Never without a hitch. 

Good news first.

Doesn’t our kitchen look swish?


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.


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?


There’s a spot for a fireplace in our living room.  The living room has a double height void so the fireplace could be quite a feature.  The builders want to know how big a space to leave for the fireplace so I’ve been investigating our options.  As always, narrowing my favourite pictures down to a top 5, seems to help me define what I like:

A very simple fireplace allows the exposed brick wall to feature.

A very simple fireplace is all that is required beside those beautiful stone walls.  Source:  Maisons Cote Sud via Linen and Lavender.

Modern linear, no mantle.

Modern, linear.  A sill replaces the traditional mantel.  Source: Architectural Digest.

A stainless steel fire surround and a beautiful old beam mantle dress up this fireplace.

A stainless steel fire surround and a beautiful old beam mantle dress up this fireplace.  Source: Casa Sugar.

I love the whole room.  Mind you, I probably won't get magazine quotes written on the wall.

I love this whole room. Mind you, I probably won’t have self quotes written on the wall.  Source:  Canadian House & Home, via La Dolce Vita.

A feature colour for the surround and matching cat.  (They can keep the antlers.)    More lovely beams...

A feature colour for the surround and matching cat.  Source:  The Style Files.

Here’s the living room design for our house plan:

Webb and Brown-Neaves' "Rubix" living room.

Webb and Brown-Neaves‘ “Rubix” living room.

Open wood fires are beautiful, but the reality is that we are going to be living in suburbia.  No fallen old trees.  Neighbours in sniffing distance.  Lazy homeowner who will happily flick on a switch for heat but will rarely set a wood fire and clean up after it.

So here are the options:

1.)  Stick with an open wood fire.  Place a couple of logs in there for looks and light it only a couple of times per year.  (I’m not sure of the costs associated with this option yet.  Any guesses?)

2.) Install a wood-look, gas fuelled fireplace with glass front.  ($5-10K.)

We’d seen some nice fireplaces of this kind (not too fake looking) by French company, Chazelles, so I went to visit the sole Western Australian supplier of this brand.  The friendly, bearded fellow from the hills was not that keen on Chazelles, nor Heatmaster, but directed me to an American brand, Lopi.  Like most of the gas fireplaces, you can mix and match your choice of fire surround, fire “material” and fireplace insert, to achieve a look you like.   The Lopi gas fireplaces range from $6.5 to $8.5K.   There are a couple of options that you can retrofit to an existing fireplace, but the install-as-you-build fireplaces look best.

For that price, we want to make the right decision, so I’m asking for advice.  The fire will not be our only source of heat, so we don’t need to be too worried about the ability of the fireplace to heat a certain volume.  However, when we’ve got the fire on, it should be able to heat our large open living room area.  We want it to look nice and be trouble free.

I asked around on the HomeOne Forum and a couple of people recommended Jetmaster.      These heaters would be in the same price range as the Lopi heaters.

HeatnGlo fireplace.

Jetmaster Universal 850 fireplace.  (Open gas?)

Jetmaster's HeatnGlo

Jetmaster‘s Heat & Glo 6000 (“Balanced flue,” whatever that might mean.)

Do you have a fireplace you love?  Have you had a dud?  All comments welcome.

Edit:  Two weeks later.

We’ve made a decision with our hearts! We are going for a wood fuelled fire. We’ve selected a British brand, Stovax, It has a door and we are going to install it with a fan.

Stovax wood fire.  Source:  Castworks.

Stovax wood fire. Source: Castworks.

  • Fire: $5069
  • Fan kit: $ 742
  • Flu kit (4 metres, air cooled): $435

The quote came from a man called Mr Stokes. Now that is dedication!