Friday, January 30, 2009


Yay! We have some draft plans. They came through as promised yesterday so now we have the weekend to go through and check for any changes prior to Council submission. Some minor changes likely, but we are 90% there. The biggest one though is (re) deciding to completely open up the back of the house with bi-fold doors. It's gonna cost tho'...

Also heard from the solicitor - seems that bank papers will be through and we will complete on the land next Friday. Fingers crossed.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sign here please!

Yay - we met up with Provincial on Saturday and signed off the commencement fee. Now over to them to draw up the first set of plans for review. Hopefully submit DA to council mid Feb.

We also went through the tender inclusions very carefully and we agreed on a number of items. The best win for us was the swap of sink to the outside and cooker to the island which was a design we always wanted.

This week we are getting some quotes for the concept landscape design and also trying to work out if we can retain some of the gum trees on the block. Thanks to the homeone forum we now have lots of contact points :)

Very early concept sketch for pool area:

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Splish splash

Met up with Narellan pools today at the site to get a quote for their 7m Symphony pool install. Link here:

I was very impressed with their efforts. Lots of ideas and very accommodating. They gave a quote of $29,000 with is exactly what I was hoping for, and this includes everything (install, pump, filter, chlorinator, water feature etc etc).

We will get a few more quotes in just to compare, but I'd say we are 80% there :)

Also heard from the broker today - we have bank approval so looking good for close and completion on the land by end Jan, which is a good result.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

tick tock

Nothing really happening on the house front as 'our contact' at Provincial isn't taking calls until the 17th. Didn't really want to push too much as we want to retain the continuity. We have an appointment over the weekend to go through next steps. woo.

Land wise, still waiting on StGeorge to come back with final approvals, and the broker mumbled something about 'early next week'. We'll see...

Other stuff has moved forward - Pool - chosen 2 likely candidates (Bluehaven as they are building in the other lots and few few recommended) and Narellan as I like the idea of their fiberglass options and their sizes/shape could be a good fit on the block. We have a site inspection tmrw with Narellan so will be interesting to see how the approach things.

Retaining walls and tree removal is giving me sleepless nights. Been doing lots of reading on the homeone forum this week and it all sounds like 'blank cheque' stuff. Might have to do some/most of it myself, depending on costs. ho hum.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Is it included or not?

Very pleased we went to see the display home again today. Every time I walk into the door I feel that it's the house for us. The idea of today's visit was to try and spot the finer details we may have missed. We missed lots previously :)

Here is the mail sent to the builders earlier tonight with a few questions...

Hi George,

Katrina and I spent a bit of time at the display home today and would like to clarify a few points with you if possible. It's amazing how the more you look, the more you notice :)

Hopefully we can go through these in finer detail if we meet on Friday.

1. The tender mentions 24 elec points scattered throughout the house. Do you have the standard electrical plan so we can see where each is located? We are also interested to know what provision is made for the fan and light in the alfresco area, and whether there are any additional external points for bbq area etc? What is the expected timeline for us to go through the locations? I presume this is done post commencement of contract?

2. Family bathroom - can we change the current corner bath to a more standard one? Would there be a cost reduction if we did? A standard bath would mean that the vanities would need to be slightly bigger as compensation, and we would like the vanity width extended to the edge of the sink as well?

3. Caesarstone in the upstairs bathrooms - the display home has these but they are not included in the tender price. Do you have an estimate if we chose this over laminate?

4. Would we be able to change the family bathroom sink? We would source our own - would this mean a cost reduction if we didn't take the display ones. Same goes for the 3 600mm mirrors in the bathrooms. We will source our own.

5. Can we change the bathroom floor drains from the (awful!) white plastic ones? We would opt for square stainless steel instead if available from your supplier.

6. What are the front door options? The urban fa├žade has a different door to the display home. Are there differences in price/colour etc? We would like the full door, instead of the sidelight panel.

7. For the rumpus room, what are the window dimensions?

8. The latest tender plans have the alfresco area as 2.52m only, which is impossible taking into account the current column placement from upstairs. We make this area as 3.2 x 6.5. Please confirm.

9. The Rumpus room at 2.52m deep is now too narrow to watch TV. I took a good look at the levels again and would like to make the rumpus 5 x 4.5 (which brings the outer wall in by 500mm). If we need to drop down into the lounge by 1 step to compensate the levels, then we would consider it.

10. Please add back the 2 side drop to island bench caesarstone. The cost for this was $1750 on a previous quote.

11. The tiled patio area outside the laundry seems to have dropped off the tender price. Please confirm if this is still included as it's likely we will need stairs from this area to work the levels correctly. Do we really need this? It's likely that I'll be pavin the whole area anyway.

12. Please confirm the house floor level? Is it as per the LHS garage, at 147.5m?

13. The revised tender now only make allowances for 20m deep edge beam, instead of 38m. Please confirm why this is?

14. As previously agreed, I would like you to move the aircon system and HW tank to the LHS of the house. This is to ensure a clear run down the RHS. If you needed a location for the aircon duct, I'd like to suggest the interior cupboard of the 5th bedroom upstairs.

15. We notice that the ducted hood in the kitchen is an optional extra. We presume that this is therefore not required? Would it be a huge inconvenience for us to swap the locations of the center sink with the cooker? We particularly dislike center sinks as it always looks messy and would like to cook in the center island instead.

16. Please provide an indication for the cost of the halogen downlights as per the display home?

Lots of questions, but look forward to your responses either via email or when we next meet.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Re-visit re-vist

We are going back to the display home tomorrow for a final peek before we close the tender. There are just so many things to try and get right (power points locations, window depths etc etc) that we want to get the tender price right before we commit. We also need to re-measure the alfresco area as Kat is stressed about the depth - it looks too small on the plan (2.52m) and won't fit a big table/couch. I suspect she might be right, so we need to go and check.

Tip: There is no harm in checking checking checking. Now is the time to make changes, not after the bid is finalized!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Caprice by Provincial Homes

We have gone ahead and chosen Provincial Homes as the builder of our new home. We have been very impressed with their engagement so far and they have been very open to suggested plan changes.

Our design will be based on the Caprice. Link here. We are expanding downstairs to include a playroom (called a Rumpus here in AUS) and adding a 5th bedroom/ Studio room upstairs for Kat's endeavours.

The external facade will look similar to the photo above (but we will likely change the final colour's).

These are the standard floor plans. I'll post the final ones once they come from the design guys.

Up and running!

Back for 2009 and a year of projects for us. First effort is to get the blog up and going.