Wednesday, September 21, 2011

And then there was grass...

The backyard is really starting to take shape now!!

Since my last post we have continued the merbau up the retaining wall on the bottom level to give it more of a finished look and we're so glad we did.

Much nicer than before!

Ready made bench seating all the way round or as the boys see it, a ready made road for their cars!

Our new outdoor setting looking all sorts of awesome in it's new home

But of course before there was turf, there was turf underlay and a whole lotta levelling going on.

And here is Sir Walter himself!  Doesn't look like much does it?

Daddy's little helpers!  Bless.

Love being able to see the whole backyard from inside

So, what's left for out the back?  We're letting the merbau sit for about 4 weeks before we sand and oil it.  Apparently this lets the excess tannins bleed and stabalise (or is 'B' just feeding me a line to have a break haha).  The remainder of the treated pine retaining walls need to be stained to blend in a little more. Some plants are desperately needed and then some nice outdoor lighting and that should just about do it! Oh, don't forget the BBQ!  Need one of those too, we ditched the old I've-seen-better-days one when we moved.

I must add that for all the "we's" going on in this post, it's actually all been 'B' and my Dad.  Thanks guys for working so tirelessly to create such a beautiful space xxx

Monday, September 19, 2011

Bringing the outside in

We have some French Doors on the boy's playroom that open up to the backyard.  Love. Them.

They are reasonably recessed though so when they open, they don't sit flush with the wall.  That is until 'B' fit them with some broadbutt hinges (bought from here)!  Now check out these babies!

Get a load of the broadbutt hinge on the right compared to the original hinges on the left!

Took a bit of tweaking to fit them on!  

They stick out a little

But they don't detract from over all look and they're well worth it for the function they provide!

Lastly, we put these little magnetic catches on to stop the doors crashing into the bricks

and here's the stopper screwed into the deck

So there you go, for $104 we have doors that can now open right up and not get in the way of little one's running inside and out.

* And if you're really observant, you may have noticed a bit of extra decking and greenery in one of the pics....backyard update coming soon *

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The things we have learned

For novices who seriously had very little clue about the whole house builing process, I think we did okay however we did learn a few things along the way...

(1)  Go over your contract & drawings with a fine tooth comb.  Then go over them again.  And again.  Each time we went over our drawings we'd pick up something new! 

Pay particular attention to the little things like which way you want your doors / shower doors to swing, are your windows centred on the drawings, are your window heights all level with each other, are the heights of your openings the height you would like (we wanted 2340mm square set openings like the display house but the standard was lower, there wasn't any extra cost to raise them). 

We had so many variations that I ended up doing an excel spreadsheet (snapshot below) and went through each page of the contract, room by room and noted what should be in each space.  This really came in handy at walk through when our SS had one thing noted and I had another as I could tell him exactly where the written instruction could be found.  Also made life so much easier for us knowing exactly what was meant to be where.  So many months pass from when you originally choose things that it can be easy to forget exactly what door knobs you selected...

(2) Turn on the '"read recepit" on your email. Helpful to know that your emails have been read if you haven't received a response.

(3)  When you're in the contract stage and adding things in, changing things around etc, liaise with your Customer Service Consultant by email so everything is in writing.

(4)  Have you made your windows larger?  Can be difficult to get certain window furnishings.  We found that with our 2600mm wide windows in living areas.  A lot of blind fabrics only span 2400mm.  In the end we chose to "rail-road" the fabric which means the fabric hangs the other way and it's ok but it does have a slight ripple effect to it.  Hardly noticeable in the sheer fabric but was quite obvious in the blockout blinds they had accidentally first installed.

Sheer fabric

Block-out fabric

(5)  If you choose timber flooring, you might want your internal doors to be a little longer.  We found out too late that the internal doors allow for carpet so they sit about a good inch off the finished floor level.  Not the end of the world but I would have definitely chosen better fitting doors had I known.

(6)  If you raise the height of your ceilings, you may want to increase the height of your doors too.  We didn't worry about the bedroom doors but for the front door and the granny flat which has the internal door in the Entrance Hall with a ceiling height of about 2900mm we raised the door sizes accordingly.  It would have looked ridiculous otherwise.

(7)  If you are on recycled water, the standard inclusion is 1 recycled water tap. Don't assume you automatically get one at the front and back of the house like we did.

(8)  Get yourself a good Mortgage Broker, it makes all the difference sometimes in getting the loan for the amount you want or getting the best deal.  Hey, we all try and push the limit don't we?   We used Kevin Lee from Smartline and we did everything over the phone, fax & email.  He was great and it was so convenient.

(9)  And last but definitely not least, read this thread from the Homeone Forum.  It's 18 pages of other people's hindsight!

And we all love a bit of hindsight!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

It's all coming together - A back yard update!

Remember the pit of misery our backyard when we first moved in?

Well now it's looking a little more like this...

'B' has outdone himself putting up 8 billion all the retaining walls!

Backyard came complete with 2 superheroes.  We decided to keep them.

Now that the decking is down, the alfresco looks so much larger.

'B' was stoked to have Dad's amazing carpentry skills on hand when it came to this area.

Main deck with pathway to deck outside the playroom.  Garden of some description will be going in under the window to the right.

Looking back towards main deck.  We extended the length of deck by 1.8m and a BBQ will be built into the section straight ahead at the end.

Outside the playroom.  Will put a nice feature pot & plant in corner.

Looking a bit messy but we've been letting this area settle before putting some good quality soil & turf down.  It's settled quite a lot, so we're glad we did wait.  

So the plan from here is to sand & oil the merbau timber, stain the retaining walls, lay the turf and plant some kind of a garden (feeling a bit lost in this area - any advice would be definitely appreciated!)  We'll most likely line the bottom retaining walls with merbau too as they're looking shabby right up next to the nice timber.

I'll leave you with an action shot!  This was at the very beginning when Dad & 'B' were realising exactly how hard merbau is and many a screw had been snapped.

Oh and apparently it's not funny to comment the deck is feeling a bit springy (it wasn't).  'B' just rolled his eyes and groaned (apparently I'm predictable. Pffft) while poor ol' Dad looked momentarily horrified. Hahaha gave me a good chuckle anyway.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

What scratches?

I love our dining table.  We bought it about 5 years ago from Oz Design but my god it scratches easily!  You know it's bad when even your placemats scratch it!

I'm not really into table cloths and having 2 young'ns around I realised I could either:

a) pretend I don't notice the scratches or
b) develop a nervous tic or
c) buy some glass to protect the top

I'm no good at pretending, wasn't really keen for a nervous tic so I went with option 3 and called Matra Glass who whipped me up a 6mm thick, Starphire glass top.  The edges have been polished and the corners mitred (slightly rounded but hardly noticeable) so they're not sharp at all.

We went with starphire glass which cost $100 extra but is a clear colour instead of having the greenish tinge that normal glass has.  Oh and it was recommended to just go with standard glass, not toughened glass for a table top like this because if something is banged down hard on toughened glass it will shatter where as normal glass might get a chip.

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