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


  1. Your place looks amazing! I love your style, it's so well done. Where did you get your coat rack? And that gorgeous artwork in the kitchen? loving it all. Congratulations on your beautiful daughter x

    1. Hi! Thanks for your lovely comments :)

      You won't believe where we got the Coat Rack... Freedom Furniture... for about $70! We had been looking for one for a log time, and the ones we liked were almost a grand!

      Funny story too about the artwork... That's from Berkowitz Furniture, and we just stumbled across it by accident. It was about $900. There's another piece of art we got from there which isn't pictured in our blog, but I'm happy to send you a pic if you leave your email address.

  2. Congratulations guys on the safe arrival of Evie. Love the name and she looks gorgeous! Hope the disrupted nights aren't too exhausting for you either (my Lucas is 3.5 months now and I'm still getting up 2 or 3 times a night for him, whereas his older brother slept from 7pm-7am from 10 weeks of's killing me!).

    Love the artwork in the kitchen/dining area - great find! Your house looks wonderfully complete with all the furniture and artwork - it must feel great. I look forward to getting our driveway done - the dirt is killing me! What colour exposed aggregate did you do (and from what Concrete company?)

    Last question - I promise! Where did you get the house number you fixed to the front of the house?

    Great to see the update, been wondering how everything went!


  3. Thanks Nat! Evie is doing really well. She seems to be getting 4.5 hours of sleep generally, so hopefully that continues to improve!

    The driveway was done by Nathan Porter Concreting. He really only does the Point Cook area (I believe). He gets his agg from Werribee Sand Soil & Mini Mix. It is mix #2 if you go there.

    The house number is from a company called Numbers1 ( They are based in QLD and the plate turned up really quickly and perfectly made. Their website is really good as you can mock up many styles and combinations. What helped us determine the right size was to put a piece of paper the size you want the sign to be in the spot you'll put it, and have a look from different places in the street to see if it is sized right.

    Good Luck!

  4. Looks fantastic Leanne and Rups! Even better than you described. Can we swap??

    1. Hi Kelly - thanks very much! Your place has come up great too, and will look awesome once those outdoor areas are finished off.

  5. Hi Leanne and Rups

    Firstly congrats on the new arrival your family. Your house looks better than we imagined. Every piece of furniture and art has found the prefect spot in the house.
    I loved those kitchen stools, very retro!
    I was just wondering if you dont mind sharing, could email us costs on landscaping, fencing, concreting and the electrician's coordinates please?

    Once again, Congratulations on reaching this very special time of your life and good luck in this exciting journey and the beginning of this new chapter in your life.


    1. Hi Gaurav,

      Thank you very much :)

      Our landscaping was ~$6K. $5K was for the landscaper who did the digging, turf laying and rocks. Another $1k we spent on trees, shrubs, soil, more rocks and a few other things. It's simple for now (aim was to get it mud free), but over time, we'll complete the decking, some planter boxes a light / water feature and a pizza oven.

      The fencing was $80/m for 1.8M tall wooden capped fencing, and $550 for a merbau side gate.

      The concreting was ~$5k, for an exposed agg driveway, coloured concrete side with (with drainage) and plain concrete front apron, extending the existing concrete portico, for future decking. The side and drive were sealed, and a bit of concrete was added out the front for the mailbox.

      The electrician was nearly $2k for time and materials. Highly recommended. If you would like his details, please leave your email address. He mainly works on the south west side of town.

      Rups & Leanne

    2. Thanks for those costs there. Could you email me the electricians coordinates on

      Many Thanks

  6. Hi Leanne and Rups,

    Congrats on your new addition to your family. Evie looks adorable and I love the name.

    Your house looks amazing. I love your design ideas. Well done and isn’t it a great feeling when all of your ideas come together.
    Best regards

    1. Thanks T. We're very happy with the house, it has come up exactly how we planned, and just in time before the arrival of Evie! Hope everything is going well with you!

    2. Everything is well with us, just busy landscaping. It’s such a huge task but it’s going to look amazing once finished.

    3. The wedding was wonderful and the h/moon was a ball.

  7. Hi Leanne and Rups,

    Thank you so much for sharing us your building experience. You don't know how much you've helped someone like me to make this building process an easier ride. Congratulations on the arrival of your beautiful Evie Mae and the completion of your stunning, gorgeous, elegant house - I love it! I also like the artwork and your dining table/chairs.

    Kind Regards

  8. Hi Leanne and Rups,

    We are about to build with Porter Davis... a Drysdale 28 and will spend much more time reading your blog. Absolutely fantasic.

    We have had many issues with our process, from incorrect sales order where the salesperson was let go to incorrect drawings and lack of communication from the building co-ordinator.

    A stressful time for sure, but if we can get it sorted and end up with a quality product like what you have then it has to be worth it in the end.

    Would love to hear from you with suggestions on how to deal with the next 6 months.


    Jasmine and Neil

  9. Ergh! Horrible wall colour. The framed art in your family room is lovely. What ever posesses people to build overly large drains on our resources, en masse with volume builders and live in faceless communities continues to baffle me. But each to their own. Maybe it's a case of keeping up with the Joneses? We have so much to learn in terms of design and the environment from our not so near nordic neighbours. *sigh*

    1. I guess we've all got opinions, so thanks for sharing yours... anonymously, of course.

  10. Rups, Leanne, Could you kindly tell me the plant/tree is that outside the dinning room window?

    1. Hi there, the tree is a Manchurian Ornamental Pear.

  11. Hi! Thanks for taking the time to write this blog! We are building with Porter Davis in Forsyth Park and we are awaiting our land to title (which isn't going to happen until April!) would love to know where you got your blinds and shutters from? Love the ones in Evie's room! Btw - we had our daughter in October 2012!

    1. Hi Carly,

      The blinds and shutters were supplied by Kreative Design, who also do / did the blinds for the PD display homes. Felicity Capaldo is the lady who runs the company, and she can be contacted at

  12. Hi there,

    Place looks great. Are you able to share me the name of your brick, downpipe colour, render colour and grass type?

    Many Thanks.

    1. Hi there Steven,

      Thanks! The bricks are Austral Elements Magnesium, the downpipes are in Monument (which is a Colorbond colour), render is Dulux Time Capsule, and the grass is Tall Fescue.

  13. Hello :)

    I had to say.. I have been visiting your blog a lot of times, just admiring how you decorated the home. It feels very home-y but not compromising the style at all - looks like it came out of a catalog. :)

    Congratulations on both the adorable bub and the lovely home. hope I could do the same with ours.

    Thanks for sharing the pics :)

    1. Hello!

      Thanks for the kind words. We've been in for 3 years now, and have redone the landscaping all the way around, including the decks at the front and side. The fireplace is in and we're about to have another child (any day now!). All the best with your build.

  14. Your home looks truly stunning- the colours, the finishes, your interior design. Congratulations