Thursday, 13 September 2012

It's been a while, and a lot has happened...!

Hi everyone... it certainly has been a long time since we've updated this blog. And the reason for that is NOT because nothing has happened!

It's been nearly 3 and a half months since we posted anything up here, and to go back and provide the detail is nearly impossible. Maybe I'll just start at a high level and work my way through the fun bits.

First and foremost, everything has gone very well, and we are incredibly happy with our house. The one thing that has made it sooo good, was the safe arrival of our baby girl, Evie Mae, on Monday 27 August, at 11pm, weighing 3.73 Kg.

She's the light of our life, and has really made our house a home.

Now, back to the house.

We settled on Friday 15 June, with painting still going on while we went off and got the keys. From here, we quickly got into ripping off all the skirting boards and getting them a coat of paint. Our families came and helped, as we worked our way through over 130 pieces of board. All of them got a coat of paint by about midnight on Friday night. We were off to ante-natal classes the whole Saturday, and when we got back, the family came around again, and we painted them all for a second coat. On Sunday, we collected them all up and stored them in the garage, as the floors were starting on Monday morning.

The floorboard guy was only available on the Monday and Tuesday, and was returning the following week to finish them off. He was so careful and meticulous with his work, we thought he'd need a month to do them. On the Wednesday and Thursday, the carpets went in. On Friday 22/6, the wardrobes and blinds went in. This meant that we had to put down the skirting boards in the wardrobes on Thursday night.

The fencing guys were also to start on Monday 18/6, but due to weather, didn't get anything done till the Wednesday, and took till past moving day (Sunday 2/7), to complete, as they were doing the guys behind us at the same time, in between pouring rain. The same went for the concreters, who were doing the side of the house (coloured), the driveway (exposed agg), and the front apron (plain) extending off the portico, for us to lay a deck at a later stage. They didn't finish till mid-July. To put the skirting boards back on, we hired a Handyman that we'd used before who nailed them all back on and filled the holes. I then went around and sanded the filler back. The colour has dried an almost exact match, and you don't notice it.

Appliance Day was Friday 29/6, and we were to get:

1. Hot water system
2. Oven, Dishwasher, Rangehood, Steam Oven
3. Heating / Cooling system
4. Minor electrical not completed at handover
5. Ducted Vac

What we got was a fair balls up. The wrong rangehood was brought, the steam oven was too big for the cutout, half the electrical work wasn't completed (they brought 1 of 2 facade lights, 1 of 2 fluoros for the garage, a white rim LED downlight for the portico instead of a chrome halogen and also discovered there was no cabling for it).

You wouldn't believe what a debacle the wrong rangehood resulted in. What transpired is that the multiple emails and phone calls to various PD people (despite their acknowledgement), still didn't get the fact that we wanted a different rangehood installed, made clear to the sparkies when they marked up the wall for the holes to be cut into the splashback. As such, they marked up the holes for a different model, which meant Stegbar cut the holes in the glass for the wrong model. The sad part is that the incorrect holes didn't get discovered on Appliance Day. We only thought that the wrong rangehood had been ordered. So after a gruff phone call to our SS, he organised the order of the new one (which was going to take a week because it isn't kept in stock). When L&O came back out to fit the new one, they realised the holes were wrong, and they can't cut the glass themselves, Stegbar need to do it. But Stegbar won't recut the glass, they'll have to get a new piece of glass. And because where the Rangehood goes is on one of four pieces of coloured glass, for the sake of colour matching, ALL FOUR PIECES HAVE TO BE REPLACED.

Stegbar came out a few days later to measure up the new holes, and said they'd put a priority on the glass as we were already in. The normal lead time was 10 days, but we should have it replaced in less time than that. 14 days later we got our glass. L&O then came a few days after that to install the rangehood. In all of that time, there were probably 4 missed appointments... not good when Leanne was heavily pregnant and unable to rest, waiting for these guys to turn up. But after having a gaping hole in the kitchen for 4 weeks post Appliance Day (6 weeks after Handover), we got there. And you can only get angry and agitated about it so much...

Rewind back to move in day, which was Sunday 2/7, and there was another unexpected problem to deal with. On the Saturday before, whilst moving boxes and preparing for the following day, I noticed that the toilet failed to clear after flushing it. So I flushed it again. And then I called the plumber on the PD contact list. He came out an hour later and gave the loo a good plunge, but the problem didn't go away, which meant the Drainage guys had to come out. What wasn't clear is whether he would organise that, or his office would, or I had to. When I didn't hear anything 2 hours later, I called them myself and left a message. As the evening progressed the Ensuite toilet started to have the same problem. So I called again first thing Sunday morning and again no answer. We proceeded to call every Drainage contractor on their list, and surprise surprise - no one answered. Then my mate who was helping us move suggested we call The Drain Man. A friendly guy answered the phone and had someone out within the hour... on a Sunday! I'll spare you the gory details, but after 3 hours of playing with waste, in the rain on a Sunday in our muddy backyard, we were incredibly lucky to find the issue. A piece if PVC piping from the Inspection Shaft that was sticking up out of the ground had broken off during the course of the build and slid neatly down the pipe, blocking the flow of water. Add some toilet paper and you have yourself a blocked drain! Also, the bottom of the Inspection Shaft had a 90deg bend in it instead of a curved bend, and there was a 5cm tear at the top of the pipe. This all went down on his report, and he removed the broken PVC pipe so we could use the house again. The cost for this...? $1100. PD got the bill and reimbursed us within a few weeks. PD's drainage guys were in our backyard a few days later and had to dig out 2 cubes of dirt to fix the other issues. Lucky for them (and us too, I guess) the problem wasn't in the middle of the house under the slab...

Aside from these 2 issues, and given the crap weather causing delays for fences, concrete and landscaping, everything has gone well. All of our furniture turned up and suits the house really nicely, and all the artwork we had and bought new has been set up and looks great too. We've basically finished the house, just need to complete the Timber decking to the front of the house (currently plain concrete), and Timber decking to the Alfresco. In the meantime, we painted that surface with concrete paint so we can put our lovely King Outdoor furniture out and use the area. We also need to buy the Cocoon open fire for the Lounge room.

We also found the World's greatest electrician. A local guy who spent 2 straight days at our house hanging pendants (including the delicate and expensive Skygarden), fitting off extra powerpoints, powering up the heated towel rails and a stack of other stuff.  The quality of his work was second to none, and we heartily recommend him to anyone looking for a trustworthy and reliable electrician.

Our floating shelves in the Pantry and Family Room came up perfectly. In the Pantry, we went for 3 50mm thick shelves in the same finish as our cabines (Laminex Parchment Crystal Gloss). We preferred this over the standard PD shelving to avoid the thin shelves, mounting brackets and wasted space. The shelves in the Family Room are Tasmanian Oak, stained in Walnut to match the floors.

We used SunPro1 Landscaping, who did a great job in specifying and laying Tall Fescue in the front, side and back. I love the idea of big chunks of nice lawn for Evie and her friends to play on, along with the dogs. While they were here, they also scraped out a couple of areas which we were going to clear and rock at a later date for a pathway.  They offered to do it, and also lay compacted road base so it was off a flat and stable surface for a few hundred extra.  It meant all the land around house became mud free and completely usable. Win!

Leanne's mum and I spent the weekend of 25 & 26 August finishing off the landscaping by planting shrubs, trees and completing the rock work, along with painting the Alfresco, just to get it all done. At this stage, Leanne was a few days overdue but we were expecting her to go another week... but at our Obstetrician appointment the next morning, they decided to induce due to a significantly reduced amount of amniotic fluid and reduced foetal movements... we weren't planning on not coming home after that appointment and only had the 'emergency bags' in the car, but were bundled straight off to hospital and our beautiful baby was born later that night. Four nights in a hospital room at Frances Perry House made us realise how much we loved our home :) and lucky for us, it was ready and waiting for our new, improved family.

Here's some pics, but purely for security, we're only putting up a few. If you'd like to see some more, please contact us privately and we'll see what we can do.

For those who are interested, Leanne made up a mood board and also included some images of the furniture we were buying whilst building, at this page. Just to compare how it actually looks in the house.

Kitchen and Dining, taken from Family.
Evie's daybed is that funny thing in the middle of the picture if you're wondering...

Dining, looking through to Lounge.
Skygarden light looking grand over the Dining table.

Dining, looking to Entry and out to Alfresco / Side Yard

Side Yard looking to Alfresco, with Ensuite door on far wall.
Lawn almost ready for a mow.

Kitchen, WITH rangehood.

Family and Kitchen (large canvas coming, to go on wall above couch)

Main Bathroom

Down to entrance... Lounge to the left, Alfresco to the right, Chester in the window :)

Family Room. Cocoon open fire to go on left wall, between shutters
(although you can't see the other shutter).

Lounge looking to Alfresco and Study.

Foyer looking back to Kitchen.

Evie's room, with wall decals from Poss & Wom :)

Evie's room :)
99% finished facade. You may be able to notice the plain
concrete around the front, which will be decked.
So there we have it... a great project that has taken us over 18 months to complete.  We're very happy with the outcome, but it's been a very busy and testing time.  We've loved sharing it with you! This will most likely be the last blog post we make... unless we do the decking and/or fire place soon.

Good Luck!

Leanne & Rups