Sunday, 30 August 2015

Umm .. I forgot ... or the dog ate my blog

So the three people that look at this blog have probably been wondering what's happening.

Or they may not be.....

Either way, I have neglected to update this blog in over 12 months. No excuses, but boy, getting a house built is really involved, more than I anticipated!

I'll be backfilling the blog with pics etc over the next few weeks.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Plan presentation day

On the 20th of May we met with Ron at Rawson to have our plan presentation. Which went pretty well for the most part. As it had been suggested by Those That Have Gone Before (over at the homeone forums) they key is to be prepared. Go over the plans that you are sent before the meeting, and have a list of (non footprint-altering) changes prepared in advance. If you don’t, the meeting will take longer than you think and it’s likely there will be delays and drawings go back and forth between you and the builder. That’;s not to say that this won’t happen anyway, but at least you won’t be surprised by this and you’ll possibly avoid being charged for re-drawing the plan.

Ron was very helpful with explaining the drawings (I can read plans, but there were a few things that I just didn’t know, like the window codes), but unfortunately had missed a few things that we had emailed in previously. I mentioned a few posts ago that we had been rejected on having tiles up to the ceiling – this turned out to be a misunderstanding. Ron had thought that we had wanted tiles on the ceiling, when what we had asked about was having the wall tiles go up to the ceiling. I’m glad I asked! We also placed and sized the wall niches (one at the end of the entry hall, and the other used as a dropped ceiling over the island bench in the kitchen) and asked about a wider front door (1020mm instead of about 850mm). One thing that Ron pointed out on the drawings was that the stacker door to the alfresco was only 2100mm high. As part of the upgrade package we get 2600mm high ceilings and 2400mm doors. Having the stacker doors shorter than the others would look all wrong.

So as the moment we are now waiting on the plans to be updated, and hopefully we can sign off that part of the process and get onto internal selections (I can see that my wife has a whole Pinterest board with her ideas)

External colours … achievement unlocked!

With our the date of our external colour and plan presentation looming, we had to get out to the brick and roofing display centres quickly. We thought we would have an interminable drag around the outer suburbs of Sydney to choose our combination.

How wrong were we (and pleasantly surprised too!). We managed to settle on our bricks and roofing tiles, and all the other bits an pieces in just under two hours! I’m not sure if we were just lucky, or because of some serious thought and consideration that brought that about. We’ve gone with a brick that is on the upgrades list, but just under $1000 extra (PGH Espresso) and Monier tiles in the Horizon range (part of the upgrade package we bought with the house). From our research, we had an idea that this might look good (as you can see here) and when we got to the display centre, they had a little wall and roof set up in exactly the colours we were considering, and we were so impressed that that we stopped looking at bricks and tiles there and then.

The only thing left to do was pick all the Colorbond colours – and with the excellent help from the staff at PGH, this again was handled very quickly. We’ve gone with Surfmist windows, flyscreens, stacker door and garage door, the fascia and guttering will be Dune and the rainwater tank and downpipes will be painted in Monument. The samples below aren’t quite accurate – the roof tiles aren’t quite as yellow, for instance:

External Colours

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Bricks, and roofing, and gutters, oh my!

We've received our plans - yay!
There's a few things that I want to change - nothing major, just the locations of some of the external hardware like water heater and A/C unit. We had a think about the finish surface of the alfresco too. Rawsons have the concrete specc'd with a brush finish. While this may be fine for tiling over or putting a timber deck down on, B and I considered a polished concrete surface but Rawsons say that they don't offer it as a finish. We also asked about tiling the shower recesses to the ceiling, and got the rather strange (to me anyway) comment that "Rawson homes has never provided this option due to possible maintenance issues" .... may have to research that one.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

A long drive - but glad we did!

Last weekend the three of us make the epic (just over 600km return) trek to Wright in the ACT where the Acacia display home is located.

I am so glad we did!

Having seen the home on display made everything just that bit more real. We now can visualise the actual size of the rooms, the way the kitchen opens onto the alfresco and the like.

We've almost decided on an external colour scheme for the house as well. On the drive, B saw a house with a lighter coloured roof and dark brick and after a few mockups we are going to pursue that direction.

Here's a pic of how it might look (this isn't the Acacia in the image though)

Colour scheme mockup

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

So many decisions!

So here we are in May. We've been in our little rental house for about 10 weeks or so, and three weeks ago we were seated in the Rawson Homes offices going through our tender with Paul.

As others have said, the tender is quite simple and the estimators factor in all sorts of things so that there are minimal surprises during the building process.

As Rawsons haven't been able to do a soil test on our land (it's not registered until September 2014) they allowed for a H Class slab and saline treatment (stainless steel brick ties, under-slab membrane, 40MPa concrete) as well as a drop-edge beam on the slab at the front of the house in case the sewer line is close by. They also included bushfire protection (BAL-19 level) although it probably won't be required at that level.

We made a few changes to the standard design too. We removed the pole where the sliding doors opening onto the alfresco area would meet and substituted stacker doors. This has the effect of opening up the area so that the inside flows to the alfresco and the into the back garden with no obstruction, and B wanted an extra window in the master bedroom.

So although the total in the tender was more than we bargained for, at least we know possible extras up front. After all, if it's not required, we don't pay for it. Here's hoping that there will be a few things not required .......

We met our pre-construction administrator (Rachel) who gave us our colour selection pack and a wad of brochures from the brick companies, roof tiles, Colorbond, paint colours, garage doors and others. It's all a bit much especially when we haven't actually seen a built version of the house that we chose!

Doing it all backwards ....

As I mentioned in the previous post, our B's dream home would not fit on the lot that we had purchased. So as well as packing the old house up, and looking for a rental to live in for the next 12-18 months we had to search for a home that would fit the block we had splashed out on.

We now had more of a feeling of what we were looking for. B had made a list of "must haves":
  • Master bedroom was not to be at the front
  • Separate toilet and main bathroom
  • Open kitchen, and one that had two entries to the workspace
  • Easy access to the fridge
  • Single storey
  • Lots of natural light
My list was more simple:
  • Double garage
  • Study
  • Possibly a room for a home theatre
With all this in mind, back to Homeworld we went. Once again, Rawson Homes became our choice of builder, and we chose the Acacia MkII