Building the roof

Roof preparation and an inspection.

Between rain, public holidays galore and short brickies the estimated 3 weeks to complete our second storey of bricks turned into 7.   Just kidding about the brickies, but we do have a few high sections of brickwork at the front of our house, which meant that an extra lift of scaffolding was required to access the work.  Extra scaffolding = extra time.

The roof carpenters then took their turn and worked like Trojans (on a public holiday)!  Chippies, I owe you beer.

Chippies at work on the weekend.

Chippies at work on the weekend.

Skillion roof taking shape.

Skillion roof taking shape.

Lots of wood, steel and ties.

Lots of wood, steel and ties.

When the roof carpenters finished last week, our air-conditioning installer popped by to check everything was set to accommodate the air-conditioning ducts in the roof.  He’ll be back once the roof is on to install it.  The roof sheets were measured up and ordered which left me a little confused about why they are not pre-ordered based on the house drawings.  Not to worry, it is not holding the process up and our Site Supervisor expects the roof to be on by the end of this week.

Before the roof goes on, there was an opportunity to inspect the brickwork and roof carpentry.  We hired an independent building inspector to take a look and assess the work completed against building codes and/or Australian Standards.   We are pleased that overall the inspector found a “good industry standard” on site.  There are a few non-compliant issues:

  1. Absent weep holes (to let any moisture between the double brick walls escape)
  2. Sloppy mortar bridging the space between the double brick walls (which can lead to moisture build up and mould)
  3. Inadequate mortar filling where toothing occurs in the brick work (creating weak spots)
  4. Absence of parging on the recessed slab, as per drawings.  OK, I had to look this one up.  Parging is “a thin coat of a cementitious (!!!) or polymeric mortar applied to concrete or masonry for refinement of the surface.” (Thank you Wiki).  Parging is applied for various reasons, e.g. termite deterent, air barrier, but I’m not sure of its purpose in our case.

Webb and Brown-Neaves have the report now and I feel confident that the brickies will be sent back to site to fix up these issues before it’s too late.  Speaking of too late, probably we should have had a building inspection before the suspended slab was poured.  Much of the sloppy mortar in the cavities will be inaccessible by now.

I have a new found appreciation for Australian building standards following the recent disappearance of our carpark.  Yes, that’s right.  Our car park, here in Brazil, along with a 10 x 2 meter brick wall and several other car parking spaces, recently fell about 10 metres down into the neighbour’s excavated site.  My unqualified opinion on the matter is that they cut too close to our residence and should have reinforced the wall, especially before the rainy season.  Luckily, my husband and I had taken note of the rather close excavations and had started parking a little further away from the wall.  One of our neighbours was less fortunate.

I added a new page to the blog today for the serious build followers.   You can view our build Time Line by clicking on the link in this sentence or by using the page menu on the left side bar.   This page contains links to all my blog posts about the building process.  I’ll update the Time Line as we progress.

 

Housey blogs

Every woman and her dog writes a blog these days.  There are literally thousands of blogs documenting home building, renovation and decoration but with a bit of sifting, you can find a good community of like-minded people sharing tips, referrals, encouragement and inspiration.  A couple of friendly home-building bloggers sent their readers my way and posed me some questions.

Let me introduce:

  • Trixee, half of a motivated duo building a modest but glamorous solar passive home in Perth, from Eco Home Style.
  • Sheilzy, a go-get-em chick who’s building a Metricon home in Sydney, from Our Hudson.
  • Kerrie-Lee, the world’s most patient builder’s wife, who is building a very stylish home in coastal NSW, from eternalicons.

Thanks for the plug, girls!

1. Why did you start blogging?

I started my first blog 4 years ago when we moved to China for the interest of our extended family.  I enjoyed keeping a record of expat life and playing with words.  I caught the blog bug.

The 3 Little Pigs in China.

Photo from my first blog:  The 3 Little Pigs in China.

2. What are your favourite 3 blogs and why?

  • Spacecrush – I only recently discovered interior stylist, Jane Ledger’s blog, and the timing is perfect for me.  Jane, who is Perth based, shares her passion, knack and skills for interiors with unusual generosity.  I’m lapping up her “how to” series of articles such as “How to hang art” and “Choose the right sofa”.
  • House Nerd – You already know I love House Nerd for her rambling stories about interesting homes, DIY projects and local creatives in Western Australia.  Maya always keeps it real and affordable and I’m guaranteed a laugh, often at Maya or Mr. Nerd’s expense.  Maya reminds me that I’m glad that we are over the reno phase of life, but that it was good for us!
  • Third place was tough- so I’m going for a tie between The Design Files, for wholesome Aussie homes with lots of heart and character, and Planet Deco for an endless supply of beautiful homes, mostly from Europe .

3. What’s your favorite post that you’ve written and why?

40 decades of houses because it was such a nice trip down memory lane.

Exposed brick and psychedelic green!

Exposed brick and psychedelic green!  That’s Aunty Kate in the box, and I’m towing.  Check out my art.  I haven’t improved.

4. What do you enjoy most about blogging?

The connections made with readers.  We are helping each other blunder our way through home building.  The banter is fun and the tips are helpful.

5. How do you find things to blog about?

Somehow I always have at least one month’s worth of blog topics up my sleeve.  Ideas come to me naturally as part of the building process, often while I’m doing the dishes!  So far I’ve resisted writing the:  “I can’t wait to have a dishwasher” post.

6. What do you hope to achieve from your blog?

  • Make sense of the building process.
  • Make good decisions by “thinking out loud”.
  • Maximise the enjoyment of the building process, however remote I may be.
  • Keep the builders honest!

7. Describe your favourite meal.

One large salad with beetroot or mushrooms and goat’s cheese, and a cold glass of Margaret River white wine, please.  Served here:

Landscape design for House By The Water by Tim Davies Landscaping.

Landscape design for House By The Water by Tim Davies Landscaping.

8. If you had a day to do anything you want, what would you do?

I would go homewares and furniture shopping in Melbourne with Aunty Kate (my sister).  We would, of course, have an unlimited budget.  We’d meet my Mum and my other sister for lunch at Cumulus Inc to drool over the lamb and the interior design.

We’d visit Mark Tuckey, Jardan, Southwood Home, and Weylandts.

Jardan's Melbourne store.

Jardan’s Melbourne store.

9. What are your current obsessions?

Blue, preferably dark and moody.  Linen.  Australian made furniture.  Oh yeah, and that small thing called building a house.

10. In 5 words describe your interior style.

Relaxed, modern, Australian, earthy, light.

Normal blogging services will resume next week.  

 
Edit:  News just in from Webb and Brown Neaves.  
Second floor brickwork is still not quite complete.  
The roof carpenter is expected to start next week.
Bedroom of the second little pig.   An impressive amount of scaffolding.  I'm quite amazed to see it all.

Bedroom of the second little pig. An impressive amount of scaffolding. I’m quite amazed to see it all.

The scaffold floor will be removed to reveal a void space above the ground floor living area.

The scaffold floor will be removed to reveal a void space above the ground floor living area.  It’s starting to look large.

Second storey bricks

Our House By The Water has grown.  Three weeks of brickwork has seen the house go from single storey to double.  As photos have landed in my inbox each week, I’ve become increasingly excited.

Week One:

Thank you Mark from Best West Building.

Second story bricks.

Second storey bricks.

Week Two:

Harry, you are the best!Second storey bricks - week 2.

Week Three:

Thanks to new reader and future neighbour, Tracy.

Nearly done.

Nearly done.

Front facade.  The feature column will be bricked to 80 courses.

Front facade. The feature column will be bricked to 80 courses.

Most of the house is 63 courses high, double brick.  That’s a lot of bricks.  Work has come to a temporary halt.  The feature column on our front facade (that will eventually be clad in stack stone) is 80 courses high.  The brickies need an extra “lift” of scaffolding so that they may complete the taller sections of the brickwork.  The scaffolders are booked for next week.

In other news, following on from my “I love Linen” post, I won a little competition!   Ink and Spindle is a Melbourne based company that print gorgeous Australian-inspired prints on 100% linen, cotton and hemp.  You can buy their fabric or ready-made homewares using their existing prints, or you can choose one of their prints and customise it to your own colour way.  They have just introduced some new colours and celebrated with a competition.  My favourite colour combination proved popular and won me some fabric!  One 100% linen Silver Gum doona cover in Bluestone and River Salt on Oatmeal coming up!

My winning entry.

My winning entry.

Of course, then I had to play with mood boards for the master bedroom, to check that my current front runner for linen curtains (Pottery Barn) and the new fabric will work together.

I'm happy with the blues, woods and linen that are starting to form the back bone of my master bedroom grand scheme.

I’m happy with the blues, woods and linen that form the back bone of my master bedroom grand scheme.

I’ve had a heavy week on Polyvore, playing with mood boards.  It started with the question of linen versus leather  for sofas in our living room.  Leather is so practical and has my husband’s vote, but I love so many linen sofas.  This week a leather sofa that really appealed to me crossed my laptop screen, so I plugged it into Polyvore.  These decisions are always multifactorial, so I tested some of my favourite rugs and pieces of aboriginal art too.

Living room 1

Living room 1

Living room 2

Living room 2

Living room 3

Living room 3

Don’t tell, but I spent a whole Friday afternoon doing this!  It was blissful.

My conclusions are:

  • Artwork and floor rug should be considered together.  For example, patterned artwork and patterned rug is a bit too much.  Pick one star, then don’t upstage it.
  • Either leather or linen couch could work, but both together, hmmm..??

Which living room version do you like the best?  Why?  

Should linen couches and children occupy the same space?  

I’d love to find a really nice, Australian-made, linen sofa with removable/washable covers.  

Any tips?

Finally, to some money saving news, for a change!  Tracy alerted me to a potential rebate on stamp duty!  In Western Australia we pay a lot of money in tax/duty when we buy land.  Our “stamp duty” was in excess of $30K!  However, residential land is taxed at a slightly lower rate, so if you commence building within 5 years of land purchase you may be eligible for a rebate.  For us, it could be worth almost $3000.  That’s a sofa nice little bite off our mortgage.  Already I have secured a “Newly Constructed Residential  Exemption” from annual land tax, a separate bill of a couple of hundred dollars, by filling in a form and sending the department of finance proof that we’ve commenced construction.  As always, there is some fine print, but if you haven’t already investigated these potential savings, it could be worth your while.  Now, just to find our original stamp duty document….

Building to schedule.

Construction schedule

Screen shot of our construction schedule.

I’m taking our construction schedule with a grain of salt.  Obviously it’s a standard schedule.  10 days have been allocated to paving, and we are not having any paving by the builder.  We are 2-3 weeks off schedule already, but that’s nothing that can’t be explained away by “the non-availability of trades, inclement weather, shortage of materials or the like.” In any case, I’m using it to plan the timing of purchase of “owner supplied items”.  Since we aren’t living locally during the build we really tried to minimise owner-supplied items, but some items such as our fireplace, air conditioning and the integrated dishwasher weren’t offered by Webb and Brown Neaves.  In the case of our feature pendant lights, I didn’t like any we saw at our builder’s supplier. Between a variable construction schedule, variable lead times on items we need to supply and nowhere to store purchased items, the whole situation is a bit tricky.  I already made the mistake of purchasing the fireplace early to avoid 2015 price rises, and then was tripped up by a $250 delivery fee to a friend’s garage because the supplier wouldn’t hold it.  I’ve been creating lists and charts over the past week, trying to get better organised for costs, supplying items and the post-handover activities.

Owner-supplied items.

Owner-supplied items.

You can see I’m having some commitment problems with a couple of items.  For the kitchen pendants, my taste is expensive, but I can’t be sure that what I want is the right thing.  So I’m leaning towards buying cheaper alternatives, until I’m in the house and able to weigh all the other factors up.

 

Sources:  1.  Beacon.  2.  Weylandts.  3.  Dunlin.  4.  Cocoflip.

For the alfresco area, I have grand plans for an oversized cray pot pendant, DIY.  So all I need is a bare bulb hanging on a cord at least 2 metres long, but I am struggling to find something that won’t quickly rust in our outdoor environment.  Outdoor lighting options are rather lacking!  The only item I’ve seen that fits the bill so far is $600.  No!  Not when it’s going to be covered up anyway.

Build update

The brickies have made a start on the second storey of House By The Water.  Imagine my excitement to receive this picture on Sunday, the first news of any brick laying activities:

Extra brownie points for our building inspector who took this unsolicited photo on his long weekend!

Extra brownie points for our independent building inspector who took this photo on his long weekend!

And special thanks to house-building blogger, Trixee, who popped by our house on the weekend and took the photos shown below.  Trixee is building a glamorous solar-passive house in Perth.  Trixee’s slab has just been poured so the excitement is mounting over on her blog:  The SP Chronicles.

All set up for second storey bricks.

All set up for second storey bricks.

Scaffolding jungle for the alfresco void area.

Scaffolding jungle for the alfresco void area.

Garage

Garage with concrete beams and pipes that will be invisible before long.

Stairs.  And the terrible realisation that I should have had that changed to include a storage area.

Stairs. And the terrible realisation that I should have had that changed to include a storage area.

As they say,  it’s coming along!

Suspended slab

The latest milestone in the construction of our House By The Water is the suspended slab.  Before you get excited, there is nothing fancy about a “suspended slab” – it just means it is not on the ground,  it spans the space between the walls.   But if you would like to get excited or astounded by the amount of steel reinforcements and electrical conduits that go into a slab, go right ahead.  I am rather amazed myself.

This network of electrical conduits and steel is now hidden in our concrete slab.

This network of electrical conduits and steel is now hidden in our concrete slab.

The heat in Western Australia last week was rather extreme.  Our slab pour was postponed a couple of days in an attempt to pour the concrete in lower temperatures.

Suspended slab

The suspended slab looking a bit spotty from some rain.

Thanks to our Site Supervisor from Webb and Brown-Neaves for the photos.

A guided tour for my Mum:Slab with floor plan.

Because we like pretty things on House By The Water, and maybe, like me, you don’t think our new concrete is quite in the “pretty” category, let me show you some good-looking concrete.

concrete floor

Beautiful concrete. Happy Laugh’s vision for her farmhouse. Source: Norm Architecture.

One of my favourite home-building bloggers, Happy Laughs, has finally arrived at the fun part of home building.  Happy Laughs and her family live on a farm in Texas and have become “owner-builders” late in the process of their build.  They are fully in charge of the finishings for their huge barn.  It’s tricky to describe the style of their house.  They’ve used gigantic reclaimed wood beams and have an unstained concrete floor but to call it rustic would not do it justice.  Happy Laughs likes country style but with some Scandanavian, industrial and modern influences.  How about that for a combination?  Check out her amazing chandelier, incredible fire place and gorgeous ceilings for yourself on Happy Laugh’s blog:  happylaughs.wordpress.com

Farm house

Happy Laugh’s farm house is nearing the end of construction.

If you are on Instagram you can see Happy Laugh’s new house and her little cowboys and cowgirls enjoying the farm at: instagram.com/happylaughs6

And, if you haven’t found me on Instagram yet, I’m here: instagram.com/housebythewater

Guess the handover date competition.

Last week site works commenced on our block.  By yesterday, the site survey should have been completed and the concreters should be in this week to pour footings for our retaining walls on the canal side of our home.  Once the retaining walls are completed, the concrete pool will be installed, then it will be time to lay the slab.  I had a quick chat to the “Starts Manager” last week, who let me know the immediate plans.  So, from the moment of the installation of the builder’s sign, it has been all action.  Suddenly I’ve been checking the weather on a daily basis, hoping for good conditions for whomever has work to do on our block.

And, because I’m still excited, I thought we’d have a bit of blog fun…

My sisters have been busy over the last few years creating adorable children.  My Mum likes to heighten the anticipation of a new grandchild with guessing competitions.  A few months out, we guess gender, name, date and weight of the soon-to-arrive baby.  Just a little bit of fun, with my Mum promising a bottle of champagne to the winner.  Then she wins.

In keeping with this spirit, (I know houses and babies are not quite the same,) let me introduce House By The Water’s first (and probably only) competition.

WIN a bottle of West Australian bubbly!  

Made in Margaret River.  Red or white sparkling wine.

Made in Margaret River. Red or white sparkling wine.

Guess the handover date.

Here’s the conditions of the competition:

  1. Handover date is defined as the day that the builders give us the keys to our house in return for our final payment.  (The final payment is due within 10 days of practical completion.  Practical Completion means works is completed, apart from any omissions or defects that may be found at the Practical Completion Inspection.)
  2. The winner is the person(s) who selects the handover date correctly, or is the closest to the correct date.
  3. To enter, leave your guess in the comments section of this blog post or on the House By The Water Facebook page.
  4. If the winner is local, they may choose to drink their prize on House By The Water’s deck.  If the winner is not local, I will try my best to get the prize to you, but if you are residing in Saudi Arabia, I’m going to have to come up with a substitute prize.  If you are one of my favourite overseas home-building bloggers, be warned, I may deliver the prize in person.
  5. The competition closes in one week from today, on Tuesday July 15th at 9 pm (West Australian time).
  6. The winner will be announced on this blog and on the HBTW Facebook page within one month of the handover date.
  7. Webb and Brown-Neaves employees and their families are not eligible to enter.

Here are some clues:

  • We specified on our Preliminary Plans Agreement that the house should not be completed before July, 2015.
  • Our building contract states that “Time to complete works” is 315 working days (from which exact day, I’m not too sure).  This does not include Saturdays, Sundays or public holidays.  Good luck calculating that one!
  • Don’t forget it’s a double story house.

May the luckiest reader win!

ENTRIES FOR THIS COMPETITION ARE NOW CLOSED.

Gallery

Cray Pot Pendants

Mandurah was originally a fishing town and it’s still a favourite past time for many locals.  Personally, I’d prefer to watch paint dry and grass grow than wait for a fish to attach itself to my rod.  However, it is fun to go “crabbing” with friends once a year, followed by chilli crabs on the BBQ.  And, I have been known to enjoy being knocked over by small waves while plucking abalone off the rocks.  For many years my husband and friends regularly dove for crayfish in the ocean.  Recent shark tales may change that, but it remains that Mandurah is a fishing destination.

Mr. Mitchell obviously has a great mind.

Mr. Mitchell obviously has a great mind.

I’m not one for dolphin-shaped water features or crab-mosaic splash backs, but a cray pot pendant?  Now we are talking.  I was keeping this idea as a surprise, but this week I noticed that someone else had the same idea!  I delved a little deeper and it turns out cray pot pendants are everywhere.

Picture Sources:  1.  Pinterest (original source not known) 2.  Homelife 3 & 4. Coastal Vintage.

So far this is my plan:

1.  Include provision for pendants on the lighting plan.  Check.

2.  Buy some cheap lights with appropriate cord length and have them installed by the builder’s electrician during construction.  (Getting to the light “sockety” things later, won’t be easy.)

3.  Remove cheap shades and add the cray pots and supporting wires/line/chain at my leisure.

Not much detail there, I know.  I have figured out that there are plenty of places that will sell you the necessary bits and pieces (eg. Ikea and Beacon Lighting in Australian, West Elm in North America).  I have 3 potential locations in mind for my cray pot pendants, all in areas with double-height, 5.4 metre ceilings.  I think I will need at least 1.8 metres of cord.  And now, what I don’t know:

  • Cray pots weigh 1-2kg.  Is that normal for a pendant?  Do you think the cray pot needs to have its own support, rather than hang from the cord?
  • One of the pendants will be in the alfresco area, in other words – it’s outside but has a roof above.  I’m worried about rust.  Has anyone put in pendant lights designed specifically to withstand coastal conditions?
  • The largest cray pots available, in the style I like, are 60cm wide, but only 30 cm high.  Maybe too small for our large spaces?

Have you made your own pendant lights?  Any tips for someone who is ever-so-slightly challenged by electrical concepts.

I’ve collected a few DIY pendant light stories in my Pinterest DIY folder.  If you are feeling creative, have a click around in there for links to instructions to make pendants such as these:

One of "50 Coolest DIY Pendant Lights" found at Decoist.

One of “50 Coolest DIY Pendant Lights” found at Decoist.

Woven rope pendant - DIY by Design Sponge.

Woven rope pendant – DIY by Design Sponge.

Most importantly, do you have any old cane or wood cray pots rotting away behind your shed?  I’m a willing buyer.

When all else fails, I have found a few cray pot fakes!  Good looking fakes, mind you, but not useful for actually catching crayfish.

Picture sources:  1.  Darcy Clark   2. Zaffero   3. Freedom.

Variation costs

Do you like the good news or the bad news first?

I always prefer the good:

  • We have a new and super-organised “pre start consultant”.  She writes me emails full of lists.  She answers all my questions.  AND, she is currently celebrating her own slab.  I think her heart is in her job.
  • Most of the pre start variations have been costed.  The driveway variation cost makes the retaining walls look good.
  • There are a few credits in our variation list, for example, we deleted the timber look kick board and wall oven surround in the kitchen.  $1907.
  • We are getting closer to something actually happening on our block.

And now for the bad.  We’ve had to cross a few nice things off our list because the cost is just plain silly:

  • Cobblestone driveway. ~$60K or $550 per square metre.  I know that cobblestones aren’t cheap (in Australia) and require a solid base, but I had a figure of ~$200/m2 in my mind.  Looks like it’s back to standard paving for us.  We may pull it all up later and put in the cobblestones ourselves.  I’ve been checking out the standard paving options, but I’m also getting an independent quote for a cobblestone driveway.

    Cobblestones in "Endicott", $110/sqm.

    Cobblestones in “Endicott”, $110/sqm (not installed).

  • Wooden hand rails on our balustrades instead of polished stainless steel.   Plus $4000.  We have about 12 metres of balustrade, including a curved section.  Hmph.  The polished stainless steel looks quite harsh.  I hope our wood floors will soften the look.  (Wrought iron is an affordable alternative but I’m not keen on that either.)
  • Calacatta Caesarstone for the kitchen island instead of standard Caesarstone.  Plus $8600!  Whoah.  Just for the (waterfall-edged) island bench – not including the benches either side of the stove top or in the scullery.   Plan B is Caesarstone Alpine Mist – that’s $4652 for all the kitchen and scullery bench tops including the island bench.  The “Nice Wolf” doesn’t know that yet though, so I might have to work on a Plan C.  (Nice Wolf – please see credit note for deleting timber-look laminate in kitchen.)
  • Fancy shower drain $880 for 2.  I wonder if these can be retrofitted ($60 each online)?  Probably not….

    Bermuda shower grate.

    Bermuda shower grate.

  • USB wall outlets – $140 each (downstairs), $180 each (upstairs) including installation.

And now here is a small “maybe pile”:

  • Upgrade to a different front door that matches a decorative screen door better.  $950.  Would you?

And finally, the “OK, wish it was cheaper, but we want it pile”:

This list does not include variations that we added before signing the building contract.

  • Build the right size hole for the firebox.  $1422.
  • A hole in the wall, electrical connection, a concrete plinth and admin fees to accommodate the air-conditioning $1595.
  • Entry door “rebate” to fit future flyscreen $106.
  • Niche in shower to sit the shampoo bottle $446.
  • Viewing windows in the meter box for Synergy (electricity) and Alinta (gas) $138 each.
  • Rail change in WIR $51.
  • Change from clear to translucent glazing to the ensuite WC door $80.
  • 10 pullout pot drawers in pantry $1563.
  • Minor tweaks to bathrooms and laundry $255.
  • Change from stainless steel to ceramic laundry trough  $217.
  • Change toilets to avoid icky dust collections behind older style toilets.  $349 for 3 toilets.
  • Cold water tap to fridge $266.
  • Extra electrical/lighting costs (over and above the $10000 allowance – note this does not include the actual lights). $2874.
  • Extra tiling costs $4256.
  • Changed taps in kitchen and laundry $26 each.

Ooh,  I wish I hadn’t just written that.

We are facing at least $13 000 in extras on this list.  There have been a lot of emails back and forth to Webb and Brown-Neaves this week.  This is our last chance to get everything right before any further changes incur financial penalties.

 

Interior Lighting Plan

I’ve been thinking about interior lighting.  Our builders have included one light and one power outlet per room. We also have a $10,000 allowance for extra lighting and power outlets.  Sounds hefty, doesn’t it?  However, I suspect by the time we allow for enough extra power outlets to keep an iFamily happy, a good amount of that will be accounted for.

Our builders, Webb and Brown-Neaves, recommended we draw up our likely furniture arrangement to help guide lighting and powerpoint locations.  And, my friends at HomeOne Forum have an ever growing list of “Things you forget” (when building) that includes sections on lighting and electrical.  Between all these hot tips and suggestions from Lighting City I hope not to forget anything and still be within budget. When I emailed Lighting City to initiate the lighting plan, I asked them to include provision for a few pendant lights and for the majority of the lighting to be LED.  Of course, I have my usual problem to deal with – that is, my eyes are bigger than my wallet.

Here is what I have in mind:

1.  Two or three (?) pendant lights above the kitchen island like one of these:

Picture sources (L to R): 1. & 3. Dunlin, 2. Anthropologie, 4. Archiproducts.

2.  One beautiful pendant centred over the dining table such as this one:

Coco flip pendant from:  .  Black or white are both beautiful.

Handcrafted Victorian Ash Coco pendant by Coco Flip. Black or white are both beautiful.  $1500, 60cm diameter.  Also available in 40cm.

3.  One oversized pendant to fill the void above the living area.  (This pendant is top-secret, but I have something different in mind.)

4.  The same oversized pendant to fill the void over the alfresco area.

5.  A long, dangly pendant, or several, for the void above the front entry.

Picture sources: (Top) Ross Gardam, (L to R)  Viesso, Dunlin, Onefortythree.

Aside from these feature lights, any other fancy lighting can be in the form of floor or table lamps.

Now to the practical side of things.  Here is the lighting plan (first draft) by Lighting City:

Downstairs

Downstairs

Upstairs.

Upstairs.

I think they are pretty clever with the plan, but there are a few things I’ve already thought to ask about:

  • Extra lighting for the scullery over the sink.  There is nothing worse than dirty dishes after a wash.
  • Ceiling fan/light combo for the master bedroom, if not all bedrooms.
  • Ditching the 3 “oyster lights” that I think are located in the laundry, cellar and walk-in-robe.  I know they are low traffic areas, but I’ve never liked oyster lights.  Replace with down lights?
  • Adding an interior switch for the lights that will be installed to our pool and deck areas by our landscaping company.
  • The best way to accommodate a plug-in pendant light that is a souvenir from Seoul.

Can you think of anything I should add to my list?

Air conditioning. Apples or Oranges?

Dry bulb. Wet bulb.  Constant zone.  Kilowatts.  Registers.  One phase.  Three phase. Unfazed.

Apologies to the poor heating/cooling specialist who tried to explain to me on the phone how the innards of our future air conditioning system could be concealed in our house.   “Do you mind putting something on email so I can think about this later?” I said.

The air conditioning needs to be considered now, so that the builders can plan for the slab penetrations.  I have two quotes so far and another on the way.  So far I have one quote for apples and one quote for oranges.  The first quote, lets call that the apples, warned me against quotes for oranges, but quite frankly, I’m leaning towards the oranges. The “apples quote” is a two-unit system. Mitsubishi.  Probably it could keep our large house with it’s big open spaces at a constant temperature year round.  This quote is $60 000.  Startling, even before you consider running costs, which I am told could be up to $6 per hour.

The supplier of the “oranges” came recommended to us by fellow canal dwellers, already an advantage.  The “oranges quote” is for just a single unit system, with brand options including LG, Mitsubishi and Fujitsu.  This quote is about $15 000, depending on the brand.

Perhaps a single unit system will struggle to cool our large house on some of Mandurah’s hottest days.  Mandurah has a subtropical climate with an average of 9.5 days per year at 35 degrees celsius or hotter and 46 days at 30 degrees celsius or above.  But we are not wilt-in-the-heat kind of people, and we are going to have a swimming pool.  In Winter, it never gets below zero and we do own jumpers.

Calling all Mandurah double story house dwellers, please tell me if your A/Cs are apples or oranges.

No need for air conditioning  in this cave-like house with window openings set high.

No need for air conditioning in this cave-like house with window openings set high.  Photo from Architizer.

Edit.  The 3rd quote has just arrived.  2 unit system – Daikin.  $27 000.  Could it be a lemon?