Weather testing the house.

Floating jetty.

Today we walk up the ramp to stand on our floating jetty.  The neighbours’ fixed jetty (far right) is submerged.

We only just got to the barbecue as it was rolling towards the edge of the open deck, propelled by wind.  The kayaks were about to set sail, unmanned, as the storm surge lapped over the edges of the canal walls.  The pool is being filled, a kind of icky green colour.  The hail has just stopped.  Banging doors kept us awake half the night, but there are no puddles on our floors, nor water stains on our ceilings so I’m pronouncing the weather testing a success.  We are fast approaching the end of our 6 month maintenance period and need to finalise our list of items to be fixed by our builders, Webb and Brown-Neaves, so the timing of the lousy weather is rather good.

Flooded garden

Wading through the bottom level of our canal-side yard. Current landscaping project.

Plus, nothing beats a good storm for providing a legitimate excuse for a day off shovelling, or whatever other landscaping task I should be doing.  Time, instead, to blog.

What’s new?  Shutters!  Actually they’ve been in a few weeks now and I’ve been waiting in the vain hope that one of the Three Little Pigs might have a bedroom tidy enough for a blogworthy photograph.  The bedrooms and library all have shutters and are all rooms that are low priority works-in-progress.  So I’m going with a couple of “keeping it real” photos for you.

Bedroom shutters.

New shutters in sty number 2, on a good day.

Library shutters.

Library shutters. (Disclaimer: the pigs are not usually this perfect.)

The shutters look good from the exterior too, but today is just not the day to prove it to you.

I have a couple of new rugs.  One of the problems I didn’t fully anticipate with our house design is the poor acoustics.  The void space over the living area allows an echo to bounce all over our open living space, not good for conversation once we have a few guests over.   I thought we needed some more soft furnishings to absorb some noise.  Enter rug addition number 1:

Sanna rug, Freedom.

Sanna rug, Freedom.

I didn’t want to spend too much on a rug for the dining room, it’ll probably only last a year or two under our dining table.  I picked a wool blend rug from Freedom, with enough colour in it so that I don’t cry the first time it cops a bowl of spaghetti bolognese.  The weave is thin enough to vacuum the crumbs easily and thick enough to absorb some noise.  I think it has helped and I must say it’s nice under my feet on cold mornings.

Rug addition number two is multi-purpose.

Armadillo and Co rug.

Armadillo and Co. hemp runner.

It is to catch any stray hot embers that fall out of the wood fire when we stoke it, to protect our timber floor.  I needed something that could disguise any soot marks and preferably something with some fire retardancy.  I hoped for wool but couldn’t find anything the right size.  This Armadillo and Co. runner is hemp.  When the fire is not going, the rug doubles as a door mat between our deck and the living room.

There has been a touch of landscaping progress.  I visited the Perth Garden Festival, where there were a couple of inspiring exhibits.  The good bits:

I came home with 21 kangaroo paws in tubes.  21 wheelbarrow loads of dirt and two weeks later the kangaroo paws are all planted and enjoying the rainy weather.kangaroo paws

The professional landscapers have completed their day of work for the month, so I’m guessing I won’t see them again now until June.

Most exciting is that I received a present that my husband gave me for a certain conspicuous birthday.  My big art.  It’s an indigenous dot painting by artist Margaret Lewis Napangardi.  I said “wow” the first time I saw this painting in Japingka Gallery‘s window.  Now it’s in our living room and I love it!

Mina Mina Jukurrpa

Mina Mina Jukurrpa, by Margaret Lewis Napangardi

Mina Mina at House By The Water.

Love it!

 

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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.

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.

Window dressings

Photo source:  Linxspiration.

Photo source: Linxspiration.

I’ve got a feeling this will be round one of several attempts to plan the window dressings.  Already I’ve been thinking about the options for months.  Slowly the picture is becoming clearer.

First, check out this “cool” tool at SunCalc that shows you from which direction the sun will shine on your house at various times of the day and year. Sun calc Cicerellos Mandurah   This example shows the direction of sun at Cicerello’s (fish and chip shop) in Mandurah today.  I used a public address so you can see the full screen and all the options available.

To protect House By The Water’s location, I’ve zoomed in for the next shot.  You can see the angle of the sun from dawn (yellow line) to sunset (redline). Sun exposure at House By The Water.Our main living area (on the canal side of the property) is going to cop the afternoon sun.  In the middle of summer, the sun will set over the water which will probably create a lot of reflection.  The roof of the alfresco area will shade most of the living area, but as the sun gets very low we’ll need window dressings (in addition to external shade). Our living/dining area has a lot of  large windows, including the void space above the living room.

The Rubix has a lot of glass.  Photo from Webb and Brown-Neaves.

The Rubix has a lot of glass. Photo from Webb and Brown-Neaves.

Over the months I’ve played with the idea of curtains versus blinds but my conclusion is that we need blinds.  The curtains can be optional extras added later depending on how the mood of the space evolves, not to mention budget.

I love the clean, minimal look of blinds such as those pictured below.  They allow the view to be the star.

Pictures:  1.  Christopher Rose Architects on Houzz.  2. The Design files.  3. Improvised Life (Original source not found.)  4. Bayden Goddard Design Architects on HomeDSGN.

On the other hand, I love the homeliness and softness of curtains, and in particular, linen.

Pictures: 1. HomeDSGN.  2.  Home Adore.  3.  Vosgesparis.

At the simpler end of the house, lies the children’s bedrooms and the bathrooms.  For these rooms we think plantation shutters will be a great option.  There is no particular view from the front of the house (we think!) and shutters are easily handled by children, control the light well and can add a layer of insulation to the windows.

Photo credit:

Photo: Pinterest  (Original source not found.)

We had shutters previously, all over the house, and loved them:

image10

Old room of the Little Pigs.

And for the master bedroom, we must have some linen curtains, probably with blinds hiding behind them.  I have a serious weakness for linen:

Pictures:  1.  Planete Deco.  2.  Once Wed.  3.  Apartment Therapy.  4.  With thanks to © Lucas Allen.

And of course, the smart option is to shade the windows from the outside.  Trees, I can do.  Blinds and screens? – I haven’t scratched the surface of these options yet, but there are certainly some inspiring alternatives available.   I fear the logistics and the prices at this point.

Pictures:  1.  Luxaflex.  2.  Evelyn Müller.  3.  Desire to Inspire.

So you see, another can of worms is opened.  Later, I’ll try to be more specific.  I thought I’d throw it all out there now because I know my readers always have some suggestions for me.  My Mum has been scaring me with curtain prices and the whole insect screen debacle (which is still in the “too hard” basket) has been a warning to me that balancing sun control, view maintenance, privacy, aesthetics and budget is not going to be easy.