…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.

 

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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.

Mixed indoor plants

Feeling green: indoor plants.

It is with some disappointment that I’m writing about indoor plants today.  Surely, 23 months after signing our building contract, 14 months after site works started and 11 months after slab down, I should be writing about progress with the house.  According to the original schedule, which I did promise to take with a grain of salt, we should be doing the pre-handover inspection this week.  Here is how House By The Water looked on the weekend:

House facade with sealed render.

So far from completion…Waiting for textured render and windows (at rear).

Webb and Brown-Neaves, our builders, are 5 months off schedule!  I’ve been reassured that some time can be made up and I believe it, so I was very disappointed to learn that nothing has been done for a week.

I’m feeling rather blue about this.

My expiry date in Brazil does not change so this week I’ve been growing piles around the home in preparation for packing.  I’ve been working on our air shipment pile.  It includes a few special things I’ve been saving for the new house.  I’ve also been recording the dimensions of some of our furniture, so that we can work out where it will all go in advance of its arrival in Australia.  And, for pure pleasure, I’ve  drawn up the plan for “what will go where” in the new kitchen.  (Thanks for the idea, Lunar at Majestic 40 at Gardener’s Ridge.)

And to change my mood from blue to green, I’ve been dreaming about indoor plants.

My Top 5 Indoor Plants

Olive

Potted olive tree.

I just can’t go past the silvery colour of olive tree foliage. Source: House to Home.

Orchid

Orchids in bathroom.

Potted orchids last so much longer than a vase of cut flowers. Source: Inside Out.

Maiden hair fern

Maiden hair fern.

Pretty and delicate. Source: Design Sponge.

Herbs

Basil, coriander, parsley, etc. I use herbs so much that the real supply will be in the veggie patch. A pot or two in the scullery will mostly be aesthetic. Source: Divine Caroline.

Basil, coriander, parsley, etc. I use herbs so much that the real supply will be in the veggie patch. A pot or two in the scullery will mostly be aesthetic. Source: Divine Caroline.

Weeping fig.

No, I didn’t miss the memo that it’s fiddle-leaf figs that are all the rage.  I do like figs.  In fact, I was once broken hearted by a fig that had to be cut down.  I’ve had these weeping figs in pots before.  I like their pretty leaf and they are resilient.  Fiddle leaf figs are pretty cool too, but maybe a bit too cool.  I’m quite sure that they are growing like weeds on every roadside around here in Brazil.  Readers, don’t let your fiddles out of their pots – they grow big and only look so-so when they have free range.  Your neighbours might get grumpy.

By the time we move into House By The Water (zzzzz…..) we’ll have missed the outdoor planting season, so I’ll be keen for a bit of indoor green.  I might even splash out for a largish potted tree in our living area, where it can give us a give us some afternoon shade until I sort out a more permanent window treatment solution.  Dare I say it can double as our, ahem, tree that is decorated at a certain time of year.  I think a nice olive tree might be perfect.

Potted olive tree.

An olive tree. Peace. Source: Brown Design Inc.  (Feature photo at top:  The Guardian.)

 

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.

 

Counselling for building customers.

House building packages should come with counselling.  You know, the “Build Well value pack”.  It includes internal painting, floors, air conditioning and 4 sessions with a qualified psychologist.

Sunday night, I was a little bit grumpy.  The cause?  The weather App on my phone.

Mandurah weather report.

Outlook is blah!

I had visions of the tradies staying at home all week, Ugg boots on, watching reruns of “Real Tradies of Melbourne”.

Tradies health video link

Special program for Tradies National Health Month.

Fortunately, I woke the next morning to fresh photos of work at House By The Water and a plan for the week that didn’t revolve around weather.   So I’ve postponed my session on the therapy couch for another time.

The renderers managed to get some external render done before the rain:

The ceiling fixers put up the ceiling on the top floor:

Alfresco ceiling.

Alfresco ceiling. Versilux sheets.

Plasterboard ceiling.

Plasterboard ceiling and a small amount of internal render started.

I have been waiting for this bit.  The ceiling makes all the difference between a construction site and a future home.  The light suddenly changes and you get a sense of the room proportions.

The internal render on the top floor should be completed this week.  (Writer’s déjà vu.) Then the ceiling fixers can return to flush the joints and put the cornice up.

How do you deal with the emotional highs and lows of building or renovating?  

External paint revealed.

External paintThank goodness for a new photo and a smidgeon of progress at House By The Water.  The scaffolding that was getting in everyone’s way, and seemed to be the cause of a two month standstill, was finally lowered.  And, ta da! The external colours of the house are revealed.  I’m rather happy with my paint choices.  Although I spent weeks deciding what interior colours to use, the exterior paint was a 5 minute decision.  I showed Webb and Brown-Neaves’ interior designer a picture of a house exterior that I liked and muttered something about grey.  She said “How about Grey Pebble with Calfskin?” as she poked a couple of sample strips in my direction and I said “OK”.  Done.

The trim, between the roof and the top of the brick work, is Dulux Calfskin and the paint over the render that’s on the top of the window and on the feature column is Dulux Grey Pebble.  (People like to know these things!)  The roof is Colorbond Surfmist.

The plasterers were due to start and finish the internal plaster on the first floor last week, but my spies dropped by on the weekend and couldn’t find any new work.  Ho hum!  This week should be action packed  with ceiling fixers and external renderers both scheduled to be on our site.  Keep your fingers crossed for me, otherwise it’ll be a post on housing pets next week and I’d rather it didn’t come to that.

On a side note, this week I had

My 15 minutes of fame!

In case you missed it, I was interviewed about my purchase of an original Coco pendant as opposed to a replica.  You can read the article on Domain News.

The Coco pendant. A work of art. Source: Coco Flip.

The Coco pendant. A work of art. Source: Coco Flip.

In response to the article my blog stats did a bit of a flip of their own, and, ahem, check out the hits counter!  It reached over 100K views.

Secondly, an anonymous blog reader nominated House By The Water for the U.K. based, Amara Interior Blog Awards in the Australian category.  Thank you to Mr. or Mrs. Mystery and “hello” readers from the U.K.. If you wish to vote, click on the icon below:vote-now

Okay.  I’ll get back in my box now.  Awkward moment.

Feeling bolstered by my newfound “fame” I decided to test out a suggestion made on the HomeOne forum to another home builder.  Remember the cobblestone driveway saga?  Think $$$$.  After getting yet more crazy quotes for the driveway, my husband and I decided we’ll have a go at it ourselves.  Some of my Instagram friends even offered to turn up with scones and help!  (One might be forgiven for assuming this means that we eat scones and chat while we watch the Nice Wolf, a.k.a. husband, lay cobblestones.  But if you’ve seen my Insta friend, Lady Jo, with her tools, you’d know that her offer is sincere.  But I digress…)  So the suggestion was to ask suppliers for trade prices in return for displaying a sign advertising the product.  Since House By The Water will be highly visible, I thought there was some potential for this idea and I asked Eco Outdoor for a discount on cobblestones.  I received a polite and prompt response, offering a rate of $121 per square metre.   $10 per square metre more than my previous quote.  Ha ha ha! The price of fame….

Cobblestones are everywhere here in Brazil. Might have to pack a suitcase full.

Cobblestones are everywhere here in Brazil. I might have to pack a suitcase full.