me with:

1.  The wall oven stack.  The original stack design incorporates a border (see display kitchen photo), so there is an opportunity to make it two-toned.  I don’t think a wood-look border would work since it sits on a timber floor and matching the two could get ugly.  I tried a grey border, but again matching a grey laminate with 2 other greys (splashback tiles and bench top) didn’t look right.  Should I try a brushed silver look?  Husband has said “no” to black.  Maybe I should ditch the two-tones and keep the whole stack white.  Help!

A grey border on the oven stack could look like this.  Picture from Minimalisms.

A grey border on the oven stack could look like this. Picture from Designed for life.

2.  After my previous post, I narrowed down my splash back options to stone-look tiles or a decorative tile.  However, when I put the stone-look tiles on the mood board they seemed to clash with my favourite Caesarstone benchtop colour and the decorative tile that I fell in love with was too dark.  While I am drawn to glass tiles I was worried that they would not suit the style of the rest of the house, but I am surprised that they looked the best on my mood board.  And so the indecision goes on…  probably only to be resolved when I can get my hands on all the samples.

3.  To pendant, or not to pendant.  I like the touch of black from the pendants.  I think it balances the black of the wall oven.  The Nice Wolf is not keen.  I tried some other options,  glass, shiny nickel, dark grey and vintage silver but they may as well not have been there at all.  Aside from the colour issue, there is the question of height.  There is a bulkhead in our kitchen at 28 courses.  This means that the kitchen ceiling height is relatively low, at about 2.41 metres.  (The kitchen shares open space with the dining room, 31 courses, and the living room, 63 courses.)  Should I ditch the pendants, stick with downlights for the kitchen and add a little bit of black elsewhere, such as dining room pendant?

Colour selection – children’s bathroom.

I’m finding colour selections quite overwhelming, so for the house interior, I thought I’d start with an easy room – the children’s bathroom.  The room will be used by 3 children for baths and showers.  There is a separate toilet beside this bathroom so these two rooms should match.  The rooms are quite small and I have no grand plans to make a statement with the colours.  Function and light is the priority.  This is roughly the bathroom layout:

Bathroom layout - does not include silver coated stag horns.

Bathroom layout as per display home.  (Silver coated ram horns not included.)

The top level bench surrounding the sink is to be Caesarstone, while the trim and cabinets are laminate.  My main colour dilemma is how to make the most of the cabinet detail that is shown in brown in the above picture.  I don’t like brown and the bold contrast looks a little masculine for my preference.

Here is a little inspiration for colours:

I love the light colour combination here, with a touch of wood that makes it feel homely.  Picture source:

I love the light colour combination here.  Picture source:  Better Homes and Gardens.

The touch of wood makes it feel homely and would tie in the wooden floors in the rest of the house.

Here is what I came up with:

Hmm... this interior design malarky is harder than I thought.

Hmm… this interior design malarky is harder than I thought.

It all looked terribly drab until I added the flowers and towels.  Of course the bath and frameless mirror are missing, also the plain white tiles for the bath hob, but you get the gist.

I have two worries.  One is that the beech Laminex will look awfully fake.  Has anyone used    this laminex and can share pics?  My second concern is that my choice of Caesarstone colours from “the builder’s standard range” may not include a pure white bench top.  I will have to check on that one.

As always, give me your critique.  I can handle it.

The “Rubix” – Coastal Elevation

The house we are building is called the “Rubix”.  It is no longer a display home, so we had been relying on house plans and old photos to picture what our future home would look like.  We weren’t too worried about that, after all plenty of people build custom homes that they’ve never seen before and I’d measured everything that resembled a living space for the past 6 months in order to get a feel for the size and space of the Rubix.  But, as luck would have it, while browsing around display homes, we found a “Rubix”, complete with the coastal elevation (non-standard roof line), the same as we have ordered.

The Rubix coastal elevation.  (Not open for viewing.)

The Rubix – coastal elevation. (Not open for viewing.)

Yup, it's big.

Yup, it’s big.

Not too shy to have a good gawk over the fence.

Not too shy to have a good gawk over the fence.

Our house will be the mirror image of this.  There is a lot of white going on there.  Nothing some outdoor furniture and good landscaping can't fix.

Our house will be the mirror image of this. There is a lot of white going on here, but nothing some outdoor furniture and good landscaping can’t soften.  Not to mention, my secret lighting feature – only to be revealed upon building completion.

OUTspiration

While visiting some Webb and Brown-Neaves display homes near Perth, I was impressed by the landscape gardening around the homes.  All these gardens were designed by Tim Davies Landscaping.  Since we think the guys and girls at Tim Davies have great taste, we’ve asked them to design part of our garden too.  (More on that another time.)  Here are some pics of some of my favourite outdoor features.

Plant me a lemon tree, and I'm yours.

Plant me a lemon tree, and I’m yours.

There can never be too many places to sit.

One can never have too many places to sit.

Herbs planted outside the kitchen.  (I love the rusty look, but does it mean iron fortified herbs?)

Herbs planted outside the kitchen. (I love the rusty look, but does it mean iron-fortified herbs?)

Garden layers.

Garden layers.

Pools don't have to be big.  Less to clean, less to heat.

Pools don’t have to be big. Less to clean, less to heat.

Nicely hiding the pool equipment.

Nicely hiding the pool equipment.

A sunken garden at the "Pagoda".

A sunken garden at the “Pagoda”.

What is it about the shape of that pot that is cool?  I will put my succulent expert (A.K.A. the second little pig) to work.

What is it about the shape of that pot that is cool? I will put my succulent expert (A.K.A. the second little pig) to work.

Display home INspiration

On my recent whirlwind trip to Western Australia to “sort out house stuff” I visited a few of Webb and Brown-Neaves display homes.  I thought that I should see some of building company’s fit-out options in real life to see what I liked.  My theory was that when it is time to select tiles, colours and fittings, I can just say “I like the tiles in the Azumi bathroom”.  I’m not sure that it will all be as simple as that, since display homes are often finished with non-standard (more expensive) fittings.  Never-the-less I took a few pictures.  (Apologies to WBN for my clumsy photography.  If you want the posh version, check out their website.)

A "waterfall" kitchen bench in the "Etesian" kitchen.

A “waterfall” kitchen bench in the “Etesian” kitchen.

I love the white shutters and wood floors in the Etesian display home.

I love the white shutters and wood floors in the Etesian display home.

We have added the "Azumi's" bathroom vanity to our ensuite, in lieu of the slightly dagga standard Rubix vanity.

We have added the “Azumi’s” bathroom vanity to our ensuite, in lieu of the slightly daggy standard Rubix vanity.

I was impressed that I had to check if this was laminate or wood.  It's laminate.  Seen here at the Brindebella display home.

I was impressed that I had to check if this was laminate or wood. It’s laminate. Seen here at the Brindebella display home.

Blanco oven.  One of two ovens that we will have in our home.

Blanco oven. One of two ovens that we will have in our home.

Whirlwind tour of all things house related.

In honour of the first time I’ll actually set foot on our block since it became ours, I’ve had the lawn grass mown.  So far, most of the house building planning has been in cyberspace.  But I have an exciting and busy week or two coming up in real-life Western Australia.

Here’s the plan:

  1. Celebrate purchasing the block properly.
  2. Meet with preferred-builder’s rep, the lovely Rita.   So far Rita has been wading through my lengthy emails trying to make sense of the changes we want to make to the standard house plan with great patience.  She’s also been buttering me up with beautiful pictures and photos of our potential home and plenty of enthusiasm for our vision.
  3. Go like crazy around lots of display homes by our preferred builder and a few others to collect details of finishings, colours, tiles, etc. that I like.  (This is hard to do online.)
  4. Meet with landscape designers.
  5. Get quotes for pools.
  6. Get quotes for air conditioners.
  7. I’m sure there will be a “7”, and possibly 8, 9 & 10.  I’m just not sure what they are yet.

The next report will come to you from blue skies Mandurah, Western Australia.

P.S.  I’ve packed my camera and measuring tape!

Freshly mown block.  Check out the colour of the sky.  They don't make them like that here in South Korea.  Photo courtesy of the lawn mower man!

Freshly mown block. Check out the colour of the sky. They don’t make them like that here in South Korea. Photo courtesy of the lawn mower man!

Inspiration

Igor returned from his trip to Australia yesterday bearing gifts.  Lots of glossy brochures from display homes and a handful of building/decorating/landscaping magazines.  You know what I’ve been doing today.

I now have a large collection of magazines, each one a different publication.  But before this stack started to overtake the lounge room, there I was in South Korea, with newly purchased land burning a hole in my pocket and a local magazine supplier that trebled the price of imported magazines.  I did the only thing I could, I discovered Pinterest.

Pinterest is an online scrapbook.  You can save pictures you like into folders to review later.  It is quite addictive.  Within a week or two of collecting pictures it soon became clear to me the style of home design, inside and out, that I liked.  There was a trend in the colours, materials and shapes that I was collecting.  Aunty Kate tells me that I was creating a “mood board”.

In some ways, I’m getting a little ahead of myself, finding paint colours and lamp shades that I like, but it has been useful to discover modern products looking good that we might otherwise discount.  It is helping to develop an overall picture in our mind of what the end product, our dream home, could look like.

You can see the 5 latest additions to my Pinterest scrapbook in the side bar on the homepage of this blog.  These pictures will be automatically updated as I find new inspiration.  (Aunty Kate, aren’t I clever?)   To see my entire picture collection, you need to visit Pinterest and I warn you, it is a seriously lovely time-waster.  You can find my Pinterest folder by clicking on the “more photos” link underneath the sidebar pictures on the home page or by clicking here.

Screenshot from Pinterest:

My taste - greys, woods, whites and lots of light.

My taste – greys, woods, whites and lots of light.