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.