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?
Gallery

Checking the final plans.

Justine Hugh-Jones did not forget to design in some leg room.

Justine Hugh-Jones did not forget the leg room.

With the finish line in sight, it’s tempting to sprint.  Our final plans, variations and addenda arrived last week.  Signing off on these is our last task before our house construction begins.  We are so close to moving from paperwork to real-live tradespeople, concrete and bricks on our block.

I spent a couple of hours reviewing the 56 pages of plans and addenda and found a few minor errors.  An incorrectly located outdoor shower was the most significant mistake.  Nothing major, but still enough to need a fresh copy of most of the paperwork.  The corrected documents were back the next day.  I was just about ready to return the signed forms when I happened upon a photo of the Rubix kitchen, prompting a small voice in my head:  “Check the kitchen bench again.”  We altered the original kitchen island design to accommodate 5 pairs of legs sitting on stools.  As a result, we ended up with a waterfall-edged bench and lost a couple of small cabinets.  Somehow along the way the cabinets snuck back in and our bench top overhang disappeared.  Note to self: Check and check again.  I am the Chief in Charge of Checking in our family, which is all very well, but you know who’s going to be blamed if something is not right.  It is an understatement to say that I would kick myself if we were to have a huge, stunning kitchen island and 5 beautiful wooden tractor stools, and were unable to sit at the bench.

On other matters this week, the outdoor tiles we had selected to surround our pool have been discontinued.  We’ve had to pick a comparable replacement.  How do you like these porcelain beauties?

"Block" porcelain tiles by Marazzi.

“Block” porcelain tiles by Marazzi.

Before you start to worry, the slip rating is suitable for outside.

I’ve also been thinking about the front yard again.  We wanted to lock in the cobblestone driveway by paying a deposit, but as usual that triggered a chain of connected questions.  The cobblestone driveway guy might need to know that we want a motorised gate across the driveway.  Does a motorised gate need a track?  What kind of gate do we want? And what about doing the front fence, driveway and gate altogether?  Blah!  I guess that will be next week’s research.

Not wood.  Plain and simple, for showing off the garden.  Photo from: Factory Direct Fencing.

Can’t see any “track” here.  Source: Factory Direct Fencing.

Does anyone have a motorised gate?  Did you retrofit it?  Can I forget about this until later?  Please?

For the love of a cobblestone driveway.

Cobblestone driveway by William Dangar on Flickr.

Cobblestone driveway by William Dangar on Flickr.

Pavers are fine, but cobblestones are special!  They remind me of some of the beautiful old cities that I’ve visited around the world.  We asked our builders to change the standard driveway pavers to cobblestones.  They said “No problem.  That’ll be $70K.”  Undeterred and encouraged by my blog readers I asked for some independent quotes.  Happily, we now have a quote for $25K and are waiting for some more quotes.  Still rather extravagant for a driveway but, as you will have gathered by now, sometimes we are suckers for something beautiful.  Our builders will credit us about $5000 for the driveway pavers that were included in our contract.

One decision always seems to lead to another with building plans, so now that we are mentally committed to the cobblestone driveway we’ve realised we need to consider the track across the driveway that will host the automatic/motorised gate.  That means we need to think about the front fence again.  I’m going in circles!

We are still being drip fed variation costs.  The latest being $2300 for dropped footings to the dining room and alfresco walls, over which our deck will be laid.  We are still missing an actual sum (as opposed to a provisional sum) for the earth works.  Despite this we have received our final variation cost sheets for signing.  For the next day or two I will be triple checking all the documents but I think our pre start consultant has it under control.  The messiest item to check is the electricals and lighting.  The provision of lights comes from one company, the smart wiring from another, and the installation is by the builder.  Some of the lights, electricals and installations are included, others are not.  During a quick scan, I spotted the words “oyster lights”, so I’m suspicious that I’m going to find some mistakes in there.

Enough chatter.  Can you tell that I’m avoiding checking those documents one last time?