Old furniture meets new house.

Open living area.

Smitten with our House By The Water.

Our boxes and furniture arrived.  The kitchen boxes took me a full weekend to unpack and I’ve declared a ban on any further kitchenware purchases.  Our plentiful kitchen storage is full.

Kitchen bench, caesarstone.

Alpine Mist Caesarstone and the splash back tile dilemma, well and truly resolved.  Pot stand made by my Nan.

This 3 day weekend, my mission is to clear the house of all the other boxes.  I’m spurred on by a special request from a South African reader for photos of our void area and by the impending arrival of an important guest, Aunty Kate.

Our living room (with void) is furnished temporarily with old furniture:

Living area void.

View of our living area from the second floor.

Living area.

I have big plans for this living area, but I have to be patient.  In the end, practicality won over lust and I’ve ordered this sofa:

Lazio Daybed.

Lazio Daybed by Weylandts.

The sofa is coming from South Africa and is due to arrive in May.  I’m taking that to mean July, because everything seems to arrive later than advertised.  (Hello?  Bed I ordered in December.  Shutters I ordered in October.  Are you there?)  When the sofa arrives, I shall borrow some rug samples from Frisky Deer and will select a rug to complement the new sofa and the “I.O.U. artwork” that is yet to be purchased following a conspicuous birthday a certain time ago.

I’m only half way through my box emptying spree, but I feel like showing off our living area.  I’ve earned a short break…

Open living area.

Open living area.

Through the chaos of the week, I’ve enjoyed finding little spots that give me pleasure.  Honestly, everything looks better with timber floors:

And finally, a preview of our powder room:

Clamshell Caesarstone.

The arty-farty version. Clamshell Caesarstone.

Powder room.

The real version.

Would you let your husband choose tiles? Alone?

Note from wife sign.

Photo source: unknown.

Up until this week The Nice Wolf (a.k.a. husband) has been too busy to get involved in the minor details of House By The Water.  He’s left all the interior decisions to me and many of the other decisions too.  An ideal situation, as far as I’m concerned.  Well, The Nice Wolf is now on holidays and has been busying himself with thoughts of reticulation, hanging cray pots from the ceiling, cobblestones and many other future DIY projects.  He’s been popping past House By The Water to act as liaison between myself and our landscapers and to submit a daily report on the head count of tradespeople on site.

And yes, he had to bring a note from his wife in order to make a tile selection.

Pool tiles.

Pool tile samples were duly brought home for my approval.

More about that head count.  It has been exceptionally high this week.  Webb and Brown-Neaves and related contractors have been pulling out all stops in order to get the keys to us next week.  On top of that, our landscapers, Tim Davies Landscaping, have started work.

Here is just some of what has been happening:

The lights were installed:

The painters have been inside and Kitty Grey is looking very pretty:

The tiling and stonework is just about finished:

The robes were installed:

Sinks, tapware, shower screens and mirrors (not shown) were installed:

Work on the deck began:

Jarrah decking.

Deck in progress.

Behind the scenes we’ve been booking in the wood fire and floor installers, connecting the internet and phone and ordering the council-supplied bins.  In a very pleasant twist of events, we received a variation notice from the builders giving us an $11.5K credit for site works.  Yep, you read it correctly.  Credit.  Yippee!   (Skipping all the way to the cobblestone shop….)

Looks like I’d better start chilling that wine.

…She’s making a list, checking it twice…

Kitchen splash back.It seems to be the done thing to start writing lists at this stage of the build.  I’ve been postponing my list writing for fear of what I might find.  But here it is, out in the open, for all of you to tut about how it’s not possible to do all those things in just two weeks, before the builders shut down for a long break.

To do:

  1. Finish interior tiles: powder room, splash back, laundry chute/bath surround.
  2. Exterior texture (nearly finished).
  3. Stacked stone feature (started).
  4. Render, waterproof, texture planter boxes and retaining walls (started).
  5. Paint walls (started).
  6. Install balustrade.
  7. Plumbing finals, installation sinks, taps, toilets.
  8. Electrical finals, install light fittings (started).
  9. Phone/future link finals.
  10. Shower screens and mirrors.
  11. Robes (started).
  12. Door hardware.
  13. Manhole.
  14. Stacker doors, front door.
  15. Flyscreens.
  16. Garage door.
  17. Install appliances (started).
  18. Insulation.
  19. House clean.

I started the list last weekend, and although it seems like there has been plenty of activity at House By The Water, the list looks fairly unscathed.

As I am a “glass half full” kind of person, here is my list of items that were completed this week.

Completed:

  • Balustrade measured up and a new balustrade finish negotiated to avoid availability of product delays.
  • Splash back tiled and grouted.  Looking very lovely, if I do say so.

    Scullery tile and bench

    Masia Gris Claro tile and Alpine Mist Caesarstone.

  • Bathroom and ensuite tiles grouted.
  • Powder room floor problem # 4 (some tiles in the series darker than the rest) resolved by creating a new pattern.

    Powder room tiles.

    Powder room tiles.

  • Robe areas painted.

    Solver Kitty Grey. Purrfect.

    Solver Kitty Grey. Purrfect.

  • Stacker doors installed.
  • Appliances, sinks and toilets delivered.  Ovens installed.
  • Downlights, some pendant lights, smoke alarms and power outlets fitted.

    Vintage LED pendant.

    One of the void pendants. Cray pot to be added later.

  • Robes started.
  • Stacked stone progressed.
  • Front door delivered.

All considered, I’m pronouncing it a good, productive week at House By The Water.  Stay tuned for the big week of painting ahead.

 

Bench tops and tiles.

Alpine Mist Caesarstone.

Kitchen island in Alpine Mist and orange plastic.

The good news is that House By The Water is starting to come together.  The bad news is that the photos are lousy.  Dodgy, locked-out, bad angles, reflection-on-the-windows, ground-floor-only kind of photos.  I’m going to show you any way.

Last week the painters made the ceilings, doors and door frames white.

Then the tilers got busy in the bathrooms and the laundry.  I caught them on the job one morning:

Since then, the wall tiles in both bathrooms have also been laid.

The laundry tiles are almost complete.  There is just a small section under the cabinets left to tile.  This is going to be the hiding spot for our robotic vacuum.

Laundry tiles.

Keeping the laundry basic.

My powder room floor tile choice is proving to be more than just a puzzle:

Powder room mat effect tile.

Puzzling powder room tile.

The tiles come in a series of 6 different tiles.  When they are pieced together they create a rug effect.  We planned to use just three in the series since our powder room is fairly small.  All nice in theory.  Problem 1:  wrong tiles delivered.  Problem 2: replacement tiles still wrong.  Problem 3:  calculation of powder room floor space did not include extra width at the door openings, therefore 4 tiles in the series are actually required.  Problem 4: the second tile in the series is darker than the 1st and 3rd tiles making it look all wrong.  Gotta feeling the tiler isn’t going to love this tile.  I just hope I still do once all the problems are resolved.

The renderers covered some of the planter boxes beside the canal:

Planter boxes.

Planter boxes rendering in progress.

And, most exciting of all, the Caesarstone went in today.  Most of it is covered in protective plastic, but I managed to get a close up of the Alpine Mist bench top in our scullery through the scullery window.

Kitchen bench.

My kitchen bench. House priority #1.

Alpine Mist Caesarstone.

Alpine Mist Caesarstone

Behind the scenes, the landscaping ball is rolling again.  I’m selecting tiles for around the pool for the third time.   The first tiles were discontinued, then the second.  There’s a chance we will have some decking before handover of our house which is a thrilling prospect.  You all know that it’s the glass of wine on the deck that I’ve been dreaming about for the last 3 years.

Our dishwasher is purchased and is awaiting fitting.  We bought the integrated model of Fisher and Paykel’s double dish drawer.  This means that the dish washer will be disguised as a kitchen cabinet.  Very swish!  We’ve had Fisher and Paykel dish drawers in several houses over the past 15 years and I give them two thumbs up.

It’s almost time to start making some lists.  It’s not long now before Webb and Brown-Neaves’ work is done and ours is just beginning.

Little discoveries from my W.A. visit.

Cocoflip replica

Replicas galore.

1.  I’m so glad I checked out the “Cocoflip” pendant replicas. At $300 (versus $1500 for the real thing) – I had to consider them.  They looked great from 2 metres away, but then as I got close I noticed that there was no join between the “ash” top and the “aluminium” bottom.  So I reached out to see how it was done and realised that the whole thing was painted tin.  If I’d been fooled online and had the replicas delivered I would have been so disappointed.

2.  A sad moment at Myaree Ceramics…. the oil-blue tiles that I had coveted to replace our discontinued splash back tile, have also been discontinued.  No time for crying.  There were a number of good options that were close to my original grey subway tile selection.

How about that white “painted brick” tile (bottom right)?  Very clever.  Possibly not in keeping with House By The Water’s style.  Here’s my selection:

Splash back tile.

Masia gris claro tile. $96/m2

I’m going to have it laid vertically for a modern touch.

Next, I needed to reselect floor tiles for the laundry and powder room.  The laundry was easy.  I’m keeping it simple.  A matt grey tile.  The powder room, however, is a little room where it may not cost much to experiment with something a bit “out there”.

Powder room mood board.

This floor tile is a bit unusual so I made a mood board to help the Nice Wolf visualise how it might look.

Here the Caesarstone bench top in clamshell and the floor tile seem to clash but in reality they looked good together.  The tiles actually come in 4 different prints (of which we’d use 3) so the tiler will have to puzzle it together.  Hmmmm?  That could be unpopular.  I’m waiting for the costs of laying this tile to be confirmed before I commit.

3.  Next stop, a meeting with the owner of “Well Built Landscape Construction” (WBLC) to discuss our front yard plans.  I give Nick 10 out of 10 for keeping his overheads low, with our meeting taking place in McDonalds!  WBLC gave me the best quote for a cobblestone driveway and have produced some stylish home landscaping.  We discussed the driveway and our front fence and gate.  I begged him to help me decide whether to go with vertical wood or steel infills and render for the front fence.  He would have humoured me with either option, but my sensibilities and his have pushed me towards steel infills.   WBLC will provide a quote to kick-start our front yard, leaving the garden preparation for us to do at our leisure.

4.    At Nick’s suggestion, I went to Water Garden Warehouse to study steel infills for our front fence.  They supply my favourite steel infill pattern – the “wattle”.

Available from Water Garden Warehouse.

Available from Water Garden Warehouse.

I photographed steel art featuring this pattern a year ago at Home Base because I loved it.  It’s still my favourite.

We need to choose a finish.  Powder coated is smart (no rust stains dripping down the rendered wall), but the rusty steel and Corten options have a more organic look.

Work in progress - but you get the idea.

Front yard mood board.  Work in progress – but you get the idea.

5.  And just because it’s right next door to Water Garden Warehouse, I had a browse in Eco Outdoor.  Our cobblestones will come from here and I always love their outdoor furniture, though it’s usually over-priced.  Currently they have a sale on so their outdoor sofas are closer to the realms of possibility.  It’s a good place for alfresco inspiration.  They have some tempting heavy linens for making cushions and a great vertical garden.

Vertical garden

The wooden frame hides typically ugly vertical garden infrastructure.

6.  I popped into to say hi to my “Construction Liaison” at Webb and Brown-Neaves’ office.  It’s always nice to put a face to a name.  Emma took the time to explain to me a proposed change to the width of our “gutter fascia” that despite my best attempts to understand, by studying the drawings, I still could not fathom.  I have been assured that the change is purely cosmetic.

So that’s it.  All else for the remainder of our house construction must be done remotely.  The next time I visit Western Australia will be for the “practical completion inspection”.  But you know, I’ll be hovering around in the mean time, one way or another!

 

Flying visit to Western Australia

Oil blue tile.

Latest kitchen mood board featuring oil blue tiles.  Fingers crossed that Myaree Ceramics still have these in stock.

I have 3.2 days in Western Australia next week, with the First Little Pig as my sidekick.  Readers who have patiently followed me since last January will know that I can do a lot in 3.2 days.  It’s all in the planning.

  1. Go straight to block.  Gaze and enjoy the moment!
  2. Go to block again.  Get serious with camera, measuring tape and chalk.
  3. Enjoy socialising with old friends.
  4. Meet our site supervisor on site.
  5. Reselect tiles for our splash back, laundry floor and powder room floor.
  6. Meet with landscaper to discuss driveway, front fence and plans for the front yard.
  7. Hit the shops.

W.A. shopping hit list:

Essential shops:

Design Farm – are the W.A. suppliers of these beauties:

Picture:  Coco and coco-mini pendants by Cocoflip.

Picture: Coco and coco-mini pendants by Cocoflip.

Boardwalk lighting‘s – online gallery shows Coco pendant look-alikes.  Depending on my splash back choice I may want 3 of these pendants, so I might have to resort to replicas…

“If I have time” shops:

District (formerly Table and Chair) – Rumour has it they are the W.A. dealers for Jardan furniture.  I’d like to check out their sofas.  Subiaco.

Remedy – Armadillo rugs, Eucalypt Homewares and other nice things.  Fremantle.

Japingka Gallery – Aboriginal art.  Fremantle.

Perhaps locals have a few secret spots to suggest…  I’m sure I’ve still got 0.2 of a day to spare.

Front fence

And because there is always some home dilemma going on in my brain that I like to share, here’s my latest front fence short list:

Option A:  Upright railway sleepers or other hardwood a bit like some of these:

Pictures:  1.  Living Style Landscapes.  2.  Inspired to Give (unverified) via Pinterest.  3.  Arch Daily.

  • Pros – Coastal look.
  • Cons – Could be tricky to install, might not age gracefully, might not work with an automated gate, nor a front yard that requires a small amount of retaining.

Option B:  Rendered fence with decorative steel panels:

Pictures:  1.  Tim Davies Landscaping (unverified) via Pinterest.  2.  PLR design.

  • Pros:  Should last.  Looks great.
  • Cons:  Could get pricey.

Help me decide before Monday!

 

 

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?