Jetty Christmas!

Santa on the canals.

Santa delivers lollies on Christmas Eve.

In the scheme of things, I thought that a jetty was low priority.  After all, we don’t actually have a boat.  But The Nice Wolf had other ideas and last week the Jetty Man motored up to House By The Water, drilled in a couple of poles and attached a brand new jetty.  Just like that!

The Three Little Pigs watched the jetty poles go in.

The Three Little Pigs watched the jetty poles go in.  Jetty by West Coast Jetties.

The Nice Wolf paid attention to the functionality of our jetty design, I oversaw the aesthetics and I am rather pleased with the result.  An unexpected bonus of the jetty is that it visually extends our “back yard”.  Suddenly our canal side area seems so much larger.  The jetty has been well used already:  breakfast while dangling feet over the water and many boating guests, including Santa, a previously anonymous blog reader and some new neighbours who welcomed us with a gift of champagne!  Plus, there has been plenty of shenanigans on our kayaks and the Three Little Pigs’ Christmas gift, a blow up paddle board/windsurfer.

Another highlight of the week was the installation of our cray pot pendants.    They are not quite finished yet, but already I love them, especially at night.

Christmas baking provided a good test for our ovens and kitchen space.  Pavlova?  Check!  3.5 kg salmon?  Check!  2 adults cooking at once?  No problem.

Kitchen

Kitchen in use.

Kitchen crowd.

Boxing Day kitchen crowd.

Guess The Handover Date Competition.

Congratulations to John!  John guessed December 24th would be the day we received keys to House By The Water, 6 days later than our actual handover day.  A good bottle of West Australian bubbly is  available for collection or delivery.  Thanks to all blog readers who joined in with this competition.

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.

Scaffolding, be gone!

Can’t talk.  Gotta clean.

A couple of photos to tide you over:

Front facade.

I’m so pleased to see the scaffolding gone so the plastering and rendering can progress.  The house looks a bit washed out of colour – I think that’ll change with the stack-stone feature column and landscaping.

Side view house progress.

Side view. A bit of scaffolding left for the last little piece of roof to go on.

Australia, see you in 3 days!  Prepare for photo overload.

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.

The Best Places to shop in Western Australia

This post is to make my husband’s life easier.  With a birthday coming up and an I.O.U. or two in my favour, not to mention that “C” word that I dare not think about yet,  I’m certain he’ll appreciate this list of the best places to shop for me in Western Australia.

It has been 10 years since we lived in Western Australia, so I asked my favourite local Instagrammers and Home Bloggers to help me out.

1.

Jane is an Interior Stylist at Spacecrush and has impeccable taste.  I really connect with her style and hang on her every published word.  She has the knack for Instagram vignettes that regularly have me drooling at the colours and textures.   Jane said that asking her to recommend just one place to shop was like asking her to pick a favourite child!  (Sorry Jane, I only allowed you one.  I don’t want to confuse The Nice Wolf.)  Jane recommends:

Design farm

Design Farm show room.

Design Farm showroom in Perth.  Source: @ledgelovespace on Instagram.

“For the best in Australian and European design, I can’t go past Design Farm. I love how all-Australian designed and manufactured ranges such as Adam Goodrum, Coco-Flip, Tait furniture and our home-grown WA favourite, Nathan Day Design, blend seamlessly with Danish icons such as Hans Wegner, Hay and Gubi. I love every visit to this beautiful showroom.”

2.

Trixee is building a solar-passive house and blogs at Ecohome Style.  Trixee has the auspicious title of top commenter on House By The Water so I think she “gets me” by now.  Trixee is equally stylish and practical.  But, like me, she just can’t resist an occasional splurge on something that’s just beautiful.  Trixee recommends:

Baker and Shuhandler

Baker and Shuhandler is my eye candy for the soul. If you want luxe furniture, this is the place for that one-off piece. They also have a good selection of homewares.”

3.

Deb is currently “living the dream” with her beautiful new house finished, the garden in and the pool running!   Deb blogs at Deb’s Dream Home.  Amongst other things, we share taste in indigenous art and garden landscaping.  Deb has kindly passed on a lot of home building information to me – curtains, landscaping, nurseries, art.  Deb’s latest Perth homewares discovery is:

The Furniture Gallery.

“I found The Furniture Gallery that I think will be right up your alley  – I was tempted!”

A quick look at some of their lounge and bed options on their website and I think Deb might be right.

4.

Lady Jo runs The Little Farmhouse Pantry in addition to a hectic family life on the farm including renovations.  She’s a savvy lady whose sense of humour and humility I adore.  Check out her quotes on Instagram and beautiful photos of good country food.  Some people dream of fancy cars, others, fancy houses.  Lady Jo dreams of a kitchen with an Aga.  She is definitely a gal who appreciates beautiful things with a history and suggested:

Matilda’s Antiques

Antique sewing machine.

Source: Matilda’s Antiques in North Fremantle.

5.

Sarah is building a home right in front of the ocean (sigh).  We play snap with our Pinterest collection.  I pin, she repins.  She pins, I repin.  That girl has awesome taste!  You can catch a glimpse of Sarah’s build in progress at All About Sarah on Instagram.  Sarah likes:

Empire Homewares

“So Empire would have to be number one – it has been around forever but is constantly keeping up with beautiful coastal trends without being “too cool” – plus they stock the entire Armadillo and Co. range!”

6.

Gino and Marie are owner-builders and are definitely up to the exciting part of a build, the interior fittings.  They blog at Brick By Brick, but I suspect they’ve been a little busy of late – so you’ll find their latest progress updates on their Brick By Brick facebook page.  Timber floors, void spaces, a fire place, interesting tiles – their new house is already beautiful!   Gino is also the General Manager at Home Base, so I suspect he knows a thing or two when it comes to local suppliers.  One of Gino and Marie’s favourites is:

Orno Interiors

“Rose and Gabrielle are delightful and we love their collection of beautiful homewares, especially their custom designed furniture pieces. We’ve bought a few things there for our home, but our most important house purchase to date has been an exquisite, hand-crafted jarrah table with aged brass inlays. At 3.4 metres long and 1 metre wide, it’s been created by the duo’s Husband and Dad, using 100 plus year old jarrah wood – and is one of our home’s feature pieces.”

7.

Dee has a beautiful, modern Australian home and an eye for gorgeous homewares that I’ve been stalking on Instagram for quite some time.  She’s generously answered my questions about her floors, paint and plants.  Well next time I have a question, I’m going to pop right into her brand new shop  “Frisky Deer Interiors + Cafe” in Mandurah and ask her myself, over a cup of tea.  I decided not to put Dee in the awkward position of choosing a favourite shop.  I felt sure it would be her very own homewares shop:

Frisky Deer Interiors + Cafe

Frisky Deer Interiors

Source: Frisky Deer Interiors + Cafe

How easy is this one, The Nice Wolf?  You don’t even need to leave town to get me a little something here. Might even be good for some birthday cake??

8.

Latisha is the brains and talent behind Little Petals Floral Design.  Normally I wouldn’t linger over photos of flowers for too long, but Latisha has me completely sucked in.  Latisha suggested a local homewares store, but added the proviso that she still “lives at home” so wasn’t really homewares savvy.  So I’ve taken the liberty of making a recommendation on Latisha’s behalf:

Gilberts

Latisha sells her stunning flowers at Gilbert’s Fresh Markets  in Mandurah (and now at Frisky Deer too) for prices the average Jo can afford.

9.

Maya, a.k.a. House Nerd, needs no introduction on this blog.  She’s got all Perth and Fremantle’s little homewares secrets covered.  But Maya can’t resist telling a good story, so it’s only a matter of time before the “secrets” are shared.  I knew I could rely on her for a shopping tip or two.  Maya loves:

Shedwallah

“Shedwallah in Fremantle is a beautiful warehouse filled with exotic and colourful offerings like beautiful Indian bedlinens, vintage gates, furniture and old Indian cooking pots (perfect for fire pits – I gave Mr Nerd one as a birthday gift). It’s the perfect place for adding a bit of texture or pattern to an interior design scheme.” 

10.

Tonia has her finger in many Margaret River pies.  Styling, events, branding, wine!  You can take a sneak peek of her work and her unique home at Foraging By the Sea on Instagram.  I particularly like Tonia’s style for its homeliness and realism.  She doesn’t fall for the latest trends.  One of Tonia’s favourite little shops to browse is:

Remedy

Remedy is one of those understated shops that is an institution whilst always inspiring with bright and beautiful window displays, local artisan products, fair trade items and a selection of special things from wooden crafted toys for the wee ones to stunning made-to-order Armadillo & Co. rugs!  The ethos of the store is created by the warm and funny Melanie Clark and her partner Joe Ottone. Everything they do, like them, is genuine and authentic.  With stores in both Leederville & Fremantle you will be surrounded by village strip shopping with easy parking and brilliant coffee, my idea of an outing!”

Nice Wolf, no need to thank me.  xxx

 

Building progress: photo frenzy.

The first thing I do every morning is check my inbox for photos of House By The Water.  You never know when one of my Mandurah friends might have been in the area and thought to take a photo or when our builders decide it’s time to show off some work.  This week I cracked the photo jackpot.  My blogging friend, Trixee, was in Mandurah.  Trixee is building a solar passive home in Perth and knows what a girl wants when it comes to building photos.  No detail is too big or small to snap.  Aside from evidence of building progress and quality, the photos serve as a record of the location of pipes, wires, holes, etcetera.  As if Trixee’s photos weren’t exciting enough, our site supervisor sent photos of windows!   WINDOWS!

Here’s an abbreviated collection of the photos:

OutsideUpstairs render and windows.

The top floor render is completed and is drying out before being sealed, “textured” and painted.

Upstairs windows

Bedroom windows.

The window frames (in “white lustre”) should blend in with the walls once the render is painted.  Some top floor windows are yet to be measured up on site.  Coming soon!

Upstairs:

Upstairs living.

Left to right: linen closet, stairs (scaffold covered), master bedroom (in distance), living area.

Upstairs the rendering is complete, the ceilings and cornices are in.   Ready for sanding the ceilings and white-setting the walls.

Garage

The garage that will be filled to the brim before long.  Entry directly into the hallway, handy, should we ever be able to fit a grocery laden car into our garage.  (Note: photo featuring discarded tradie clothing.  I think Trixee wanted to add this to her rather impressive “What the tradies leave behind” photo collection.)

Hallway

Entrance

Entrance and hallway.

Looking rather dark, but not for long.  Scaffolding currently covers the entrance void space and light grey walls will make all the difference.  The library opening is to the left.

Bedroom for the littlest pig.

Kid's bedroom.

Future sty.

Scullery

Scullery.

Scullery. My mess hiding indulgence. Home to sinks, dishwasher, fridge, microwave, pantry and more.

Laundry

Laundry chute.

Featuring the laundry chute.

And the best for last,

Open living area.

Kitchen

From the dining room, looking into the kitchen. Scullery at right rear, “cellar” through the door.

Open living area.

From the dining room, looking across the kitchen to the living area on the left (still housing a lot of scaffold to cover the void).

To top it all off, Nearmap published another aerial view of our property – the first time they’ve flown over since December.  There’s not much to see now that there is a gigantic roof on top, but you can see the difference in style of our house compared to a typical house in our area.  I hope the neighbours are not cringing!

Aerial timeline:

Aerial view - canal side.

Canal side view. Work in progress.

 

Post handover plan.

In theory, the keys to House By The Water should be ours in 6 months from now.  Somehow it still seems like a lifetime away, but I’m daring to start thinking about the post handover plan.

There’s an enormous amount to be done, so I put it all on a spread sheet and prioritised each task into high/medium/low categories.

Post handover plan - missing some pieces.

Post handover plan – work in progress.

The critical items are installing timber floors throughout the house and window dressings for the bedrooms.  These need to be done before we move in.  The driveway is also high on the list – we don’t want to be walking sand on beautiful new floors.  We took the driveway out of our builder’s scope of work.  We want cobblestones and their quote was ridiculously out of line with any other quote.

So herein lies a logistical nightmare!  Our best flooring quote comes from a company that says our floors could take up to 5 weeks to install!  We do have 300 square metres of floor to cover, including a set of stairs, but this is not what I expected.

You can see I have a few gaps in the table.  I’m looking for recommended local contractors to quote on:

  • laying a cobblestone driveway with a concrete base
  • constructing a rendered brick front fence with steel insets
  • installing an automated driveway gate  (preferably these 3 items would be done by the same contractor)

I’d really like to know:

  1. What was your order of works post-handover?
  2. Which post-handover tasks could be done in unison?  i.e. multiple trades on site.
  3. How long did you take between handover and moving in?
  4. Any other tips for running a tight post-handover ship?

I want to get this plan right.  The race to Christmas will be on for the construction industry, and the longer we take the longer I’m going to be sleeping in the caravan in our front yard.

Perhaps if I get a few film cameras involved,  in “The Block” style, we can get the whole lot done in a week!

These pictures are from my favourite house on The Block this season.  Josh and Charlotte share my love for timber floors and white shutters.  (Photo source:  Domain.) House By The Water will be the third house we’ve lived in with this simple winning combination.